Social Construction and Little Else

…So basically I think it’s actually, like, socially constructed.

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“Global Climate Change” and Peer Review

“I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012 that have the keyword phrases “global warming” or “global climate change.” The search produced 13,950 articles. […] By my definition, 24 of the 13,950 articles, 0.17% or 1 in 581, clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming. […] The 24 articles have been cited a total of 113 times over the nearly 21-year period, for an average of close to 5 citations each.”

The Depths of North Korea and the Limits of Words

“One challenge I always have when I speak about North Korea is I run out of adjectives for how bad things are […] And the challenge with North Korea in particular is that things are so bad on such a scale and scope that it sounds fake. It sounds unfathomable, it’s impossible to really comprehend […] To go through that much risk, whatever you’re escaping from back home has to be pretty bad. Extraordinarily bad. Far worse than whatever you’re facing to get out of that place. So North Korea is that thing. It is that bad.”

Sociology and Actually Existing Cloaks of Invisibility

There’s news that allegedly the “first functional invisibility cloak” has been developed by a lab at Duke University.  (side note: umm AWESOME!)  While I’ll leave the scientific details of the “functional invisibility cloak” part of that claim to more qualified people, it is an opportune moment to share a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic which give … Continue reading

Slow restart

An AP photo used under fair use?

This is one of the best ledes to a story I’ve ever read: “Sudan has been doing some saber-rattling in the general direction of Israel since a weapons factory in Sudan was mysteriously bombed. Earlier this week, the Yarmouk complex, a state-owned weapons manufacturing complex in Khartoum and potentially a great name for a novel, met with an unfortunate accident when, according to Sundanese officials, four planes bombed it to pieces.”

Jokes, Group Dynamics, and “Thick” and “Thin” Religion

I have managed to come back to America, safely, but have been six cities in the past two weeks (Kayseri, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, New York, Boston, San Diego), and am traveling more or less constantly until school restarts after Labor Day (September 3rd, for your non-Americans).  I have several half written posts that I’ll try … Continue reading

Names, Property, and Other Things Worth Arguing About

The Vatican and Lima’s archbishop feel that Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú) is not sufficiently Catholic or Pontifical, and the administrators of Pontifical Catholic University of Peru feel that the Church should mind its own damn business. But is that all it’s about?

Mitt Romney, Muslim Conspiracy Theories, and the Many Ways to Read a Poll

Which is more newsworthy: idiots still thinking Barack Obama is a Muslim or idiots still thinking Mormonism will make Mitt Romney a bad President? Turns out, it depends on where you write.

Everyday Religion and a 1,000-Year-Old Book

The New York Times Magazine published an article on the Aleppo Codex, a 1,000 year old copy of the Hebrew Bible. What’s the mystery of its missing section? How would you describe the ancient relationship between the book and its community?

Books that Can’t Wait and Books that are Worth Returning to.

What’s the point of a book that disappears after two months? What’s the point of reading and rereading?