Daily Archives: May 28, 2015

How, and why, a journalist tricked news outlets into thinking chocolate makes you thin

This spring, the journal International Archives of Medicine published a delicious new study: According to researchers at Germany’s Institute of Diet and Health, people who ate dark chocolate while dieting lost more weight…

It was unbelievable news. And reporters shouldn’t have believed it.

It turns out that the Institute of Diet and Health is just a Web site with no institute attached. Johannes Bohannon, health researcher and lead author of the study, is really John Bohannon, a science journalist. And the study, while based on real results of an actual clinical trial, wasn’t aimed at testing the health benefits of chocolate. It was aimed at testing health reporters, to see if they could distinguish a bad science story from a good one.

In many cases, they couldn’t.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Science & Technology, Theology

(Bloomberg) New Survey From the Fed Shows Exactly Why they are in No Rush to Raise

The Federal Reserve’s report on the economic well-being of U.S. households is out, and it contains one very interesting finding: A decent share of Americans want to work longer hours even without a raise.

The Fed asked non-self-employed workers whether they’d prefer to work more, less, or the same amount that they now work if their hourly wage was unchanged. The goal of the question was to help gauge the amount of underemployment in the economy, according to the report.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they’d prefer to work more hours at their current wage. Among those who work part time, the share is even higher at 49 percent. The results might help Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues connect the dots in a labor market that’s still flashing mixed signals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

(NYT The Well) Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers

One morning recently, a dozen college students stepped out of the bright sunshine into a dimly lit room at the counseling center here at the University of Central Florida. They appeared to have little in common: undergraduates in flip-flops and nose rings, graduate students in interview-ready attire.

But all were drawn to this drop-in workshop: “Anxiety 101.”

As they sat in a circle, a therapist, Nicole Archer, asked: “When you’re anxious, how does it feel?”

“I have a faster heart rate,” whispered one young woman. “I feel panicky,” said another. Sweating. Ragged breathing. Insomnia….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

(Gallup) Americans now more Likey to find a Variety of Immoral practices acceptable

Key trends in Americans’ views of the moral acceptability of certain issues and behaviors include the following:

–The substantial increase in Americans’ views that gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable coincide with a record-high level of support for same-sex marriage and views that being gay or lesbian is something a person is born with, rather than due to one’s upbringing or environment.
–The public is now more accepting of sexual relations outside of marriage in general than at any point in the history of tracking these measures, including a 16-percentage-point increase in those saying that having a baby outside of marriage is morally acceptable, and a 15-point increase in the acceptability of sex between an unmarried man and woman. Clear majorities of Americans now say both are acceptable.
–Acceptance of divorce and human embryo medical research are also up 12 points each since 2001 and 2002, respectively.
–Polygamy and cloning humans have also seen significant upshifts in moral acceptability — but even with these increases, the public largely perceives them as morally wrong, with only 16% and 15% of Americans, respectively, considering them morally acceptable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sociology, Theology

(FT) More than half world’s countries now producing jihadis

More than half of the world’s countries are now producing jihadis to fill the ranks of violent Sunni terrorist organisations in the Middle East, according to a UN report.

The al-Qaeda network and its schismatic rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) have seen more than 25,000 mujahideen join them in recent years, it states, creating an “unprecedented” threat to national and international security in both the “immediate and long-term” that most governments have failed to grasp the significance of so far.

The report ”” prepared by the UN Security Council’s special permanent committee for monitoring violent Islamism ”” amounts to one of the most bleak and comprehensive assessments of the global foreign fighter phenomenon compiled yet. Its findings are based on “robust and detailed” evidence from 27 intelligence and security services spread across UN member states, its authors state.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

(Onion) Parents Clinging To Lone Religious Element Of Daughter’s Wedding Ceremony

Read it all. LOL.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Children, Humor / Trivia, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Sepp Blatter must step down and open the way for sweeping changes at Fifa

The FBI director, James Comey, commenting on the arrests in Zurich yesterday of senior Fifa officials, identified rampant, systemic and deep-rooted corruption in the federation. “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and bribes became a way of doing business at Fifa,” he said. The raids by both the American and Swiss authorities were cynically welcomed by Mr Blatter’s team as a sign that it was cleaning up its act.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, as our sister paper The Sunday Times has diligently exposed, was secured by the rigging and purchase of votes. Despite clear evidence of wrongdoing, Qatar has held on to the cup. An investigation by Fifa’s ethics committee, a body created by Mr Blatter to soothe the many doubts about federation practices, was not published in full to spare the leadership embarrassment. On an almost daily basis, the absurdity of Qatar hosting the cup becomes apparent, from its treatment of construction workers to the extraordinary decision to switch the games to the winter in the midst of the European club season.

The Blatter years have been distinguished by a Machiavellian manipulation of the executive committee and of the broader football voting community.

Read it all (requires subscription) [my emphasis].

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Sports, Theology

(BBC) The challenges ahead for Nigeria's incoming President Muhammadu Buhari

President Buhari’s to-do list is indeed a long one.

Earlier this month, his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, said that 110 million out of Nigeria’s population of 170 million were living in “extreme poverty” while the largest chunk of the nation’s wealth was going into the pockets of a small percentage of the population.

This situation has been brought about by the mindless corruption of the past six years, mainly fuelled by a cabal in the oil and gas industry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology

John Calvin on John 15:1-8 for his Feast Day

There is scarcely any one who is ashamed to acknowledge that every thing good which he possesses comes from God; but, after making this acknowledgment, they imagine that universal grace has been given to them, as if it had been implanted in them by nature. But Christ dwells principally on this, that the vital sap ”” that is, all life and strength ”” proceeds from himself alone. Hence it follows, that the nature of man is unfruitful and destitute of everything good; because no man has the nature of a vine, till he be implanted in him. But this is given to the elect alone by special grace. So then, the Father is the first Author of all blessings, who plants us with his hand; but the commencement of life is in Christ, since we begin to take root in him. When he calls himself the true vine the meaning is, I am truly the vine, and therefore men toil to no purpose in seeking strength anywhere else, for from none will useful fruit proceed but from the branches which shall be produced by me.

–Commentary on John, Volume II

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Calvin

Sovereign and holy God, who didst bring John Calvin from a study of legal systems to understand the godliness of thy divine laws as revealed in Scripture: Fill us with a like zeal to teach and preach thy Word, that the whole world may come to know thy Son Jesus Christ, the true Word and Wisdom; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, ever one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John Calvin

O Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fullness of light and wisdom: Enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy Word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–John Calvin (1509-1564)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, ”˜What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ”˜What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ”˜How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ”˜A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ”˜Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ”˜And how much do you owe?’ He said, ”˜A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ”˜Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

–Luke 16:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) FIFA Inquiry Yields Indictments; U.S. Officials Vow to Pursue More

United States law enforcement officials declared in forceful terms on Wednesday that their broad investigation of FIFA had only begun and pledged to rid the international soccer organization of systemic corruption.

The Justice Department, F.B.I. and I.R.S. described soccer’s governing body in terms normally reserved for Mafia families and drug cartels, saying that top officials treated FIFA business decisions as chits to be traded for personal wealth. One soccer official took in more than $10 million in bribes, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said.

The schemes involving the fraud included the selection of South Africa as the host of the 2010 World Cup; the 2011 FIFA presidential elections; and several sports-marketing deals

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Sports, Theology

(SP) Saskatoon cathedral to ring bells 1,017 times for missing and murdered women

The chimes atop St. John’s Cathedral in Saskatoon will ring out this week in honour of Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women.

As part of national initiative by the Anglican Church of Canada, the bells in Saskatoon will ring 1,017 times ”” one chime for each aboriginal women and girls murdered between 1980 and 2012, according to a press release by the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women

(CT) Ed Stetzer: Australian Christianity: An Interview with the Australian Bible Society

What should Christians be doing to be more effective at spreading the good news. Is church planting a key tool?

ES: Church planting is certainly a key tool. However, it is not the only tool. But, let’s start there.

Most churches are plateaued or declining as we regularly hear from the National Church Life Survey. The fact is that most of those churches do not want to make the necessary changes to grow again. Thus, new churches are needed.

That’s a spiritual truth, but also a sociological one. New expressions grow faster than old.

And, Australia needs many more new churches””new communities of faith. Even if you are the city of churches, Adelaide has lots of lovely buildings, but needs many more vibrant congregations.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Bishopscourt, Newcastle sold by Anglican Diocese

The 4,130 square metre Brown Street property housed the city’s successive Anglican bishops until current bishop Greg Thompson chose to reside elsewhere.

The seven bedroom, four bathroom 1929 Bishopscourt is not heritage listed but parts of its grounds are.

Last year, the Anglican Synod gave the greenlight for the Newcastle sale to be considered. At the time Bishop Greg Thompson asked the Synod to consider “the economics of having this property, the suitability of it as the home of the Bishop and family, and the historic sentiment of previous bishops who lived within it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology