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1. Pray for Egypt Today!
More than 50 million Egyptians are voting today on a constitution that would be a giant step backward for Egypt and much of the Middle East, marginalizing women and religious minorities. A nation that has historically been a voice of moderation, the largest Muslim nation in the region, will likely move toward becoming an Islamist state. Remember to pray for Egypt. (See the Economist's The Founding Brothers)
2. Our prayers are with families of the victims at the Sandy Hook elementary school. Grace and peace to the entire community.
In the wake of the horrific shooting, more debate about gun control is certain to surface. The Atlantic has some useful charts showing the nuanced take Americans have on gun rights and gun control. Do Americans Want More or Less Gun Control? Both, Actually The Christian Science Monitor also has this piece: What gun control laws might US voters support?
Traffic deaths in the USA continued their historic decline last year, falling to the lowest level since 1949, the government announced Monday.
A total of 32,367 motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians died in 2011, a 1.9% decrease from 2010. Last year’s toll represents a 26% decline from 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. ...
... The trend has emerged in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as smaller places like Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Neb. The state of Mississippi has also registered a drop, but only among white students.
“It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, which reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011....
....The experiment, in April, used a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS to reprogram Emma’s immune system genetically to kill cancer cells. ...
... The research is still in its early stages, and many questions remain. The researchers are not entirely sure why the treatment works, or why it sometimes fails. One patient had a remission after being treated only twice, and even then the reaction was so delayed that it took the researchers by surprise. For the patients who had no response whatsoever, the team suspects a flawed batch of T-cells. The child who had a temporary remission apparently relapsed because not all of her leukemic cells had the marker that was targeted by the altered T-cells. ...
6. The CDC says Chlamydia, gonorrhea cases increasing
....In 2011, 1.4 million chlamydia infections were reported to the CDC. The rate of cases per 100,000 people increased 8%, to 457.6 in 2011 from 423.6 in 2010.
The CDC reported 321,849 gonorrhea infections. The rate increased 4% to 104.2 cases per 100,000 in 2011 from 100.2 in 2010. Like chlamydia, gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a major cause of infertility in women.
Last year, 13,970 primary and secondary syphilis cases were reported. The rate of 4.5 cases per 100,000 was unchanged from 2010. ...
7. You may be bilingual but can you write in two languages, one with each hand, at the same time?!
8. Washington State Senate: Republicans Claim Majority After Democrats Defect. That makes two states were Democrats have won majorities in the state Senate and then a small number of Democrats decide to caucus with Republicans, giving Republicans the majority. The same thing happened in the New York Senate last week.
10. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones speculates on why liberals have more exaggerated perceptions of political differences. We Are More Alike Than We Think
11. A surprising "right to work" bill was signed into law in Michigan, of all places. That has spurred a lot of debate about unions and the right to work. Michael Kinsley wrote a thoughtful piece opposing RTW, The Liberal Case Against Right-to-Work Laws. David Henderson has piece in support of RTW, The Economics of "Right to Work".
12. Slate has a piece about The Great Schism in the Environmental Movement. Keith Kloor opines on the division between mondernist environmentalists (or eco-pragmatists) and conservation traditionalists.
Modernist greens don't dispute the ecological tumult associated with the
Anthropocene. But this is the world as it is, they say, so we might as
well reconcile the needs of people with the needs of nature. To this
end, Kareiva advises conservationists to craft "a new vision of a planet
in which nature—forests, wetlands, diverse species, and other ancient
ecosystems—exists amid a wide variety of modern, human landscapes."
This shift in thinking is already under way. For example, ecologists increasingly appreciate (and study) the diversity of species and importance of ecosystem services in cities, giving rise to the discipline of urban ecology. That was unthinkable at the dawn of the modern environmental movement 50 years ago, when greens loathed cities as the antithesis of wilderness. ...
13. One of the creepiest Twilight Zone episodes I remember from my childhood was when this woman ends up trapped in a department store at night. The mannequins begin calling to her. She discovers she is actually a mannequin who has over stayed her time out in the world and it is time for the next mannequin to spend some time outside the store. This story confirms my worst nightmares: In Some Stores, the Mannequins Are Watching You14. Carpe Diem: World manufacturing output, 2011
15. One of the biggest concerns about fracking technology is the enormous amount of water it uses. A company has figured out how to recycle water so that far less water is used in the fracking process. Solving fracking's biggest problem
16. Scientific American has a interesting article on the potential impact of 3-D Priting: Why 3-D Printing Matters for "Made in U.S.A."
... 3D printing represents the latest version of what industry experts call "additive manufacturing" — a way to turn practically any computer designs into real objects by building them up layer-by-layer using plastics, metals or other materials. The technology could end up affecting every major industry — aerospace, defense, medicine, transportation, food, fashion — and have an even bigger impact on U.S. manufacturing than the robot revolution. ...
17. Popular Mechanics is celebrating its 110th anniversary. In celebration, they are publishing 110 Predictions For the Next 110 Years.
18. Scot McKnight has a great post reflecting on the (false, IMO) equation of progressive with prophetic: The Prophetic is the Progressive
19. Dirk Kurbjuweit offers some interesting insights into Why Germany Can't Shed Its Troubling Past.
20. Michael Cheshire has a great piece in Leadership Journal on "What I learned about grace and redemption through my friendship with a Christian pariah." Going To Hell with Ted Haggard
".... A while back I was having a business lunch at a sports bar in the Denver area with a close atheist friend. He's a great guy and a very deep thinker. During lunch, he pointed at the large TV screen on the wall. It was set to a channel recapping Ted's fall. He pointed his finger at the HD and said, "That is the reason I will not become a Christian. Many of the things you say make sense, Mike, but that's what keeps me away."
It was well after the story had died down, so I had to study the screen to see what my friend was talking about. I assumed he was referring to Ted's hypocrisy. "Hey man, not all of us do things like that," I responded. He laughed and said, "Michael, you just proved my point. See, that guy said sorry a long time ago. Even his wife and kids stayed and forgave him, but all you Christians still seem to hate him. You guys can't forgive him and let him back into your good graces. Every time you talk to me about God, you explain that he will take me as I am. You say he forgives all my failures and will restore my hope, and as long as I stay outside the church, you say God wants to forgive me. But that guy failed while he was one of you, and most of you are still vicious to him." Then he uttered words that left me reeling: "You Christians eat your own. Always have. Always will."
He was running late for a meeting and had to take off. I, however, could barely move. I studied the TV and read the caption as a well-known religious leader kept shoveling dirt on a man who had admitted he was unclean. And at that moment, my heart started to change. I began to distance myself from my previously harsh statements and tried to understand what Ted and his family must have been through. When I brought up the topic to other men and women I love and respect, the very mention of Haggard's name made our conversations toxic. Their reactions were visceral."
21. Leonardo Bonucci got a yellow card for faking collision during a soccer game. It should have been a red card. No one deserves to be a professional soccer player with acting skills this bad!