1. Christian History magazine has an entire issue devoted to Christians in the New Industrial Economy: The World Changed, the Church Responded. It is a priceless collection of essays on how various religious traditions responded to (or failed to) the challenges of the Industrial Revolution.
Issue 104 examines the impact of automation on Europe and America and the varying responses of the church to the problems that developed. Topics examined are mission work, the rise of the Social Gospel, the impact of papal pronouncements, the Methodist phenomenon, Christian capitalists, attempts at communal living and much more.
2. Orange County Register says Don't count out mainline Protestants yet.
As flocks shrink, denominations that once defined America fight to stay relevant with new ways of reaching out.
3. The Washington Post reports that Megachurches thriving in tough economic times.
"Despite the tough economy, many of the nation’s largest churches are thriving, with increased offerings and plans to hire more staff, a new survey shows.
Just 3 percent of churches with 2,000 or more attendance surveyed by Leadership Network, a Dallas-based church think tank, said they were affected “very negatively” by the economy in recent years. Close to half — 47 percent — said they were affected “somewhat negatively,” but one-third said they were not affected at all. ..."
4. Harvard Business Review: Steve Blank on Why Big Companies Can't Innovate
... It's not surprising that younger entrepreneurial firms are considered more innovative. After all, they are born from a new idea, and survive by finding creative ways to make that idea commercially viable. Larger, well-rooted companies however have just as much motivation to be innovative — and, as Scott Anthony has argued, they have even more resources to invest in new ventures. So why doesn't innovation thrive in mature organizations? ...
... First, he says, the focus of an established firm is to execute an existing business model — to make sure it operates efficiently and satisfies customers. In contrast, the main job of a start-up is to search for a workable business model, to find the right match between customer needs and what the company can profitably offer. In other words in a start-up, innovation is not just about implementing a creative idea, but rather the search for a way to turn some aspect of that idea into something that customers are willing to pay for. ...
... discovering a new business model is inherently risky, and is far more likely to fail than to succeed ...
... Finally, Blank notes that the people who are best suited to search for new business models and conduct iterative experiments usually are not the same managers who succeed at running existing business units. ...
5. A fascinating, if sobering, look at the conflict over islands off the coast of East Asia. Trouble at sea
6. The rise of post-industrial China? (Economist)
7. New Geography thinks, U.S. LATE TO THE PARTY ON LATIN AMERICA, AFRICA.
"President Barack Obama's proposed tilt of U.S. priorities toward the Pacific – and away from the historical link to Europe – represents one of the most encouraging aspects of his foreign policy. Although welcome, we should recognize that this shift comes about three decades too late and that it may miss the rising geopolitical centrality of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The emergence of these longtime historically impoverished backwaters has been largely missed as American policy-makers and businesses are now obsessed with the challenges and opportunities posed by the emergence of China and, to a lesser extent, India. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, over the past decade has produced six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies. Through 2011-15, according to the International Monetary Fund, seven of the fastest-growing countries will be African, and Africa as a whole will surpass the slowing growth rates in Asia, particularly China.
This growth has caused the region's poverty rates, still unacceptably high, to fall from 56.5 percent in 1990 to 47 percent today. Further growth will likely push poverty levels down further."
8. New Geography also asks, Is the Family Finished? Some interesting thoughts about the impact of declining birthrates in the U.S.
Pew Research Center has compiled key findings from a new analysis of the nation’s foreign-born population, based on U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey.
10. Marketing Daily says More Latinos See Themselves As Bicultural
With more than half the population of many U.S. cities who are multicultural and Hispanics comprising more and more of the U.S. population, when does it become meaningless and redundant to execute marketing strategy that is directed to a general market and a Latino market perceived to be homogenous?
11. Committee on Economic Development has an interesting piece looking at both the ideological and economic aspects underlying the debate about the minimum wage. Raising the Minimum Wage: “Which Side Are You On?”
"It is an easy call if you are either (a) a strict libertarian or (b) an enthusiastic advocate of the less fortunate with limited concern about the scarcity of resources. (If you belong to both of those groups, there is little advice that I can offer.) However, in between those poles of opinion, things become rather murky, rather quickly."
12. Being a Republican or a Democrat may all be in your head: Republican Brains Differ From Democrats' In New FMRI Study
... Comparing the Democrat and Republican participants turned up differences in two brain regions: the right amygdala and the left posterior insula. Republicans showed more activity than Democrats in the right amygdala when making a risky decision. This brain region is important for processing fear, risk and reward.
Meanwhile, Democrats showed more activity in the left posterior insula, a portion of the brain responsible for processing emotions, particularly visceral emotional cues from the body. The particular region of the insula that showed the heightened activity has also been linked with "theory of mind," or the ability to understand what others might be thinking. ...
... The functional differences did mesh well with political beliefs, however. The researchers were able to predict a person's political party by looking at their brain function 82.9 percent of the time. In comparison, knowing the structure of these regions predicts party correctly 71 percent of the time, and knowing someone's parents' political affiliation can tell you theirs 69.5 percent of the time, the researchers wrote. ...
STERLING, Va. - Perched by a computer monitor wedged between shelves of cough drops and the pharmacy in a bustling Walmart, Mohamed Khader taps out answers to questions such as how often he eats vegetables, whether anyone in his family has diabetes and his age.
He tests his eyesight, weighs himself and checks his blood pressure as a middle-aged couple watches at the blue-and-white SoloHealth station advertising "free health screenings." ...
... As Americans gain coverage under the federal health law, putting increased demand on primary care doctors and spurring interest in cheaper, more convenient care, unmanned kiosks like these may be part of what their manufacturer bills as a "self-service healthcare revolution." ...
14. Is this a case of marketing going too far? Young Japanese Women Rent Out Their Bare Legs as Advertising Space
Recent developments in the field of nanotechnology might give new meaning to the phrase “nothing gold can stay.” Atoms and bonds developed not by Mother Nature, but by scientists, are gaining momentum as the building blocks for cutting-edge materials.
Using nanoparticles as “atoms” and DNA as “bonds,” Chad Mirkin, the director of Northwestern University’s International Institute for Nanotechnology, is constructing his very own periodic table. So far Mirkin has built more than 200 distinct crystal structures with 17 different particle arrangements. ...
16. ExtremeTech says NASA’s cold fusion tech could put a nuclear reactor in every home, car, and plane.
17. Atlantic Cities has some great maps showing the impact of railroads on travel time in the early 19th Century, thus shrinking the nation. A Mapped History of Train Travel in the United States
19. You might want to think twice before a game of horse with this cheerleader.