Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 119

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. I welcome your suggestions, so if you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

A note to our new students: no, you don’t have to read the whole thing. What a lot of Chi Alphans do is skim the list and find one or two that seem interesting to them and open them in new tabs.

Be sure to read the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Views among college students regarding the First Amendment: Results from a new survey (John Villasenor, Brookings Institution): “Students act as de facto arbiters of free expression on campus. The Supreme Court justices are not standing by at the entrances to public university lecture halls ready to step in if First Amendment rights are curtailed. If a significant percentage of students believe that views they find offensive should be silenced, those views will in fact be silenced.” The author is an  absurdly accomplished Stanford grad: he is a simultaneously a professor of electrical engineering and public policy while also serving as a visiting professor of law (all at at UCLA) as well as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
  2. I Went To North Korea: What You’ve Heard vs What I Saw (Mark Hill, Cracked): “Seven carefully controlled days isn’t enough time to become an expert in any country, let alone one this complicated, and the best people to tell the story are Koreans themselves. But they’re not really available right now…” The article is interesting and mostly confirms my impressions of North Korea.
  3. Is Internet Porn Making Young Men Impotent? (EJ Dickson, Rolling Stone): “A number of factors have been speculated as being behind this trend, from eating processed foods to taking psychotropic drugs. Yet it’s porn that is most frequently cited as the likely culprit, prompting the creation of the term ‘porn-induced erectile dysfunction,’ which was coined by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, an associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School.”
  4. Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians (Caleb Lindgren, Christianity Today): “The ‘Reforming Catholic Confession,’ released today, aims to demonstrate that—despite “denominationalism”—Protestants are remarkably unified.” See A Reforming Catholic Confession for the text of the statement.
  5. Big Data Surveillance: The Case of Policing (Sarah Brayne, American Sociological Review): “In some instances, it is simply easier for law enforcement to purchase privately collected data than to rely on in-house data because there are fewer constitutional protections, reporting requirements, and appellate checks on private sector surveillance and data collection.… Moreover, respondents explained, privately collected data is sometimes more up-to-date.” (hat tip: Big Data Surveillance by Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution). The author is a sociologist at UT Austin.
  6. The Academic Reason Why There Are So Few Conservatives In Academia (George Yancey, Patheos): “…over the last several years, I have been doing empirical work in anti-Christian bias in society and academia. The way my work has been treated has changed dramatically although I became better, not worse, in doing research. Reviewers are clearly more hostile to my work on anti-Christian bias than my work in race and ethnicity, and some of their critiques are almost laughable. Those who want to state that we can trust science because it enables an open search for the truth have never tried to publish work that violates the political and moral sensibilities of academics.” The author is a professor of sociology at the University of North Texas.
  7. A Third of Vegetarians Eat Meat When They’re Drunk (Phoebe Hurst, Vice):  this research does not appear to be of the highest quality, but I found it intriguing nonetheless.

Things Glen Found Amusing

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have A History of the Second Amendment in Two Paintings (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog): this brief article from a few years ago is still one of the most insightful things I’ve read about firearms in America. The Yale professor interviewed, Dr. Amar, also wrote a lengthier article about this for Slate. (first shared in volume 54)

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.


Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

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