Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 382

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

382 is the smallest number such that σ(n) =σ(n+3). σ(n) is the divisor function, found by adding up n’s positive divisors. In other words, σ(382) equals 576 because it is the sum of its four divisors 1 + 2 + 191 + 382 which also equals 1 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 35 + 55 + 77 + 385 which are the eight divisors of 385, hence σ(385)=σ(382).

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. O Come All Ye Faithful, Except When Christmas Falls on a Sunday (Ruth Graham, New York Times): “Christmas is considered by most Christians to be the second-most significant religious holiday of the year, behind Easter. But most Protestants do not attend church services on Christmas Day when it falls on a weekday. If everyone from the pews to the pulpit would rather stay home, what is a practical house of worship to do? This year, some Protestant churches are deciding to skip Sunday services completely.” Recommended by a student a while ago.
    • My take? Skipping church because it’s Christmas makes as much sense as skipping cake because it’s your birthday.
  2. The Dangers of Elite Projection (Jarrett Walker, personal blog): “Elite projection is the belief, among relatively fortunate and influential people, that what those people find convenient or attractive is good for the society as a whole. Once you learn to recognize this simple mistake, you see it everywhere.… [The problem is] elites are always a minority, and that planning a city or transport network around the preferences of a minority routinely yields an outcome that doesn’t work for the majority. Even the elite minority won’t like the result in the end.”
    • Relevant to many cultural controversies about marriage and gender, btw.
  3. A Sign That Tuition Is Too High: Some Colleges Are Slashing It in Half (Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times): “Colby-Sawyer has joined a growing number of small, private colleges in what’s called the tuition reset, which overhauls prices to reflect what most students actually pay after discounting through need-based and merit financial aid. The reset is part marketing move and part reality check. It is frank recognition among some lesser-known colleges that their prices are something of a feint.”
  4. Martyrs in Mosul: A Conversation on Christian Persecution with Father Benedict Kiely (Annika Nordquist, Madison’s Notes Podcast): a podcast by one of our alumni. I haven’t had a chance to listen to this episode yet (and may not for a while because of being around family 24/7 during the holidays), but she asked me post it and I trust her judgement that it is of general interest.
  5. Girl Scout mom kicked out of Radio City and barred from seeing Rockettes after facial recognition tech identified her (Julianne McShane, NBC News): “Kelly Conlon, a senior associate with the New Jersey personal injury firm Davis, Saperstein and Salomon — which is representing a client suing a restaurant owned by the parent company, MSG Entertainment — told NBC New York that security guards approached her and asked for identification as soon as she arrived on the weekend after Thanksgiving. The guards ultimately turned her away from the show even though she is not involved in her firm’s litigation against the company. Conlon’s daughter and the rest of the Girl Scouts were able to attend the performance, she told the station.”
    • Whenever we say we’re afraid of technology we’re usually saying we’re afraid of how people will use technology. And our fears are often well-founded.
  6. USCIS Has Added 500 Pages to Its Immigration Forms Since 2003 (David J. Bier, Cato Institute): “It is worth emphasizing that no significant immigration reform has become law during the last two decades. The agency is unilaterally imposing dramatic increases in the bureaucratic obstacles to immigration benefits without input from Congress. But the hundreds of new pages of information is also making the agency less efficient at its job, delaying applications and causing backlogs to grow to unimaginable lengths.”
  7. The FBI and Twitter (Arnold Kling, Substack): “Today, the mainstream reaction to the Twitter Files story is to chant ‘nothingburger.’ These people caterwaul about the threats to ‘our democracy,’ and here is a threat to democracy in plain sight, and now it’s ‘nothing to see here, move along.’ For me, the big concern is lack of accountability within the government intelligence agencies.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have What the Tentmaking Business Was Really Like for the Apostle Paul (Justin Taylor, Gospel Coalition): “[It] cost the Apostle Paul to write his letters, including the securing of materials and the hiring of a secretary to make a copy for himself. After extensive research and calculation, he determined that on the low side it would have cost him at least $2,000 in today’s currency to write 1 Corinthians. (And that doesn’t include the cost of sending someone like Titus on a long journey to deliver it.)” Short and fascinating. From volume 256.

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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). And to the extent you can discern my opinions, please understand that they are my own and not necessarily those of Chi Alpha or any other organization I may be perceived to represent. 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. If this was forwarded to you and you want to receive future emails, sign up here. You can also view the archives.

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