Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 395

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.

This is volume 395, which feels like it ought to have a lot of factors but only has 79 and 5.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. What if Kids Are Sad and Stressed Because Their Parents Are? (David French, New York Times): “The same year that 44 percent of teenagers reported suffering from serious sadness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41.5 percent of adults reported ‘recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder,’ an increase from an already high baseline of 36.4 percent just months before. Moreover, while suicide rates have gone up in the youngest cohort of Americans, they still materially lag suicide rates among their parents and grandparents.… Teens do not exist on an island. The connection between parental emotional health and the emotional health of their kids is well established. Moreover, the way parents raise their kids can, of course, directly affect emotional health.”
    • I have unlocked the paywall on this one.
  2. Company that Trademarked ‘Worship Leader’ Makes Others Drop the Term (Kelsey Kramer McGinnis, Christianity Today): “Since 2016, Authentic Media has owned the rights to the phrase ‘worship leader’ when applied to periodicals, online publications, and websites with resources around worship. Prior to that, the trademark had been owned by Maranatha Music, Worship Leader’s previous owner, since 1993. The company also holds trademarks for ‘worship leader workshop’ and ‘song discovery.’ ”
  3. Is It Time to Quit ‘Quiet Time’? (Dru Johnson and Celina Durgin, Christianity Today): “If today’s common rituals of Bible engagement are not working, then we must disrupt them in favor of deep learning practices. These new habits could consist of communal listening, deep diving, repeated reading of whole books of the Bible, or some other strategy. But the assumption that daily devotions alone will yield scriptural literacy and fluency no longer appears tenable, because it never was.”
    • Recommended by a student, who says, “The title is very clickbaitish, but the article itself has good points. It’s critiquing the practice of only superficially and passively reading short passages of Scripture isolated from their context in the rest of the Bible and isolated from other believers.”
  4. Education Commentary is Dominated by Optimism Bias (Freddie deBoer, Substack): “The optimism bias in education circles has several orthodoxies. 1. Every student is capable of academic flourishing, and every time a student does not flourish, it must be the result of some sort of error or injustice.… 5. Anyone who disagrees with this doctrine hates children, supports inequality, and doesn’t care about poor people.”
  5. How to Learn and Teach Economics with Large Language Models, Including GPT (Tyler Cowen & Alexander T. Tabarrok, SSRN): “One general rule is that you should keep on asking GPT follow-up questions to get more out of it. It is more like squeezing a lemon than throwing a dart at a target.… Don’t be passive, as with GPTs you always need to ask, and it rewards you when you are being demanding.”
    • A lot of very good advice about using GPT and other LLMs in here in here.
  6. How to Understand the Well-Being Gap between Liberals and Conservatives (Musa al-Gharbi, American Affairs Journal): “The well-being gap between liberals and conservatives [showing that conservatives are happier and better-adjusted than liberals] is one of the most robust patterns in social science research. It is not a product of things that happened over the last decade or so; it goes back as far as the available data reach. The differences manifest across age, gender, race, religion, and other dimensions. They are not merely present in the United States, but in most other studied countries as well.”
    • The author is a sociologist at Colombia.
  7. A lot of Stanford-related stories, mostly negative:
    • The Marvellous Boys of Palo Alto (David Leavitt, The New Yorker): “To grow up in Stanford is to be a son of Stanford in a way that no mere graduate can ever know. Bankman-Fried is a son of Stanford if there ever was one, as am I. And what are sons of Stanford taught? That if we should get into trouble, even real bad trouble, we can rest assured that our parents will bail us out, which is tantamount to resting assured that Stanford will bail us out, since Stanford has taken our parents to its heart and feeds money regularly into their bank accounts and owns the land on which they live. This faith in the certitude of protection, if not unique to the Stanford nation-state, is, I am convinced, one of its most essential aspects.”
      • The author grew up in the house in which Sam Bankman-Fried is now under house arrest.
    • Stanford’s War Against Its Own Students (Francesca Block, The Free Press): “Any place that sets a bar so high that you have to be literally perfect to get there; and when you get here, if you don’t stay perfect, [Stanford] will punish you with every administrative resource they have for embarrassing them,” Paulmeier added. “To me, that just sounds like an abusive parent, not like an educational institution you should model your kid’s life around.”
    • Stanford’s Dark Hand in Twitter Censorship (Thomas Adamo & Josiah Joner, The Stanford Review): “Emails revealed that the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) actively collaborated with Twitter to suppress information they knew was factually true. Taibbi’s investigation revealed that Stanford’s Virality Project ‘recommends that multiple platforms take action even against ‘stories of true vaccine side effects’ and ‘true posts which could fuel hesitancy.’”
      • Emphasis in original.
    • Next Steps on Protests and Free Speech (Dean Jenny S. Martinez, letter to the Stanford Law School): “I want to set expectations clearly going forward: our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is not going to take the form of having the school administration announce institutional positions on a wide range of current social and political issues, make frequent institutional statements about current news events, or exclude or condemn speakers who hold views on social and political issues with whom some or even many in our community disagree. I believe that focus on these types of actions as the hallmark of an ‘inclusive’ environment can lead to creating and enforcing an institutional orthodoxy that is not only at odds with our core commitment to academic freedom, but also that would create an echo chamber that ill prepares students to go out into and act as effective advocates in a society that disagrees about many important issues.”
      • The dean is spitting straight fire in this letter.

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 The Sins That Cry Out to Heaven (Eduardo Andino, First Things): “The Christian tradition speaks of four peccata clamantia, or sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance: murder, sodomy, oppression of the poor, and defrauding workers of their wages…. This is not an arbitrary collection of sins.” From volume 274

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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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