Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 450

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.

450 is a cool number because it ends in 50. Which is just cool.

It’s also something called an Arabian Nights factorial, meaning that 450! has 1001 digits. What a fun concept!

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Pro-Palestinian Encampments Spread, Leading to Hundreds of Arrests (Anna Betts, New York Times): “In the week since Columbia University started cracking down on pro-Palestinian protesters occupying a lawn on its campus, protests and encampments have sprung up at other colleges and universities across the country. Police interventions on several campuses have led to more than 400 arrests so far.”
    • Scenes of Protests Spread at Elite Campuses (Troy Closson, New York Times): “Nearly 50 people were arrested at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., on Monday morning, following the arrests last week of more than 100 protesters at Columbia University in New York City. The arrests unleashed a wave of activism across other campuses.… The flurry of protests has presented a steep challenge for university leaders, as some Jewish students say they have faced harassment and antisemitic comments. Early Monday morning, Columbia announced a same-day shift to online classes because of the protests. Barnard College, across the street, followed suit hours later.”
    • The Carnage Is the Point (Dan Drezner, Substack): “Universities like Columbia have handled this poorly, although their response pales in comparison to how some elected officials want them to respond. An awful lot of politicians have been calling on the use of force against protestors. Senators Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley have called for the National Guard to be deployed in Columbia, as has Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. Earlier this week Texas governor Greg Abbott enthusiastically sent Texas state troopers to conduct mass arrests, breaking up an unsanctioned but nonviolent demonstration at the University of Texas at Austin. Cotton, Hawley, Johnson, and Abbott are a lot of things, but stupid they are not. Why would they call for coercion when they must be fully aware that such an approach would further fan the flames of protest?”
    • An interesting analysis. Worth your time.
  2. No, There Are No “Trans” Animals (Emma Hilton and Jonathan Kay, Quillette): “Do some creatures change sex? Absolutely. But this isn’t new information. It’s a fact that biologists have known about for a long time. What is also well-known is that none of these sex-changing creatures are mammals, much less human. Rather, they’re insects, fish, lizards, and marine invertebrates whose biology is different from our own in countless (fascinating) ways. What’s more, in every single case described above, there are always (at most) just two distinct sexes at play—no matter how those two sexes may switch or combine. One of those sexes is male, a sex associated with gonads that produce sperm (testes); and the other is female, with gonads that produce eggs (ovaries). There’s nothing else on the menu. It’s just M and F.”
    • Recommended by a student.
  3. Ex-athletic director accused of framing principal with AI arrested at airport with gun (Kristen Griffith & Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Banner): “Eiswert’s voice, which police and AI experts believe was simulated, made disparaging comments toward Black students and the surrounding Jewish community, was widely circulated on social media.”
    • AI crimes are fixing to get wild. In case you haven’t been keeping up, AI-generated video and audio is shockingly good. <– check this wild example. Reid Hoffman (one of the so-called ‘Paypal Mafia’, founder of LinkedIn) interviews an AI avatar of himself for about 14 minutes.
  4. What Is a Woman? What Is a Man? (Aaron Renn, Substack): “The key is to understand who men and women are, biologically, sociologically, and culturally. What we will see is that evangelicals have very little to say about this.”
  5. How do you get siblings to be nice to each other? Latino families have an answer (Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR): “I ask Cindy the same question I posed to scientists: How do you teach children to find joy in helping their siblings? And she answers exactly the same as the scientists answered: ‘We model it.’ Cindy says. Cindy models not just helping her siblings, but also the joy she receives from the relationships she has with her brothers and sisters.”
  6. Changes in College Admissions (Zvi Mowshowitz, Substack): “Starting in August 2024, LSAT to eliminate the Logic Games (Analytic Reasoning) section, the hardest, most fun and most objective and intelligence-testing part of the whole test. Normally I would be against dumbing down our testing, but keeping smart people from becoming lawyers is not the worst idea.”
    • The whole thing is interesting. The excerpt is amusing.
  7. Astronomers Find Evidence Of A Massive Object Beyond The Orbit Of Neptune (James Felton, IFL Science): “Carrying out simulations to try and discover what best explains the orbits of these objects, the team found that a model that includes a massive planet beyond the region of Neptune explained the steady state of these objects much better than in simulations where planet 9 was not included. In the model, the team included other variables, such as the galactic tide and the gravitational influence of passing stars.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

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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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