Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 455

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 455, which is the result of 15 choose 3 — how many ways you can select three objects from a collection of fifteen.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. What I’ve Learned From a Decade on the Dating Apps (Katelyn Beaty, Substack): “Dating apps are not a neutral tool for finding love. Like all technologies, they act on us, even as we think we are in control, acting on them. They shape how we see other people, and ourselves, and romantic love itself. According to the apps, love is the optimization of traits that yield the highest rates of mutual satisfaction and personal growth for two atomized individuals. This self-expressive model of romance may be fine as far as it goes, but it’s a major departure from the basis of love in previous eras.”
    • Emphasis in original.
    • I also liked this bit: “It’s as if these apps don’t want users to find romance, because they are incentivized, to the tune of $5.3 billion in 2022, to keep us swiping and searching.”
  2. Are Gaza Protests Happening Mostly at Elite Colleges? (Marc Novicoff & Robert Kelchen, Washington Monthly): “Using data from Harvard’s Crowd Counting Consortium and news reports of encampments, we matched information on every institution of higher education that has had pro-Palestinian protest activity (starting when the war broke out in October until early May) to the colleges in our 2023 college rankings. Of the 1,421 public and private nonprofit colleges that we ranked, 318 have had protests and 123 have had encampments. By matching that data to percentages of students at each campus who receive Pell Grants (which are awarded to students from moderate- and low-income families), we came to an unsurprising conclusion: Pro-Palestinian protests have been rare at colleges with high percentages of Pell students. Encampments at such colleges have been rarer still.”
    • Contains interesting charts.
  3. Spying Arrests Send Chill Through Britain’s Thriving Hong Kong Community (Megan Specia, New York Times): “This month, three men were charged in London with gathering intelligence for Hong Kong and forcing entry into a British residence. While the men have not yet been found innocent or guilty — the trial will not begin until February — the news of the arrests threw a spotlight on many activists’ existing concerns about China’s ability to surveil and harass its citizens abroad, particularly those who have been critical of the government.”
  4. Two articles about surviving cancer:
    • Marital Status and Survival in Patients With Cancer (Aizer et al, Journal of Clinical Oncology): “For five cancers studied (prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal, and head/neck cancers), the survival benefit associated with marriage was larger than the published survival benefit of chemotherapy. The importance of this study is that it highlights the consistent and substantial impact that features of marriage, particularly social support, can have on cancer detection, treatment, and survival.”
      • From 2013. Marriage is better than chemotherapy. To be clear: if you have cancer also receive medical treatment even if you’re married.
    • Trial results for new lung cancer drug are ‘off the charts’, say doctors (Andrew Gregory, The Guardian): “Lung cancer is the world’s leading cause of cancer death, accounting for about 1.8m deaths every year. Survival rates in those with advanced forms of the disease, where tumours have spread, are particularly poor. More than half of patients (60%) diagnosed with advanced forms of lung cancer who took lorlatinib were still alive five years later with no progression in their disease, data presented at the world’s largest cancer conference showed. The rate was 8% in patients treated with a standard drug, the trial found.”
      • Amazing!
  5. Two articles about the job market:
    • Why Can’t College Grads Find Jobs? Here Are Some Theories — and Fixes. (Peter Coy, New York Times): “Even though the unemployment rate is low, fewer people are quitting, so fewer jobs are becoming available, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. LinkedIn’s estimate of the national hiring rate was down 9.5 percent in April from a year earlier.”
      • The article contains other substantive insights, but that one stood out to me.
    • The case of the angry history postdoc (Noah Smith, Substack): “Why is no one hiring historians? There are four basic reasons. The first and most important — which almost no one ever talks about, because it’s supposed to be so obvious — is that the U.S. university system is largely done expanding. The 20th century saw a massive build-out of universities, which required hiring a massive number of tenure-track professors. Then it stopped. And because tenure is for life, the departments at the existing universities are clogged with a ton of old profs who will never leave until they age out. New hires must therefore slow to a trickle, since as long as the number of profs is roughly constant, they can only be hired to replace people who retire or die.”
  6. Live by the Law or Die on the Cross (Jeremy England, Tablet Magazine): “What would Jesus do if a Hamas fighter held a Gazan Arab child up as a shield while firing? Hard to say for sure, but anyone who argues that a properly humane response is to die rather than to try to shoot around the child has ample basis in Christianity. The image of the Crucifixion may mean many things, but part of what it means is that accepting corporeal defeat in this world can be a path to God-like virtue and spiritual victory in the world of tomorrow. You will not hear Jesus mentioned when Western leaders speak on how important it is that Israel adhere to international laws of war, but the concept of the innocent civilian enshrined in these laws grew practically out of wars fought within Christendom during the last several hundred years.”
    • Recommended by a student who does not endorse all of the argument but found it fascinating.
  7. A Redemptive Thesis for Artificial Intelligence (Andy Crouch with others, Praxis Labs): “Like the Internet, electricity, and agriculture, AI is a general-purpose technology that can be harnessed to many ends. Redemptive entrepreneurs can lead the way in demonstrating that AI can be deployed — in fact, is best deployed — in ways that dethrone pride, magic, and Mammon and that elevate the dignity of human beings and their capacity to flourish as image bearers in the world.”

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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.