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Nice Guys Finish First

We’ve all heard that “Nice guys finish last,” which many connect to the idea that nice people get walked all over and lead generally uninteresting lives. If you want to start a good conversation about whether that’s really true, though, here’s a good video summary of some research suggesting otherwise.

The World’s Most Contagious Falsehood Debunked

Okay, I totally thought the goldfish one was true. And I just learned the one about the vikings horns a few months ago. So I’m catching up, albeit rather slowly!

Check out the rest of these 52 common misconceptions. I’m sure the evolution one is likely to annoy some people, but the rest are fun. (Click to embiggen.)

misconceptions (550x1203)dd

What Is Literature Good For?

purebred english Bulldog in glasses and bookI have made no secret of the fact that I like good literature. (To be honest, I’m not terribly picky. I like a good story whether it qualifies as “literature” or not.) And I think there are good reasons that everyone should read fiction regularly. (See 6 Reasons You Should “Waste” Your Time Reading Fiction.) So I resonate deeply with this new video from The School of Life on what literature is good for.

The video highlight four benefits of good literature:

  1. It saves you time.
  2. It makes you nicer.
  3. It’s a cure for loneliness.
  4. It prepares you for failure.

And I think the video is correct on all four. But my favorite is the idea that literature saves you time. Rather worry about whether fiction as a waste of time, the video points out that there is no other way to “experience” the world from so many different perspectives and in so many different ways. It would take a lifetime to experience even a portion of what you can get through literature. We need to have some experiences of our own, of course, but we can expand that by having the kind of mediated experiences that literature offers.

If you’re still not convinced, check out the full video for yourself. It’s worth five minutes.

Retelling Gospel Stories

first time we saw him

Have you ever read one of the stories in the gospels, either one that was about Jesus or one of the parables told by Jesus, and been…well…bored? If you’re like me, you’ve heard those same stories so many times that they’re like an old blanket: more comforting than interesting.

What would it be like to go back and once again hear those stories for the first time?

That’s what Matt Mikalatos is trying to help us do in The First Time We Saw Him: Awakening to the Wonder of Jesus (Baker, 2014). As he explains in the introduction, the book comes from his own experience of knowing lots of facts about the Bible, but realizing that his muted responses to the gospel stories were radically different from those who were hearing those stories for the first time.

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The Rise of “Emerging Adulthood”

Emerging adulthood is now viewed by many as a distinct stage of life in America, one that covers the period between high school and “real” adulthood. And according to Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, it’s a stage of life that is powerfully shaping the way people in their 20s view the world, how they understand the church, and how they approach their own formation.

Adorable Kids in Over Sized Suits

At a faculty workshop at Wheaton College earlier this semester, Smith gave a fascinating summary of recent research on emerging adulthood and its significance for understanding and ministering to young adults today. Here are some of the highlights. (Keep in mind that these are all sweeping generalizations. Smith was quite clear that none of this will apply across the board to any particular young adult or even to distinct sub-groups of young adults. But these are pretty clear characteristics of the life stage as a whole.)

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The World Cup of Everything Else

World FootballThe World Cup is well under way with quite a few teams having already qualified for the next round. But if you’re curious about how the countries participating in this years’ World Cup stack up in other areas, here’s a great interactive chart comparing all 32 countries across a range of measures: The World Cup of Everything Else.

You’ll have the peruse the chart yourself to see all the data, but here are some of the results I found most interesting.

  • The US pops up in quite a few places, of course, but some of the more ignominious include highest obesity rate, most McDonalds per capita (as well as the most Starbucks per capita), and most CO2 emissions.
  • Some of the other expected results included France having the most total tourists, Russia being the biggest drinkers, and Honduras having the highest murder rate.
  • Ghana spends the most on education as a percentage of GDP.
  • Algeria has the highest military spending as a percentage of GDP.
  • Japan has the most forest as a percentage of total land.
  • The highest percentage of internet users lives in the Netherlands, which also the most water as a percentage of total land.
  • Iran gets both the highest inflation rate and the highest traffic death rate.
  • The team with the most Twitter followers is Mexico.
  • Costa Rica has the highest percentage of women in government.

There’s more, but you can read it for yourself.

Maternity Leave Policies Around the World

Mom’s apple pie may be one of the things America cherishes the most, but mom herself? Not so much.

maternity leave


via The Atlantic

Look Up: A Spoken Word Poem for an Online Generation

I think the critique of social media here is a tad over the top, but this video still raises some legitimate concerns in a creative way. I’ll probably use this as a discussion starter with my youth group sometime.

Why Do We Read Fiction?

I often hear people say that they struggle to appreciate fiction. Life is short, and they’d rather spend their time on books that are more informative or useful.


In his famous An Experiment in Criticism, C. S. Lewis offered some powerful reflections on why we read fiction. For him, it ultimately comes down to the idea that fiction allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Although much of what he says applies to all kinds of reading–after all, any time I read someone else’s words I’m trying to see the world from their perspective–he argues that fiction does this in uniquely powerful ways. Fiction shows us a world, it doesn’t just tell us about one. And, as a result, fiction shapes us in ways that no other kinds of reading can. I wrestled with this a bit in 6 Reasons you Should Waste Your Time Reading Fiction. But Lewis does it so much better.

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The Effect the Internet Has on Memory

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