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The Average Length of a Dissertation

A doctoral student at the University of Minnesota crunched the numbers and put together this great little chart showing how long PhD dissertations are in various fields.

Two things. First, Bible and theology dissertations would almost certainly be near the top of the chart if they were included. Second, if student ever hands me a 500-page dissertation, I’m handing it back. And third, this is one of the most impressive examples of productive procrastination I’ve ever seen. The student putting this together openly admitted that this was done almost entirely to avoid working on their dissertation. And it looks like the mission was accomplished. Nicely done.

I am, of course, modeling productive procrastination myself by blogging about productive procrastination when I’m supposed to be working on my book.

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

Read the whole post if you’d like to hear more about how the data was gathered and compiled.

Flotsam and jetsam (11/8)


Good Reads

  • I’ve Grown Cynical of Cynicism: Among many young people, cynicism has become a badge of pride. It suggests we have a certain sophisticated kind of intellect and dry, satirical humor, just like the witty sharp-shooters Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and all those late night guys. (Hermeneutics)
  • Onward Christian Soldiers: Today, there is an extensive, well-financed network of for-profit missions, using shadowy front companies to evangelize in North Korea. Though precise numbers are impossible to pin down, missionary-businesspeople have set up a staggering breadth of enterprises, including tour agencies, bakeries, factories, farms, even schools and orphanages, all in the name of spreading the Good Word. (Slate)

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Flotsam and jetsam (11/6)

creepy dude

Good Reads

  • Does Worship Divide Or Unite? Can people of different religions, or different interpretations of the same religion, pray together? In religious history, that has been a very thorny question. (The Economist)
  • 6 Reasons Not to Abandon Expository Preaching: Puritan theologian William Perkins wrote that preaching “has four great principles: to read the text distinctly, from canonical Scripture; to give it sense and understanding according to the Scripture itself; to collect a few profitable points of doctrine out of its natural sense; and to apply, if you have the gift, the doctrines to the life and manner of men in a simple and plain speech.” (Gospel Coalition)
  • Multisite Evolution: Whatever your opinion of multisite may be, there can be no doubt it is the new normal. (Ed Stetzer)

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3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Turn Homework in Late

We’re rapidly approaching one of those times in the school year where it’s easy to fall behind. (Or, for many of us, fall further behind.) With syllabus deadlines rapidly approaching and the demands of your non-academic life refusing to go away, it’s easy to decide that maybe you’ll just hand a few things in late. What difference could a few late assignments really make?

deadline (500x389)

So you do the math. The syllabus probably says something about losing points for turning things in late. So you try to figure out how a little academic tardiness might impact your final grade. If your grade can handle it, why not hand that paper in a little late?

Grade impact should certainly be part of the equation when you’re faced with this situation. But it’s not the only one. I’d like to suggest a couple of other reasons to think twice before handing that assignment in late, reasons that may not immediately come to mind when you’re trying to decide if seeing Catching Fire on opening night is worth a little academic slippage.

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The Neuroethicist Strikes Again

neuroethics (550x3361)

via SMBC

More Saturday Morning Fun…The Star Wars Trailer: Derp Edition

Star Wars fans everywhere got a treat last week when a Star Wars blooper reel hit the internet (see below). But not content with just a random collection of bloopers, someone has now transformed that blooper reel into a fantastic Star Wars ”trailer.”


And here’s the original blooper reel. (The sound doesn’t come on until 0:48. So don’t think there’s anything wrong with your computer when you can’t hear anything.)

Flotsam and jetsam (11/1)

and the "costume of the year" award goes to...

and the “costume of the year” award goes to…

Good Reads

  • Is youth ministry killing the church? The young people at my current congregation—a church that many families would never join because “it doesn’t have anything for youth”—are far more likely to remain connected to the faith and become active church members as adults, because that’s what they already are and always have been. (Christian Century)
  • ‘Happy’ Reformation Day? Of course, the recovery and foregrounding of crucial gospel truths should be remembered…but is Reformation Day not as much a time to mourn our divisions, to fast and pray that all who are baptised in the triune Name may together confess one Lord, one faith, and one gospel, and share one Eucharist around one table? (Steve Holmes)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • The Honest Movie Trailer guys are at it again, this time with a trailer for Thor – or, as they call it, the movie that only exists so non-nerds will recognize the blonde buy in the Avengers.

Flotsam and jetsam (10/29)

super whale

Good Reads

  • Watching TV can make you a better person: New research provides tentative evidence that it can—but only if viewers take time to reflect on the personal implications of what they have just watched. (Salon)
  • Of Gods and Cubicles: Religion, the Office and the Law: issues of religion in the workplace are becoming more fraught and complex. Experts cite immigration, more frank conversations about faith and spirituality and growing assertiveness among workers as reasons for the number of complaints. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Neuroscience Behind How Sleep Cleans Your Brain: We know that getting even a measly extra hour of sleep a night can have major benefits for us–like more memories, less anxiety, and happier genes. But scientists have tested another hypothesis for why we need to spend so much time horizontal: Sleep cleans our brains. (Fast Company)

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10 Steps to Productive Procrastination

To do lists are daunting. It’s easy to arrive at your desk in the morning already overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done. So productivity experts suggest spending a little time every morning identifying the most important thing you need to do that day. At least then you’ll make sure that the most important stuff gets done.

That’s a great idea. But, as I found out today, there’s one thing that can make sure even this doesn’t work: productive procrastination.

procrastination productivity getting things done

If you’re not familiar with that phrase, it’s a good one. Everyone needs to know about it, but I find it particularly important for students everywhere. It’s the one thing most likely to keep you from finishing your research paper.

According to the  urban dictionary productive procrastination is:

n. Doing stuff to keep busy while avoiding what really needs doing. When all is said and done, your room is clean, your laundry is folded — but you haven’t started your English paper. (via )

Productivity experts say you can defeat this problem by identifying your most important goal first thing in the morning. Today I realized that this isn’t enough. Here’s why.

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/28)

bear lake

Good Reads

  • The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel: This article is fascinating not just for the list, but for an excellent discussion of the logic behind the list, the difficulty of assessing technological breakthroughs, and its taxonomy of innovation. (The Atlantic)
  • Excesses of the Wahoo Brethren: In short, I believe that cessationists usually understand the Bible better than do continuationists, not to mention the logic of the thing….I believe the continuationists often understand the personal nature of the world better than do cessationists. (Doug Wilson)
  • Dumbing Religion in the New York Times: Prayer without a plausible metaphysics is just me. In such circumstances, the cosmological picture is a cosmological fantasy; and fantasy provides pleasure, not certainty. It trivializes an attempt to change the world, which prayer is, when it suffices with the good feelings that are generated by the attempt. (The New Republic)
  • Practicing Biblical Hospitality: True hospitality is sacrificial, uncomfortable, and does not seek to impress others. Hospitality flows from a hospitable heart. It is more about your open heart and home, not your impressive entertaining skills. (Resurgence)

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