ELSEWHERE: A Missed Connection for the Ages

It's interesting to think about literary genres "coming of age." Often it has to do with the arrival of a work that realizes the potential of the genre like nothing that came before it. That day has come for the genre known as Craigslist Missed Connections, where a recent post ostensibly aimed at finding the woman in the "vintage white skirt and smart red blouse" goes off the functional rails and lands in downright literary territory. Read the text over at Gawker, and then tell your loved ones … [Read more...]

Selfie Obsession: On Our Ongoing Attempts to Picture Our True Selves

 According to a poll that Casey N. Cep cites in her delightful essay on selfies, about 30 percent of photos snapped by Millennials are self-shots. The genre has exploded with the iPhone and has resulted in a proliferation of photo-sharing platforms designed to work with it. Our generation is apparently preoccupied with looking at pictures of themselves.After a brief recap of the history of self-portraiture, Cep gets at the heart of the impulse to auto-photograph: We cherish the … [Read more...]

The Burka Avenger: Can She Save Western Entertainment as Well?

Watch out evildoers, there’s a new superhero in Pakistan. The Burka Avenger made its recent debut on Pakistani TV, and she’s not your average superhero.  An intelligent schoolteacher by day, an enemy of injustice by night, the Burka Avenger stands for peace, education, and women’s rights.Haroon Rashid, a Pakistani pop star, invented the Burka Avenger to offer children a role model that counteracts the religious and political injustice in Pakistani society.  As Rashid tells NPR in a recent int … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Hacking Your Life Just Leads To More Work

Last week, I posted a piece on the "self-quantification" movement, which seeks to use technology and data analysis to improve the quality of one's life. And now, Slate's Evgeny Morozov has posted an article on "lifehacking" that questions whether or not it makes us better and more efficient, or if it just makes us work more. Or, as Morozov puts it, "Is there anything more self-defeating than using technology to free up your time—so that you can learn how to do an even better job at it?" … [Read more...]

Where Is My Mind: Neuromania And The Soul

By James HoskinsIt seems every few months a colorful image of a human brain appears in the news, accompanied by excited headlines of a new breakthrough in neuroscience. The headlines suggest to readers that neuroscience can now do amazing things, such as explain spiritual experiences, or detect lying, or even help cure religious fundamentalism. The frequency and enthusiasm of these reports understandably causes many people to think brain scans can see our innermost thoughts, and that science … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Shorn of Porn

As the English Prime Minister orders blocks to household access to internet pornography, Russell Moore, newly appointed President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, urges Christians to block it from their eyes, minds, and hearts. Pornography erodes marriages, undermines human dignity, and counteracts healthy sensuality. God designed your sexuality for more; read why here. … [Read more...]

Can You Know Too Much About Your Body?

 Every day, as you go through your normal patterns and routines, you're generating massive amounts of data about your body and its habits, performance, and abilities. These metrics can range from caloric intake or the number of hours you slept the previous night to the number of miles you ran or steps you took going to the office. And those are some of the more obvious ones. At first blush, these metrics might seem trivial. However, thanks to devices like Fitbit and fitness apps for … [Read more...]

Stop Hate-Watching the Church

In the past, I’ve done something called hate-watching, which involved watching the musical TV drama Smash on Hulu every week and tweeting hilariously bad dialogue and plot twists as they happened. The show was such a perfect combination of technically well-crafted accomplishment and bumbling misguided creative direction that it was a genuine joy to watch it slowly fall into itself like a carefully constructed bonfire. Although it was just a TV show, sometimes I found myself feeling sorry for t … [Read more...]

What To Do When a Family Member Posts Something Stupid on Facebook

Facebook used to be such a fun place for you. I remember those days, too. It was a nice place to find old friends from high school and maybe college, to check on old girlfriends and boyfriends to see if they've stayed fit and if they married somebody as cool as you, and to read fascinating updates of what everyone was up to in life. Good times!But then, your mom found Facebook. Then your crazy uncle got on there. And all your cousins. And your dad. Suddenly, it was like your little brother … [Read more...]

Maybe Social Media Doesn’t Ruin Everything?

It's common these days to hear people (especially middle-aged folks) grousing about the social-media addiction of younger generations. Social connections, they worry, come at the expense of real-world relationships. But Tony Schwartz, writing for the New York Times' DealBook, has a surprisingly positive take on the way his adult daughter and her peers have enriched their lives and relationships through the Web. … [Read more...]