The Naked Racism of an Obama America

America is more racially divided today than when Obama took office. In this feature, Alan Noble explores the causes of this division and why it may be a good thing. Whatever you think of Barack Obama's presidency, the first African American to hold the highest office in the land has dramatically changed the way we view race in our country--or, at least, what it is acceptable to say about race in public.As a people who believe that all humans are made in the image of God, that before Christ … [Read more...]

Nick Olson on the False Hope of Cryonics

Our very own Nick Olson recently published an article on ThinkChristian regarding the "renewed interest (and false hope) in cryonics". Cryonics, if you didn't know, is the process of preserving the body -- or parts of the body -- at extremely cold temperatures (think -196°C) with the hopes of reviving it at a later date. Those who submit to the process are essentially hoping to cheat death, and essentially experience a sort of immortality.Such attempts may seem foolish to Christians, since we … [Read more...]

The Paralysis of Having Too Many Cultural Choices

Today, we have more access to greater amounts of culture (books, movies, music, etc.) than any preceding generation. Devices like iPads and Kindles, streaming services for music and movies, and online retailers have placed vast amounts of information at our fingertips -- literally, in some cases. Indeed, it can be rather mindboggling, though we don't often think about it due to its ubiquity. Really, how often do we think that the iPhone in our hand can easily hold thousands of books, or tens of … [Read more...]

How Crowd Funding Mimics the Early Church

Poor social media. It’s received a lot of blame for relational difficulties in our day. The very tools that are supposed to help us connect can also put distance between us.Most commentary on the matter pushes us from one end of the spectrum to the other: either abstinence is espoused to avoid the misuse, or entrenchment is sanctioned to embrace the benefits. I see these tools as neutral -- it’s our misuse that’s the trouble. So I was encouraged to read a recent NPR report of a positive use o … [Read more...]

Hurricane Sandy Reminds Me that I Enjoy a Good Natural Disaster, Because I’m a Terrible Human Being

When I was a kid I loved a good storm. I would gather every bucket I could find and place them around the back of our house to catch the rainwater pouring down eaves. While it rained I'd man the buckets, moving them to more efficient places, pouring smaller pails into bigger containers. I'd keep these buckets for weeks after the storm until the water turned brown from dirt and dead leaves and I would have to dump them out. Maybe I kept the water because we lived in a desert, or maybe because I … [Read more...]

Ethical Dilemmas Arise When You Turn Science Fiction into Reality

Once again, something that was formerly in the domain of science fiction has crossed the line over into reality. But in this case, that's not the only line that has been crossed.NPR recently reported that geneticists at the Oregon Health & Science University had created an embryo containing genetic material from three individuals as part of research aimed at curing genetic diseases caused by defective mitochondrial DNA. The geneticists located the bad DNA in unfertilized eggs, replaced it … [Read more...]

Did Apple Really Just Screw Over iPad Owners?

Earlier this week, Apple held an event during which they announced several new and updated products, including a smaller iPad, thinner and sleeker iMacs, and a new high-end laptop. Needless to say, these announcements got plenty of people excited, including yours truly, as the months -- and even years -- of anticipation, rumors, and analysis come to a head and revealed a slew of lovely new products.But as Buzzfeed reports, there were some people who were disappointed, even angered by Apple's … [Read more...]

To Catch A Predditor: Reddit, Gawker, and the Challenge of Online Privacy

Reddit describes itself as "the front page of the internet", a statement that seems to be growing truer all the time. The site has become increasingly popular -- it's estimated that the site receives as many as 30 million unique visitors a month -- and it has garnered an immense amount of cultural capital. On August 29, 2012, President Obama went on Reddit and did a live Q&A (or "AMA", for "Ask Me Anything" session in Reddit-speak) that had more than 4 million visits in a 24-hour span, and … [Read more...]

Resisting Facebook is Harder Than Resisting Sex

We all know how addictive it is to grab your smartphone and check up on what's happening in in our Facebook and Twitter feeds. But just how addictive? A recent study in Germany, in which participants were given a Blackberry and told to frequently report how often they were tempted to check Facebook and how often they gave in, revealed that social media was harder to resist other things, including sex. The reason that cigarettes, alcohol and even drugs can be less addictive than using social … [Read more...]

Why are we so mean on Facebook?

We've all seen them. We've probably even participated in them. I'm referring to those conversations on Facebook, often about politics or religion, that quickly turn ugly as people begin sniping and snarking at each other. (And it's not just on Facebook: have you seen a YouTube comments section recently?)Why are we so mean on Facebook? Why do seemingly innocuous posts quickly get ugly, and why are people so quick to fan the flames? Why are we willing … [Read more...]