The most admired men and women of 2013

Gallup has released its poll results of the top 10 most admired men and women of 2013.  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton take the top spots.  Some of the others may be surprising or even depressing.  See the lists after the jump.

Who are YOUR most admired men and women of the year?  You are not limited to naming public figures.  [Read more…]

Top religion stories of 2013

After the jump, the top religion news stories of 2013, based on a  poll of the Religion Newswriters Association.  Strangely downplayed or omitted:  the persecution of Christians in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; the new assaults on religious liberty; the new prominence of aggressive atheism; the rise of the “nones.”

What do you think should be included?  What do you think of this list?  Was 2013 a good year or a bad year for religion? [Read more…]

Outlawing light bulbs

The manufacture of traditional incandescent light bulbs will be illegal, as of January 1.   Compact flourescent bulbs (those with the corkscrew shape) and Light Emitting Diodes, which look something like the old bulbs invented by Thomas Edison, will have to replace them.  You can still buy the old bulbs and stores can still sell them until they run out of stock, but it will be against the law to manufacture or import them.  The new bulbs use less energy and last longer, but they are more expensive.

If the new lighting technology saves so much money in the long run, shouldn’t the free market take care of this?  As opposed to a legal prohibition?  Or is this a case in which the free market doesn’t meet a social good, in this case, saving energy? [Read more…]

The myth of the Christmas myth

It’s still Christmas, there being 12 days of that season, so thanks to Truth Unites. . .and Divides for posting in the comments to another thread this video from Rev. Hans Fiene at Lutheran Satire.  You all need to see it:

Update: A&E caves on Duck Dynasty

I guess people are allowed to criticize gay sex after all:

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty clan who was suspended from his hit reality series on Dec. 18 following some incendiary comments about gay people, won’t be put on hiatus after all. [Read more…]

Most important historical development of 2013

I would say that the most important historical development of 2013, the one that will prove most pivotal and culturally significant , is the Supreme Court decision casting out the Defense of Marriage law, which, along with various other court decisions and state laws, threw the door completely open for same-sex marriage.  Never in all of human history and never in the wide diversity of human cultures, including those that have been most open to homosexuality, have men married men or women married women.  Just as a matter of history and anthropology, the new legal and social acceptance of gay marriage is revolutionary and unprecedented.

What else happened in 2013 that you think historians of the next century will study?  (That will not necessarily be the same as the “top news stories,” since historians are more interested in the big picture.)