Justin E. H. Smith on words that can mean either one thing or its opposite: Antonyms, of course, are pairs of words that have meanings opposite to each other. Autoantonyms, in turn, are single words that themselves can mean either one thing or its opposite. This can happen either by convergence –e.g., the English verb ‘to cleave’ comes [Read More…]

Was the Alaska Purchase a Good Deal?

When Secretary of State William H. Seward purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867, the press dubbed the expansionist effort “Seward’s Folly.” Since then the conventional wisdom has been that history vindicated Seward and his $7.2 million investment. But a paper by economist David Barker argues that the acquisition wasn’t necessarily beneficial for the lower forty-eight: [Read More…]

The Greatest Force is Love

Jeffrey Wright uses wacky experiments to teach children about the universe, but it is his own personal story that teaches them the true meaning of life. (Via: 22 Words) [Read more…]

“Models Are the Most Physically Insecure Women”

‎”If you’re ever wondering, ‘If I have thinner thighs and shinier hair will I be happier?’ you just need to meet a group of models because they have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes and they are the most physically insecure women on the planet.” So says Victoria’s Secret model [Read More…]

The 50 Most Influential Native-Born Religious Figures in American History

In response to his own question, “What is America?”, G.K. Chesterton replied, “a nation with the soul of a church.” Throughout the nation’s history millions of believers of various faiths have shaped that soul. But which religious figures have had the most influence? I’ve selected fifty native-born Americans who, for better or worse, have had [Read More…]

Lincoln’s Five-Legged Dog: An Realist Argument Against Redefining Marriage

Timothy Dalrymple recently wrote a provocative post listing “Ten Things I Believe About Evangelicals and Same-Sex Marriage.” I agree almost completely with each of the ten items, as would, I suspect, most evangelicals. Within this context Tim asks: (P1) Should we hold fast to our convictions, profess those convictions publicly, and organize legally and politically [Read More…]

The 11 Most Annoying Catchphrases

A couple of years ago, researchers at Oxford University compiled a list of the top ten most irritating expressions. Their list included overused office lingo, (24/7, synergy), grammatically incorrect constructions (“shouldn’t of”), and adverbs used out of context (literally, ironically). While everything on their list is certainly irritating, few of the items rise to the level [Read More…]

Thirty Three Things (Video Edition)

1. The Trunk Monkey Combing two things all men love: cars and monkeys. °°°°°° 2. M. Ward – Chinese Translation The greatest Johnny Cash song that Johnny Cash never sang. Charming and beautiful. °°°°°° 3. The Best of ESPN’s “This is Sportscenter” Ads °°°°°° 4. Economics Explained If you’ve ever been bored sitting in Econ [Read More…]

The Built-In Human Expiration Date

In the book of Genesis it notes that the human lifespan is limited to a maximum of 120 years. And since God is a mathematician, it shouldn’t be surprising that this rate of mortality is an exponential function: What do you think are the odds that you will die during the next year?  Try to put [Read More…]

Outtakes 10.26.12

• Even on a blog dedicated to sharing items of interest and quirky reflections on culture, politics, and religion, some thoughts are just too random or half-baked to warrant their own posts. So I thought I’d experiment with compiling that ephemera into a daily post of outtakes. (In case the headline didn’t make that clear, [Read More…]