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Faith Equals Fertility

Clonmacnoise Co.

“Religious people have more babies than non-believers–and not just for the obvious reasons…

Mary Eberstadt, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, has suggested several ways in which the experience of forming a family might stimulate religious feelings among parents, at least some of the time. She notes that pregnancy and birth, the business of caring for children, and the horror of contemplating their death, can stimulate an intensity of purpose that might make parents more open to religious sentiments. Many common family events, she reasons, might encourage a broadly spiritual turn of mind, from selfless care for a sick relation to sacrifices for the sake of a child’s adulthood that one might never see.

Eberstadt argues that part of the reason why western European Christians have become more secular is that they have been forming fewer stable families, and having fewer children when they do. This, she suggests, may help to explain some puzzles about the timing of secularisation in certain places. In Ireland, for example, she notes that people started having smaller families before they stopped going to church …

via More Intelligent Life.

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R.I.P. Davy Graham

Davy Graham performing at the Troubadour with ...

Virtuoso guitarist and leading figure in Britain’s 60’s folk revival: “Graham drew on a range of influences, including jazz, classical, Indian and Arabic music. …[I]t was Graham’s unusual family background — his mother was from South America, his father from a remote Scottish island — and access to blues records through his work at the British Library that decisively shaped his sound.

”Davy started unusual alternate tunings for guitars that really caught on,” according to Dick Boak, the artist relations manager at C.F. Martin & Co., the famous U.S. guitar maker. ”He influenced Paul Simon, of course, and John Renbourn, and Laurence Juber, and many others. Just about anybody who has anything remotely to do with finger-style guitar has to in some way pay tribute to Davy.” “

via New York Times.

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Arundhati Roy: Mumbai was not India’s 9/11

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The eyes of Arundhati Roy

“The Mumbai attacks have been dubbed ‘India’s 9/11’, and there are calls for a 9/11-style response, including an attack on Pakistan. Instead, the country must fight terrorism with justice, or face civil war

…What we’re experiencing now is blowback, the cumulative result of decades of quick fixes and dirty deeds. The carpet’s squelching under our feet. The only way to contain (it would be naïve to say end) terrorism is to look at the monster in the mirror. We’re standing at a fork in the road. One sign says Justice, the other Civil War. There’s no third sign and there’s no going back. Choose.”

via The Guardian.

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Has global warming in the Arctic reached a ‘tipping point’?

An icebreaker navigates through young (1 year ...

“Computer models have long predicted that decreasing sea ice should amplify temperature changes in the northern polar region.

Julienne Stroeve, from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union that this process was under way.”

via BBC.