A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

980xShe met mere mortals with and without the Vatican’s approval.

’For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.…’

Via Big Think

The states with the happiest Americans spend more money on ‘public goods’

ImagesThe states with the happiest Americans spend more money on ‘public goods’.

’Study reveals the Americans who live in states that spend more on tangible “public goods” are happier.
This spending makes communities “more livable.”
Pain of higher property taxes largely balanced out by higher property values and quality of life.…’

Via Big Think

ACLU Warns: Trump’s Attorney General Pick Is the ‘Godfather’ of America’s Surveillance Hell

Uznql6raocoqbacwczy1’The corporate lawyer and former chief U.S. law enforcement officer nominated to replace Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department has a controversial past involving the warrantless surveillance of Americans and once fought to make it easier for phone companies to secretly hand over customer records to the government, legal experts at the American Civil Liberties Union warned on Wednesday.

In 1992, William Barr, who previously served as U.S. attorney general under President H.W. Bush, was instrumental in the development of a program that enabled the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Agency to collect the telephone records of millions of Americans, regardless of whether they were suspected of criminal activity.…’

Via Gizmodo

Crossword, sudoku plague threatens America!

189ec27b d87e 499c a0ad 657169245a99Ron Rosenbaum:

’The world is divided between those who willingly waste precious moments, hours, weeks, years of life doing crosswords, double-crostics, sudoku, and other word and number puzzles—and those (like myself) who are virtually allergic to them. (The puzzles, not the people.)

I’m not claiming any superiority for those who share my allergy. (Well, that’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.) I just think our brains are wired differently. Really differently.

Try this experiment at a dinner party (if you want to ruin it). Mention a frequent obsession of puzzle people, the NPR “news quiz” show, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! (Or, as I call it, “Wait Wait … Please Kill Me!”) About half the attendees will exhibit violent, often physical reactions ranging from cringing to shuddering. Meanwhile, the other half will have sublime self-satisfied smiles. They sometimes get the answers before the guests! The show is so mentally stimulating!

What always gets to me is the self-congratulatory assumption on the part of puzzle people that their addiction to the useless habit somehow proves they are smarter or more literate than the rest of us. Need I suggest that those who spend time doing crossword puzzles (or sudoku)—uselessly filling empty boxes (a metaphor for some emptiness in their lives?)—could be doing something else that involves words and letters? It’s called reading.…’

Via Slate