Superachievers Secret Power
Want to know what it is? Humility! The meek truly do inherit the earth. Well not quite. June Price Tangney, is a psychology professor and leading researcher of moral emotions and cognitions at George Mason University. She argues for a pride-humility balance and describes what she considers to be true humility this way: “Having the ability to acknowledge our mistakes and limitations, having an openness to new ideas, and being able to maintain a realistic perspective of our place in the larger world.”

Not quite the virtue of Christian humility, but still intriguing how God has so ordered the world that Christian virtues also coincide with our own self-interests. Just a pity the article rounded off with the example of…Alec Baldwin!

Miracle of Science
65 diseases are now being treated with adult stem cells. Biotech advances could make destroying human embryos for research a relic of the past. Although the scientists are still cautious about the outcomes, it would appear that Christian Medical Association CEO, David Stevens’s words in 2010 are coming true: “Compared to the speculative, controversial, and dangerous embryonic stem cell research that the [Obama] administration insists on funding illegally, iPS cell and adult stem cell research is a cheaper, faster, safer, more efficient and quicker path to the cures we need.”

US Pregnancy Rate Reaches 12 Year Low
Some good news and some bad news in a new government report.

  • The U.S. pregnancy rate has fallen almost continuously over the last decade and reached a 12-year low in 2009 (latest year for which stats are available)
  • The U.S. pregnancy rate fell 12%, from 115.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women in 1990, to 102.1 pregnancies per 1,000 women in 2009.
  • The total number of pregnancies in 2009 was about 6.3 million, which resulted in 4.1 million live births, 1.1 million induced abortions and 1.1 million pregnancy losses.
  • Women ages 25 to 29 had the highest pregnancy rate whereas in 1990 and 2000, the pregnancy rate was highest for women ages 20 to 24.
  • The age group with the biggest decline in pregnancy rate was 15- to 17-year-olds, for which the pregnancy rate dropped 53% and reached a new historic low in 2009.
  • The abortion rate in 2009 was 32% lower than in 1990 and was the lowest in more than three decades, according to the report. In 2009 there were 18.5 abortions per 1,000 women, down from 27.4 abortions per 1,000 women in 1990.
  • The 2009 abortion rate for teenagers was 16.6 per 1,000 women, a more than 50% reduction from 1990, when the rate was 37.4 per 1,000 women.

The study did not examine the reasons for this decline but two possibilities are the recession which began in 2007, and the fact that teens are more likely to use contraception when they first have sex.

I also wonder about the impact of the morning-after pill on reducing birth-rates among teenagers especially.

The Righteousness in Hobby Lobby’s Case
An Op-Ed in the LA Times no less argues that business leaders should not have to check their faith at the door. Referring back to the law President Clinton signed, the report says: “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act reaffirmed an idea that is deeply rooted in America’s history and traditions — namely, that politics and policy should respect and, whenever possible, make room for religious commitments and conscientious objections.” 

New York Times: 100 Notable Books
What a revealing window into our culture. What I find notable is that the great majority of the books deal in dark and dismal themes. There are some exceptions, but a quick scan of the titles and descriptions give a frightful insight into the sex, violence, chaos, and  is pouring into the minds of the educated. It’s HBO for the educated.

It’s a long way from the Apple Store to one of the largest electronic waste dumps. The article’s photos are even more shocking than the video. I think I saw someone sleeping there in my first computer. Seriously, though, it certainly makes you think twice about the wastefulness of our society and its devastating impact on others.