Christianity Beginning to Disappear in its Birthplace
Prince Charles has spent much of the last twenty years promoting respect for and dialogue with muslims. He’s beginning to notice that it doesn’t seem to be reciprocated:

It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants.

In a reference to the Christmas story, he added: “Christianity was literally born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ. Their church communities link us straight back to the early church as I was reminded by hearing Aramaic, our Lord’s own language spoken and sung just a few hours ago.

Yet today the Middle East and North Africa has the lowest concentration of Christians in the world – just four per cent of the population and it is clear that the Christian population has dropped dramatically over the last century and is falling still further.

In his address, the Prince urged Christians, Muslims and Jews to unite in “outrage” as he warned that the elimination of Christianity in much of the region in which it developed would be a “major blow to peace.”

“Good luck with that” as someone might say.

Judge Strikes down Obamacare Contraception Mandate
“Yesterday, Judge Brian Cogan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, not only struck down Obamacare’s contraception mandate as applied to religious non-profit organizations, but also sent a strong signal that federal courts were losing patience with President Obama’s many stitches of executive power.”

Judge Cogan forcefully rejected three key Obama defenses of the mandate and on the government’s claim that there was a compelling interest in uniform enforcement of the contraception mandate, Cogan noted: “Having granted so many exemptions already, the Government cannot show a compelling interest in denying one to these plaintiffs.”

Facebook Is A Fundamentally Broken Product That Is Collapsing Under Its Own Weight
When Facebook’s obituary is written, I believe one word will be written on its tombstone: COMPLACENCY.

In August, Facebook revealed that every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and Pages for them to see, and most people don’t have enough time to see them all. These stories include everything from wedding photos posted by a best friend, to an acquaintance checking in to a restaurant.

Let’s say the average Facebook user is awake for 17 hours a day. To consume all that stuff, they would take in 88 new items per hour, or 1.5 things per minute. That’s just not possible.

The Stigma of Racism
Reobert Verbuggen sees a good side and a bad side to this game-based research:

Scientists had a group of white adult volunteers play a game of Guess Who? — where players start with a lineup of faces and try to find the correct one by asking yes/no questions — with partners who were either white or black. The lineup they were given was half-black and half-white, so asking about race was a great way to eliminate a lot of possibilities quickly. And yet 43 percent of the subjects failed to ask when the person answering the questions was white, and 79 percent didn’t ask when the person was black. Conducting the experiment with children revealed that this fear sets in around age 10.”

The bad side: “Many white people are so scared of being seen as racist that they’re not willing to talk about simple facts — and, ironically, they end up being seen as racist as a result.”

The good side: “The campaign to stigmatize anti-black racism — the most corrosive force in this country’s history — has been remarkably successful.”

Personally, I think he’s overstated the “good side” because every black person I know still frequently encounter prejudice and injustice. I think what it reveals is that people have learned to hide their racism in games and surveys, but when it comes to everyday life, latent racism often oozes out in relationships and decisions.

The Real Reason The Humanities Are in Crisis
The decline in humanities at our Colleges and Universities is usually traced to: (1) significant funding cuts to history, literature, and arts programs at public universities and (2) political criticism of the humanities (they’re not “practical” enough). But the real underlying reason is the change in women’s choices in higher education.

Instead of pursuing degrees in the liberal arts and education, women often chose pre-professional degrees such as business or communications….There’s still no concrete answer about why this happened, though theories abound. Perhaps it was a consequence of increasing equality that women turned away from degrees that seemed to funnel them into traditionally “feminine” occupations. Perhaps some women hoped that pre-professional degrees would seem more practical and applicable to potential employers and would prove their desirability over male candidates.”

If the aim was higher wages, then the statistics still show significant disparities between men and women. Heidi Tworek concludes her article by arguing that “more practical degrees are not necessarily the answer.”

A choice of a specific major matters less than the skills that students acquire. Polls of employers back me up on this. For nearly 95 percent of employers, a particular college major matters less than “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems.”