May 2018 Links

Dear Church, Do Better

These Basketball Players Sued Their College For Anti-Gay Discrimination — And Lost (Shannon Keating, BuzzFeed, 24 May 2018)

What I Learned From Gay Conversion Therapy (Julie Rodgers, The New York Times, 5 May 2018)

What Alcoholics Anonymous could teach Paige Patterson (Seth Haines, Religion News Service, 15 May 2018)

Paige Patterson has resigned. Imagine if he were Tim Cook (Jonathan Merritt, Religion News Service, 23 May 2018)

For many evangelicals, Jerusalem is about prophecy, not politics (Diana Butler Bass, CNN, 14 May 2018)

To my fellow evangelicals: What you’re cheering in Jerusalem is shameful (Richard Mouw, Religion News Service, 16 May 2018)

Boobs Are Everywhere, And They Are Coming For Your Soul (Trevor Persaud, Medium, 8 May 2018)

#science

Donald Trump Is Causing Fewer British People To Use Tanning Beds (Jack Peat, Independent, 2 Feb 2018)

Excess hippo dung may be harming aquatic species across Africa (Elizabeth Pennisi, Science, 16 May 2018)

How a wildlife expert rescued 6 baby squirrels in Elkhorn whose tails were knotted together (Michael O’Connor, Omaha World-Herald Good News, 18 May 2018)

These Lizards Are Full of Green Blood That Should Kill Them (Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 16 May 2018)

Sex, Sex, and More Sex, Then Death: The Antechinus Story (Patricia Edmonds, National Geographic, June 2016)

The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads “Chicken Little” (Richard D. deShazo et al., The American Journal of Medicine, Nov 2013)

The Last Days of the Blue-Blood Harvest (Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 9 May 2018)

Smash the Patriarchy

Abby Wambach: Barnard Commencement 2018 (Abby Wambach, Barnard College, 18 May 2018)

Get to know Powerhouse Seattle Couple Sue Bird & Megan Rapinoe (Jenna Luthman, Seattle Refined, 21 May 2018)

The Rage of the Incels (Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 15 May 2018)

‘Nerves of steel’: She calmly landed the Southwest flight, just as you’d expect of a former fighter pilot (Samantha Schmidt, The Washington Post, 18 Apr 2018)

‘Des is the definition of unrelenting’ (Bonnie D. Ford, ESPN, 16 Apr 2018)

Mansplaining, Explained (Sarah Mirk and Alexandra Beguez, The Nib, 15 Dec 2017)

People Are Complicated

The Tricks People Use to Avoid Debate (Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, July/August 2015)

Why Critics of the ‘Microaggressions’ Framework Are Skeptical (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 14 Sep 2015)

Et cetera

He searched for his Japanese birth mother. He found her — and the restaurant she had named after him (Kathryn Tolbert, The Washington Post 8 May 2018)

The Secret Life of Grief (Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 3 Dec 2013)

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Aprilinks

Public Health and Policy

How Might Trump’s Food Box Plan Affect Health? Native Americans Know All Too Well (Maria Godoy, NPR, 25 Feb 2018)

What Does It Mean to Die? (Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 5 Feb 2018): See also The Problem of Prolonging Life

The Problem of Prolonging Life (Katy Butler, The Atlantic, 8 Oct 2013): See also What Does It Mean to Die?

Why a Study on Opioids Ignited a Twitter Firestorm (Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, 14 Mar 2018)

Chris Christie Makes Emotional Plea To Rethink Drug Addiction Treatment (Sam Wilkes and Scott Conroy, 5 Nov 2015, HuffPost): Please try to suspend any feelings/thoughts of “Ugh not Chris Christie he’s [bridgegatenator/Trump’s manservant/other bad things]” and listen to the speech at face value.  This is so important.

Individual Spotlights

The Many Lives of Pauli Murray (Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, 17 Apr 2017): If you’re going to pick a long form essay to read, pick this one

The Perfect Man Who Wasn’t (Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, Apr 2018)

How a Young Woman Lost Her Identity (Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 2 Apr 2018)

I thought my bully deserved an awful life. But then he had one (Geraldine DeRuiter, The Washington Post, 22 Feb 2018)

Smash the Patriarchy

When does Hope Hicks get to be a “wunderkind” instead of a “former model”? (Laura McGann, Vox, 1 Mar 2018)

I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories (Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 6 Feb 2018)

Patriarchy doesn’t “protect” women: A response to John Piper (Rachel Held Evans, 20 Mar 2018): Here is the original interview to which she responds

LGBTQ Stuff

Queering the Map (Lucas LaRochelle): Troll-y “conservative” hackers took the site down for a while but it’s up and running more fabulous than ever again

Homosexuality and the Divided Church: John Lipscomb and Catherine Roskam (Krista Trippett, 8 Aug 2003): Please note that this was recorded almost 15 years ago, particularly with regards to our understanding of genetic influences on identifying as LGB as well as the validity of conversion “therapy”

The Last Frontier for Gay Rights (Tiffany Stanley, The Washington Post, 2 Apr 2018)

Politicians

Joe Biden And A Homeless Veteran Have A Very Human Moment (Scott Simon, NPR, 17 Mar 2018)

How Lisa Murkowski Mastered Trump’s Washington (Susan Dominus, The New York Times, 5 Apr 2018)

The Danger of President Pence (Jane Meyer, The New Yorker, 23 Oct 2017)

Weird Stuff

$17,000 search: Coast Guard called out when someone left a bike on the Seattle-to-Bainbridge ferry (David Gutman, The Seattle Times, 12 Apr 2018): #seattleproblems

The strange, twisted story behind Seattle’s blackberries (Ann Dornfeld, KUOW, 23 Aug 2016)

Yes, People Actually Steal Tubas. Sometimes They Even Return Them (Matt Stevens, The New York Times, 16 Mar 2018): At least I picked a monetarily valuable instrument?

Canadian Hotel Forgives Guest 17 Years After Flock Of Seagulls Trashed His Room (Scott Neuman, NPR, 4 Apr 2018): Be sure to see the original apology letter too

A Political Dispute Puts A Wrinkle In Time, Slowing Millions Of European Clocks (Amy Held, NPR, 7 Mar 2018)

Tons of Links

Too many for commentary, so I’ve just categorized…

Science

The Week My Husband Left And My House Was Burgled I Secured A Grant To Begin The Project That Became BRCA1 (Mary-Claire King, HuffPost, 15 Sep 2017)

The first woman to earn a medical degree in the US got into school because men thought it was a joke (Alison Griswold, Quartz, 3 Feb 2018)

New York City Has Genetically Distinct ‘Uptown’ and ‘Downtown’ Rats (Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 29 Nov 2017)

Watch a bombardier beetle escape from a toad’s stomach (Kate Langin, Science, 6 Feb 2018)

World’s tiniest 3D glasses reveal how praying mantises see the world (Kate Langin, Science, 8 Feb 2018)

Think your job is hard? Try squirting a vaccine up a camel’s nostrils (Helen Branswell, Stat, 4 Jan 2016)

Sports

Dutch cyclist who broke her back in horrific Rio Olympics crash returns to win world gold (Marissa Payne, WaPo, 19 Sep 2017)

How the ‘Shalane Flanagan Effect’ Works (Lindsey Crouse, NYT, 11 Nov 2017)

U.S women’s hockey gold medal came in great Olympic game, made even greater statement (Christine Brennan, USA Today, 22 Feb 2018)

USA’s Randall, Diggins win historic cross-country gold (NBC, 21 Feb 2018)

Ep. 4 Against All Odds – The Petra Majdic Story (Extended Version) (Olympic Channel)

Faith and Culture

Here’s What Many White Christians Fail To Understand About The NFL Protests (Carol Kuruvilla, HuffPost, 28 Sep 2017)

Mike Pence’s Marriage and the Beliefs That Keep Women from Power (Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 31 Mar 2017)

Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican (Pete Wehner, NYT, 9 Dec 2017)

Grace in the Crisis of Authority (Julie Rodgers, 10 Dec 2017)

My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness (Morgan Lee and Rachel Denhollander, Christianity Today, 31 Jan 2018)

LGBTQ+ Issues and the Christian Church

Turning a Unicorn into a Bat: The Post in which We Announce the End of Our Marriage (Josh and Lolly Weed, 25 Jan 2018)

Julie Rodgers Keynote: Q Christian Fellowship Conference 2018 (Julie Rodgers, Youtube, 24 Jan 2018)

I’m a Pastor and My Son Is Gay, Now What? Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 (Matt Boswell, The Everyday Missionary Podcast, Jan 2018)

Gender Issues and Politics

This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley My lawsuit failed. Others won’t (Ellen Pao, The Cut, 20 Aug 2017)

Gender-Fluid Scouts of America (James Hamblin, WaPo, 26 Oct 2017)

My daughter got her first catcall, and I didn’t know what to tell her (Eileen Hoenigman Meyer, WaPo, 22 Nov 2017)

The female price of male pleasure (Lily Loofbourow, The Week, 25 Jan 2018)

(Mostly) American Politics and Identity

Being in Charlottesville Broke My Heart. It Also Filled Me With Hope (Katie Couric, NatGeo, 18 Aug 2017)

What Is, And Isn’t, Considered Domestic Terrorism (Greg Myre, NPR, 2 Oct 2017)

T H E H O M E C O M I N G (Stephanie McCrummen, WaPo, 2 Sep 2017)

Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump (Dan Zak, WaPo, 18 Aug 2017)

What Foreigners Don’t Get About Emmanuel Macron (Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Atlantic, 19 Jan 2018)

Social Science and Public Health

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise (Leah Libresco, WaPo, 2 Oct 2017)

Why Can’t Addicts Just Quit? (Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, 13 Nov 2017)

When Schools Overlook Introverts (Michael Godsey, The Atlantic, 28 Sep 2015)

Hopeful Stories

Asked & Answered: What happened to Tom the Guessing Doorman at Costco? (Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times, 1 Feb 2018)

Four Bullets (Erika Lantz, WBUR, 23 Jun 2017)

Jokey Music Stuff

O Fortuna Misheard Lyrics (FamishedMammal, Youtube, 11 May 2012)

Improvising in the Style of… (Practice Notes, Facebook, 9 Nov 2017)

Criminal Law and Justice

When Cops Don’t Know the Law (Garrett Epps, The Atlantic, 2 Dec 2014)

Joseph Jiang’s fight to keep his priesthood (Jeanette Cooperman, St. Louis Magazine)

Murder by Craigslist (Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, Sep 2013)

Miscellaneous Other Things

The History Behind China’s Obsession With Hot Water (Zhang Guowei, Sixth Tone, 27 Sep 2017)

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea (Nikhil Sonnad, Quartz, 11 Jan 2018)

Brandi Carlile, with new album and Seattle concerts, reaching new heights (Charles R. Cross, The Seattle Times, 7 Feb 2018)

Living Through Death With Harry Potter (Alice Lesperance, The Atlantic, 23 Jan 2018)

Zoo Security Drills: When Animals Escape (Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 10 Feb 2015)

New Year / New Links

Women in Sports

After Her NYC Marathon Victory, Is Boston Next for Shalane Flanagan? (Erin Strout, Runner’s World, 15 Nov 2017): A month and a half later, the answer is a definitive yes.  And for those who haven’t seen, here’s a clip of her finish and post-race interview.  Pure class.

Anything for this: The costs, benefits of life in elite sport (Mara Abbot, ESPNW, 14 Sep 2017):  Beautifully honest reflection on the risks of being an elite athlete, particularly with respect to eating disorders and general mental health issues.

40 Years Of Athletic Support: Happy Anniversary To The Sports Bra (Jane Lindholm, NPR, 29 Sep 2017): The 1999 World Cup win happened just as I was starting to get into soccer; myself and countless peers were inspired by Brandi Chastain and her shirt-waving photo.  Thanks, sports bra.

Science

How a Philly Ob-Gyn Ended Up Delivering a Baby Gorilla (Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 14 Jun 2017): “In a nearby building, McCurdy did an ultrasound. ‘We had to remove some of her fur so I could see; I don’t usually have to do that,’ she says. ‘There were also bits of straw on her fur; that’s not usually a problem, either.'”

Blue eyes, caramel wings and other crazy facts about crows (Kaeli Swift, KUOW, 1 Dec 2017): Swift is a member of the preeminent corvid research lab at the University of Washington (it’s likely that if you hear about a research study on crows or ravens in the news, it was conducted there).  Here she answers some common questions about crows.  I’d also recommend her blog, which contains a detailed FAQ section, information on her current research, and excellent photography.

These Bats Don’t Let Scorpion Stings Get in the Way of a Tasty Meal (Kelsey Kennedy, Atlas Obscura, 31 Aug 2017): The GIF is strangely mesmerizing…

The Real Difference Between Warm and Cool Colors (Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, 18 Sep 2017): For the next time you get into a tipsy philosophical discussion about whether your blue is REALLY my blue.

A Physicist Who Models ISIS and the Alt-Right (Natalie Wolchover, Quanta/The Atlantic, 23 Aug 2017): Math and physics isn’t just for hoity toity academics wearing tweed suits in ivory towers or dorky grad students in pants two sizes too short and shirts two sizes too large!

Merriam-Webster Word of the Year: Feminism

A Father’s Struggle to Stop His Daughter’s Adoption (Kevin Noble Maillard, The Atlantic, 7 Jul 2015): At first glance, this doesn’t look like it has anything to do with feminism.  I would argue that it does: fathers (hell, people) won’t be treated with justice in court until we have equality, and we won’t have equality until we start valuing women.  Justice is a higher value than equality, but it can’t proceed before equality.  (Also, here’s a nice follow-up to the original article).

How Will the Boy Scouts’ Decision Affect the Girl Scouts? (Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic, 18 Oct 2017): The Girl Scouts are definitely in a bind here.  My gut reaction is that the Girl Scouts should embrace the change, since they’ve always been the more progressive (i.e., accepting and promoting change) of the two organizations, and I think they should cling to that value.  On the other hand, it is hard to ignore the fact that it does seem that the Boy Scouts are making a grab at the Girl Scouts’ population amidst declining membership–after years of at best tolerating the Girl Scouts, at worst openly disdaining them.  On the other other hand, maybe it’s good that they’re finally opening up to the idea that the world is not static (and neither are gender roles)…

How ‘Germany’s Hugh Hefner’ created an entirely different sort of sex empire (Elizabeth Heneman, Quartz, 5 Oct 2017): I had no idea about any of this before, so I have no idea how much of this article is spin and how much is real, but it’s interesting to ponder nonetheless.

Don’t Let Them See Your Tampons (Julie Beck, The Atlantic, 1 Jun 2015): “‘It’s just one more thing that dudes don’t even realize that we as women have to think about and plan,’ Mallory puts it.”

One Theory of Marriage and Kids: ‘Very Cute in the Abstract’ (Emma Green, The Atlantic, 11 Dec 2013): “‘Children are very cute in the abstract,’ she said. ‘In the abstract, they’re much easier—like, they’re much quieter. The idea of children is very appealing. But the reality is, if you ask people who have children, especially young children, life consists of chores they don’t really like doing.'”

Hillary Clinton On Losing the 2016 Presidential Election & Her Marriage to Bill (Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vogue, 10 Sep 2017): For all of the accusations that Clinton’s book lacked self-reflection, cast blame on everyone else, and so on, this article contained few if any of those pitfalls.  For a long time I have admired the Obamas’ marriage–I’ve thought often that for all the bizarre and outrageous criticisms people could throw at Obama (He’s a secret Muslim!  He was born in Kenya!  He has a secret alliance with ISIS!) the one they never tried because they knew it would never stick were accusations relating to his marriage.  For probably obvious reasons, I’ve never had quite those thoughts about the Clintons’ marriage; at best, it was something along the lines of, “Wow, HRC is a stellar example of forebearance and forgiveness.”  But recently, and especially after reading this article, I think she/they are due more credit than that.  “I know some people wonder why we’re still together. I heard it again in the 2016 campaign: that ‘we must have an arrangement’ (we do; it’s called a marriage); that I helped him become president and then stayed so he could help me become president (no); that we lead completely separate lives, and it’s just a marriage on paper now (he is reading this over my shoulder in our kitchen with our dogs underfoot, and in a minute he will reorganize our bookshelves for the millionth time, which means I will not be able to find any of my books, and once I learn the new system, he’ll just redo it again, but I don’t mind because he really loves to organize those bookshelves)…He has been my partner in life and my greatest champion. He never once asked me to put my career on hold for his. He never once suggested that maybe I shouldn’t compete for anything—in work or politics—because it would interfere with his life or ambitions…Bill is completely unbothered by having an ambitious, opinionated, occasionally pushy wife. In fact, he loves me for it.”

Other Things Not Easily Categorized

The Basic Grossness of Humans (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 15 Dec 2017): Another thing I had a vague idea existed but had no idea what it actually entailed…

One God, Under Trump w/ Jack Jenkins and Parker Molloy (Ana Marie Cox, With Friends Like These, 25 Aug 2017): This podcast begins to explore the nuances of “evangelicalism” in it’s “traditional” (note: I didn’t say “true”) sense and its political implications.  I think this podcast would be particularly helpful for the “stereotypical liberal elite” struggling to understand why so much of “Christian” America is pro-Trump despite the apparent contradiction of values (or for the conflicted reluctantly-evangelical-but-not-quite-mainstream Christian).

Safety Pins and Swastikas (Shuja Haider, Jacobin, 5 Jan 2017):  Identity politics?  Horseshoe theory?  Need to read this again…

#IWasMadeFor

September 10 is National Suicide Prevention Day, which begins National Suicide Prevention Week.  My legal birthday falls during this time; although it is an observance of my birth, it’s also a nod to life in so many other ways.

Recently I’ve been asking former professors for letters of recommendation.  Typically, I give them some information about myself to help fill out their personal experience with me, including documents such as my cv and transcript.  My transcript is usually followed a comment from me something along the lines of, “If you look closely, you’ll notice that my GPA appears to follow an absolute value function over time.  This is not because I turned into a slacker for two years; I was just really depressed when I was a sophomore and junior.”  Thus far this has been met with nothing but grace and concern.

“Are you okay?”  “Yeah, I’m fine, I just wanted to let you know.”  “Okay, I just had to make sure.”  “Really, I’m doing much better now.”

“How are you now?”  “I’m a lot better.  If you need more explanation, I can say more.”  “It’s okay.  My daughter has had issues with depression too, and I know it can be difficult.”

The genuine expressions of caring–a tone of surprise and concern, then kindness; a momentarily scrunched eyebrow; a lean forwards; words of compassion–has made it that much easier for me to face the challenge of explaining the situation.  More important, if/when I hit a rough patch again, I hope that I can cling to those expressions of care, knowing that people–even people I don’t know that well, who objectively should have no vested interest in me–want to make sure I’m okay.

If you have the opportunity to be that person, take it.  For those of you have have taken it, thank you.  And for those of you who have ever needed such care and compassion, please STAY.

Things Googled While Watching Harry Potter

I cram-watched the Harry Potter movies for the first time this weekend.  I enjoyed them, and it was interesting to see them as an adult after hearing so much about them as I was growing up (not dissimilar to my experience listening to the audiobooks for the first time a few months ago).  I did like the books more, though, which is often but not always the case for me.  I think in this instance, I particularly missed the extensive character development J.K. Rowling builds in the books that can’t be easily portrayed in a movie of a decent length, since it would be unreasonable, say, to show every instance of Snape being an jerk to Harry, even though all those moments are important for providing context for the entire Snape plotline.  This stands in contrast to, for example, how I see the Lord of the Rings books and movies.  Although character development and relationships are important in LOTR, the series uses characters to fulfill a quest, rather than a (series of) quest(s) to explore characters.  This, in some ways, is more suited to a movie audience that doesn’t wish to camp in a theater for a 6 hour movie.

But anyways, I went back through my Google search history and called all my HP-related queries from the last three days:

  • harry potter and the philosophers stone vs sorcerers stone
  • lucius malfoy actor
  • durmstrang admits girls
  • emma watson speaks french
  • bone of the father unwillingly given
  • why does voldemort not have a nose
  • short professor at hogwarts
  • how do you get out of a pensieve
  • how did the sword of gryffindor get in the lake
  • why did jk rowling choose the name hermione

Linksgiving

Explicitly Poltical

Museum Condemns White Nationalist Conference Rhetoric (Press release, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 21 November 2016): “The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words.”  (Sorry, Godwin).  The adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is nice but not always true.  And yes, although I’m a “model” minority, I’ve personally noticed an increase racially-tinged (or just blatantly racist) comments and insults both online and in public spaces.

Why We’re Saying ‘White Nationalism’ Instead of ‘Alt-Right’(Isolde Raferty, NPR/KUOW, 21 November 2016): Language and diction are important.  Words have meaning.  That is all.

Senator Elizabeth Warren: President-Elect Trump Already Broke Promise to “Drain the Swamp” (Elizabeth Warren, Senator Elizabeth Warren Youtube channel, 17 November 2016): This speech is perfect in so many ways.

If You Voted for Trump Because He’s ‘Anti-Establishment,’ Guess What: You Got Conned (Paul Waldman, The Washington Post, 11 November 2016): I want to say “I told you so,” but that also still seems enormously inappropriate and/or immature given the stakes.

Chris Christie’s Career Has Quietly Ended as Trump has Imploded (Alex Wagner, The Atlantic, 25 October 2016): Chris Christie’s jagged journey through the political world in the past few years has intrigued me, and I’d be interested to hear the author’s perspective post-election.

HOLY SH*T (You’ve Got To Vote) (Rachel Bloom et al., Funny Or Die Youtube channel, 4 November 2016): I’m a little late with this one, but I still like the concept and execution of the song enough to share.  It’s hilarious, but also very NSFW.  And although Godwin may be rolling over in the grave that he’s not yet in, “Look, obviously only Hitler’s Hitler…But break up Mein Kampf into tiny parts, and it reads like a Trump rant on Twitter.  And if you need a refresher on post-World War I Germany, they had an authoritarian political outsider stoking xenophobia in a nation where the poor felt marginalized and blaming complex problems on scapegoated minorities.” On a lighter note, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word “syphilis” sung with that much vibrato (1:42).

First Lady Michelle Obama live in Manchester, New Hampshire | Hillary Clinton (Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton Youtube channel, 13 October 2016): Also too late to the game.  Still an extremely important message aside from the overtly election-related parts.  For example, “Let’s be very clear: strong men, strong men—men who are truly role models—don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.  People who are truly strong lift others up.  People who are truly powerful bring others together.”  As a woman, another thing I’ve noticed recently (in addition to racially-motivated insults) is an increase in sexually-motivated comments.  Hear something, say something.

The World is Complicated

Running While Female (Michelle Hamilton et al., Runner’s World, undated): This has always flummoxed (in addition to startling/frightening/irritating/angering) me.  Do men think they’re complimenting me?  Actually wanting a (positive) response?  Just teasing?  Being immature?  Trying to be dicks?  Are inherently pervy?  Worse?  Just, why?  (Also, a great counter from Randall Munroe of xkcd: http://xkcd.com/1763/)

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Told My Family to Go Back to China (Michael Luo, New York Times, 9 October 2016): I’m as Wasian/banana/twinkie/whatever-other-jokingly-“derogatory”-term-you-can-think-of as it gets, and yet this is still so real.  Sometimes, it’s like I’m living in between worlds; like Arwen or Luthien in Middle Earth, but at least they had choice to embrace one existence or the other.  Even if I could choose, neither world would believe it.

My Muslim Father’s Faith in America (Mohammed Naseehu Ali, The New Yorker, 24 October 2016): “The reason [Allah continues to bestow his blessings on their country, my father] said, was very simple: Americans were the ones doing Allah’s work, by steadfastly upholding the Islamic tenet of zakat—a form of alms-giving that makes up one of the Five Pillars of Islam. ‘Their government welcomes people who are seeking a better life,’ my father said. ‘They shield and protect the weak, the poor, and the persecuted from all over the world, and, the most important of all, they support orphans and protect the rights of women, as instructed by the Prophet Muhammad in his last sermon.'”  We would do well to note this.

Here’s What Happened When I Challenged the PC Campus Culture at NYU (Michael Rectenwald, The Washington Post, 3 November 2016): *sigh*  Let’s just say I’m glad I’m done with the hypersensitivity that is undergrad.

Julie Rodgers Keynote: The Reformation Project in Los Angeles (Julie Rodgers, The Reformation Project Youtube channel, 27 October 2016): Julie Rodgers speaking on LGBT issues, the Church, and most important, Jesus.  I admire her because she’s not afraid of hard issues and has the courage to be honest–even when it meant publicly explaining why her belief about same-sex marriage in the church changed over time.  Some call it flip-flopping; regardless of the before/after positions, I say it’s critical use of intellect and a conviction in faith.

On a Lighter Note

US Mental-Health Chief: Psychiatry Must Get Serious About Mathematics (Alison Abbott, Nature, 26 October 2016): These are both things I care a lot about.  Math isn’t impractical and useless theory all drifting about in the stratosphere, and psychiatry neither a bunch of oogey-boogey BS made up by Freud et al. nor a branch of medicine for people who couldn’t get residencies in anything else (besides, Freud was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist.  Which isn’t to hate on psychology as a field–it’s important too!–just to point out that misconception).  And, finally, as we saw from the disaster that was pre-election polling, the significance of knowing how to collect, interpret, and use statistics cannot be overstated!

What Do Professional Apple Farmers Think of People Who Pick Apples for Fun? (Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 5 November 2016): The craze for apple picking has befuddled me since moving to the midwest, kind of like people who buy blackberry plants for their gardens (you’re intentionally introducing a weed?), the alleged “dumplings” in chicken and dumplings, and the game of cornhole (it’s beanbag toss, you freaks: “cornhole” sounds disturbingly euphemistic.)  Apples are the state fruit of Washington; in fact, Washington produces about 60% of the apples consumed in the US and exports enough that they’ve become a status symbol of sorts overseas (while visiting India, I did in fact observe Washington apples for sale at several open-air markets in New Dehli).  But I digress.  While you can go various types of berry picking in Washington, and I’m sure there are places one can u-pick apples somewhere in the state, there is nothing near the cult-like obsession with apple picking I’ve seen here in Missouri.  Berries at least kind of make sense to me: the bushes/plants are small enough that you usually don’t need a ladder or picking gadget, it usually takes a decent amount of time to get an amount of fruit worth the trouble, and most people do it for the sake of canning/preserving cheaply.  But apples?  Even small trees warrant a stepladder by the time they reach fruit-bearing age, it’s much faster to pick 5 pounds of apples than it is to pick 5 pounds of blueberries (or, God forbid, blackberries) so the 45 minute drive and from the orchard makes a lot less sense, and most people apparently go…just for fun?  Which is valid, but still weird to me.

Elite Runners Ryan and Sara Hall Add Parenting to Their Workouts (Lindsay Crouse, The New York Times, 3 November 2016): I look up to these folks so much as runners, parents, and people of faith.  The writing in this article is tons better than the article in Runner’s World by Amby Burfoot, so even though it “costs” you one of your free articles, I’d go for it.

My Mother’s 10-Year Quest To Feed Me From 5,500 Miles Away (Alina Selyukh, NPR, 21 November 2016): As the cultural heritage of food wasn’t a particularly strong part of my upbringing, I’ve surprised myself in the past few years by becoming more and more interested in learning how to cook the food of my country of birth, even if neither myself nor my family or close friends speak the language or eat foods familiar to the region.  But something about this article spoke true–perhaps I superimposed the author’s Russian mother onto the doting Chinese mothers I’ve encountered throughout the years, “Are you done already?  Eat more!  You’re too skinny!  Don’t waste food!  Here, take some with you!”

Trump Make America Great Again Red Cap Collectible Ornament (Amazon): The comments!  Go to the comments!