Category Archives: This or That

The Pursuit of Knowledge

From the It Could Happen to You, But Probably Not File.

In a camp north of Baghdad, a group of anti-government Sunnis were attending a training class on how to become suicide bombers. The teacher conducted a demonstration, and something went amiss. The explosion killed 22 class members and wounded 15. Suggestion for suicide-bomber wannabes: take the course online.

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When Disney Characters Break for Lunch

In the Disneyland cafeteria, in 1961.

In the Disneyland cafeteria, in 1961.

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The Biebs Report


Over 100,000 people have signed a petition on the White House’s citizen portal asking that Justin Bieber be deported. That’s the number, 100,000 sigs, which requires the White House to respond. By the same token, a signature drive could reach 100,000 persons asking that Justin Bieber be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or that Vermont be renamed Bieberstan. So don’t take this petition thing too seriously.

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Guns in the Overhead Bins

These stats are interesting. I had no idea so many firearms were being discovered at airports.

Last year, 1813 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country. That’s up 17% from the 1556 firearms found in 2012. We’re talking five guns intercepted every day. Of those, 81% are loaded.

Firearms were intercepted at 205 different airports. The leaders are all in the West:

  • Atlanta – 111 Guns discovered
  • Dallas-Fort Worth – 96 gGuns discovered
  • Houston – 68 Guns discovered
  • Phoenix – 66 Guns discovered
  • Denver – 51 Guns discovered
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Don’t Tell Me What’s NOT Right

This morning I came across an article titled, “Five Ways to Teach Your Children to Hate the Ministry.”

This is a very popular article format–putting something in a negative, as a way to explain what SHOULD happen. But I’ve come to dislike it. It’s gimmicky, cliche, uncreative. And it comes from a negative mindset. We shouldn’t look at ourselves from a negative viewpoint, always pointing what Christians do wrong.

  • “Ten Ways to Kill Your Youth Group.”
  • “How to Turn Off Unbelievers.”
  • “Five Behaviors That Will Destroy Your Church.”
  • “Seven Principles of Highly Ineffective Pastors.”

When I come across this type of article, I pass. There may be great content, but I’m not interested in reading yet another article about what we Christians do wrong. The media is filled with so much negative stuff. We don’t need to add to it, especially when talking about our life-giving faith. Let’s try to start from a positive.

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A Hefty Planet

Analyzing data from GPS satellites, scientists say the Earth may be heavier than previously thought. Which raises several questions for me:

  • You mean, somebody actually weighed the earth? How accurate can that be?
  • Does the Earth need to go on a diet? How heavy is too heavy? Would Jupiter be considered obese?
  • In light of the Earth’s additional weight, is there anything about my everyday life that I should change? Like pouring extra soda onto the ground?
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In the Interests of Public Safety

Texting While Walking

A Japanese company makes a mobile phone with a “Safety” mode. If you try to use the phone while walking, you get an error message: “Using your smartphone while walking is dangerous. The phone senses you are walking. Please stop.” Of course, you don’t need to activate “Safety” mode. But still, it’s a good idea. The march of progress.

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Think About It, Guys

When it comes to traffic accidents, Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest death rates. In related news: Saudi Arabia doesn’t permit women to drive.

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Mass Killings by the Numbers


The FBI defines a “mass killing” as four or more victims. This surprised me: mass killings happen about every two weeks in the US. There have been over 200 mass killings in the US since 2006.

A few other happy thoughts for the day:

  • Most mass killings involve breakups, estrangements, and family arguments.
  • 16% are public killings (like Newtown, Aurora, Columbine).
  • 25% involve a breakup
  • 57% of victims know their killer.
  • 25% are close family members
  • 75% of the guns used are handguns. Semi-auto rifles (like at Newtown) are used only 8.6% of the time–the same as shotguns, but less often than single-shot rifles (9.5%).
  • About 33% of killers don’t leave the scene alive. A quarter commit suicide at the scene, the rest are killed by police.
  • 94% of killers are men.
  • Average age: 31 for men, 33 for women.
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Left Behind


Last year, the TSA collected $531,000 in pocket change left behind in those bins at security checkpoints.

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