Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Excellence in promoting fear

I was teaching today about the culture of fear hypothesis, and a student gave this commercial as an example. When she described it, I actually didn't believe her, but as usually happens, truth is stranger than lecture.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to celebrate graduation

Our seventeen-year-old, Gus, graduated from high school this week, so we had the traditional end-of-the-year pool party, and went to his graduation. All good and proper. My favorite moment, though, was learning how he celebrated the last day of class. After getting up way to early for four long years (class starts at 7:20), on his first day done, Gus set his alarm for the usual 6 am. He did this so that he could turn it off and go back to sleep for the rest of the morning, something he's been wanting to do for some time.

He's taking a year off to work (save up money) and travel (spend money). In fall 2012, he'll attend Wheaton College.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


One of my life goals--believe it or not--is to play more jokes on people. I used to all the time, but somewhere along the line I kind of got boring; hence my renewed commitment to silliness.

As this video shows, really funny jokes can be simple and playful.

Thanks Gus (with whom I laughed really hard with at this video while in line at the new Sonic drive-in)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

More God, Less Crime... the Website

In support of his new book, More God Less Crime, Byron Johnson, of Baylor, has put up a wonderful website about the relationship of religion and crime.

Years ago, an undergraduate student and I published a meta-analysis of this literature, and we found an overall negative correlation between religion on crime. (I.e., religious involvement and affiliation corresponded with less criminal behavior). I haven't done much in the area since, and clearly this book is the definitive statement on research on this area. (Also, it's a great book-support site).

Check it out.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Chance favors a connected mind

Some interesting ideas, in a compelling video, from Stephen Johnson.

Found on offthemap.com