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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sunspots 560

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

The Arts: A list of 50 books a child should read before age 12.

ListVerse gives us an annotated list of the origins of 10 common words, including poison, influenza and OK.

Christianity: Relevant asks why more churches don't put women in various leadership roles.

Relevant also points out five scripture passages that Christians tend to ignore.

And Relevant asks if Muslim refugees are really a threat to Christianity in the U.S.

And Relevant has posted 10 "profound quotes" from D. L. Moody.

Finance: (and politics) FiveThirtyEight reports on a study that shows that the children of richer parents, or parents who are married to each other, are better off than other children. This is especially true for boys.

Health: Wired reports that we aren't certain that the Zika virus causes microcephaly.

The History Blog reports that a Canadian First Nations group has been using a certain clay deposit for medicinal purposes, and that this same clay may be effective against some of the most dangerous microbes.

Politics: A post in Relevant reminds us of 7 things Christians need to remember about politics.

Science has posted about what the Presidential candidates (some no longer viable) say they believe about various scientific issues, such as funding for research, global climate change, and vaccination. There is nothing about origins in the article.

ListVerse has posted about 10 previous episodes where the US had to decide what to do with refugees. Our reactions were a mixed bag, for sure.

Science: The BBC says that the gut bacteria of bears help them to prepare for winter, by storing more fat shortly before they hibernate.

Wired tells us, with photos, that there have been several different volcanic eruptions over the last few days.


Image source (public domain)

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Excerpts from Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton, 59

"Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete."

Here again we reach the same substantial conclusion. In so far as we desire the definite reconstructions and the dangerous revolutions which have distinguished European civilization, we shall not discourage the thought of possible ruin; we shall rather encourage it. If we want, like the Eastern saints, merely to contemplate how right things are, of course we shall only say that they must go right. But if we particularly want to make them go right, we must insist that they may go wrong.

Lastly, this truth is yet again true in the case of the common modern attempts to diminish or to explain away the divinity of Christ. The thing may be true or not; that I shall deal with before I end. But if the divinity is true it is certainly terribly revolutionary. That a good man may have his back to the wall is no more than we knew already; but that God could have his back to the wall is a boast for all insurgents for ever. Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone has felt that God, to be wholly God, must have been a rebel as well as a king. Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point—and does not break. In this indeed I approach a matter more dark and awful than it is easy to discuss; and I apologise in advance if any of my phrases fall wrong or seem irreverent touching a matter which the greatest saints and thinkers have justly feared to approach. But in that terrific tale of the Passion there is a distinct emotional suggestion that the author of all things (in some unthinkable way) went not only through agony, but through doubt. It is written, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” No; but the Lord thy God may tempt Himself; and it seems as if this was what happened in Gethsemane. In a garden Satan tempted man: and in a garden God tempted God. He passed in some superhuman manner through our human horror of pessimism. When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay (the matter grows too difficult for human speech), but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.


Orthodoxy, first published in 1908, by G. K. Chesterton, is in the public domain, and available from Project Gutenberg. The previous post in this series is here. Thanks for reading! Read Chesterton.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Sunspots 559

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

The Arts: The Piano Guys have fun, lots of it, with Pachelbel's Canon, here, and here (these are wildly different).
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Christianity: BioLogos has a post on "Do Dinosaurs Go to Heaven?"

Christianity Today reports on the Morocco Declaration, the result of a meeting of many Muslim leaders, and some Christians, which Declaration ends thus: "it is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries."

Relevant asks why so many Christians are afraid of non-violence.

Ken Schenck has posted on what the Bible says about adultery.

Finance: ListVerse tells us how to launder money, or at least how criminals do it.

Health: (or Neurobiology) ListVerse told me 10 things that the brains of babies can do - I didn't know about them, and you probably don't, either.

Wired
reports on the difficulty of replacing the lead-containing water pipes in Flint, Michigan.

History: Listverse discusses 10 important battles, where the winners were actually worse off after winning.

Politics: In Sojourners: Why Liberals win the Culture Wars (Most of them, anyway).

Science: ListVerse has listed the 10 most important medical breakthroughs of 2015. I surely learned some interesting things from that list.

Wired reports on an insect that eats toads, gruesomely.

 
Image source (public domain)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Does serving God guarantee prosperity? Not so much.

Habakkuk 3 17-18 plus modern application

Does serving God guarantee prosperity? Habakkuk didn't think so.

There are other Biblical cases that show that there us no guarantee that things will go "our way."

See Job, who lost all that he had, including his children. True, he got replacements for all of these, including the children, but he wasn't prosperous for a period in his life, and, by God's own testimony, Job was following God at the time. Other passages include Christ's warnings about earthly treasure, His own poverty, Paul's recitation of adversities in his life, and the amazing record of the anonymous heroes of faith who suffered for the sake of God's Kingdom.

Matthew 6:19 “Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; 20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; 21  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Jesus speaking.)

Matthew 8:9 A scribe came, and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Mark 10:24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into God’s Kingdom! 25  It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.”

2 Corinthians 11:23b I am more so: in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, and in deaths often. 24 Five times I received forty stripes minus one from the Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. 26 I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; 27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness.

Hebrews 11:35b Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth. 39 These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn’t receive the promise, 40 God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

All quotations are from the World English Bible, public domain. Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Job's grandchildren?

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God, and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.

His sons went and held a feast in the house of each one on his birthday; and they sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

18 While he was still speaking, there came also another, and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young men, and they are dead. I alone have escaped to tell you. (World English Bible, public domain)

The Bible doesn't mention Job as having grandchildren through his first ten children. But it does indicate that each of his seven sons had a house of their own, so, most likely, at least some of them also had wives, and children, and perhaps the daughters had husbands, and children. Thus, Job's suffering may have included not only the loss of his good health and material possessions, and the loss of his children, but the loss of his grandchildren.

At the end of the book, Job had more children, the same number as before, and the Bible tells us that he did have grandchildren, and more:

Job 42:13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 He called the name of the first, Jemimah; and the name of the second, Keziah; and the name of the third, Keren Happuch. 15 In all the land were no women found so beautiful as the daughters of Job. Their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 After this Job lived one hundred forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, to four generations.

I would have hated to lose my children, and/or my grandchildren, as Job did.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Excerpts from Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton, 58

All Christianity concentrates on the man at the crossroads. The vast and shallow philosophies, the huge syntheses of humbug, all talk about ages and evolution and ultimate developments. The true philosophy is concerned with the instant. Will a man take this road or that?—that is the only thing to think about, if you enjoy thinking. The eons are easy enough to think about, any one can think about them. The instant is really awful: and it is because our religion has intensely felt the instant, that it has in literature dealt much with battle and in theology dealt much with hell. It is full of danger, like a boy’s book: it is at an immortal crisis. There is a great deal of real similarity between popular fiction and the religion of the western people. If you say that popular fiction is vulgar and tawdry, you only say what the dreary and well-informed say also about the images in the Catholic churches. Life (according to the faith) is very like a serial story in a magazine: life ends with the promise (or menace) “to be continued in our next.” Also, with a noble vulgarity, life imitates the serial and leaves off at the exciting moment. For death is distinctly an exciting moment.
But the point is that a story is exciting because it has in it so strong an element of will, of what theology calls free will. You cannot finish a sum how you like. But you can finish a story how you like. When somebody discovered the Differential Calculus there was only one Differential Calculus he could discover. But when Shakespeare killed Romeo he might have married him to Juliet’s old nurse if he had felt inclined. And Christendom has excelled in the narrative romance exactly because it has insisted on the theological free will. It is a large matter and too much to one side of the road to be discussed adequately here; but this is the real objection to that torrent of modern talk about treating crime as disease, about making a prison merely a hygienic environment like a hospital, of healing sin by slow scientific methods. The fallacy of the whole thing is that evil is a matter of active choice whereas disease is not. If you say that you are going to cure a profligate as you cure an asthmatic, my cheap and obvious answer is, “Produce the people who want to be asthmatics as many people want to be profligates.” A man may lie still and be cured of a malady. But he must not lie still if he wants to be cured of a sin; on the contrary, he must get up and jump about violently. The whole point indeed is perfectly expressed in the very word which we use for a man in hospital; “patient” is in the passive mood; “sinner” is in the active. If a man is to be saved from influenza, he may be a patient. But if he is to be saved from forging, he must be not a patient but an impatient. He must be personally impatient with forgery. All moral reform must start in the active not the passive will.


Orthodoxy, first published in 1908, by G. K. Chesterton, is in the public domain, and available from Project Gutenberg. The previous post in this series is here. Thanks for reading! Read Chesterton.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sunspots 558

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:



Christianity: An article in Relevant examines Christianity and debt, and asserts that going into debt is not always a sin. (It can be!)

Crosswalk asks us to think about foul language, especially as we may let it in through entertainment outlets.

An essay in First Things, entitled Nikabrik's Candidate, about Christians and politics. (You need to read Prince Caspian, if you haven't.)

Ken Schenck has posted on what the Bible says that relates to abortion.

Finance: (and Health) US News has published rankings of the Best Countries, for such categories as for raising children, retiring, investing.

Politics: "10 Myths about Guns and Gun Control" is an article that points out some myths on both sides of this controversy.

Benjamin L. Corey argues that being for the mass deportation of illegal immigrants is the opposite of being pro-life.

Sports: ESPN and other sources report that, for the first time, an NFL team has hired a female full-time assistant coach.


Image source (public domain)

Monday, January 25, 2016

What the New Testament says about paying taxes

Matthew 22:17 Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites? 19  Show me the tax money.”
They brought to him a denarius.
20 He asked them, “Whose is this image and inscription?”
21 They said to him, “Caesar’s.”
Then he said to them, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

This episode is repeated, almost word for word, in Mark 12:13-17 and Luke 20:21-25

Jesus was not speaking of paying taxes to an elected government, but to a foreign occupying government.

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the authority, 4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. 5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, continually doing this very thing. 7 Therefore give everyone what you owe: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if customs, then customs; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. 


All quotations from the World English Bible, public domain. A more comprehensive post, on what the Bible says about politics, is here. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Excerpts from Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, 57

Again, the same is true of that difficult matter of the danger of the soul, which has unsettled so many just minds. To hope for all souls is imperative; and it is quite tenable that their salvation is inevitable. It is tenable, but it is not specially favourable to activity or progress. Our fighting and creative society ought rather to insist on the danger of everybody, on the fact that every man is hanging by a thread or clinging to a precipice. To say that all will be well anyhow is a comprehensible remark: but it cannot be called the blast of a trumpet. Europe ought rather to emphasize possible perdition; and Europe always has emphasized it. Here its highest religion is at one with all its cheapest romances. To the Buddhist or the eastern fatalist existence is a science or a plan, which must end up in a certain way. But to a Christian existence is a story, which may end up in any way. In a thrilling novel (that purely Christian product) the hero is not eaten by cannibals; but it is essential to the existence of the thrill that he might be eaten by cannibals. The hero must (so to speak) be an eatable hero. So in Christian morals, in short, it is wicked to call a man “damned”: but it is strictly religious and philosophic to call him damnable.

Orthodoxy, first published in 1908, by G. K. Chesterton, is in the public domain, and available from Project Gutenberg. The previous post in this series is here. Thanks for reading! Read Chesterton.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Vengeance - some of what the Bible says about it

Vengeance

The Websters Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 public domain edition, defines vengeance in this way: Punishment inflicted in return for an injury or an offense; retribution; -- often, in a bad sense, passionate or unrestrained revenge.

The Bible says quite a bit about vengeance. In summary, believers are not to take vengeance into their own hands, but to leave this to God. The Bible promises that God will punish unforgiven sin. Christs example, and Stephens, show us how we should take injury or offense to ourselves. (We might legitimately react differently if a helpless person, rather than we, ourselves, is injured or offended.)

Some Bible passages on vengeance: (From the World English Bible, public domain)
Leviticus 19:18 “‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.

Isaiah 53:7a He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. . . . 11b My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself; and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion with the great, and he will divide the plunder with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was counted with the transgressors; yet he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

There are many Biblical prophecies of God’s coming vengeance for evil. Amos begins by listing several nations, their transgressions, and promising vengeance., Jonah, Nahum is almost entirely a prophecy of the punishment of Nineveh. Obadiah promises God’s vengeance up Edom. there are many more prophecies, such as Ezekiel 25:15-17, where God says He will take vengeance on the Philistines. In Revelation 20:7-18, the final judgment of God is described.

Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, dont resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Quoting Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21)

Matthew 7:12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (The Golden Rule.)

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. 36 “Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.


Jesus on the cross, about those who crucified Him: Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Acts 7:59 They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60a He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them!”

Romans 12:19 Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” (Quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 and Proverbs 25:21-2. Hebrews 10:30 also quotes Deuteronomy 32:35.)

Romans 13:3a For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the . 4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. 4b But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good for one another and for all.

Two stories of God taking vengeance: Jezebel: See 1 Kings 21, which tells part of the evil that Jezebel did. Her husband, Ahab, repented, somewhat, anyway. Jezebel never did. 2 Kings 9 tells the story of the death of Jezebel, which was prophesied at God’s direction, and was really arranged by God – the dogs ate her in the parking lot in front of the palace, but Jehu didn’t plan that.

And one from the New Testament: King Herod (one of them) was struck down by an angel of God, as told in Acts 12:2-23.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sunspots 557

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

The Arts: Stephen Burnett has some advice for those who are working on a film version of The Silver Chair, the great book by C. S. Lewis.
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Christianity: An article on the main reason that young people leave the church.

A Sojourners article urges us to "wage peace," and indicates how that should be done.

Ken Schenck considers, carefully, what the Bible says about suicide and end-of-life decisions. (It doesn't say much!)

Computing: (This is different from the item in last weeks Sunspots.) Gizmo's Freeware tells us how to get an instant, unique e-mail address.

Gizmo's also has an annotated list of the best free software for the Mac OS.

Wired reports on how to create an e-book, from something you've already written, or from a public domain work that isn't available in digital format.

Education: National Public Radio reports on research that indicates that "pretty girls make higher grades."

Health:
The BBC reports that beards may help fight infection. Really.

Humor: (or something) The BBC, and other news outlets, report that a church shaped like a glass slipper has been built in Taiwan. Really.

Listverse is a site that puts up bizarre lists frequently -- example: "10 Ridiculous Political Parties You Won't Believe Got Elected."

Politics: FiveThirtyEight points out that politicians, and the rest of us, are not mentioning the US national deficit, or our debt, as much as we used to, and considers why that is so. (The deficit has dropped in recent years, but a deficit of even $1 adds to the national debt, which has increased, of course.)

Science: Wired reports on the bearded vulture, or lammergeier, a bird that eats almost nothing but bones.

Wired also reports on a study that finds that you have a lot more insects in your home than you thought you did.

And Wired, and many other sources, report on the possible discovery of another planet.

FiveThirtyEight reports that, again, the past year is the hottest ever recorded.

Sports: ESPN and other sources report that, for the first time, an NFL team has hired a female full-time assistant coach.


Image source (public domain)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sunspots 556

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:



Christianity: Benjamin L. Corey on how to avoid attending a church that you don't disagree with, on important points.

Ken Schenck on killing someone in self-defense. (Or not.)

Computing: Putting jigsaw puzzles together may be good for your brain. Gizmo's Freeware mentions some sources, for Windows, iOS and Android.

Gizmo's Freeware reports on "Just Delete Me," an on-line service that makes untangling yourself from various on-line service more easily.

Gizmo's also reports on a web site that gives you a new temporary e-mail address, for those web pages that you want something from, but can't get it without an e-mail address, and don't want to use one that you really use.

Education: National Public Radio reports that the use of "they," and related words, as singular pronouns, has become more acceptable.

The Environment:
Wired reports on rooftop gardens.

Politics: The difference between being a Socialist and being a Democrat.

National Public Radio did a "reality check" on the President's State of the Union speech.

Sports: (and Women's Roles) Sports Illustrated, and other sources, report that Jessica Mendoza will become a full-time Major League Baseball broadcaster (not an on-the-field brief reporter) on "Sunday Night Baseball." She has already broadcast some games, as a replacement commentator.


Image source (public domain)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Excerpts from Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton, 56

Unitarians (a sect never to be mentioned without a special respect for their distinguished intellectual dignity and high intellectual honour) are often reformers by the accident that throws so many small sects into such an attitude. But there is nothing in the least liberal or akin to reform in the substitution of pure monotheism for the Trinity. The complex God of the Athanasian Creed may be an enigma for the intellect; but He is far less likely to gather the mystery and cruelty of a Sultan than the lonely god of Omar or Mahomet. The god who is a mere awful unity is not only a king but an Eastern King. The heart of humanity, especially of European humanity, is certainly much more satisfied by the strange hints and symbols that gather round the Trinitarian idea, the image of a council at which mercy pleads as well as justice, the conception of a sort of liberty and variety existing even in the inmost chamber of the world. For Western religion has always felt keenly the idea “it is not well for man to be alone.” The social instinct asserted itself everywhere as when the Eastern idea of hermits was practically expelled by the Western idea of monks. So even asceticism became brotherly; and the Trappists were sociable even when they were silent. If this love of a living complexity be our test, it is certainly healthier to have the Trinitarian religion than the Unitarian. For to us Trinitarians (if I may say it with reverence)—to us God Himself is a society. It is indeed a fathomless mystery of theology, and even if I were theologian enough to deal with it directly, it would not be relevant to do so here. Suffice it to say here that this triple enigma is as comforting as wine and open as an English fireside; that this thing that bewilders the intellect utterly quiets the heart: but out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.

Orthodoxy, first published in 1908, by G. K. Chesterton, is in the public domain, and available from Project Gutenberg. The previous post in this series is here. Thanks for reading! Read Chesterton.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sunspots 555

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:


Christianity: (and health) A post on the BioLogos Forum considers the question of whether cancer is part of God's good creation.

Ken Schenck on what the Bible does, and doesn't say, about capital punishment.

Relevant has posted some pertinent quotes from Jim Elliot, a missionary who, at 28, was murdered by South American tribal people, 60 years ago. (That tribe later became mostly Christian, partly because Elliot's wife was a missionary to them.)

Education: (sort of) The History Blog reports that a skeleton unearthed in Scotland may be that of a 16th Century pirate.

National Public Radio reports that children learn better in school if they have more recess time than most schools give them.

Finance: National Public Radio discusses the lottery: The odds of winning, whether winning would make you happy, how much you'd get if you won, and a lot more interesting stuff.

Health: The New York Times reports on the financial reasons why hospital stay lengths are shrinking.

Philosophy: (and science) Physicists wonder about how real the "real" world really is, according to NPR. (I have taught college physics, and this conversation is about a century old, by the way.)

A post on Speculative Faith considers whether the droids of Star Wars are slaves or not.

Science: Time, and many other news organizations, report on the discovery of four new elements in the Periodic Table. Wired also reports, indicating that discovering even more elements will be even more difficult.

Wired has selected the volcanic (as in real volcanoes) event of the year 2015.

Wired also tells us about a wasp with an amazing ovipositor. (There are a couple of videos in this post.)

 
Image source (public domain)