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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sunspots 569

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



Christianity: Relevant thinks that so-called Christian movies are usually pretty bad, and that it's not because of a giant anti-Christian conspiracy to call them bad. How to fix this? The article says to tell stories like Jesus did.

Relevant also points out that most churches don't serve -- in fact may hurt -- people with mental illnesses.

I am a member of The Wesleyan Church. David Drury has written a brief essay on "What are Wesleyans for?" (as opposed to what, if anything, they might be against.)

Computing: Gizmo's Freeware reports on an on-line utility that can convert most any file format to any other reasonable format. This includes audio formats, as well as document formats.

Gizmo's has also found a free ransomware protection program. I installed it.

And Gizmo's has advice on how to recover your wireless password.

Wired reports on the progress, and imperfectness, of computer transcription of human speech -- there's still about an 8% error rate. (Humans doing the transcribing have about a 4% error rate.)

Health: Wired reports that only about 3% of US adult inhabitants have a truly healthy lifestyle, and that eating healthy, exercising, etc., doesn't guarantee that you will remain well.

History: Listverse tells us about 10 important African-American cowboys.

Politics: (And religion) Relevant has pointed out that some of President Obama's speeches sounded like Christian preaching.

FiveThirtyEight examines the salaries of state legislators (in New Mexico, they don't get a salary), and finds that state legislatures seem to do better work when better paid.

FiveThirtyEight also analyzes the Republican race for President, and finds that Donald Trump is doing worse than any other front-runner in the last few decades.

Science: Wired reports that nuclear power plants are actually very safe, but that they don't produce electricity as cheaply as other means, so they aren't getting built.

Wired also posted some photos of magnified peacock feathers, which are just amazing.

Listverse posts 10 facts about cancer cells from the late Henrietta Lacks, which cells have been critical to cancer research. For more about Mrs. Lacks, see here.

Sports: FiveThirtyEight on whether the Chicago Cubs will actually do something important in baseball this year.

Image source (public domain)

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