DANGER & Toilets and air fresheners hurt more people than sharks. #ILoveSurfing

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: As an avid surfer, people often ask me if I’m worried about a shark attack. I tell them no, I put my trust in God first. And secondly, even among people who go to the beach the chance of being killed by shark is 1 in 11.5 million. Here are National Geographic’s even more remarkable statistics about some more dangerous household encounters.

by Meg Gleason, National Geograohic, 11/22/11.

…Who knew toilets and air fresheners could be so dangerous? Well, at least statistically speaking it appears sharks seem to pose less of a threat than many things we encounter every day.

  • In 1996, toilets injured 43,000 Americans. Sharks injured 13…
  • 1n 1996, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000 Americans.  Sharks injured 13.
  • In 1996, room fresheners injured 2,600 Americans.  Sharks injured 13.
  • The U.S. averages 19 shark attacks a year.  Lightning kills about 41 people a year in coastal states alone.
  • Since 1959, Florida has had nine shark attack fatalities.  Lightning fatalities = 459…
  • For every human killed by a shark, humans kill two million sharks.
  • Anyone who has swum in New Smyrna Beach, Florida (shark capital of the world) has likely been within 10 feet of a shark.
  • Some sharks can live for a year without eating, surviving on the oil stored in their livers.

Read more at … https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2011/11/22/nat-geo-wild-what-are-the-odds-some-surprising-shark-attack-stats/

HUMOR & Some of the greatest April Fools’ pranks of all time

by Todd Leopold, CNN, 4/1/18.

Pasta grows on trees

On April 1, 1957, the BBC TV show “Panorama” ran a segment about the Swiss spaghetti harvest enjoying a “bumper year” thanks to mild weather and the elimination of the spaghetti weevil. Many credulous Britons were taken in, and why not? The story was on television — then a relatively new invention — and Auntie Beeb would never lie, would it? 
The story was ranked the No. 1 April Fools’ hoax of all time by the Museum of Hoaxeswebsite — a fine source for all things foolish. 

Big Ben goes digital

(Getty)
The Brits are masters of April Fools’ gags, and in 1980, the BBC’s overseas service said the iconic clock tower was getting an update. Thejoke did not go over well, and the BBC apologized. That hasn’t stopped it from popping up again in the digital era, however

The Taco Liberty Bell

On April 1, 1996 a full page ad appeared in six major American newspapers (The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and USA Today) announcing that the fast food chain Taco Bell had purchased the Liberty Bell. The full text of the ad read:
Taco Bell Buys The Liberty Bell
In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the “Taco Liberty Bell” and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.

In a separate press release, Taco Bell explained that the Liberty Bell would divide its time between Philadelphia and the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine. It compared the purchase to the adoption of highways by corporations. Taco Bell argued that it was simply “going one step further by purchasing one of the country’s greatest historic treasures.” The company boasted, “Taco Bell’s heritage and imagery have revolved around the symbolism of the bell. Now we’ve got the crown jewel of bells.”

 

The Sun’s 50p poo piece.
The Sun’s 50p poo piece. Photograph: oanslow1/The Sun

The Sun, meanwhile, claimed there would be a Royal Mint collection of coin designs based on emojis, including a poo emoji 50p, while the Daily Star reckons we’ll now be able to get beer on the NHS. Apparently “Guinness is good for you” after all.

 

Daily Mail’s April Fool cat flap.
Daily Mail’s April Fool cat flap. Photograph: DAILY MAIL

The Daily Mail had news that Larry the Downing Street cat was getting its own catflap in the famous door to No 10.

Google

Pick of the tech jokes this year is Google Tulip. With an extremely detailed technical spec and glossy promotional video, this development allows you to talk to your tulips, and discover just what it is they are thinking about. Spoiler alert: sunshine, soil and water.

 

And Cambridgeshire police are introducing the drug sniffer bunny.

Special Constabulary (@CambsCopsSC)

After 6 weeks training meet the forces new drugs sniffer rabbit Benni be sure to say hello if you see us on patrol#SSThomas pic.twitter.com/eiHv95y9Ul

April 1, 2019

Read more at … https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2019/apr/01/april-fools-day-2019-the-best-jokes-and-pranks-in-one-place

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(Image credit: Ali Kameri / EyeEm / Getty Images) 

Okay, there are going to be people out there who want this to be real. With elaborate dog birthday parties (including requested gifts) already being a thing, there are bound to be disappointed dog event planners who were hoping that Wayfair’s dog wedding registry launch was legit. Dubbed “Groom’d,” the placeholder site suggests that dog couples will love putting together a list of items they want for their new joint lives—including décor—because, of course.

 

From the press release: “We’re delighted to introduce the next generation wedding registry with a platform created just for dogs looking to take their puppy love to the next level.”

 

Forget candles—scented wallpaper is the new fragrance trend we wish we could have at home. A “beta tester” used to rub citrus on her walls, but Spoonflower’s Orange Blossom saves her from the “pulpy mess.” We wouldn’t be mad at lining our walls with the Aloe Eucalyptus and Summer Rose scents, either.

 

Read more at … https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/april-fools-pranks-2019-268192

 

 

HUBRIS & Why it is the enemy of good leadership. #HarvardBusinessReview #DeathByPlanningBook

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: One of my books for Abingdon Press is called Growth by Accident, Death by Planning: How not to kill a growing congregation. I looked at churches that were growing and the mistakes they made that usually stopped that growth. One of the mistakes was allowing “hubris” to subtly affect the leader. This article in Harvard Business Review cites research that confirms this hypotheses.

Ego Is the Enemy of Good Leadership

by Rasmus Hougaard & Jacqueline Carter , Harvard Business Review, 11/6/18.

… As we rise in the ranks, we acquire more power. And with that, people are more likely to want to please us by listening more attentively, agreeing more, and laughing at our jokes. All of these tickle the ego. And when the ego is tickled, it grows. David Owen, the former British Foreign Secretary and a neurologist, and Jonathan Davidson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, call this the “hubris syndrome,” which they define as a “disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years.”

… Our ego is like a target we carry with us. And like any target, the bigger it is, the more vulnerable it is to being hit. In this way, an inflated ego makes it easier for others to take advantage of us. Because our ego craves positive attention, it can make us susceptible to manipulation. It makes us predictable. When people know this, they can play to our ego. When we’re a victim of our own need to be seen as great, we end up being led into making decisions that may be detrimental to ourselves, our people, and our organization.

An inflated ego also corrupts our behavior. When we believe we’re the sole architects of our success, we tend to be ruder, more selfish, and more likely to interrupt others. This is especially true in the face of setbacks and criticism. In this way, an inflated ego prevents us from learning from our mistakes and creates a defensive wall that makes it difficult to appreciate the rich lessons we glean from failure.

Finally, an inflated ego narrows our vision. The ego always looks for information that confirms what it wants to believe. Basically, a big ego makes us have a strong confirmation bias. Because of this, we lose perspective and end up in a leadership bubble where we only see and hear what we want to. As a result, we lose touch with the people we lead, the culture we are a part of, and ultimately our clients and stakeholders.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2018/11/ego-is-the-enemy-of-good-leadership

Hell & Researchers say the fear of hell exerts a restraining effect on suicide.

by David Briggs, American Religion Data Archive, Christianity Today, 2/3/19.

“And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness.” – The Westminster Confession

Hell matters to a lot of us.

About half of Americans are absolutely sure of their belief in hell, while the percentage who believe rises above two-thirds when some degrees of uncertainty are included.

Editor’s note: Last year, a LifeWay Research survey similarly found that just 45 percent of Americans agree hell is a real place. Pew Research Center reported that a vast majority of highly religious and somewhat religious Americans (at least 8-in-10) believe in hell, while barely any non-religious Americans do (fewer than 5%). In the Pew study, each group was more likely to professor a belief in heaven than hell.

Earlier research into supernatural evil such as hell, Satan, and demons has found both positive and negative outcomes.

Belief in supernatural evil has been linked to results such as increasing religious resources and promoting greater cooperation and less selfish behavior.

And warnings about hell and Satan have been shown to be helpful for many people seeking to live up to divine standards in areas from cultivating lasting relationships to avoiding harmful addictions.

In one recent study, a team of researchers from the Netherlands reviewed 15 cross-sectional studies on moral objections to suicide, especially the conviction of going to hell after taking one’s own life. They found each study supported the idea that moral objections and fear of hell exerted a restraining effect on suicide.

Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/february/hell-belief-anxiety-arda-baylor-university.html

HELL & Who Worries About Hell the Most? #BaylorUniv. researchers find belief in hell should not be considered a pathological fear, “but is perhaps a rational response to personal theological” beliefs.

by David Briggs, American Religion Data Archive, Christianity Today, 2/3/19.

“And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness.” – The Westminster Confession

Can belief in hell be considered a pathological fear?

Consider the stakes for many believers. With the prospect of an eternity of torture and other forms of suffering, one might say a crippling fear of hell would be warranted.

With those questions in mind, a team of researchers from Baylor University developed a series of measures on “hell anxiety” and tested them in what they say is the first systematic examination of the psychological consequences of belief in hell.

What they found was that individual belief in hell was not in itself connected to any neuroses, and that most people did not display an unhealthy focus on the possibility of eternal damnation.

The findings, some of which even surprised research team members, included:

  • The more religious an individual was, the less likely they were to display hell anxiety.
  • Unhealthy fears were not related to dogmatism or religious fundamentalism.
  • Free will, or the idea individuals have control over where they will spend their afterlife, was a key element in reducing hell anxiety.

That does not mean belief in hell may not have a dark side when other mediators are involved.

The study found those who viewed God primarily with fear, those who believed they were likely to go hell, and those with a sense outside forces could decide their fate, were more likely to experience greater hell anxiety and death anxiety.

Overall, the results suggested belief in hell should not be considered a pathological fear, “but is perhaps a rational response to personal theological” beliefs, researchers concluded.

Hell matters to a lot of us.

About half of Americans are absolutely sure of their belief in hell, while the percentage who believe rises above two-thirds when some degrees of uncertainty are included.

Editor’s note: Last year, a LifeWay Research survey similarly found that just 45 percent of Americans agree hell is a real place. Pew Research Center reported that a vast majority of highly religious and somewhat religious Americans (at least 8-in-10) believe in hell, while barely any non-religious Americans do (fewer than 5%). In the Pew study, each group was more likely to professor a belief in heaven than hell.

Earlier research into supernatural evil such as hell, Satan, and demons has found both positive and negative outcomes.

Belief in supernatural evil has been linked to results such as increasing religious resources and promoting greater cooperation and less selfish behavior.

And warnings about hell and Satan have been shown to be helpful for many people seeking to live up to divine standards in areas from cultivating lasting relationships to avoiding harmful addictions.

In one recent study, a team of researchers from the Netherlands reviewed 15 cross-sectional studies on moral objections to suicide, especially the conviction of going to hell after taking one’s own life. They found each study supported the idea that moral objections and fear of hell exerted a restraining effect on suicide.

Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/february/hell-belief-anxiety-arda-baylor-university.html

HEALTH & Fat, happy? The comforts of practicing a religion #PewResearch

by Yonat Shimron  Religion News Service, 2/1/19.

…In a large meta-analysis of 35 countries, Pew researchers found that religiously active people around the world report a range of desirable health and social outcomes. They vote and volunteer more. They also smoke and drink less than the nonreligious or those who rarely attend.

The study, “Religion’s Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health,” builds on a growing mountain of literature linking religion and health. That literature has mostly found that religions seem to contribute to overall health, though there are obvious exceptions.

Perhaps most notably, religious participation does not appear to encourage weight loss or regular exercise.

In 19 of the 35 countries, actively religious people are as likely as any other to be fat. They are also less likely to  exercise…

Religious people, he said, “are encouraged to eat. And the kinds of meals people eat in church fellowship groups are high-calorie ribs and fried chicken.”

In most countries, highly religious people are not more likely to rate themselves as being in very good overall health. The U.S. is among the exceptions. Thirty-two percent of Americans who are active in their religious congregations say they are in very good health, compared with 27 percent of their religiously inactive counterparts and 25 percent of nonreligious people.

The association between religion and happiness, however, is clear-cut: In every country studied, people who are active in religious congregations tend to be happier than those who attend infrequently or not at all.

GOOD NEWS & Bush funeral was a moment for our secular culture to recognize the degree to which, in the face of death, the Christian church has something meaningful to say.

I was grateful, however, that the service did not become a hodgepodge of interdenominational representatives divvying up the tasks, an effort at inclusiveness that has the effect of turning the liturgy into a kind of Model United Nations at prayer

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter, 11/7/18.

The funeral of President George H.W. Bush was a moment for our secular culture to recognize the degree to which, in the face of death, the Christian church has something meaningful to say, some comfort to bring, some hope to proclaim...

I was grateful, however, that the service did not become a hodgepodge of interdenominational representatives divvying up the tasks, an effort at inclusiveness that has the effect of turning the liturgy into a kind of Model United Nations at prayer: All of the parts reserved for the clergy were led by the clergy of the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson, the rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, preached a very excellent sermon. He included references to the readings, intertwined with personal remembrances of the man they had gathered to bury. Most importantly, he proclaimed the essential Christian belief in the salvific passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

https://youtu.be/PK3LqD-bpE0

Read more at … https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/distinctly-catholic/bush-funeral-blended-symbols-church-and-state-seemed-non-communal