“Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, the child mortality rate for Hindus is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don't. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle. In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor – open defecation
.” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious
on Jun 5, 2014 -
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 8, 2013 -
Over a thousand monks and laymen are revered in Tibetan Buddhism as the incarnations of past teachers who convey enlightenment to their followers from one lifetime to the next. Some of the most respected are known by the honorific "rinpoche." For eight centuries, rinpoches were traditionally identified by other monks and then locked inside monasteries ringed by mountains, far from worldly distractions. Their reincarnation lineages were easily tracked across successive lives. Then the Chinese Red Army invaded Tibet in 1950 and drove the religion's adherents into exile. Now, the younger rinpoches of the Tibetan diaspora are being exposed to all of the twenty-first century’s dazzling temptations. So, even as Tibetan Buddhism is gaining more followers around the world, an increasing number of rinpoches are abandoning their monastic vows. Reincarnation in Exile. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 5, 2013 -
From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader.
Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working
to help others
who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 27, 2012 -
Everybody knows TVTropes
is the best and most time
way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more
. Enter Useful Notes
. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 26, 2010 -
Official transgender blessings --
Kulanu -- the newly-revised manual for LGBT issues and ceremonies put out by the Union for Reform Judaism
(1.5 million US Jews are Reform) now includes 2 blessings (written by a Rabbi now male) for those transitioning and who have completed the change, alongside the already existing same sex marriage liturgy and other documents and procedures. A first? (blessings text inside)
posted by amberglow
on Aug 9, 2007 -
Jewcy asks The Big Question--
Why Are Atheists So Angry? with Sam Harris and Dennis Prager. Email exchanges on the topic--and if you can get past the incredibly loaded and one-sided question, really interesting.
posted by amberglow
on Nov 29, 2006 -
Faith based prisons...
Can Gov. Jeb Bush's new drive to introduce God to the inmates make a difference, or was Jesus 'dying for our sins' not enough already? Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?
"Night has fallen. He has died now.
A fly crawls over the still flesh.
Of what use is it to me that this man suffered,
If I am suffering now?" - Jorge Luis Borges
posted by 0bvious
on Nov 25, 2005 -
How Important Is Religious Belief In The Definition Of Our Personality?
I would say not at all, but Bernard Lewis's essay gave me pause. Bringing it all back home and wondering about MetaFilter's religious breakdown, does the fact that there are far more atheists, Jews (like me) and Mormons here than in the Western population at large, make any difference? Christians get a hard time here, in my opinion. Is it because, as Lewis says: "Tolerance was a much more difficult question for Christians
"? Atheists, Jews and Buddhists seem to have a disproportionately large influence. Whereas Muslims, sadly, hardly get a look-in. What does this mean? That is, if it means anything?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Apr 18, 2003 -