links to 10 items worth your time

1. The cofounder of Casper wants to make home renovations less hellish

“Block Renovation won’t just redo your bathroom for you. The new startup will finish it in three weeks, for 25% less than you’d pay a regular contractor. … Right now, the service is only available in New York and New Jersey, but it will soon be available around the country. And the plan is to quickly expand beyond the bathroom to other rooms, like kitchens.”

2. A New Connection between the Gut and Brain

“… there is a growing body of work showing that there is communication between the gut and brain, now commonly dubbed the gut–brain axis. The disruption of the gut–brain axis contributes to a diverse range of diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. …

“… the research unveils a previously undescribed gut–brain connection mediated by the immune system and indicates that excessive salt might negatively impact brain health in humans through impairing the brain’s blood vessels regardless of its effect on blood pressure.”

3. Here’s How Much Added Sugar You Should Eat in a Day

“The American Heart Association says men should eat no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar (… 36 grams) and women should cap their daily amount at (… 25 grams). The World Health Organization and the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines are slightly more liberal: added sugars should take up less than 10 percent of your daily calories. For an adult that’s about 50 grams … To put all this in perspective, one 12-ounce can of Pepsi has 41 grams of added sugar.”

4. 22 Hidden Tricks Inside Windows 10

“Think you know Windows inside and out?”

5. Microsoft PowerPoint is getting real-time captions and subtitles for presentations

“The subtitles and captions are designed to help support the deaf or hard of hearing community, and even allow speakers to include a translation of a presentation. Live captions and subtitles will support 12 spoken languages and display on-screen in more than 60 different languages.”

6. The privacy risks of compiling mobility data

“A new study by MIT researchers finds that the growing practice of compiling massive, anonymized datasets about people’s movement patterns is a double-edged sword: While it can provide deep insights into human behavior for research, it could also put people’s private data at risk. … We need to keep thinking about the challenges in processing large-scale data, about individuals, and the right way to provide adequate guarantees to preserve privacy.”

7. How to Stop Apps From Tracking Your Location

“Hundreds of apps can follow your movements and share the details with advertisers, retailers and even hedge funds. Here’s how to limit the snooping.”

8. Facebook Wants to Know Where You are Going

“… if you want to keep using your Facebook account since it’s still your main way to keep in touch with your friends, you can turn off the Facebook’s location tracking features by following these steps …”

9. ACLU slams ‘nightmarish’ Amazon patent application to bring facial recognition to your front door

“‘It’s rare for patent applications to lay out, in such nightmarish detail, the world a company wants to bring about,’ said Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU. ‘Amazon is dreaming of a dangerous future, with its technology at the center of a massive decentralized surveillance network, running real-time facial recognition on members of the public using cameras installed in people’s doorbells.’

“Amazon declined to comment for this story.”

10. 12 Simple Things You Can Do to Be More Secure Online

“Making your devices, online identity, and activities more secure really doesn’t take much effort. In fact, several of our tips about what you can do to be more secure online boil down to little more than common sense.”

this went thru my mind

 

Books, ministry, reading & thinking: Why Pastors Should Read Over Their Heads by Kevin DeYoung

“Very, very, very (did I say “very”) few pastors are called to engage in the highest levels of scholarship at the same time as pastoring a congregation. It’s just not possible, at least not for very long. But most pastors should still make it a point to jump into the deep end of the pool and get in over their heads once in awhile. Let me give you a few reasons why.”

Children, families, health & parenting: How ‘Crunch Time’ Between School And Sleep Shapes Kids’ Health

“‘It’s hard enough to get dinner on the table while trying to help them with homework,’ says Paige Pavlik of Raleigh, N.C. ‘Once we do everything, there is absolutely no time to go outside and take a walk or get any exercise. It’s simply come in, eat, sit down, do homework, go to bed.’ The relentlessness of it makes her emotional. Pavlik starts to cry as she talked about her family’s daily crunch time. ‘It’s really hard,’ she says. ‘This isn’t how I thought family life was going to be.'”

Churches of Christ: Churches of Christ and the Myth of Excellence

“Let’s certainly look for ways to do things in our communal life better. But let’s not forget that the Gospel is not a call to improvement and proficiency but to suffering, obedience, humility, and sacrifice for the sake of the world. And when those things become the primary focus of our life together, the desire for success in the way that much of evangelicalism has pursued it will simply cease to be a concern.”

Congregational singing: A Personal Manifesto for Congregational Singing by Rob Hewell [required reading]

“When given the opportunity, I’ll speak to these issues; otherwise I will hold myself, and no one else, accountable for these standards.”

Control & relationships: Controlling Other People: This is a Heart Issue by John T. Willis [essential reading]

“A major problem in human life has always been the desire of people to attempt to control other people. This problem is pervasive in all aspects of life. …  For all who wish to be true Christians, Philippians 2:3-4 is very important. Put this on YOUR fridge and read it every day.”

Children, genetics & poverty: To Spot Kids Who Will Overcome Poverty, Look At Babies [very interesting]

“… while there’s always a difference between how much the heart beats when a person inhales and when he or she exhales, everyone has a different set point. Sometimes there’s a big difference, and sometimes it’s small. And in very young babies, researchers have noticed that there are different temperaments associated with these different set points.

“When there’s a big difference and the set point is high, babies tend to have great attention and can focus for long periods of time on the things in their environment. ‘When you’re presenting them with a new toy, they’re going to really look at it and inspect it,’ says Conradt. ‘But they also may be more irritable and fussy when parts of their environment are changing.’

“In contrast, babies with a low set point ‘might lose interest after a couple minutes, but they’re also not going to be as fussy or irritable,’ she says.

“Babies with a high set point seem to have a more sensitive nervous system, which makes them more sensitive to their environment, in both good and bad ways. Babies with a low set point seem to have a less sensitive nervous system, which makes them less sensitive to their environment.

“Conradt and her colleagues wondered if this simple measure could be used to predict how children in poverty would fare as they aged.”

PowerPoint: Better Powerpoint: What We Remember from PowerPoint Presentations, Part 2

“Participants in the study tended to remember the same slides even though those slides did not contain pictures. This may be because the text was highly visual, in the sense that it generated mental pictures. … high-imagery words are remembered a lot better than low-imagery or abstract words. … Dare to insert text-based slides in your presentation, with the condition that people can “picture” that text without much mental effort. … Slides with tight links are remembered more than slides with weak links. … if you want a presentation to attract attention, find out what your audience would consider novel. … Repetition was another trait shared by the four most recalled slides. … Another characteristic of the four popular slides is that they contained negative information …  Slides that reported a high recall in the study were slides that offered advice that made the viewers ‘look good.'”

Privacy & technology: Why Life Through Google Glass Should Be for Our Eyes Only

“… there’s something particularly troubling about Google Glass. When we put on these surveillance devices, we all become spies, or scrooglers, of everything and everyone around us. By getting us to wear their all seeing digital eyeglasses, Google are metamorphosing us into human versions of those Street View vans — now thankfully banned in Germany — which crawl, like giant cockroaches, around our cities documenting our homes. Neither Orwell nor Hitchcock at their most terrifyingly dystopian could have dreamt up Google Glass. According to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, quoted by tech website Mashable, ‘Glass will also have an automatic picture-taking mode, snapping pics at a preset intervals (such as every 5 seconds).’ Pics every 5 seconds! Gulp. So where will all that intimate data go?”

this went thru my mind

 

Atheism: Reflections on the New Atheism by Alister McGrath

“For Christianity, faith is about going beyond reason, not against it. Faith transcends the limits of reason, allowing us to embrace what we know really is there, even if we cannot prove this by logic. Faith is a relational idea, pointing to the capacity of God to captivate our imaginations, to excite us, to transform us, and to accompany us on the journey of life. Faith goes beyond what is logically demonstrable, yet is nevertheless capable of rational motivation and foundation.”

Church, Jesus, ministry & spirituality: * Ending the Search for the Holy Grail by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]; * DIY Spirituality

* “This is precisely my problem. I love the idea of church, but the reality is something else entirely. … But, serving a real church in the trenches, beyond this safe enclave of preparation for ministry—living in it every day with its unchangeable weakness in your face—that grows hard to accept over time when it doesn’t go away despite all your supposedly excellent theological training and skill.”

* “… DIY spirituality promises freedom but delivers futility. … This is not a blanket defense of religion or all traditions. Not all institutional expressions of the faith are equal. It’s to some people’s credit that they leave some churches. But that only underscores the importance of finding a spiritual home where flourishing is possible.”

Immigration: The ‘Line’ For Legal Immigration Is Already About 4 Million People Long

“… it will be awhile longer before applicants from 1997 are eligible.”

Leadership: 11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader by Dave Kerpen

“Below are the eleven most important principles to integrate to become a better leader.”

PowerPoint: Better PowerPoint: What We REALLY Remember From PowerPoint Presentations

“1,540 subjects participated in the study, where I started with a very basic question applied to a very basic on-demand presentation: How many slides does a viewer remember, on average, from a text-only, standalone online PowerPoint presentation containing 20 slides? … Participants remembered an average of 4 slides from a 20-slide, standalone, text-only PowerPoint presentation.”

Time & productivity: Top 10 Time Killers (and how to fight back!) [infographic]

“… we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Time Killers, based on the percentage of people spending time between 1-2 hours a day on each non-productive activity.”

Women: A Culture of Duality by Deana Nall [required reading]

“Based on what women have shared with me about this, I’ve identified a few recurring situations that can make women feel slighted in church settings.”