Quick Takes – 6/7/2008

LibriVox provides free audio books from the public domain. “LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books.” They have a pretty impressive catalogue so far with over 1,500 books.

Tim Challies shares 9 things he learned about God from Planet Earth. “While the films were not meant to draw attention to God, as I watched them I was continually drawn to marvel in the greatness of the Lord. As the films provided a tour of so many beautiful locations and as they gave close-up shots of such incredible creatures, I saw the hand of a Creator. I saw it everywhere.”

Seth Godin compiles a helpful list of 36 things to check before sending an email. Here are a couple of items from the list. “Am I forwarding someone else’s mail? (If so, will they be happy when they find out?) … Am I forwarding something about a virus or worldwide charity effort or other potential hoax? (If so, visit snopes and check to see if it’s actually true). Did I hit ‘reply all’? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list need to see it?”

La Shawn Barber writes about a fascinating condition called “synesthesia.” Synesthesia is “a neurological and involuntary phenomenon in which people ‘see’ musical notes, numbers, letters, words, or other concepts in color. For some, these things have sounds, smells, or tastes associated with them … [There are also] other forms of synesthesia like spatial and conceptual. People with spatial synesthesia see numbers, days of the weeks, or months of the year in precise locations in space.”

Narnia scholar Devin Brown reviews the Prince Caspian movie. “Some critics have noted that Prince Caspian is a darker film than the first. It is. But since it is about a later time in the children’s lives, it is also more gray than the first and less black and white. And this is another way it is more like our world. Like us, the four Pevensies must spend much of their time and energy on this second adventure simply figuring out what they are supposed to do in a world that has grown more complicated.”

Craig Blomberg presents an underused argument for Jesus’ resurrection. “When a Jewish rebel leader was killed, one of only two things ever happened. Either the movement died out, or the movement’s adherents turned to a new leader, often a family member of the first one … What never happened … is that the rebel leaders’ followers continued to accept his claim about his identity, or the claims they had made for him … Suddenly, the first generation of Jesus’ followers stands out in dramatic, unprecedented contrast.”

Paul Krugman reflects on the new economics for creative works in the digital age. “If e-books become the norm, the publishing industry as we know it may wither away. Books may end up serving mainly as promotional material for authors’ other activities, such as live readings with paid admission … Bit by bit, everything that can be digitized will be digitized, making intellectual property ever easier to copy and ever harder to sell for more than a nominal price. And we’ll have to find business and economic models that take this reality into account.”

John MacArthur explains how the average person perceives post-modern culture. “When you talk about a postmodern culture, that’s an academic assessment of the culture. The average Joe doesn’t have any idea what that means. All he knows is he’s pretty much free to think and do whatever he wants. That’s how postmodernism filters down to the guy in the pew. It’s not a philosophy—it’s a lifestyle. The average guy just knows that the culture doesn’t care what he does. The movies he sees don’t make a moral judgment on anything except racism or somebody’s intolerance. So he’s free to do whatever he wants in the society, and nobody can tell him what to be or what to do, and the bottom line is that he should feel good about himself.”

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