January 15, 2010

AFP/GETTY IMAGESDoomsday Clock Set Back One Minute
Man is the only creature that knows it’s going to die, and atomic scientists are the only professionals who measure the amount of time before man annihilates himself. But there is good news from those scientists: Humanity inched away from Armageddon on Thursday morning. (Dan Zak, The Washington Post)

Change in Religious Belief Linked to Stress and Anxiety
A study finds that thoughts of randomness push people toward God—but only if they can’t attribute feelings of stress to some easily defined external factor. (Ewen Callaway, New Scientist)

Is Environmentalism a Substitute for Religion?
Stephen Asma: Nietzsche’s argument about an ideal God and guilt can be replicated in a new form: We need a belief in a pristine environment because we need to be cruel to ourselves as inferior beings, and we need that because we have these aggressive instincts that cannot be let out. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Movie-Goers Depressed Because They Can’t Visit the Utopian Planet Pandora in “Avatar”
Fans have flooded the Internet with their confused feelings. On the site Avatar Forums, the topic “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible” has more than 1,000 posts. (Liz Thomas, Daily Mail)

One Million Acts of Kindness
Bob Votrub is crisscrossing the country in his bus on a 10-year mission to encourage, inspire, and remind people to be kind every day—even every hour. Last August, he started visiting college campuses to reach students, who he says are the most receptive to his ideas. (Vickie Elmer, AARP Bulletin Today)

Category: Field Notes

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