Year: 2019

Episode 155: Back to Weekly

Big news in this one… we’re coming back weekly for 2020! Starting around New Year’s Day, we’ll be back with all new guests and voices (and voices of guests) as well as some fun book giveaways, and a number of insider downloads drawing from the show’s past (and present and future). Merry Christmas from Merianna, Sam, and the Harrelson family and more soon! (We also have an exciting new podcast studio that we'll be discussing)… …

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Thoughts on AirPods Pro

I was going to pass up on the AirPods Pro. I was incredibly impressed by the first generation of AirPods. In many ways, the AirPods became the revolutionary technology that we all thought the Apple Watch might be. The integration with Siri and the ability to interface with a voice-first assistant set the devices apart, however. There simply was nothing like them before or even now. It’s like a prequel to Her. Today I received …

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Build your own website and stop using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for your personal online persona.

There’s another option for developing an online presence that doesn’t leak any data you don’t want it to, if you’re willing to put in the effort: a personal website. Last year, a Vice reporter, Jason Koebler, made a compelling case for bringing personal websites back into style. Before Facebook, setting up your own page on sites like Xanga or LiveJournal was common, and the data controls were simple. This technology is still available to us, …

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The Problem with Trying to Do Your Own Email Marketing

Web designers always bemoan online website creators like Wix and Squarespace for making it too easy to build a website and undercutting their own trade (and pricing). We’ve certainly battled with that at Harrelson Co over the years, especially given that our main client base is made of nonprofits, churches, small businesses, and generally those with very limited budgets. However, I’ve realized over the years that the clients who complain about invoice costs and threaten …

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Spaying and Neutering Dogs

Well this is an eye-opening piece that has caused me to reconsider lots of presuppositions… In other words, to solve the problem of our unwillingness to keep track of our dogs, we do not address our own unwillingness. To address the overpopulation of unwanted dogs, we do not address the overpopulation. Instead, we non sequitur: we take brand-new dogs and introduce them into our homes by first putting them through a surgery at six, four, …

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On Being a Revangelical – Merianna Neely Harrelson

I always got questions from Thinking Religion listeners when I claimed to “still be” an Evangelical. Merianna explains it much better than I ever could here… Between this statement and my partner’s parsing of the Greek meaning of the term evangelical around the dinner table, I am finally ready to say that I am evangelical or perhaps a revangelical, returning to an identity I used to wear proudly as I tried to convert my middle …

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Aneurysm

Chernobyl on the Seine

In 1933 nuclear physicist Marie Curie had outgrown her lab in the Latin Quarter in central Paris. To give her the space needed for the messy task of extracting radioactive elements such as radium from truckloads of ore, the University of Paris built a research center in Arcueil, a village south of the city. Today it’s grown into a crowded ­working-class suburb. And the dilapidated lab, set in an overgrown garden near a 17th century …

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I Almost Forgot How to Tie a Bowtie

My oldest daughter made a comment about how I resemble The Librarian in my mannerisms and philosophy on things, except that I didn’t wear bowties anymore. That was good enough inspiration for me to open up my dusty drawer of memory-imbued bowties I have collected, bought, been given by students, and gifted by friends over the years. During my time as a Middle School teacher, the bowtie became my talisman and an important part of …

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Own Your Own Name

Very much agree… As for the future, I believe owning your domain name will become increasingly important and that experiences like mine will become more commonplace. Source: How I Finally Won My Name from Domain Squatters After 9 Years of Waiting

When you tell your daughters that you collect images of Jonah and they send you one from a Basilica

Pretty cool kids… It’s always been my conjecture that the Dura Europos Baptistry had images of Jonah present as a representation of the 3-day Resurrection event in a Jewish/Chritian context. There were depictions of Adam and Eve in the Baptistry area (along with Jesus as the Good Shepherd as well as other common representations from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in places such as the Catacombs in Rome). Here’s an image of the Dura Baptistry from …

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YouTube and “Reinforcing” Psychologies

“The new A.I., known as Reinforce, was a kind of long-term addiction machine. It was designed to maximize users’ engagement over time by predicting which recommendations would expand their tastes and get them to watch not just one more video but many more. Reinforce was a huge success. In a talk at an A.I. conference in February, Minmin Chen, a Google Brain researcher, said it was YouTube’s most successful launch in two years. Sitewide views …

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Unexplainable Experiences and How the Church has Lost to YouTube and Netflix

“The Church” (admittedly generically speaking here) has become a community center / garden club / singles bar / country club / music venue in the modern American experience. There’s generally little to no real examination of the unexplainable or mysterious (especially in my Baptist circles… because of job security). So people who still go to church are left to ponder those themes by themselves with YouTube or the latest Netflix sci-fi dystopian shocker or with …

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Don’t think that we can’t remember

When undergraduate students at Peking University, which was at the center of the incident, were shown copies of the iconic photograph 16 years afterwards, they were “genuinely mystified”. One of the students said that the image was “artwork”. It is noted in the documentary Frontline: The Tank Man that he whispered to the student next to him “89”, which led the interviewer to surmise that the student may have concealed his knowledge of the event. …

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“Change within a lifetime”

Climate change is the ghosts of impacts future…. And so the most effective guard against climate breakdown may not be technological solutions, but a more fundamental reimagining of what constitutes a good life on this particular planet. We may be critically constrained in our abilities to change and rework the technosphere, but we should be free to envisage alternative futures. So far our response to the challenge of climate change exposes a fundamental failure of …

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Episode 154: What’s the Point?

Merianna and Sam discuss cultural transitions and how churches of all sizes and shapes are positioning themselves in the midst of societal shifts. Support Thinking Religion

Roman Earthquake Cloaking

I tend to agree with the physicist from UNCC here that the Colosseum and other buildings that exhibit these “metamaterial” designs were probably self-selecting (in that they didn’t fall down during earthquakes), but we definitely don’t give the ancients enough credit with their engineering and scientific prowess… Scientists are hard at work developing real-world “invisibility cloaks” thanks to a special class of exotic manmade “metamaterials.” Now a team of French scientists has suggested in a recent …

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Intelligent Voice First Interactive Advertising

“We are in very early days of the Voice First revolution and Intelligent Voice First interactive advertisements along with true Voice Commerce will form the new backbone to Voice First AI just as pay-per-click and shopping carts formed the last revolution. In the next 10 years “Dumb Pipes” of audio and video channels that do not have Voice First AI deeply integrated, will be seen as ancient as live radio, TV and music downloads look …

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New Reading of the Mesha Stele

Potentially huge (I appreciate Thomas Römer‘s scholarship a great deal): A name in Line 31 of the stele, previously thought to read ‘House of David’, could instead read ‘Balak’, a king of Moab mentioned in the biblical story of Balaam (Numbers 22-24), say archaeologist Prof. Israel Finkelstein and historians and biblical scholars Prof. Nadav Na’aman and Prof. Thomas Römer, in an article published in Tel Aviv: The Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University. New …

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Episode 153: The Myth of Needed Experience

Merianna and Sam discuss the notion of generational divides in politics, mattress buying, and church attendance. Support Thinking Religion

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