Filtering Through … 9 Feb.

(aka, What I’m Reading)

* NT Wright and Christian (mis)conceptions of heaven, interviewed in Time magazine:  “Our culture is very interested in life after death, but the New Testament is much more interested in what I’ve called the life after life after death — in the ultimate resurrection into the new heavens and the new Earth. Jesus’ resurrection marks the beginning of a restoration that he will complete upon his return. Part of this will be the resurrection of all the dead, who will ‘awake,’ be embodied and participate in the renewal. … What the New Testament really says is God wants you to be a renewed human being helping him to renew his creation, and his resurrection was the opening bell. And when he returns to fulfil the plan, you won’t be going up there to him, he’ll be coming down here.”

Wright’s best guess for what happens between our death and Jesus’s return: “We will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed. Paul writes that it will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep.”  Will we dream?

* Gender and Competition: NYT‘s Freakanomics column: “Are Men Really More Competitive Than Women?” by Melissa Lafsky, who reports on one study by University of Chicago professors Uri Gneezy and John List and Columbia professor Kenneth Leonard, titled ‘Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society.’ Generally, they interpret their results to indicate that whichever gender runs the society is the most competitive.

While it seems reasonable to me that whoever’s in power in a society would be the most competitive (and would feel that they have the most to lose — like, the status quo — by being cooperative … though cooperation wasn’t measured in this study), I think many of the commenters have valid points about this particular study, to wit: the study may have tested the potential to take a risk or to gamble rather than any proclivity to compete; the study ignores the difference that specific (and perhaps more desirable) rewards for competition might make; perhaps the dominant sex in either culture felt expected to opt for the greater potential payoff, which was higher for competing against a rival that for not competing; perhaps the study actually measures relative confidence in throwing ability rather than competitiveness, and it wouldn’t be surprising that those of a society’s dominant gender are more confident of their abilities than the subordinate gender is.

* Best Public Speaking Advice by Ben Casnocha. Useful. Don’t start with a joke, but you can end with one. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Remind them of what you just said. Don’t read powerpoint presentations!!! My favourite: The Near Miss: “When explaining an idea, also describe other ideas that are close but not quite the same. This will help people understand what the important points are that define your idea.” I often get lost here and sometimes wander off in my mind, trying to clarify what the person is saying among a bunch of possibilities suggested by what s/he’s said.

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