Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Half of America Is Low-Income (Link Round-Up 12/20/11)


Census results show 48% of Americans are now "low-income" status
146.4 million U.S. citizens are now defined by their government as "low-income" -- with 49.1 million falling below the poverty line of $22,350 -- and it's a pretty troubling thought to think that you have about a one-in-two shot of meeting someone struggling to get by at random on the street.
Scientists develop model of a deep-sea, microbe battery
“The amount of power produced by these microbes is rather modest,” said Harvard biologist and engineer Peter Girguis, who presented his research December 5 at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “But you could technically produce power in perpetuity.” Girguis hopes to tap this power to run seafloor sensors. He and his colleagues measured the current by implanting an electrode in the side of an underwater chimney 2,200 meters below the surface at the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the Pacific Northwest coast.
Rethinking the idea of a "Christian Europe"
To argue all this is not to deny the distinctive character of the Christian tradition (or traditions), nor the important role that Christianity has played in incubating what we now call ‘Western’ thought, nor yet the significant philosophical advances made within that tradition. But the Christian tradition, and Christian Europe, is far more a chimera than a pure-bred beast. The history of Christianity, its relationship to other ethical traditions, and the relationship between Christian values and those of modern, liberal, secular societies is far more complex than the trite ‘Western civilization is collapsing’ arguments allow. The irony is that the defenders of Christendom are riffing on the same politics of identity as Islamists, multiculturalists and many of the other ‘ists’ that such defenders so loathe.

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