Friday, September 28, 2007

death by powerpoint





Fighting death by PowerPoint... How to make a presentation and not to bore your audience to death.



Thursday, September 27, 2007

a plug for a book sale @ slu

The Friends of Owen D. Young and Launders Libraries announce their third, second-hand BOOK SALE including separate tables of collectible books (prices vary).

When:
Saturday, September 29th 10am – 4pm
Sunday, September 30th 10am – 2pm

Where:
MacAllaster Room, Owen D. Young Library, St. Lawrence University

SPECIAL SALE:

After 12 p.m. Sunday, fill a bag with books and pay $2. (They supply the bag).

Questions? Please call 315-229-5956 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              315-229-5956      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              315-229-5956      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or the ODY Library office: 315-229-5454

Thursday, September 20, 2007

shift happens





This is a stylization of a slideshow originally created by Karl Fisch, examining globalization and America’s future in the 21st century. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

slu alum gives $128 million

Ms. Barbara Dodd Anderson, SLU Class of 1954, gave a chunk of change to her old high school but not her old college. The following link was sent by our LT in IQ. The article is published in today's New York Times.

Alumna Gives $128 Million to High School

[Note: Be patient and the green the ad will go away after several seconds.]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

the neuroeconomics of greed

This paragraph has nothing to do with greed. (At least I hope not!) Christian Fellowship Center is hosting Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course again this fall. We meet Wednesdays 7 to 9 p.m. Tomorrow, Wednesday the 19th, will be the second of thirteen meetings. We should finish the course on December 12th.

The following has everything to do with greed. She sent me this last week from a Wells Fargo Daily Advantage newsletter:

Researchers in neuroeconomics study what happens in the human brain when we make economic decisions, and one of their findings is that the human brain is tremendously stimulated at the prospect of economic gain, i.e., "getting rich," "making a killing," "hitting paydirt," etc. In other words, when scientists scan the brain using MRI technology, they see the pleasure centers light up at the prospect of profit, just as they light up at the prospect of food, shelter, and safety. The reaction is so pronounced that it dwarfs the satisfaction we feel when we actually make the profit. In other words, we get a bigger rush from anticipating a gain than we get from realizing a gain.

Why should that be so? Who knows? Maybe we're all like cars in that it takes more energy to get us moving than to keep us moving. But we need to remember that while drag racing out of the traffic light may feel good, it doesn't necessarily end well. And the same is true of investing: The rush we feel at the prospect of gain may exist to get us up off the sofa and moving, but we also need to apply reason to guide the impulse. (The scientists say those pleasurable responses are a part of our "reflexive brain" and reasoning is part of our "reflective brain.")

The high we feel at the prospect of scoring big explains the enduring appeal of tip sheets and cable TV shows where people bellow like bulls and promise to make us all rich. And I feel it's okay to pay attention to those once things in a while, but keep your cool: Burning rubber out of a traffic light is one way to ruin, and jackrabbit investing is another.

Peter Nulty
Editor

This is from a review of a popular press book by Jason Zweig, Your Money & Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich (Simon & Schuster). If interested please check out a discussion that appeared last week in USA TODAY.

Be blessed!
RB

Sunday, September 16, 2007

a new challenge

My oldest recommended a biography from one of his classes, so I started reading George Marsden’s Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press, 2003). Most people know Edwards for his sermon, "A Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God." However despite growing up in the backwoods, the wild frontier of early 18th Century New England that was the Connecticut River valley, Edwards was one of the world’s foremost philosophers and theologians of his day. The book's first few chapters have been very good and given its excellent reviews, along with being the 2004 winner of the Bancroft Prize for American History, I expect more good things.

Marsden attempts to explain the worldview of Edwards and his times, the early 18th Century, rather than interpreting his life by modern sensibilities. Edwards experience of finding God, his “awakenings,” as a teenage is interesting with many of the same struggles all young men have when seeking God.

I also found myself comparing and contrasting my feelings with his. I am grateful to have the assurance of my salvation and standing with God, something Edwards lacked given his particularly Calvinist/Puritan/Reform theological roots. He was always looking and striving for evidence of his salvation, his election by a completely sovereign Lord, but never being quite sure if such evidence was merely the result of self delusion and self will. I have the confidence and peace that comes with knowing that I am a child of the living God. I know where I will spend eternity and fear not the Day of Judgment. I know that God is with me and will never leave me.

Edwards, on the other hand had many things that I lack but desire. He had a deep knowledge of the particular depths of his own sins and his own sinful nature. While I doubt he was more sinful than I am, while I do realize to a degree how sinful I am, I am afraid my sin awareness just scrapes the surface. I am much worse than I imagine. As a result I think Edwards had a more powerful appreciation of God’s mercy and grace than I or most 21st Century contemporary evangelical Christians do.

Edwards as a young man clearly saw all around him, particularly in nature, signs of an all-powerful, a good and just, a magnificently awesome and great God. I am afraid that a consequence of my awareness and assurance of a God that is always with me, who loves me, who communes with me, that I have a vision of Him that is way, way smaller. I think maybe I have a better micro-view while Edwards had a more wonderful, awe-inspiring macro-view of God. What I need to do is magnify my view of God, not to distort His greatness, but to get closer to reality of how big our God is. However tough it is to reconcile the incredibly awesome Creator, the One who designed and spoke the universe into existence, with the God who cares for me and lives with me as His temple, it is something I need to do.

Anyway, that is the challenge for me.

Be blessed.
RB