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Joe Carter is Web Editor of First Things.

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The Built-In Human Expiration Date

From First Thoughts

In the book of Genesis it notes that the human lifespan is limited to a maximum of 120 years . And since God is a mathematician, it shouldn’t be surprising that this rate of mortality is an exponential function: What do you think are the odds that you will die during the next year?  Try . . . . Continue Reading »

Lead Us Not Into Restraint Bias

From First Thoughts

New research from the Kellogg School of Management finds that people often fall into temptation because they overestimate the restraint they actually possess : The study, led by Loran Nordgren, senior lecturer of management and organizations at the Kellogg School, examined how an individual’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Cross-Functional Furnishings

From First Thoughts

Imagine a house in which every item is either cross-shaped or decorated with crosses. That’s the task First Things’ editor and amateur interior designer Joseph Bottum has taken upon himself in choosing the decor for Sally Thomas’ house . It’s surprising—and profoundly . . . . Continue Reading »

FT Blogs on the Kindle

From First Thoughts

First Things blogs can now be downloaded onto your Amazon Kindle , allowing you the ability to read them even when you’re not wirelessly connected. (The print edition of the magazine will soon be available.) The Kindle provides the full text content and images of all posts, and are updated . . . . Continue Reading »

Pain et Cirques

From First Thoughts

Overheard at Marginal Revolution : . . . Uncle Sam is on the verge of paying the City of Los Angeles $30 million to subsidize a ten-year run of Cirque du Soleil. So it’s finally come to pass—America has embarked on the same road down which ancient Rome marched to its ruin: Uncle Sam not . . . . Continue Reading »

Is Hurt Mail the New Hate Mail?

From First Thoughts

Theologian Carl Trueman proposes Trueman’s Second Law : In any exchange of views, sooner or later one or more of the participants will describe themselves as hurt or in pain as a result of somebody else’s comment; and at that point it is clear that they have lost the real debate. I . . . . Continue Reading »

A City (and a President) Divided

From First Thoughts

Obama, the candidate (June 2008) : “And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” The Obama Administration (July 2009) : “The United States views East Jerusalem as no different than an illegal West Bank outpost with regard to its demand for a . . . . Continue Reading »

Does Having Children Make Us Happy?

From First Thoughts

Remember those psychological studies that purported to show that having children doesn’t add to a person’s overall level of happiness ? A new, more nuanced, study provides a different perspective : According to the [“day reconstruction method”] DRM, people seem to spend an . . . . Continue Reading »