Worth Reading - 2/24

1. An article from the Washington Post on why many digital natives prefer reading in print:

Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.

Schembari is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.

“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

This touches on Naomi Baron's recent book, which I reviewed previously.

2. A recent edition of Christianity today has an article about Hannah More by Karen Swallow Prior. It is worth reading:

Imagine yourself seated at a fashionable London dinner party in 1789.

The women are wearing hoops several feet wide, their hair dressed nearly as high and adorned with fruit or feathers. In between hips and hair, bosoms overspill. The men sport powdered hair, ruffled shirts, embroidered waistcoats, wool stockings, and buckled shoes. Politeness and manners reign around a table laden with delicate, savory dishes.

As guests wait for the after-dinner wine to arrive, a handsome but demure woman pulls a pamphlet from the folds of her dress. “Have you ever seen the inside of a slave ship?” she asks the natty gentleman seated next to her. She proceeds to spread open a print depicting the cargo hold of the Brookes slave ship. With meticulous detail, the print shows African slaves laid like sardines on the ship’s decks, each in a space so narrow, they can’t lay their arms at their sides. The print will become the most haunting image of the transatlantic slave trade—as well as a key rhetorical device used to stop it.

The woman sharing it is Hannah More.

My review of Prior's book can be found here.

Also, she is speaking tonight (2/24) at SEBTS, with free tickets still available.

3. Timothy George discusses the selectivity of social concern. Leaders march for solidarity in Europe, while Africa sees similar violence and gets much less attention:

Seldom in recent memory has the Western world seemed more united than on January 11, 2015, when an estimated 1.5 million people, including forty-four world leaders, flooded the streets of Paris to protest the atrocities carried out by Islamist terrorists at the offices of the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Who can forget the impressive show of unity—with the notable absence of the top constitutional officers of the United States—as Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders locked arms and marched side by side in an anti-terrorism rally along the Boulevard Voltaire?

Yet while masses marched in Paris to protest the vicious murders of seventeen persons, including twelve journalists, a catastrophe of far greater proportion was unfolding on the “dark continent” of Africa. On January 3—just four days before the Paris attacks—in the fishing towns of Baga and Doron Baga on Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria, the jihadist terror group known as Boko Haram carried out its deadliest attack to date. The soldiers defending the area could not repel the incoming insurgents, who burned Christian churches to the ground and slaughtered more than 2,000 people, including children and women. Some of those fleeing the surprise attack drowned in Lake Chad as their overcrowded boats capsized and they tried to swim away from the melee.

4. Elise Amyx from the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, writes that economic freedom is not enough. We must also demonstrate a strong concern for human flourishing.

Economic freedom may be our world’s more powerful poverty relief system, but it’s not enough for human flourishing.

It is the reason why economists report 80 percent of the world’s abject poverty has been eradicated since 1970, thanks to open trade, entrepreneurship, and free enterprise. In China alone, small market reforms since 1978 have raised 600 million people out of extreme poverty.

Economic freedom also correlates with higher life expectancy, lower levels of child mortality, cleaner environments, higher incomes for the poor, better protected civil liberties, less child labor, less unemployment, and higher per capita income.

Christians are called to care for the poor (the Bible mentions the words poor and poverty 446 times!) and economists have shown us that economic freedom is a powerful way to make that happen.

But, if you’re someone like me who is convinced that economic freedom is responsible for lifting millions out of poverty, it’s easy to forget that freedom is not enough on its own.

5. Social Media has made it easy to organize social movements, but hard to win according to a recent TED talk: