Web Notables (Feb. 17, 2015)

Engagement language, the great P. G. Wodehouse, good fossil fuels, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 17, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

How a Wedding Engagement Changes Twitter Feeds, from Science Daily. When they got engaged, “People began to paint themselves as a couple, rather than as individuals,” reported the researcher from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Munmun de Choudhury.

Tweets using familial words such as “future-in-laws” and “children” jumped by 219 percent after the proposal (although men tended to wait until after marriage to tweet family-based words). . . . Engaged people are much more likely to think and tweet about the future. Instead of using past-tense verbs, future-tense verbs surged by 62 percent after engagement.

P. G. Wodehouse, by Maclin Horton on the weblog Light on Dark Water. An introduction to one of the greatest writers in English of the last century. Reading Wodehouse (pronounced Wood-house) “makes you feel the way champagne looks, the way champagne ought to make you feel: bright and sparkling, with tiny bubbles of levity continually forming, rising, and bursting.”

New Cardinals Further Internationalize Church, by Edward Pentin in the National Catholic Register. In his homily to the 20 new cardinals, most from the developing world, “Francis pointed out there are ‘two ways’ of thinking and of having faith: ‘We can fear to lose the saved, and we can want to save the lost.’ . . .[T]hose ‘thinking of God’ remember his mercy, which ’embraces and accepts by reinstating him and turning evil into good, condemnation into salvation and exclusion into proclamation.’”

A Valentine for Fossil Fuels, by Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe. “All human technologies generate costs as well as benefits, but the gains from the use of fossil fuels have been extraordinary,” writes the columnist.

The energy derived from fossil fuels, economist Robert Bradley Jr. wrote last spring in Forbes, has “liberated mankind from wretched poverty; fueled millions of high-productivity jobs in nearly every business sector; been a feedstock for medicines that have saved countless lives; and led to the development of fertilizers that have greatly increased crop yields to feed the hungry.”

Religion’s Week From Hell, by Daniel Burke on CNN‘s website. A list of the past week’s religious violence. It was a “particularly brutal” week, writes CNN’s religion editor.

Hey, Liberals: Conservatives Don’t Have to be Moderate to be Smart, by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry in The Week. “America’s political scene is full of false dichotomies,” it begins.

One of the most prevalent and egregious goes like this: There are only two kinds of Republicans: “moderates” and “conservatives.” You either believe in opening the doors to immigration, centralized reforms to education, crony capitalism, and big-government entitlement spending nearly as robust as what President Obama wants, or you believe the Earth is flat, you want toddlers to have guns, you think we should round up illegal immigrants and ship them to Mordor, you want to repeal the income tax, and your health-care reform plan is “Walk it off.”

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