Teen-Pregnancy_011314-617x416The Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children at the University of Hawaii is recruiting teens and women to study the effects of second trimester abortions. Girls as young as 14 are being sought so that researchers can carry out

a ‘randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials,’ to determine the effect of oxytocin’s use on uterine bleeding, meaning that they will either provide or deny intravenous oxytocin to the women.

Reports suggest that some doctors are concerned that withholding oxytocin during surgery may put patients, especially teen girls, at risk.

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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
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France, the West and the Islamist Challenge
Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute

Even in poor countries that become breeding grounds for Islamic terror, the funds needed always come from richer Muslim nations. What we are facing is not a revolt of the poor.

The Supreme Court Must Rule on Mandatory GMO Labelling
Baylen Linnekin, Reason.com

Congress, the states, and courts all vie to decide the future of GMO labeling.

Pope calls for end to persecution of Christians
BBC

The Pope has called for an end to the persecution of Christians in conflict, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, in his Easter message.

Minimum Wage and Magical Thinking
Ronald Bailey, Reason.com

If all other factors remain equal, the higher the price of a good, the fewer people will demand it. That’s the law of demand, a fundamental idea in economics.

Profit-Risk-LossYesterday I noted how Americans tend to overestimate the amount of profit earned by corporations. The actual profit margins are so thin that, as Mark J. Perry points out, for the typical company all sales revenue from January 1 to December 7 would go to cover the firm’s expenses for the year, and its sales on roughly the last 24 days of December from December 8 to December 31 would represent its profits.

For the other industries displayed in the table above that operate on thin profit margins of less than 4%, companies in those industries have to operate until the middle of December (airlines for example at December 18), or even until the last week (department stores), or in the case of grocery stores until the middle of the last week of December. Think about it — a grocery chain like Safeway or Kroger has to operate from January 1 to December 26 until it breaks even for the year, and only then will its sales revenue from the the last 4.4 days starting on December 27 represent the profits for the entire year! And that’s only if everything goes exactly right, and nothing goes wrong — like a sales slump from a recessionary slowdown or from increased competition from a new competitor like Walmart and Target (now in the grocery business); or like an unexpected increase in costs that can’t be passed along in the form of higher prices, etc.

As a percentage of operating costs, profits are often miniscule. Yet they play an outsized moral role in the creation and distribution of goods and services. “Profits motivate people to work hard for themselves and to make life bette for others,” says economist Walter Williams.

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When struggling with “work that wounds”— work that’s “cross-bearing, self-denying, and life-sacrificing,” as Lester DeKoster describes it — we can content ourselves by remembering that God is with us in the workplace and our work has meaning.

But although these truths are powerful, God has not left us with only head knowledge and philosophical upgrades. When we give our lives to Christ and choose a path of transformation and obedience, the fruits of the Spirit will manifest in real and tangible ways, despite our circumstances. We will find meaning, but we will also experience peace, patience, and joy, even when it doesn’t make sense.

In Music Box, a classic Christian film from the early 1980s, we see an apt demonstration of this. The joy of the Lord is indeed our strength, not just as some abstract idea, but in real and noticeable ways through the application of mind to hands and hands to creative service. The Gospel breathes new life, even into the most dark and plodding situations.

Watch it here:

In the film, we see a tired and moping man, who lives a life of drudgery at a factory, followed by misery and disconnect at home. The solution? On his way home from work, he finds a magical music box that triggers a chorus of angels. God reminds him of the gift of Jesus — a lesson that sets the man about gift-giving of his own joy and purpose to other people, a newfound capacity that God continues to stretch throughout the film. In short, he’s awakened to the reality that all is gift. (more…)

51httEIaoPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The fossil-fuel sustainability and divestment movements began with colleges and universities. Over the past two years, the movements have gained momentum from faith-based activists intent on stranding oil, coal and natural gas in the ground. At the same time, they’re pressing their religious communities to endorse impossible fossil fuel reduction goals.

Progressives in the sustainability and divestment movements must assume that if Big Oil is brought to heel, then Big Renewable will immediately fill the void. Never mind that there exists nothing today to replace the growing need for oil, coal and natural gas. Will we one day have an efficient and affordable replacement? Not if we bankrupt advanced, technologically rich economies with sustainability policies.

Additionally, mounting evidence suggests that sustainability efforts in the academic industry, which includes fossil-fuel divestment, have inflicted economic harm on colleges and universities (and taxpayers) without providing a scintilla of benefit for the environment.

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David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, had an Easter message for the British people. It is worth sharing.

Information TechnologyFor those fighting human trafficking, the battle is frustrating. Traffickers are typically one step ahead of law enforcement, and they are quite tech-savvy. Microsoft, along with other tech companies, is trying to change that.

According to Microsoft’s A. T. Ball:

Human trafficking is one of the largest, best-organized and most profitable types of crime, ranking behind only the illegal weapons and drug trades. It violates numerous national and international laws and has ensnared more than 25 million people around the world.

The problem is not merely one of criminal violence. The criminals who perpetrate and benefit from this trafficking are taking full advantage of information technology in plying their trade. We must work together to bring the advances in socio-technical research, privacy, interoperability, data sharing, cloud, and mobility to bear against trafficking.

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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
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Religious Liberty and the Intolerance of the Left
Peter Wehner, Commentary

The explosion of criticism against Governor Mike Pence and his state, in the aftermath of Indiana passing a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is quite telling in several respects.

Why Africa is the next China
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week

Africa is full of ore and gold and diamonds and oil. But if the ultimate resource is people — and it is — then Africa is poised to be a giant in the 21st century.

Critics of Indiana’s religious freedom law are trying to have their cake and eat it, too
Jonathan Turley, Washington Post

In their rush to support same-sex rights, they’ve been too quick to dismiss legitimate questions about free speech and expression.

Interview With a Christian
Ross Douthat, New York Times

After watching the debate about religious freedom unfold over the past week, I decided to subject myself to an interview by an imaginary — but representative — member of the press.

300px-GeocentrismGeocentrism was the belief that the sun, the planets, and all the stars revolve around the Earth. The alternative view—heliocentricism—had been around since the 3 BC but was not taken seriously until the 16th century AD. What seems obvious to us now was a matter of heated debated for almost two thousand years.

Economist Don Boudreaux says the minimum-wage debate in economics is rather like the reverse of this debate that took place centuries ago among astronomers.

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??????????????????????????Amidst the hubbub surrounding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the owners of Memories Pizza, a local family-owned restaurant, have been the first to bear the wrath of the latest conformity mob.

We knew they’d come, of course. “They” being fresh off the sport of strong-arming boutique bakeries and shuttering the shop doors of grandmother florists (all in the name of “social justice,” mind you).

The outrage is rather predictable these days, and not just on issues as hot and contentious as this. A company does something we don’t like and we respond not through peaceful discourse or by taking our services elsewhere, but through direct abuse and assault on the party in question (self-righteous tweets included). When Patton Oswalt points out these instincts in defense of an anti-semitic comic, the mob may temper its tone for a season. But alas, there are small businesses to bully, and this is about sexuality, an idol well worth the blood. (more…)