From a philosophy professor’s interview at Chicago Maroon:
I have a friend who recently died, but he actually decided to show kids what a sacrifice looks like, so he sacrificed a lamb at Easter time. â€œWe talk about it so muchâ€”hereâ€™s what it looks like!â€ Half the class puked, half the class had angry letters from mommy and daddy. But he did demonstrate that itâ€™s not just a metaphor. Itâ€™s a messy and not altogether pleasant process. Since [then] weâ€™ve converted it entirely into an economic question. I ask students the meaning of sacrifice, and they always start talking about â€œmommy and daddy sacrificing so I could go to college.â€ Weâ€™ve been at war for four years, and I havenâ€™t heard one person yet say some soldier sacrificed themselves. That language is gone. Itâ€™s entirely economic. (Bolding mine.)
On conspicuous consumption and why people spend money in a visible way, from The Atlantic:
[A]ll else being equal (including oneâ€™s own income), an individual spent more of his income on visible goods as his racial groupâ€™s income went down. African Americans donâ€™t necessarily have different tastes from whites. Theyâ€™re just poorer, on average. In places where blacks in general have more money, individual black people feel less pressure to prove their wealth.
The same is true for whites. Controlling for differences in housing costs, an increase of $10,000 in the mean income for white householdsâ€”about like going from South Carolina to Californiaâ€”leads to a 13 percent decrease in spending on visible goods. â€œTake a $100,000-a-year person in Alabama and a $100,000 person in Boston,â€ says Hurst. â€œThe $100,000 person in Alabama does more visible consumption than the $100,000 person in Massachusetts.â€ Thatâ€™s why a diamond-crusted Rolex screams â€œnouveau riche.â€ It signals that the owner came from a poor group and has something to prove.
And, from the same article, how conspicuous consumption is a developmental phase:
It declines as countries, regions, or distinct groups get richer. â€œBling rules in emerging economies still eager to travel the status-through-product consumption road,â€ the market-research group Euromonitor recently noted, but luxury businesses â€œare becoming aware that bling isnâ€™t enough for growing numbers of consumers in developed economies.â€ At some point, luxury becomes less a tool of public status competition and more a means to private pleasure.
The Ninja family (not their real name, but they snuck out of our house this morning without waking anyone) have a daughter who is having blackouts, so I went and read this NYTimes article from a doctor about a child who was having stroke-like symptoms, with frequently occurring attacks. If PJ were blood pressure tested lying down and then sitting up and it changed, she might have POTS. Don’t know what they do for it, but at least they’d know what it was.
Yahoo News writes about the finding of possibly the world’s oldest Christian church, found in Jordan.