Five for Friday: Wiffle Ball Physics, Unhelpful Facts, Churches Sue FEMA

CHICAGO, IL (September 22, 2017) — Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos that Covenant News Service believes may be of interest to others. Each Friday we post five of them. Following is a sample of those submissions—their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Covenant of any views expressed.

The Contentious Physics of Wiffle Ball

There was a time when people debated whether baseballs really curved, but that was decided by scientists back in the 1950s. Now an engineer sheds light on Wiffle balls, which can do some mighty crazy things.

From the article: “Publishing a study of Wiffle-ball aerodynamics reveals just how many people care about Wiffle ball, and how deeply. I learned about Wiffle leagues full of adult players, and a tournament in which pitchers hurl lightweight Wiffle balls at 80 to 90 miles per hour, with wicked curves and drops. This isn’t just tweens trying to avoid elbow injuries or broken windows; Wiffle ball is serious. Players sent me modified Wiffle balls with handwritten notes describing the effects the alterations had on their pitches. Some of the notes implied (or insisted on) a challenge: See if your fancy wind tunnel can figure this out.”

Facts Don’t Change Minds; Here’s What Does

People get mad when they lay out facts for someone and expect the other to see the error of their beliefs. That seems reasonable, but life doesn’t work like that.

From the article: “As a result of the well-documented confirmation bias, we tend to undervalue evidence that contradicts our beliefs and overvalue evidence that confirms them. We filter out inconvenient truths and arguments on the opposing side. As a result, our opinions solidify, and it becomes increasingly harder to disrupt established patterns of thinking.”

Pastors’ Spouses – Living Life in a Fishbowl

Life as the spouse of a pastor has its advantages, but there also are stressors that churches should be aware of.

From the article: “Spouses also noted stressors in a life of ministry. For example, 79 percent said their congregation expects their family to be ‘a model family.’ Almost half said their family lives in a ‘fishbowl.’ And 69 percent said there are ‘very few people’ in whom they can confide about ‘the really important matters in my life.’ ”

Junk Food is 21st Century Imperialism

Companies like Nestlé, PepsiCo, and McDonald’s are spending a lot of money to become part of everyday life in developing world markets, but they are worsening the health of people in those countries and changing cultures. One commentator on the article referred to the companies’ actions as 21st century imperialism.

From the article: “The new reality is captured by a single, stark fact: Across the world, more people are now obese than underweight. At the same time, scientists say, the growing availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods is generating a new type of malnutrition, one in which a growing number of people are both overweight and undernourished.”

Churches Sue FEMA for Recovery Money after Hurricane Harvey

Three churches that suffered damage in the storms want to be able to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money. But according to FEMA guidelines, houses of worship are excluded from some forms of federal disaster assistance, along with other facilities “established or primarily used for political, athletic, religious, recreational, vocational, or academic training.”

From the article: “The lawsuit, filed Sept. 5, will test the limits of the Supreme Court’s June ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, which centered on whether a religiously affiliated preschool should be able to access government money to make playground safety-related improvements…. Justices ruled that faith-based organizations can receive funds channeled to nonreligious purposes, and the majority opinion attempted to limit its scope to cases related to playground resurfacing.”

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