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Scandinavia’s reign as the happiest place on Earth is ending

Sort of. According to WIRED: When it comes to happiness, Scandinavia – a group of countries made up of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – seriously outperforms its peers. In the last five editions of the World Happiness Report, no Scandinavian country has ever appeared outside the top ten. The last time a Scandinavian country didn’t make it into the top ten was the first report, in 2012, when Iceland came in at a comparatively miserable 20th happiest country in the world. (In the last two reports, it has…

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Change the world. Plant a tree.

A long time ago in a childhood far, far away we were told about massive environmental challenges that our planet was facing. The poster child of the late 80s and early 90s was deforestation in the Amazon – along with saving whales and pandas. Sadly not very much has changed when it pertains to the Amazon (or Brazil’s other forests) and that deforestation continues apace each and every year. Yet our understanding of the peril and plight of the planet definitely has changed. We are aware more keenly than ever…

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Swedish town launches controversial £21 begging permit

From The Guardian: A Swedish town has become the first in the country to introduce an official begging permit, requiring anyone who asks for money in the street to pay SEK 250 (£21) upfront for a licence. Valid for three months, the permit can be obtained by filling in a form online or at a police station and requires a valid ID. Anyone found begging for money in Eskilstuna, west of Stockholm, without one faces a fine of up to SEK 4,000 (£342). Jimmy Jansson, a Social Democrat local councillor,…

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The struggles of church without God

In general in western nations a loss of faith has been matched by a rise in loneliness. People noticed the loss of faith first and mostly weren’t in the slightest bit bothered by it. The implications of loneliness on the other hand has people, rightly, very concerned. In discussing this last year I mentioned the rise of secular congregations that had, in part, a desire to build community for the faithless. I’ve never been to a Sunday Assembly but I’m generally positive about them. Why do I quite like what…

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Boris Johnson’s confusing and contradictory religious history

Not sure this article says anything that endears our new PM to me (or the Anglican church for that matter). The prime minister apparently shares the classical belief in omens and portents, along with a Homeric sense that great heroes should be free to act out their passions and break free from moral constraints. All that may sound like an utter contradiction with the conventional forms of Christianity that marked Mr Johnson’s upbringing and education. But that contradiction is hardly unique to Mr Johnson. It pervades the entire cultural tradition…

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The Most Bicycle-Friendly Cities of 2019

Pretty disappointed that Stockholm is not on this list but well done to the Danes & the Dutch! As trends come and go, simple design stands the test of time. And nowhere is that more evident these days than in urban mobility. With everything from autonomous cars to dockless pogosticks vying to be the next big thing, the bicycle continues to shine as the most efficient, practical, and reliable solution to urban mobility. Many cities are taking note, building infrastructure and expanding facilities to accommodate the bicycle as an everyday…

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Bringing a Tent Peg to a Sword Fight

It’s summer and I’m not posting at whatever my usual schedule is, but instead have a post a day to pique your interest. I’m going to attempt a blogging revival from September. This is a brilliant article by Andrew Wilson over at Christianity Today. In the first Battle of Armageddon, the enemy commander was killed with camping equipment. Speculation about the next round has been the stuff of bestselling books and blockbuster movies, replete with speculation about a world government, flying locust-scorpion warships, bar codes, conspiracies, the EU, nuclear weapons,…

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