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How to live longer

A smiling 95-year-old man from Santa Cruz, Chile (Credit: Diego Grez)What could you do in the next 15 minutes to extend your life by three years? Researchers suggest light exercise. The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity a week, or 30 minutes a day. Such activity is of course very beneficial.

But now we know that even half that amount of exercise can extend our lives. If you spent 15 minutes today exercising, you would drop your mortality rate by 14%, cancer mortality by 10%, and cardiovascular disease by 20%. Over 400,000 people participated in the medical screening program which produced these findings.

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Trading security for significance

Below is a reproduction of the actual entry for October 28, 1949 in its entirety from Jim Elliot's personal journal, from the archives at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College (Collection 277, Box 1, Folder 8).  Credit: Jim Elliot/Wheaton College ArchivesThere's good news in today's news. A week after Standard & Poor's downgraded the American economy, Fitch Ratings announced yesterday that it was keeping a AAA rating for the world's largest economy. Fitch, one of the big three ratings agencies, said the outlook for its rating was "stable."

U.S. automakers had their busiest month of factory output since the March 11 earthquake in Japan. Overall industrial production jumped 0.9 percent, the biggest increase this year. In addition, consumers spent more on cars, furniture, electronics, and other goods in July. The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in the previous week dropped below 400,000 for the first time since early April.

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How to handle the markets

Credit: Alex Moe - Fotolia.comThere's a simple way to deal with the volatility of today's markets: Ignore them. A Harvard study of investment habits, quoted on this morning's Time website, found that investors who consumed no financial news earned better returns than those who were fed a steady stream of it. Investors in volatile stocks earned more than twice as much as similar investors whose trades were influenced by the media.

Economists do not advocate that we pretend there are no financial challenges today, of course. When unemployment soars, it's essential that we maintain emergency savings and limit our debt. But reacting to the day's markets is apparently an unwise strategy.

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Why pray for rain?

The dried south fork of Lake Arlington is seen near Bowman Springs Park, where park personnel indicated the water level was nine feet below normal, in Arlington, Texas August 5, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Mike Stone)For the first time since Noah's Ark landed on Mt. Ararat, it rained in Texas over the weekend. We are in the midst of the worst one-year drought in our state's history. Temperatures in Dallas hit 100 or higher 39 straight days before scattered rain broke the string on Friday.

July was the hottest month ever recorded in Texas. Farmers and ranchers stand to lose $8 billion, double the losses from droughts in 2006 and 2009. Churches are calling people to pray for rain. At Gov. Perry's gathering in Houston a week ago, rain was one of the prominent topics of intercession. More and more Christians in the South are gathering to pray for divine intervention as we face a natural disaster of historic proportions.

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Closing Lady Liberty

Statue of Liberty closeup (Credit: Aloha Orangeneko aka Jennifer via Flickr)Britain's worst violence since World War II continues to shock the world. Despite yesterday's gains, the stock market continues its volatility. The "creeping disaster" of drought continues to get worse. And now we hear that Lady Liberty is closing.

Actually, it's only the interior of the Statue of Liberty which will be shut down on October 29 for a year of renovations. Contractors will spend $27.25 million to update stairwells, add new fire suppression systems and elevators, and rehabilitate restrooms. When Janet and I visited the Statue last fall, we observed firsthand the need for such renovations. The good news is that you can still visit the island and the famous Lady while her interior is being updated.

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