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5 ways TV tweeting is changing the world

A concept design for Tweeting about TV featuring Twitter's mascot, Larry the Bird tweeting about tv, used at presentation at ICA 2010 (Credit: Yvette Wohn via Flickr) I've never watched "Pretty Little Liars," but the show is helping change television forever. Its marketing and publicity teams huddle in a conference room while the show airs to tweet live with fans. As a result, their show was ranked number one for the week of June 16-22.

Tweeting during live TV shows is here to stay, for five reasons. First, it draws younger viewers, creating conversations and driving ratings. Second, live tweets make viewers more likely to watch the show when it airs rather than recording it and skipping the commercials. Advertisers think that's a great idea. Third, tweeting during television draws in people who wouldn't have watched otherwise but follow the Twitter feeds of those who do. Fourth, live tweeting constitutes a free focus group for writers and producers. Fifth, those who follow the show on Twitter when it airs are more likely to follow news about the show year-round.

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Communicating with a zombie satellite

An illustration of the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, which was launched in 1978 (Credit NASA)The International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) was launched by NASA in 1978. It orbited the sun, between the sun and Earth, where it was able to observe and report solar wind before it reached Earth. In 1997, NASA shut the spacecraft down, leaving it in space, awaiting its next command. Two years after that, NASA upgraded the Deep Space Network, discarding all transmitters that could communicate with ISEE-3. Furthermore, no one has a complete operational manual. And so, for nearly 20 years, the zombie spaceship had no communication with Earth.

After the Deep Space Network picked up a carrier frequency from ISEE-3 in 2008, NASA considered reviving contact when it passes by the moon in August 2014, but concluded that the effort and money would not be worth it. Fans of the zombie spacecraft felt otherwise, and began raising money to bring it home.  To date, almost $160,000 has been raised by nearly 2,240 donors.

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Is religious liberty being threatened in America?

A cross lying in the basement of Friendship United Methodist Church after the church was moved (Credit: Judd McCullum via Flickr)According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 54 percent of Americans believe religious liberty is being threatened today.  Those who agree include:

White evangelicals (83 percent)
Republicans (80 percent)
Senior adults, age 65+ (61 percent)
Catholics (55 percent)
Mainline Protestants (53 percent)
Independents (51 percent)

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Americans lie about church attendance on survey

A man sits alone in a pew in a Presbyterian church as he awaits the start of a memorial service, September 8, 2012 (Credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr)Do you go to church every Sunday?  Don't lie.  When many Americans were asked about their church participation during a phone survey, they exaggerated their record of attendance.  A new study titled "I know what you did last Sunday: Measuring Social Desirability Bias in Self-Reported Religious Behavior, Belief, and Belonging" compares the results of identical surveys: one on the phone and one online.  

It's no surprise that participants were more honest on the seemingly anonymous online survey than when they were telling another human being their church attendance record.  While the details of the study regarding specific demographics and denominations are very interesting, I'd like to hone in on the malady behind these symptoms.  Why would we lie about how involved we are at church?  This exaggeration of the truth reveals a misunderstanding of the worship of God and the grace of God.

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Has Mayor Bloomberg earned his way into heaven?

Micahel Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, sits on stage as he participates in a discussion at the keynote session at the annual Transforming Transportation conference in Washington DC, January 18, 2013 (Credit: World Bank/Simone D McCourtie)New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is confident his good deeds have bought him his ticket into heaven.  His political efforts in the areas of gun control, obesity and smoking have given him the certainty to say, "I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I'm not stopping to be interviewed.  I am heading straight in.  I have earned my place in heaven. It's not even close."

I can't say with any surety where this politician will go when he dies, but if this statement accurately represents his view of God, himself and eternity, it is safe to say he is in the same sinking ship as many others.  How many times have you heard somebody say something to the tune of "I'm a pretty good person" when asked if they think they will go to heaven?  The Bible calls this self-righteousness.  It is no righteousness at all.

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