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What is your question?
Peter Gomes is an American Baptist minister who has served in The Memorial Church at Harvard University since 1970. Gomes is also the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and is the Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church. Gomes is commonly regarded as one of the most distinguished preachers in America. He was named Clergy of the Year in 1998 by Religion in American Life and offered prayers in the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Educated at Bates College and the Harvard Divinity School, Revered Gomes alsoholds thirty-six honorary degrees. He is the author of numerous books on the Bible, including the national best-sellers TheGood Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons:Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living.
Question: What is your question?
Peter Gomes: “Am I doing the best I can with what I have?” That would be the fundamental question. I’m not asking, “Can I be the best whatever I am?” I’m asking, “Am I making the best use of whatever talents, skills or opportunities that are placed at my disposal?” That’s my question all of the time. Here I’m always asking myself, “I know I am fluent. I know I have a gift for communication. I know I’m good with language and words. Am I using those things as effectively as possible to influence others for the good? Or am I so charmed by my abilities to do this that it’s all about me and not about them or something else?” That, I think, is the question that people with talent and opportunity – and these are the people who will watch something like this, or engage in its production, or will be in its orbit . . . We’re all . . . we all have talents. We all have skills. How are we using those? Do they do good? Are they doing harm? Or are they neutral or indifferent in the way the world operates? That is the question that I ask myself.
When I was a child in the little church I belonged to in Plymouth – a Baptist church – there was a stained glass window in the ceiling of the pulpit. It’s one of the things I looked at frequently when I was ignoring the sermon – one of the great diversions. And it was a great oculus, a great all-seeing eye, a terrifying single eye like on the dollar bill. And I was reminded by one of my Sunday school teachers of Milton’s line about living in my great task master’s eye. And it was always a phenomenon for me knowing that God was looking at me. God knew everything that I had because God had given me everything that I had. Was I using it wisely? Now that may be a rather barbaric and primitive figure which many could dismiss out of hand. But it’s been a very effective device for me. I am accountable. I have been given things. How do I use them? What kind of a steward of my resources, and of my place and time, am I? Those are the questions that concern me. Now they may be the questions of a neurotic Puritan. I doubt it though. And if that’s neurosis, then give me more of it. I think that’s the kind of question that people in positions such as I hold, that people who are watching situations such as this, ought to be asking and ought to be able to answer with some conscience. I’m doing the best I can with what I have.
Recorded on: 6/12/07
Gomes has a question he thinks talented people should ask themselves.
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A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
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Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.
Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>