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As I write this and as you read it, and indeed for several million years into the future, there will be a dummy named Starman in a red Tesla cruising through outer space, playing an infinite loop of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. This achievement of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket carries multiple meanings, but one of them, enthusiastically driven home on Twitter, is that the livestreamed pictures of Starman set against the Earth’s sphere would finally put an end to Flat Earth theories, whose proponents often cite as proof the absence of a clearly distinguishable curve in photographs of the Earth. For their part, the Flat Earthers, like anti-vaxxers and Pizzagate-believers among other crusaders in our post-truth world, remained unshaken. They cautioned Flat and Round Earthers alike against uncritically trusting all the information shared on the internet via fake-news websites, and asked people to exercise greater critical judgment regarding the sources of online content – in this case, a private company guided by a quest for profit, not truth. They claimed that to use ‘a good car ad’ to establish so crucial a matter as the Earth’s shape is simply ‘a poor argument’. Committed to seeing our planet as a floating two-dimensional circle, they appealed precisely to objectivity, critical judgment and the quest for truth.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday it will reconsider the federal government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for passenger cars for model years 2022-25. The Obama administration set very stringent standards, peaking at 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025. After the EPA’s midterm review, it found these standards to be inappropriate. Automakers also warn that the standards are too strict and potentially price millions of consumers out of the market for new cars. The EPA’s decision could save car buyers thousands of dollars in the showroom, make auto companies more attuned to what consumers want rather than what bureaucrats want, and increase autoworkers’ wages. At the same time, and contrary to what the EPA’s critics claim, relaxing the standards would have no discernible impact on either climate change or energy security.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the result of its mid-term evaluation. As a result of the EPA’s review and analysis, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the current greenhouse-gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles for model year 2022-2025 are not appropriate and should be revised.
Throughout church history, the question, “Can we be certain of our salvation?,” has troubled many believers. This question naturally arises because different Christian traditions have divergent teachings on the nature of salvation itself. How one is saved and whether or not this salvation can be subsequently lost are the subject of much discussion between believers. One noteworthy response to these questions from church history was the development of the so-called “Protestant work ethic.” This idea suggests that living a moral, prosperous, and productive lifestyle is proof of one’s eternal salvation. In the spirit of Christian charity, we have asked our regular authors and contributors to weigh in on this question from their own personal perspective and from the perspective of their Christian traditions.
Long before entrepreneurs launched cars into space, pilots of the 1920s and 1930s were beholden to people of wealth who could sponsor record flights or offer cash prizes for the first intrepid aviator to achieve a specific milestone flight. Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon teamed up in an effort to be the first to span the Pacific from Tokyo to the United States, but only after a round-the-world record attempt eluded them. A native of Bridgeport, Washington, Pangborn was an adroit aviator who first groomed his skills during World War I. Herndon had the good fortune of access to sufficient wealth to underwrite his aviation interests.
Ricky's Law is named after a suicide survivor and former drug addict who pushed for involuntary commitment if someone threatens to harm themselves.