Lights out for birds, autumn’s gilded glory, Luther’s translation, and locker marketing

Lights Out for Birds: Millions of birds die each year by slamming into illuminated skyscraper windows at night, according to the aRocha blog. John Humphreys writes:

There are a number of projects across the continent that are trying to do something. The problem is particularly bad at the time of peak migration, when – of course – birds are doing a lot of flying over and through cities at night. New York City Audubon has, for the last five years, asked the owners of skyscrapers to switch lights off at night, and has requested that late workers ‘draw blinds or use desk lamps rather than using ceiling-mounted lighting’. The problem is that these poor birds get dazzled, baffled and disoriented by artificial lights, especially when flying lower than normal in bad weather. Happily, such initiatives really work – there are far fewer carcasses found at the base when the suggestions are heeded (of course, predators tend to vacuum up dead and dying birds really quickly, so researchers have to patrol the ground below when studying the problem). If you are interested, read about Audubon’s work.

Describing Autumn Color: Catherine Larson paints with words on the Common Grounds blog:

God has begun the gradual metallurgy of fall. Outside my window, down to the left, He’s refining one tree into pure gold. It quivers ever so slightly each day as it moves from one degree of gilded glory to the next. Just beyond the edge of the dark green forest, I can see touches of copper and bronze. But the furnace of change heats so gradually, I cannot perceive exactly how the vista has altered from the day before. Like most things God does, it’s subdued, unhurried, and steady.

Luther’s Bible Translation: Andy Crouch highlights an interesting blogpost by Andrew Wilson, traveling in Germany, about the contribution Luther made by making an affordable and accessible Bible available to the masses. An excerpt:

It’s well-known that Luther trans­lated the Bible into Ger­man, and it’s often thought that he was the first one to do so. But that’s not true at all. In fact, there were 17—that’s right, 17—other trans­la­tions of the Bible into Ger­man before Luther’s! . . .

Gutenberg’s Bible was the first book printed in the West using mov­able type. But while the tech­nol­ogy was new, the social sys­tem was still old. We have in the Guten­berg Bible a clas­sic prod­uct designed for the nou­veaux riches. His Bible promised to up-and-coming classes the same access to writ­ten cul­ture afforded pre­vi­ously only by eccle­si­as­tics and nobility.

We can see that in even in its style. Gutenberg’s work left the intial let­ters unprinted with space left for illu­mi­na­tion. His printed Bible was meant to sim­u­late the great illu­mi­nated Bibles owned by the nobil­ity and rich monas­ter­ies, but for a bargain-basement price. That’s not to say they were cheap. Gutenberg’s Bible would have cost the aver­age worker a for­tune. It was still a pres­tige piece, not meant for study but to dec­o­rate the col­lec­tions of those who wished to be iden­ti­fied with book culture.

What we see in Luther’s work is an entirely dif­fer­ent kind of thing. Here was a whole Bible meant for study, for read­ing. It was designed to be printed en masse, to be bought and dis­trib­uted to many peo­ple below the nobil­ity, used in churches and schools for cat­e­ch­esis. We can see the dif­fer­ence in the design. Older Bibles were large, folio-sized objects, printed in small num­bers. Luther’s was was small, mass-produced, and affordable.

School Lockers as Billboards: This proximity of learning and marketing just doesn’t feel right. But maybe it’s just me.

Budget woes in U.S. municipalities and states are creating a newly aggressive attitude towards novel ways to raise money — and one of those ways could impact public schools.

Now under debate and consideration by the Centennial Public School District, a cluster of seven schools north of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, is whether or not the schools will accept advertising in their hallways.

Colorful vinyl ad wraps featuring large graphic decals could appear on as much as 10% of school lockers, walls, and floors if the school board approves the plan on November 1, reports the Star Tribune. The income (and temptation) from such an ad program could put an additional $184,000 into the school’s pocket each year.

In St. Francis district schools, near the Centennial district, the ad program has been approved and ads are appearing already. The ads will result in school income of around $200,000 annually. School districts in Colorado and Southern California are said to be considering similar programs.

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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