Strange love: David Levy, an artificial-intelligence researcher from London, thinks the time is coming when humans will hook up with robots for love, sex and even marriage. "If the alternative is that you are lonely and sad and miserable, is it not better to find a robot that claims to love you and acts like it loves you?" he argues (Scientific American, March).
Say a prayer for java: It is not so unusual that Catholic authorities in Croatia have opened a coffee shop. What is unique is that their customers can pay for their caffeine fix with prayers. The café in Zagreb charges four “Our Fathers” for a cappuccino and five “Hail Marys” for a Coca-Cola, the most expensive item on the menu (The Week, February 22).
Advice for fledgling authors: The late Aldous Huxley was often asked by aspiring writers for advice. Once, after reading a manuscript, Huxley gave this advice to its author: “You would do better, I believe, to leave the book for a year or two, forget it, then take it out, read it with new eyes and re-write it” (Times Literary Supplement, January 18).
Done got Jesus: Baylor University professor Ralph C. Wood, who grew up in east Texas, says that when he was a college student, a Baptist evangelist, after learning that Wood was an English major, asked, “Why do you need Shakespeare and them boys when you done got Jesus?” Wood says he is still trying to come up with an appropriate answer some 40 years later. (Perspectives in Religious Studies, Winter).
Match made in heaven? Almost half of American Jews marry gentiles, a rate that has tripled since 1970. But now JDate—a matchmaking Web site for Jewish singles—is teaming up with rabbis to reverse this trend. JDate offers a bulk rate to rabbis who will make subscriptions available to members of their congregations, and some of the rabbis are picking up the tab (Newsweek, January 21).