How The Language Of Special Education Is Evolving

The words we use and the ways we refer to people mirror — and shape — our perceptions, our attitudes, our behavior. So where to begin? The “r” word has fallen out of use and good riddance. “Handicapped,” too, for the most part. Generally we don’t refer to people as “disabled,” as in “he’s a disabled student.” One good rule of thumb: avoid adjectives. They too easily become labels. Instead,…

Your Letters Helped Challenger Shuttle Engineer Shed 30 Years Of Guilt

On Jan. 27, 1986, the former engineer for shuttle contractor Morton Thiokol had joined four colleagues in trying to keep Challenger grounded. They argued for hours that the launch the next morning would be the coldest ever. Freezing temperatures, their data showed, stiffened rubber O-rings that keep burning rocket fuel from leaking out of the joints in the shuttle’s boosters. But NASA officials rejected that data, and Thiokol executives overruled…

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Video Game about Cancer and Grief

On my list for the next time I teach “Video Game Culture and Theory.” The “extra life” was a fixture of early video games, a reward for skilled players that was imbued with the language of reincarnation. Players would not say they earned additional time to play, or a bonus turn, upon reaching a certain score. They were bestowed an extra life, a new chance at existence. Death is not…

Former NFL receiver Antwaan Randle El regrets ever playing football

“There’s no correcting it. There’s no helmet that’s going to correct it. There’s no teaching that’s going to correct it. It just comes down to it’s a physically violent game. Football players are in a car wreck every week.” […] Randle El is not naive to the profitability of the sport or the impact it has on society, but with the concussion and life-long injury issues getting more attention than ever…

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Is Breakfast Necessary?

The idea that early eating is essential makes perfect sense for farm laborers and small children. Whether it matters for normal, sedentary adults is a different question. Many—if not most—studies demonstrating that breakfast eaters are healthier and manage weight better than non-breakfast eaters were sponsored by Kellogg or other breakfast cereal companies whose businesses depend on people believing that breakfast means ready-to-eat cereal.  Independently funded studies tend to show that any…

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Why won’t the University of Maryland talk about the chocolate milk/concussion study it was so eager to promote?

I took note of this University of Maryland chocolate milk press release while prepping a freshman writing class. What a PR disaster. Here’s an update: University of Maryland issue multiple news releases about a health research project… and then decline to talk about it? That’s just one of the questions piling up about research involving high school football players, concussions and a brand of chocolate milk. […] While the University of…