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Annie Sullivan on teaching: 

Helen Keller, rendered blind and deaf after an infection as a toddler, learned the gift of language from her patient and determined teacher, Annie Sullivan. Their story is told in the play The Miracle Worker (and my daughter plays Helen in three more shows this weekend at Latrobe’s Cabaret Theatre). As a young woman Helen Keller wrote her biography The Story of My Life, which also published some of Sullvan’s letters.…

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Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve racked up prizes — and completely misled you about the Middle Ages

Recently on Facebook I made some of my friends go “hmm” when I corrected a meme that suggested the medieval church burned Copernicus at the stake for teaching that the sun is the center of the solar system. (“Contrary to popular belief, the Church accepted Copernicus’ heliocentric theory before a wave of Protestant opposition led the Church to ban Copernican views in the 17th century.” CS Monitor). The label “The…

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The Declaration Of Independence, 240 Years Later (NPR)

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the…

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Your Brain Does Not Work Like a Computer

The brain-as-computer is a powerful meme. It’s no more accurate than metaphors inspired by fluid dynamics or automata, which were cutting-edge technology in their time, says Robert Epstein. The invention of hydraulic engineering in the 3rd century BCE led to the popularity of a hydraulic model of human intelligence, the idea that the flow of different fluids in the body – the ‘humours’ – accounted for both our physical and…

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Quebec teen discovers ancient Mayan ruins by studying the stars

This sounds like the plot of a Young Indiana Jones episode, or maybe Johnny Quest. William Gadoury is a 15-year-old student from Saint-Jean-de-Matha in Lanaudière, Quebec. The precocious teen has been fascinated by all things Mayan for several years, devouring any information he could find on the topic.  During his research, Gadoury examined 22 Mayan constellations and discovered that if he projected those constellations onto a map, the shapes corresponded…