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‘Star Trek': The Story of the Most Daring Cliffhanger in ‘Next Generation’ History

Around 1990, when I was studying for my MA at the University of Virginia (and also working as a writer/editor for the engineering school), I sometimes had 30 people over at my place for “Star Trek parties.” The local TV station aired the show at midnight Sunday. My friends and I would rotate through different locations, but I seem to remember the group had gathered at my place for The Best of…

Are Quotes Sacred?

What does a reporter do when a source rambles, misspeaks, or otherwise botches what would have been a good quote? “Generally, I fix quotes for grammar, especially with average, ordinary people,” says Ellyn Ferguson, a regional reporter for Gannett News Service. “I am doing the interview to get information from them, not make them look like idiots.” Source: American Journalism Review

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A Robotic Dog’s Mortality

Fascinating video journalism from the New York Times. They didn’t shed, chew the sofa or bite the postman, but for thousands of people Sony’s Aibo robotic dog was the closest thing to a real canine companion. So when the Japanese company stopped servicing the robots last year, eight years after it ended production, owners faced a wrenching prospect: that their aging “pets” would break down for good. —The New York Times

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In an Unpredictable Job Market, How Should People Think About College Majors?

I tell my students that if what they want is specific job skills, they should learn how to lay cable or get a Class-2 rating to drive a P-5000 Power Loader. But the specific job skills I teach a freshman or sophomore may be out of date by graduation day. Rather than teaching students how to use a particular piece of software, I want to teach self-sufficiency and critical thinking; I want to…

Surgeon Promising Head Transplant Now Asks America for Help

Saving this article. What a story. Nowhere does the reporter insert an opinion, but the take-away message is powerful. “I think it’s phenomenal,” Dieter said. “If you don’t think out of the box, you can’t get anything done out of the box.” Dieter and about 75 other conference delegates were clearly hoping for an entertaining and possibly inspirational presentation. They didn’t get it. Canavero rambled for two and a half…

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Go Ask Alice

From the tangled tale of mass literacy one can pluck a few specific objects—books that were to be found in every household where there was somebody who could read and people who wanted to listen. Aside from the Bible, a typical list would run like this: “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” “Robinson Crusoe,” and “Gulliver’s Travels,” to which were later added “The Pickwick Papers” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Notice that Alice…