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Five myths about daylight saving time

No, Daylight Saving Time was not created to help farmers (actually, they hate it) and no, it doesn’t save energy (running the air conditioner longer in the evenings costs more than we save by turning on fewer lights in the morning). And why are we on “Daylight Standard Time” just four months out of the year? Reading about these myths will make you an *informed* sleep-deprived Monday morning grump. Daylight…

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Perchance to Dream: LARPing Hamlet at Castle Elsinore

This is the concept of Inside Hamlet, an interactive performance that takes place this weekend and next in the real Elsinore, at Denmark’s Kronborg Castle. Over the course of three five-hour acts, 100 actors will assume the roles of royals and servants of the House of Hamlet—and other related houses who have taken refuge at the fortress—and imagine the action that follows. They will be imagining because … there is…

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The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking

I quibble with The Chronicle headline writer’s notion that paper & pencil are “no-tech,” but hand-written notes are valuable. Students tested right after a lecture tended to answer factual questions equally well regardless of how they took notes, but students who handwrote their notes did consistently better on conceptual questions. What’s more, when students were tested again a week later, the longhand note takers performed consistently better on both factual…

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The six wives of Henry VIII, in pie chart form

If you’ve ever wanted to see the reigns of Henry VIII’s wives represented in a pie chart, the New Statesman is here to serve. Catherine was queen for 24 years. That’s nearly seven times longer than her nearest successor. It’s nearly 50 times longer than Anne of Cleves, who was queen for all of six months. There was barely time to adjust the headband on the crown. Frame it a…

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I’m a 12-year-old girl. Why don’t the characters in my apps look like me?

I found that when an app did sell girl characters, it charged on average $7.53, which is a lot in the world of apps. After all, each of the apps I downloaded only cost an average of $0.26. In other words, girl characters cost about 29 times more than the cost of the apps themselves. Disney’s “Temple Run Oz” charges $29.97 to become the only girl character. Sometimes there are…

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Local News in a Digital Age

Local TV news is the “most visible presence” in the news space, according to a Pew study, though most TV stories are routine traffic and weather reports and short, shallow “anchor reads” (in which the well-coiffed announcers read into the camera) rather than the result of thoughtful, original reporting. To paraphrase Into the Woods, “Visible is different than good.” Local TV is the single most visible presence in the news…

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Downsides of being a convincing liar

Test subjects whose test papers “accidentally” included the answer key had an inflated sense of how well they would do on a follow-up test that did not include answers, suggesting that the cheaters were not aware how much their performance on the first test was dependent on their access to answers. The people who’d had access to the answers predicted, on average, that they’d get higher scores on the follow-up…