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Operation War Diary

One hundred years ago today, Britain declared war on Germany, and the world found itself sucked into a vortex of conflict which centred for many on the battlefields of the Western Front. Every unit which slogged its way through the awful years which followed kept a war diary describing their experiences. Official accounts of movements, actions and casualties, their authors often allowed something of themselves into the pages as well,…

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I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax

Hoaxes roam the Information Superhighway, camouflaged as factoids. Consider this one: “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon.” The “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon” factoid had been cited in a lesson plan by a Taiwanese English professor. It was cited in a book about Jews and Jesus. It was cited in innumerable blog posts and book reports, as well as a piece by blogger Hanny Hernandez, who speculated that Amelia…

Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position

That’s not an argument. (Yes it is.)

I spent some time this afternoon sifting through lecture notes to create a new handout: Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position In everyday language, we may use the word “argument” to mean very different things. In the living room, siblings Charles and Petra argue about what movie to watch. The two groups of protestors chanted slogans and waved signs, arguing about abortion. The prosecutor argued that Wilson was at the scene of the crime, while the defense argued that Wilson…

Tips to Improve Happiness

King says many simple and effective techniques exist for managing stress. He suggests a few immediate and long-term methods for soothing frayed nerves. IMMEDIATE ACTIONS Stop, pause, and breathe. See the bigger picture. Contact a friend. LONG-TERM ACTIONS Diet and exercise. Daily “me time”. Remember to H.A.L.T.: “Make sure you’re not Hungry, you’re not Angry, you’re not Lonely, and you’re not Tired. If you can take care of those four…

The Cost of Defining Yourself as an Introvert or Extrovert

In a nutshell, introversion is not about a preference to be alone. It not about being anxious around other people. It is not about being overwhelmed by cortical activity in the absence of stimulation. At its core, introversion is about deriving less reward from being the center of social attention. Getting the spotlight is not that important or fulfilling. Extraverts, in contrast, love social attention. It energizes them, it brings…

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The Key To Better Work? E-mail Less, Flow More

What the researchers found was that the typical diversion caused by an e-mail was nine minutes and 30 seconds in length. Now that was just the time spent on the e-mail itself. After that, it still took the participants of the study another 16 minutes to resume their primary task. That’s a lot of lost time. Not only does e-mail hinder our ability to accomplish the essential aspects of our…

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Why Creative Side Projects Are Good for You

San Francisco State psychology professor Dr. Kevin Eschleman and his colleagues measured the effect of creative hobbies on over 400 employees. In two separate groups—one rated by coworkers and one self-rated—those with a creative hobby were more likely to be helpful, collaborative, and creative with their job performance. | As an added bonus, outside of work those with hobbies felt more relaxed and in control. –Why Creative Side Projects Are…