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How To Escape The Procrastination Doom Loop

Instead of being lazy or disorganized, people usually put things off because they aren’t in the right mood to complete the task. Doing so places you firmly inside the procrastination doom loop. Since you’ve decided that you aren’t in the right mood to work, you distract yourself with other tasks—checking email, checking the news, cleaning your desk, talking to a coworker, etc.—and by the time you come up for air,…

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This is How Literary Fiction Teaches Us to Be Human

Practicing empathy through drama and poetry and art and games and face-to-face conversations and human acts of all kinds matters. This article covers the specific social benefits that come from reading literary fiction. Film critic Roger Ebert called movies the most powerful empathy machines, but someone with the right knowledge base can say pretty much the same thing about other genres. What we can say about the virtues of movies…

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This Is How My Composition & Culture Class Preps an Oral Presentation

Instead of delivering a formal speech for my approval, my students are off in groups, listening to each other. I should note that I don’t let all my students go off like all semester long. They’ve worked hard to get to the point where they know what they need to do, and they are ready to be critical and supportive peer audiences. A healthy democracy is full of people who…

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Things I will tell my kids if they become entrepreneurs

Lots of good live advice in these slides. My favorite applies to taking risks of all sorts. When my students ask me “what should I pick for my topic” or “what do you want me to write about?” they are not thinking of how much they will learn by coming up with their own topic on their own — even if that means making several midcourse corrections. The whole slide…

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STAR TREK’s Still as Relevant on the 50th Anniversary

In situations of change, it is natural for human beings to look for touchstones. As a human being, I had always sought a center to my life, an example to follow. What I hadn’t realized was that I was already following a path into the future. It was pointed out to me at a business meeting. I was comparing a current problem to something I had watched on television the…

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Neuroscientist Explores the Ethical Quandries of a Digital Afterlife

Now imagine the resources required to simulate the brains of millions or billions of dead people. It’s possible that some future technology will allow for unlimited RAM and we’ll all get free service. The same way we’re arguing about health care now, future activists will chant, “The afterlife is a right, not a privilege!” But it’s more likely that a digital afterlife will be a gated community and somebody will…

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The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb.

The song “No One Is Alone,” from the musical Into the Woods, always gives me chills. Last year when my daughter was learning it in her voice class, I helped her work through some of the words. While the whole musical has a dark tone that I find comes too close to nihilism, in the context of that darkness, I find this part deeply moving: Everybody makes One another’s terrible mistakes Witches…