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My dad predicted Trump in 1985 – it’s not Orwell, he warned, it’s Brave New World

As my father [Neil Postman] pointed out, a written sentence has a level of verifiability to it: it is true or not true – or, at the very least, we can have a meaningful discussion over its truth. (This was pre-truthiness, pre-“alternative facts”.) But an image? One never says a picture is true or false. It either captures your attention or it doesn’t. The more TV we watched, the more…

Business is the most popular college major, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice

Make that dime-a-dozen business degree more marketable. Study the humanities or the arts, too! Learn how to develop critical thinking, self-reflection, compassion and wisdom that will help you decide what to count or measure or build, and why. And, hey, artsy people! Take a statistics or grant-writing or computer programming class. The world needs more balanced people with both a sensible head for numbers and a heart bigger than a Cheetos…

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

In The Republic, Plato uses an extended metaphor involving prisoners who can see nothing but shadows projected on the cavern wall. They know only blurry outlines of the true objects represented by the shadows, and they pride themselves on how well they can memorize and relate to the puppet shows performed by their captors. If anyone from the outside world were to come down to them and describe color, sunlight,…

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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,…

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…

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…

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…