Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 12.53.38 AM

The Novel as a Tool for Survival

Much of what Krystal writes about the novel also applies to drama, but the difference is that theatre presupposes a community. The writing, editing, manufacture, sale, and criticism of books is, of course, a communal endeavor, but the novel as an artifact can be experienced in isolation. Fiction, speaking very generally, is about the individual in society, about the expectations and conflicts that color a life when an obdurate reality…

CPS Confirms Hoverboards Are Illegal To Ride On The Pavement And The Road

A trend story about millennials, by The New York Times

“When it comes down to it, life is really all about finding a hashtag for yourself and sending hilarious emoji on Venmo,” Packard said, and then, after a moment of reflection, added: “Lena Dunham.” […] “You’ve gotta ask yourself: Would you downvote the Yik Yak of your own life?” Delaney mused. His mood quickly soured. “Broad City is on,” he explained, removing a selfie stick from his man-purse. This devotion…


We Are Hopelessly Hooked [on our Gadgets]

We check our phones 221 times a day—an average of every 4.3 minutes—according to a UK study. This number actually may be too low, since people tend to underestimate their own mobile usage. In a 2015 Gallup survey, 61 percent of people said they checked their phones less frequently than others they knew. Our transformation into device people has happened with unprecedented suddenness. […] What does it mean to shift…


I Made My Friends Test the 19th Century’s Hottest Dating Tactic: Reading Aloud

There are perfectly good reasons to read aloud that don’t involve skirting Victorian restrictions on the stoking of passions, but I was somewhat amused by this assessment of the place of reading in today’s culture. It reminds me of the story of the local officials who, upon learning that the number of books in a family’s home is a good predictor of a student’s academic success, handed out free books…

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 5.37.25 PM

Kids Turn Bratz into Star Wars Rey Dolls

Sometimes, I catch myself thinking there may be hope for the future.    There has been something of an outcry over the toy merchandising associated with Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the apparent dearth of Rey dolls in play sets (Rey being the lead female character in the film). Parts and Crafts, a family makerspace and community workshop based in Somerville, MA, decided to take matters into their own…

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 4.10.08 PM

Rest assured, there will soon be enough Rey toys to monetize the imaginations of the little girls who grew out of princess worship

The problems of female characters being under-represented in geek merchandise is real. But when it’s a secondary character like Gamora or Black Widow, at least toy companies have an excuse. When the girl is not just the star of the movie, but of the whole franchise, that’s another story. That character, of course, is Rey, the main character of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the latest problem has to…

A school girl wearing a padded hood to protect her from falling debris, walks in school field during an earthquake simulation exercise at an elementary school in Tokyo

Why Japanese Kids Can Walk to School Alone

It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: Children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats. They wear knee socks, polished patent-leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as 6 or 7, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight. Even…