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How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses

First of all, I’m always wary about any news article with “could” in the headline. Second, Wired produces a lot of paragraphs without actually giving away anything about the radical new teaching method (which is simply a motion from the “sage on the stage” model to the “guide on the side” — the current state of the art in teaching, and a huge difference from the rote memorization and social…

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Tom Bissell writes a letter to Niko Bellic about Grand Theft Auto V

I haven’t played GTAV, and probably never will, but that’s just because I have less time for playing games now. Almost everyone I know who loves video games — myself included — is broken in some fundamental way. With their ceaseless activity and risk-reward compulsion loops, games also soothe broken people. This is not a criticism. Fanatical readers tend to be broken people. The type of person who goes to…

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The ‘Little Free Library’ arrives in the D.C. area

The “Little Free Library” concept started four years ago in the Midwest, when an entrepreneur named Todd Bol watched his neighbors gobble up books placed outside his home. Back then, he dreamed that 2,500 similar libraries would be constructed by 2014. He was naive. There are already more than 10,000. In the District, the first recorded little library belongs to Vahab. He built it in January, thinking it might be…

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5 Ways to Avoid Being Rude (According to 100-Year-Old Etiquette Rules)

If you are a gentleman, never lower the intellectual standard of your conversation in addressing ladies. Pay them the compliment of seeming to consider them capable of an equal understanding with gentlemen. You will, no doubt, be somewhat surprised to find in how many cases the supposition will be grounded on fact, and in the few instances where it is not. When you “come down’ to commonplace or small talk…

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Disruptions: Texting Your Feelings, Symbol by Symbol

Being a word-oriented thinker, I don’t have much interest in emoji icons. I dislike it when an autocorrect turns a traditional sideways smiley into an icon. My daughter, who at age 11 is too young for a Facebook account, sometimes uses my Facebook account to chat with her slightly-older teen friends, which means that when I am using Facebook on another device, chat windows pop up and fill themselves with…

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13: The Musical Promo

Here are some clips from a heartfelt, belty ballad that my daughter and her good friend will be singing this weekend in “13: The Musical.” They’ll each be playing the part of Patrice (the protagonist’s love interest) on different nights. The song is “The Lamest Place in the World.” We spent a fun afternoon filming around town.  

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Ben Franklin Sings about Your Rights as a Photographer

If you’re legally present on a public street or sidewalk, you can legally photograph anything in plain view. (This includes children and crime victims… but just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea.) If law enforcement engages you, ask whether you are free to go; if so, then move out of the way. Don’t interfere with a crime scene or traffic. Don’t record private conversations or telephone…

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Handshakes Really Do Matter

Monday night handshake/eye contact practice. [W]hen was the last time you analyzed your handshake? Consider these questions: If you are a male and you meet a female, who should extend their hand first? If you are a male and you are meeting another male, who should extend his hand first? If you are a female and you are meeting a male, who should extend their hand first? If you are…

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Rules for Civility: 14-Year-Old George Washington’s 110 Commandments for Cultivating Character

Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present. When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy Discovered. Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright him. In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet. –Brain Pickings.

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The Physics Behind Traffic Jams

In between today’s various events, I dashed into the store for milk. As I was preparing to back out of my space, I saw a little old lady pushing her cart along, not realizing that my engine was running and I was about to back out. To make a long story short, I didn’t try to dash out in front of her, or honk to hurry her along, I just…