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Halloween Candy Poisonings, School Shootings and Human Psychology

What can parents do to minimize their children’s risk of being hurt or killed by poison or sharp objects in Halloween candy? How many children would you say die each year from eating poisoned candy (or candy with razor blades and such) each Halloween? Just two or three? Maybe only one every few years? In the year 2006, two children drowned while riding tricycles into swimming pools. Should parents be…

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D&D-Themed movie Zero Charisma pits Nerds vs. Hipsters

My wife usually gives me nerd-themed DVDs as gifts, so I probably won’t make any effort to see this movie on my own. Still, I’m glad to know someone has made a movie that touches on the hipsterization of nerd culture, and I enjoyed reading the well-written review. Like lots of apologists and upholders of D&D (this writer included), Scott infuses D&D with a cultural significance. He trashes modern video…

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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…