How reading fiction can help improve our mental health

In general, I avoid clicking on any headline with the weasel words “can” or “might.” However, I did enjoy this reflection on the positive impact of literary reading. I’m teaching a compressed online literature course, so that involves re-reading the literary works I assigned, as well as engaging with what my students write about those works. I’m reading ahead to prep for my spring courses, but in addition to the…

Consciousness: Where Are Words?

Words, words, words. With the advent of the stream of consciousness in twentieth-century literature, it has come to seem that the self is very much a thing made of words, a verbal construction forever narrating itself and reconstituting itself in language. In line with the dominant, internalist view of consciousness, it is assumed that this all takes place in the brain—specifically, two parts known as Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area…

3

Know your rights: photographers — what to do if you are stopped or detained for taking photographs

When is it legal to make a video in a public place? A kerfluffle at my local mall involves a restaurant owner accused of mocking and taking video of a special needs person having a meltdown. Several times a week I take my son to the food court and hand him my credit card. More than half the time he chooses to patronize this establishment. (I’ll continue to let him…

How We Found Tom Price’s Private Jets

Great behind-the-scenes story of the hard work that went into breaking the Tom Price private travel story. The first tip came from a casual conversation with a source back in May: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was using private jets for routine travel, possibly in violation of federal travel rules that allowed such flights only when commercial options weren’t available. |  But it was a tip and little else…

2

Death of NFL inevitable as middle class abandons the game

Like vegan pizzas and secular Christmas celebrations, I can hear and understand the reasoning behind why people like football, but their explanation does nothing to make me want to participate on any level. So it’s very interesting to me to read this report of an apparent cultural shift, sparked by concerns about brain injury. You really think the NFL is worried about young athletes? If so, they’d have changed the…

1

Any Interaction with a Service Dog Is Distracting

The director of our counseling and accommodations office sent out a Word document with tips on how to interact with service animals. (Basically, ignore the animal, who is busy working. You can silently push the “door open” button if you see a person and service animal approaching the door, but don’t expect the person to take time to indulge your desire to play with or talk about the animal.) I…