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Superman Comic about Sympathy and Hope

Just in case someone out there could use it, here’s a powerful comic that emphasizes the power of sympathy (written by J. Michael Straczynski, creator of my second favorite TV show). No sunshine and rainbows, no victim-blaming, no finger-pointing — just humane compassion. (Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.) Superman on sympathy and hope

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What’s an environmental issue? — Gus Speth

I don’t know the provenance of this quote attributed to Gus Speth, which affirms the role of the humanities in a STEM-obsessed world, but I did find this interview, conducted by Steve Curwood. “You know, what’s an environmental issue?” And if the answer is air pollution, water pollution, climate change…then we’re really right where we’ve been. But what if an environmental issue is something that has a big effect on…

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…

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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…