The Righteous Mind

I just finished “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion,” a very accessible mainstream (non-academic) book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Takeaways: Our rational minds are to our emotional/instinctual selves like riders on an elephant. When the elephant leans even slightly to one side, the riders look in that direction and start coming up with rational arguments about why it’s a good idea to go…

Elmo? Yes, I do mind. I learned far more from Bert.

Like plenty of people my age, I grew up watching Sesame Street. As a parent of kids born in 1998 and 2002, the dominance of Elmo was notable. We purchased a handful of videos and games, and regularly cycled through the videos and games at our library. I remember being disappointed that the other characters were getting sidelined to make room for more and more Elmo, whose stories skewed young. When…

Why teens need live theater in the age of YouTube

A good article from the Boston Globe. The plays I saw with my dad handed us a script on every uncomfortable topic parents and children both painstakingly avoid and desperately need to discuss. If YouTube’s current teenage audience is anything like my teenage self, they won’t take kindly to their parents telling them to get offline. At that age, my dad disparaging a website I genuinely loved felt like proof…

What Can Science Tell Us About Dad Jokes?

Beyond making the audience cringe and, hopefully, bring a father a little closer to his son or daughter in a healthy manner, puns have given researchers insight into how the left side of the brain engages with the right side. Researchers showed that the brain’s left hemisphere processes the language of the pun first, while the right side takes a few beats to catch the ambiguous dual meaning in a 2016 study…

Why Student Athletes Continue to Fail

When student athletes were asked how much they care about athletics, they rated their interest a healthy 8.5 on average, on a scale of 1 to 10. But when asked the value they place on academics, the result was higher than 9 on average. If anything, the average student athlete cares more about his studies than his sport. #StudentBeforeAthlete indeed. So why do they underperform in their classes? One possible and intriguing…

Time Might Only Exist in Your Head. And Everyone Else’s

Tired brain can’t quite process this Wired summary of a scholarly paper, but I enjoyed how the good writing helped me peek into a field I know so little about. Time moves as it does because humans are biologically, neurologically, philosophically hardwired to experience it that way. It’s like a macro-scale version of Schrödinger’s cat. A faraway corner of the universe might be moving future to past. But the moment…