Reading fiction early in life is associated with a more complex worldview, study finds

This study relied in part on the repondents’ self-reporting of what they read as children, but it was a complex study that approached the core issue from multiple angles. The researchers note that an “association” is not a “cause” — yet the correlation is still worth reflecting on: Those people who did not read fiction in early life have a fundamentally different worldview than those who did. Research has demonstrated that people who read more fiction tend to have better perspective-taking abilities. Now, new research published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has found that reading more fiction early in life is…

Necessary Evil (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 8) Odo revisits his first case — an unsolved murder under the Cardassian occupation

Rewatching ST:DS9 On a stormy night on Bajor, a widower in an elegant salon with no electric power offers to pay Quark to retrieve a box from the shop her husband used to keep on Terek Nor (the Cardassian name for what we know as DS9). Inside the box Quark finds only a list of Bajoran names, and sends Rom to “get me an imager.” A thug appears, steals the list, and shoots Quark. Sisko and Odo play good cop / bad cop to get the rattled Rom to spill details. When Odo enters the scene of the crime, the…

Rules of Acquisition (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 7) Plucky waiter Pel offers Quark sound financial advice

Rewatching ST:DS9 After-hours at Quark’s, Dax is gambling with the Ferengi and casually challenging their uber-patriarchy. A spunky young waiter named Pel makes a business suggestion to Quark; Rom is envious. The Grand Nagus Zek (Ferengi financial leader) makes a video call, offering Quark an “opportunity.” Zek negotiates with Sisko for permission to hold a conference on the station, and sweetens the deal with an offer of fertilizer for Bajor. Zek’s plan is to have Quark negotiate for tulaberries from the other side of the wormhole. Rom is proud of his brother, but Pel advises caution, and winds up a…

Darwin Was Wrong: Your Facial Expressions Do Not Reveal Your Emotions

In real life, people express a given emotion with tremendous variability. In anger, for example, people in urban cultures scowl (or make some of the facial movements for a scowl) only about 35 percent of the time, according to meta-analyses of studies measuring facial movement during emotion. Scowls are also not specific to anger because people scowl for other reasons, such as when they are concentrating or when they have gas. The same tremendous variation occurs for every emotion studied—and for every other measure that purportedly tells us about someone’s emotional state, whether it’s their physiology, voice or brain activity.…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article on my colleague Lee McClain), but I’m definitely not as good as I was in my youth, when I spent more of my day around a flow of people whose…

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The Host (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 23) Dr. Beverly Crushes on a Symbiont

Rewatching ST:TNG Trek explores some cultural boundaries by having Crusher fall in love with an ambassador who is not what he seems. But before we get to that plot twist, we get comedy from Data not realizing he has interrupted a turbolift make-out session, some decent setup concerning a conflict between two moons of Peliar Zel, a girl-talk scene between Crusher and Troi, and some shuttlecraft pew-pew action. As the humanoid she thinks of as Ambassador Odan dies, Crusher learns that his personality really comes from a slug-like creature inhabiting a host body. Riker volunteers to be a temporary host…

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Half a Life (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 22) Lwaxana Meets Cogsworth

Rewatching ST:TNG The teaser sets up another comic episode with Lwaxana Troi, and the first few acts deliver accordingly. This time, Lwaxana (Majel Barett) sets her sights on Doctor Timicin (David Ogden Stiers), a reserved scientist focused on saving his world’s dying star. This episode has many long scenes of Space Science, some of which exist simply to be interrupted by Lwaxana’s antics, but one is an overlong bridge scene where Picard gives orders and the other characters look intensely at computer monitors. Such gripping dialogue! Laforge: One-ninety. And now two hundred million. Timicin: It’s happening. Laforge: Two-oh-seven and rising.…

Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books

A good article analyzes the strong cultural reactions to voluntary changes made by the companies that manage the “Potato Head” toy line and the books of Dr. Seuss. Cries of “censorship” and “cancel culture” rallied passionate citizens who defended their nostalgic memories of childhood and sought targets for their rage. I just read an article on new allegations against Peter Yarrow. I knew that he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14yo, though I didn’t remember he was pardoned by Jimmy Carter. When I teach Shakespeare I emphasize that yes, he was a product of his times, but that his…

Karate, Wonton, Chow Fun: The end of ‘chop suey’ fonts

Close your eyes and imagine the font you’d use to depict the word “Chinese.” There’s a good chance you pictured letters made from the swingy, wedge-shaped strokes you’ve seen on restaurant signs, menus, take-away boxes and kung-fu movie posters. | Variations on the font are commercially distributed as Wonton, Peking, Buddha, Ginko, Jing Jing, Kanban, Shanghai, China Doll, Fantan, Martial Arts, Rice Bowl, Sunamy, Karate, Chow Fun, Chu Ching San JNL, Ching Chang and Chang Chang. | It’s hard not to cringe at the Chinese stereotypes bundled up with each font package — especially when seen through the lens of today’s…

How to Reduce Racial Bias in Grading (Use Objective Rubrics)

To gauge the potential impact of a standardized rubric on grading bias, I conducted an experiment comparing how teachers graded two identical second-grade writing samples: one presented as the work of a Black student, and one as the work of a white student.

My experiment found that teachers gave the white student better marks across the board—with one exception. When teachers used a grading rubric with specific criteria, racial bias all but disappeared. When teachers evaluated student writing using a general grade-level scale, they were 4.7 percentage points more likely to consider the white child’s writing at or above grade level compared to the identical writing from a Black child. However, when teachers used a grading rubric with specific criteria, the grades were essentially the same.

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No, Kirk and Uhura didn’t share the first interracial kiss on television

See Also: Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch Great post from Fake History Hunter: It is often said that the first interracial kiss on TV was the (involuntary) kiss between Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) and translator and communications officer Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) in the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” that was broadcast on the 22nd of November 1968. This is not the case. There had of course been interracial kisses before in Star Trek but these were between humans and aliens but for some reason those don’t count when people are…

A stranger approached me today.

A stranger approached me today. I was actually kind of terrified at first, since the last time a stranger approached me it was a security guard telling me I had overstayed my welcome in a mall that was closing for the night. (I was trying to get work done while waiting for a family member to return from a sidequest.) But this person was just curious, and friendly. And she spoke loudly enough that I could hear her through her mask. She — a stranger — spoke to me, asking where I had bought my iPad keyboard case. I told…

Opinion | Defiant, Now Infected: Trump Is a Morality Tale

From Frank Bruni, NYT It’s a measure of the cynicism that has infected American politics — and, yes, me — that among my initial reactions to the news that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus was: Are we sure? Can we trust that? A man who so frequently and flamboyantly plays the victim, and who has been prophylactically compiling ways to explain away or dispute a projected election loss to Joe Biden, is now being forced off the campaign trail, which will be a monster of an excuse. I couldn’t help thinking that. I couldn’t help thinking, too,…

Scientists should be goggled and in the lab, where they belong. Shut up and make me a vaccine, beaker-nerd!

Am I doing the tribal rage thing right? Laura Helmuth of Scientific American says the decision to break tradition was both unanimous and quick: “We took this decision very seriously. You don’t give up 175 years of tradition for nothing.” —‘Scientific American’ Breaks 175 Years Of Tradition, Endorses A Presidential Nominee –NPR

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No, Dr. Anthony Fauci did not write the “How dare you you risk the lives of others so cavalierly?” essay

A copy-paste meme I’ve encountered recently compares chickenpox, herpes and HIV with COVID-19, and builds up to a powerful rebuke to those who dismiss the seriousness of the current pandemic. I was particularly moved by these words: For those in our society who suggest that people being cautious are cowards, for people who refuse to take even the simplest of precautions to protect themselves and those around them, I want to ask, without hyperbole and in all sincerity: How dare you? How dare you risk the lives of others so cavalierly. How dare you decide for others that they should…

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What the police really believe: Inside the distinctive, largely unknown ideology of American policing — and how it justifies racist violence.

“That whole thing about the bad apple? I hate when people say that,” Rizer tells me. “The bad apple rots the barrel. And until we do something about the rotten barrel, it doesn’t matter how many good fucking apples you put in.” Fascinating story, that starts by focusing on Arthur Rizer, a former military police officer who directs the criminal justice program at “a center-right think tank in DC.”  Also includes a thoughtful analysis of the “thin blue line” emblem and the “us vs them” philosophy behind its popularity. Officers are conditioned to see themselves as constantly in danger and…

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Theatre Crowd Mustn’t Be Bitter

The en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try seems up­set that pubs are to be opened be­fore any theatres or mu­sic venues. But you can un­der­stand why the pubs have pri­or­ity – it’s a mat­ter of safety. Theatres are wild places where you can’t con­trol the public. So of­ten, dur­ing a show by a comic, the au­di­ence spreads viruses by for­get­ting they have a ticket for seat 19b and mov­ing across to seat 23f and sit­ting on some­one else’s lap. Once they’ve got over-ex­cited by read­ing the programme, they’re back and forth to the toi­let, spread­ing germs around. And some­times when vi­o­lin­ist Ni­cola Benedetti is…