Student Journalists Are Our Future—We Should Start Treating Them Like It

Catherine Palmer was already a seasoned student journalist at The Johns Hopkins News-Letter when Freddie Gray, a Baltimore native and black man, died in police custody, provoking protests across the city that swelled into what would be called the Baltimore Uprising. Even so, she was only 19 when she found herself one of the first reporters on the ground at a pivotal moment in April 2015, thrust onto the scene to cover…

How cult leaders brainwash followers for total control

With each other as validation, we began to articulate the real, dismal and frightening story of life in The O, which had as its unlikely recruiting grounds the 1970s food co-ops of the US Midwest. After a dramatic exit, I wrote the memoir Inside Out (2002). The book was an effort to understand how I, an independent, curious and intelligent 26-year-old, could have been captured and held by such a…

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Survivorship Bias – You Are Not So Smart

Successful people may just be lucky; focusing too much on their successes can silence the honorable failures that we can all stand to learn from. People who consider themselves “lucky” take more risks, and are therefore more likely to discover opportunities. They brush off their failures rather than dwell on them. People who consider themselves unlucky tend to stick to the same safe patterns. Wiseman speculated that what we call…

In Defense of Liking Things

It used to bother me that people got all excited about the color shirt that was being worn by a particular person holding (or throwing, or tossing, or avoiding) a small round object. Then I read the Onion article “Walking Sports Database Scorns Walking Sci-Fi Database:” A self-described “sports fanatic” who experiences vicarious thrills through such idols as Mike Piazza and Tiki Barber, Moreland said he can’t understand science-fiction fans’…

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A professor examines why her students seem to act so helpless (essay)

This essay on college students acting helpless (Chronicle of Higher Education) struck a few chords. I put a lot of time into writing my course policies and assignment instructions. The students who want to know how they can earn a 99 instead of a 95 invariably ask really good questions that arise from their close scrutiny of those documents; on the other end of the spectrum, however, I do get a fair share…

First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia

When my son was about five, I sat him on my lap and let him explore the world of Riven (the sequel to the point-and-click adventure Myst). I remember feeling his back muscles tense up when he approached a cave and the music got creepy. “Can I go in?” he asked. I told him he could do whatever he wanted. He turned to look at me, as if to assess…