The Cactus Who Wanted to Be a Christmas Tree

Katie loves Christmastime. Getting presents is nice, and playing in the snow with her friends is fun, but what she likes best are all the pretty decorations...

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Sunny and Victor: Best Friends Forever

Bears and rabbits are not supposed to be friends, but the story of how Sunny Bunny and Victor Bear became “best friends forever” is a tale of friendship...

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Some Poems About Life

(30 Actually) Gems of Wit & Wisdom

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Is Major War Obsolete?

You probably don’t realize it, but this is a pretty peaceful time in human history.  In earlier eras, an estimated 15 percent of human deaths were caused by violence; today that number is about one percent. For most of history, great empires could be amassed for relatively little cost.  In the Mexican War, for example,

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Who Was Mona Lisa?

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Mona Lisa” is perhaps the most famous work of art in the world.  I’ve never quite understood why, perhaps because of the enigmatic smile?  (An artist friend once told me Leonardo used that smile in many of his paintings.)  In any event, its fame begs the question, who was the model?

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Disturbing News About Smoking

We’ve made a lot of progress in the last several decades with smoking cessation.  Since the 1964 surgeon general’s report on this habit’s dangers, smoking rates have fallen nationwide, with only 15 percent of adults still smoking.  Smoking among some groups has plunged 62 percent. But there is a problem.  The groups with the greatest

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Meet the Chinese Internet Police

If you live in China, the Internet is tightly controlled.  CNN estimates about two million people monitor what people post ( http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/07/world/asia/china-internet-monitors/index.html); other sources say there are 100,000 censors. How obvious is it?  The Internet Surveillance Division of the Public Security Bureau in Shenzhen Province actually has two cartoon mascots to remind Internet users that

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America’s Most Misspelled Words

In case you missed it, Google Trends recently researched the hardest-to-spell words in the first four months of this year.  Their analysis identified what words was searched most often when people typed “how to spell ___” into the Google search engine.  The results were tabulated by state, then published in this map. According to a

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Canada’s Rosa Parks

When we think of civil rights, we tend to focus on our own (considerable) struggles.  But other countries have had periods of turmoil, too. Consider Canada.  Viola Desmond was a businesswoman who owned a beauty salon and school.  She was traveling across Canada, looking to expand her business, when her car broke down in New

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It’s The People You Meet

In preparing for another major trip overseas this summer, I thought back to November 2012, when I was in Athens, Greece.  This was a marathon trip, paying homage to where it all started by running on the Olympic course from the Plains of Marathon to the Olympic Stadium in the heart of Athens. Athens was

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Reaching Autistic Children

There is a lot we don’t know about autism.   I’ve been in classrooms with autistic kids many times and an as clueless as anyone. But every once in a while there’s a breakthrough story that gives us hope.  One such story is Life, Animated, a documentary movie about Ron Suskind and his son Owen.  At

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