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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The Boy Who Could Wiggle His Ears

Learning how to wiggle your ears is really hard. But you can do it if you keep trying. And if you learn to keep trying, no problem is too big. So if you can wiggle your ears, you can do anything!

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Some Poems About Life

(30 Actually) Gems of Wit & Wisdom

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What is the Opposite of a Black Hole?

I’m always amazed by the natural world around us. Especially regarding astronomy. We know black holes exist, especially since we now have photographic proof, as this photo from NASA shows. We know they will suck in anything that gets inside their event horizon. But where does all of that cosmic material go? Could the black

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If You Think This Immigration Battle Is Heated…

As a history nerd, I know that immigration has frequently been a sticky issue in this country. I have occasionally written about this in the past, like discussing the book American Intolerance: Our Dark History of Demonizing Immigrants by Robert E. Bartholomew and Anja E. Reumschussel (http://www.bobwelbaum-author.com/xenophobia-continued/). So what could be worse than demonizing people

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What To Do With An Empty Bedroom?

Serious problems require innovative solutions. For example, affordable housing. Start with a paradox: many cities have a housing shortage, yet as the population ages many households have empty bedrooms. Why not put them together? That is the premise of Nesterly, a new service in Boston that matches residences with extra space (and lacking companionship) with

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Happy Birthday — Sliced Bread

According to The Writer’s Almanac, the first sliced bread was sold on July 7, 1928. One would think the idea would’ve caught on quickly, but this was not the case. It just shows how progress can get delayed by people who are set in their ways. Here is their account — Up until that time,

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The Demons Inside Us

My brother sent me a link to an interesting article recently, Record-Setting 70-Year-Old Marathon Champ Disqualified For Cheating. As a long-time runner myself, I wasn’t surprised. In a world with doctored baseballs and underinflated footballs, there is no reason why this sport should be immune to seeking an edge illegally. Marathon-running is now a high-profile

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Best Books For The Summer

Summertime! When we’re supposed to read books, especially if we are still in school. At least that what we’re told; every newspaper and current-events publication I read has published a summer reading list. So how to choose? I think I’ve found a solution. The Washington Post has published a list entitled The Best Books to

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Modern Travel is a Marvel ! But…

I’ve just returned from what has become my annual international trip, this time to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A modern airliner sure beats the historical alternatives, like a clipper ship. But even in this age, Murphy’s Law (“If it can go wrong, it will”) still reigns. My travel difficulties this time were so frustrating, they

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Happy Birthday — Standardized Testing

According to The Writer’s Almanac of June 17, 2019, the first standardized tests were administered by the College Board on this day in 1901. As both a student and educator, I thought the background of this event was so interesting, I’m going to quote the Almanac’s account in its entirety — Before standardized tests, many universities had

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Word Origins — Boilerplate

With so many words in the English language (I’ve seen estimates of from 400,000 to a million), there are some interesting origin stories. For example, boilerplate. According Merriam-Webster, boilerplate can mean a syndicated material supplied especially to weekly newspapers in matrix or plate form, or standardized text, especially formulaic or hackneyed language. These meanings originated in the

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