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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How To Get People To Tell The Truth

You may have heard of the legend of Diogenes of Sinope, who supposedly wandered around ancient Greece, carrying a lantern and searching for an honest man ( https://www.ancient.eu/Diogenes_of_Sinope/).  And the search continues today. So how do you make sure people are telling you the truth?  Science says it simply depends on how you ask the question.

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Arranged Marriage as a Game

It’s always interesting to watch what happens when cultures combine.  For example, arranged marriages are common in some parts of the world. If you were from Pakistan and wanted to explain how marriages usually happen, how would you go about it?  How about a board game? Nashra Balagamwala was from Pakistan originally and now works

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Economic Benefits of Endangered Species

When you read about the Endangered Species Act, it’s usually within two contexts — a specific species that’s recovering, or the economic costs of adhering to the law.  So I was a bit surprised to see the headline “The Endangered Species Act Is Criticized for Its Costs. But It Generates More than $1 Trillion a

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Free Speech and Higher Education

I’m a poor choice to write on the implications of free speech at colleges and universities.  Both my undergraduate and graduate degrees were earned at military schools, and I didn’t get onto a “real” college campus until age 57, when I retrained for my teaching license. But I do know that colleges have become coveted

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On Kitchen Gadgets

Have you ever heard of the Miracle Slicer?  I thought it was great until it took a chunk  out of a little finger (anyone for red cucumbers?). Cooking the right way is hard and it seems like there are so many gadgets marketed to make it easier.  But if you’re like me, all they do

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The Importance of Piano Lessons

I never took piano lessons; my instrument was a tenor saxophone.  But I know music lessons are an important part of growing up — at the least it’s a sneaky way to teach kids math, especially fractions. My opinion has been reinforced by a new study, involving Mandarin-speaking Chinese kindergarteners, that claims the piano can

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Documenting Children and War

Keeping up with the news can be sobering, even depressing, especially when children are involved.  But every once in a while, a story grabs your attention like a slap across the face.  Like tonight. I don’t know how many watch PBS’s “News Hour” ( https://www.pbs.org/newshour/ ), but a story late in tonight’s broadcast really brought home

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Why We Procrastinate

Do you ever have a list of jobs to do and find yourself doing the less-important ones first?  I know I do.  So I was relieved to read there is a scientific explanation — the urgency effect. According to the article “Why Your Brain Tricks You Into Doing Less Important Tasks” by Tim Herrera, “Our

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