Skip to main content


Early education seems to improve social and emotional skills later in life, study finds

David Leonhardt writes for the The New York Times in "The Morning Newsletter," 10 May 2021, that "the results from the Boston pre-K study" are " being released this morning by three economists, from the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley." It's the result of a long-term observation of some students who, at age 4 in the late 1990s, were randomly chosen to attend a pre-kindergarten program in Boston. The study found that, while those who attended pre-K "did not do noticeably better on standardized tests in elementary school, middle school or high school...More important than the scores are concrete measures of a student’s well-being. And by those measures, the students who won the lottery fared substantially better than those who lost it." Leonhardt writes that thoe who won the lottery and thus were able to attend pre-K were less likely to be suspended in high sch
Recent posts

On the attacks against trans girls in sports

The "mostly White male state legislators," Kevin B. Blackstone says in an April 18, 2021 column for the Washington Post , are "writing and passing retrograde bills against trans youth athletes" and "found the gall to couch these discriminatory laws in words such as 'fairness,' just as they have done with restrictive voting rules they envelop with words such as 'integrity.'" Yet: "There is nothing fair or honorable about these efforts. They are nothing more than malicious." The Alabama bill, deceptively titled the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, would criminalize filling a prescription for puberty-blocking medication or hormones for kids under 19 . And when the Associated Press queried lawmakers in many of these states who are drafting and passing these anti-trans youth sports bills, those legislators struggled to name an instance where trans youth athletes created a problem . Thus: The anti-trans youth athle

It would be OK if someone gave me these books for my birthday

Or, if you do not know me but you know someone else who is having a birthday, they'd probably like these books, too. The links go to Bookshop. Some people asked me for my current priority list, so, here they are. Nonfiction Matthew Salesses,  Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred Robert D. Richardson,  First we read, then we write Laraine Herring,  The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice Samantha Irby,  Wow, No Thank You Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don’t Exist Jonathan Ree, Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English Sarah Parcak, Archaeology from Space Samantha Allen, Real Queer America: LGBT Stories From Red States Fiction Callum Angus,  A Natural History of Transition Ilana Masad, All My Mother's Lovers Rebecca Roanhorse, Black Sun   |   NPR Chelsea Bieker, Godshot Bogi Takács, The Trans Space Octopus Congregat

Andrew Marvell: In Eunuchum Poetam (a 17th-century poem)

A scan of The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Andrew Marvell: Verse. Andrew Marvell lived 1621-1678. Marvell is saying that the eunuch will become famous through his poems, which will substitute for the children he will never have. The eunuch isn't "barren" insofar as he uses his "verse" to impregnate "fame," and his poems will be repeated ("Echo nurse..."), becoming "a tuneful race." IN EUNUCHUM POETAM: Nec sterilem te crede, licet mulieribus exul / Falcem virgineae nequeas immittere messi, / Et nostro peccare modo. Tibi fama perenne / Praegnabit, rapiesque novem de monte sorores, / Et pariet modulos Echo repetita nepotes. Translation. UPON A EUNUCH-POET. Deem not that thou art barren, though, forlorn, / Thou plunge no sickle in the virgin corn, / And, mateless, hast no part in our sweet curse. / Fame shall be ever pregnant by thy verse; / The vocal Sisters nine thou shalt embrace, / And Echo nurse thy words, a tune

On our ability to know how we think and change how we think

We can't change how others think. "The only book that can actually teach you how to change how others think is a lobotomy manual," wrote Bennett and Bennett. So why would we be able to control how we ourselves think? "You are the one who decides," wrote Anthony Robbins, "how to feel and act based upon the ways you choose to perceive your life. Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it. Most of us have turned this process of interpretation on automatic, but we can take that power back and immediately change our experience of the world. * * * You can run your brain as skillfully as Spielberg or Scorsese runs his set." I think that this is not true. Probably we cannot run our brains as a director runs a stage performance. And yet, we can surely influence how we think. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi made a more qualified statement. Because we can only absorb a finite amount of information, "the information we allow into consciousness bec

Quotes: Learning from people who are different

Without stealing or unfairly/inexpertly appropriating ideas from each other, we can learn from each other. Two reflections on this: “The Jew can teach the Indian a lot about how to survive as a people and as a culture while being uprooted from one’s homeland, and against the odds of genocide and forceful proselytizing campaigns perpetrated by dominant religions and cultures. The Indian can teach the Jew a lot about what the Jew has lost at the expense of centuries of survival consciousness and uprootedness from connection to the land, information that is far more fresh in the ways of the Indians than it is in the ways of contemporary Jews.” Gershon Winkler. Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 2003. p. xx. "Sufi mystics were renowned for their poetic testimonies to a paradigm of self-annihilation (fana) followed by a return to the glorious ‘subsistence’ (baqa) of everyday life. And similar notions, I believe, ar