I call it that because a lot of this week's links come from the WaPo and the NYT... so be it. But don't be bothered by the source ;-) 1. God Says Yes to Me
I had forgotten about this poem by Kaylin Haught, but I recently rediscovered it during a re-read of Patty Digh's Life is a Verb:
Lots at the link. Here's just one. Whoa!
NPR: When you really want something, you start to focus on it obsessively. When you're hungry, it's hard to think of anything other than food, when you're desperately poor, you constantly worry about making ends meet. Scarcity produces a kind of tunnel vision, and it explains why, when we're in a hole, we often lose sight of long-term priorities and dig ourselves even deeper. Here's Sendhil.
MULLAINATHAN: What if it's not that poor people are somehow deficient but that poverty makes everyone less capable, that it's the - that it's you and I tomorrow, were we to become poor, would all of a sudden have the same effect, that poverty is in some sense changing our minds?
VEDANTAM: Of course, if this hypothesis is true, then...
MULLAINATHAN: The same person, when they're poor, should have very different cognitive capacity than when they're rich.
So critical for empathy. Also helpful to understand as we discuss policy solutions to poverty.
Several animals profiled here! I'd never given much thought to what happens when animals emerge from hibernation.
Arctic ground squirrels hibernate farther north than any other animal. They enter torpor in August or September, and stay in suspended animation underground for up to 270 days, reducing their metabolism by well over 90 percent to survive.
To achieve this, males shrink their testes and stop testosterone production, which means they must experience puberty every spring. When they awaken in mid-March, they live off a cache of seeds, berries, mushrooms and willow leaves while sexually maturing and bulking up.
The article profiles Marcus Bullock, the chief executive of Flikshop, an app that helps people in prison connect with friends and family. He also leads apprenticeship programs for former inmates through the nonprofit Free Minds Book Club.
He got the idea for the app when he himself was in prison. For me the key insight is here:
Do you have any regrets?
No. Because my failure has been my tutor my entire career. And the thing is, I never would be able to be in the markets I am, with this technology, had I never gone to prison. Obviously, I wouldn’t, you know, give anyone advice to go to prison so you can come home with a good idea. [Laughs.] But what I will say is I was able to somehow take the adversity of a situation and really build out the next steps of my life.
I think it's OK for people to feel regret. But what he's describing is improv, people. Yes-and.
You've probably picked up the fact that I love running. It has given so much to my life, mentally as much as physically. Click the link for a whole collection of articles to help you get started. I'd love to cheer you on!
Pro-tips (from me, but many of them echoed in the article)
- get fitted for shoes at a running store
- start slow and easy--slower and easier than you think you should
- listen to your body--pain does not equal gain, especially in the beginning
- don't believe the hype that running ruins your knees--that's been debunked.)
- if running really doesn't work for you after giving it a decent effort, move. Do something.
Speaking of running, I never tire of videos like this. This one's from this weekend's Philadelphia Half Marathon:
The article is poignant and important, but I especially want to highlight one of the comments on the article. (Side note: the reader- and NYT-curated comments are a worthy exception to the rule never to read the comments. They are frequently insightful.)
Read the article, but here's the comment:
A few years ago I inherited papers from some German relatives, whom I had come to know as gentle and lovely people. The elder relatives claimed they were never Nazis. I did not argue with them but also did not believe them. I assumed they were among the so-called ordinary Germans, who later re-wrote their own role. I asked a student of mine to please translate the papers, and that is how I made an incredibly moving discovery. Buried in those papers was a letter they had received from the Nazi party, upbraiding them for failing to do their duty and join the party. The letter was obviously a form letter sent to anyone who had not joined. The letter concluded with a line that chilled me to my center--it said something like this: "You will be judged in the future by what you fail to do today". The letter's intent, obviously, was to shame recipients into joining with a triumphant cause. Instead, a great granddaughter wept as she read a letter confirming the fact that some Germans indeed did refuse, as long as possible, to allow shame to shape their actions. Just as the courageous author of this op ed shows, our seemingly innocuous decisions in the midst of confusing times may haunt or profoundly influence our descendants. Today's actions matter not just for today.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
Or for good people to gradually, incrementally, go along with terrible things.
I continue to appreciate Ana Marie Cox's podcast about difficult conversations. A description of this week's episode:
Disagreeing about facts is one thing, what if you disagree about reality? Adam Savage (“Mythbusters,” Tested.com) joins to help a WFLT listener whose sister has embraced right-wing conspiracy theories. MTV’s Ezekiel Kweku comes by to discuss how America’s dystopian future could be based on its dystopian past.
Our family looooooooves Adam Savage and misses Mythbusters every Sunday night during our basement pizza picnic when we watch a show together. He was very wise on this episode, and Kweku was also insightful in explaining the appeal of conspiracy theories--on both sides.
10. Adorable Humans
This was charming:
Go be adorable!