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April 20, 2015

"The Genius of Chutzpah"

Rabbi Ed Feinstein:

This is the epitome of chutzpah. The human being dresses God down in no unsubtle terms. Far be it from You! The original Hebrew hallilah lecha is actually much more earthy. The connotation is closer to my grandmother’s Yiddish curse, Shonda! Herpah! “Shame on You! You’re better than that!” Abraham gives voice to his utter disappointment in God’s betrayal of their shared ideal of justice: How could You, God, blur the moral distinction between good and evil, between innocence and guilt? Is that the world You designed? Shame on You! You’re better than that!

April 07, 2015

"Man who lived modestly leaves millions in surprise donations"

Stories like this pop up from time to time. I used to present a few to high school students. It's one thing to talk about thrift and the power of compound interest in theory, but it's another thing to cite actual examples.

The investments made by Ronald Read, a former gas station employee and janitor who died in June at age 92, "grew substantially" over the years, said his attorney Laurie Rowell. . . .

The bequest of $4.8 million to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and $1.2 million to the town's Brooks Memorial Library were the largest each institution has ever received. 

Here's another example: "Secret millionaire donates fortune to Lake Forest College".

April 06, 2015

"18 Women on What Contractions Really Feel Like"

"Reading their responses, I am left with gratitude and awe, and the conviction that women are, truly, so much better than men."

March 24, 2015

"How This Mother Of Seven Children Does It"

Terrific piece. I don't think I could have coped with seven, but I salute those who do.

March 04, 2015

"How to survive a disaster"

From the BBC, highlighting the research of John Leach, University of Portsmouth.

So the only reliable way to shortcut this kind of impaired thinking, most survival experts agree, is by preparing for an emergency in advance. . . . Typically, survivors survive not because they are braver or more heroic than anyone else, but because they are better prepared.

Link via Instapundit who observes, "Maybe a little bit of panic is a good thing."

March 02, 2015

"If anything I exult in the quantity of decisions."

Amen, James Lileks, Amen.

I know where everything is. I have never felt overwhelmed by the quantity of decisions I am required to make, because I have in my head a set of standards: price, quality, how the excesses in this item will be offset by the virtues in this other one, and so on. If anything I exult in the quantity of decisions. To live in a land with 17 types of canned corn! 

February 24, 2015

"Why We Need to See the Stars"

Good argument.

Throughout all of history, the stars have served as humanity's quintessential source of curiosity.

What happens when we are shielded from celestial inspiration, and from truly seeing our place in the Cosmos? Do we look down and wonder less? Do we lose our sense of scale? Does our ingrained drive to explore dwindle?

Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

February 19, 2015

"The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai"

Very interesting, but it sounds easier said than done.

February 17, 2015

"My neighborhood revolution, one letter at a time"

Outstanding. Pass it along to your favorite do-gooding Liberal with the suggestion that instead of plumping for more big government, he or she should spend some time teaching a little kid to read. Or even better, an adult.

The number of illiterate people in our country is criminal. The number of people who are aware of the literacy rate and choose to do nothing is even more criminal. Convincing people to read in a society where the primary use for books is decorations and drink coasters will be extremely difficult; however, I think we can do it if we work together collectively and just take it one word, one sentence, one paragraph and one book at a time.

February 03, 2015

"17 things I wish they taught in college"

Simply fabulous. I recommend the whole thing, but here are five of the ones I liked best:

An introduction to brevity: Student turns in an essay, professor deletes every other word and shows them how much better it sounds. . . . 

Things you were taught but should quickly forget: A group of business owners tells students what theories their business professors taught that are theoretical nonsense and should be disregarded as soon as possible. . . .

Statistics for real people: Regardless of major. And practical statistics, with real-world problems that you'd actually encounter and can solve with a calculator or Excel. . . .

An examination of the easiest ways to ruin your life: Course has three parts: debt, diet, and exercise. . . . 

Understanding compound interest 101: Students are given one homework assignment on the first day, two on the next day, four on the next, then eight, 16, 32. Once someone points out how absurd this is the professor says, "Yes, it's completely absurd. Now go invest your money."

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