“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool,” Abraham Lincoln famously said, “than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
One of the banes of instant Internet communication is the ease of impulsively dashing off the first, angry thought you have. The angrier you are, the logic seems to go, the more passionate – and therefore what you say must be so. Unfortunately, passion and logic are polar opposites.
And “I’m entitled to my opinion” is no defense. After all, expressing a foolish opinion (no matter how entitled you are to it) is precisely what Lincoln was talking
Archive for July 6th, 2011
“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool,” Abraham Lincoln famously said, “than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
It’s mid-day in early March and about a hundred women and girls are squeezed into a round “peace hut” in the Liberian village of Totota with the head of the new U.N. Agency, U.N. Women, looking on. Michelle Bachelet’s face draws a look of compassion and concern as the ceremonies
Zynga, the social gaming company founded by Mark Pincus in 2007, hopes to raise $1 billion in an IPO that follows upon the heels of the LinkedIn and Groupon IPOs of the last few months. Zynga’s IPO is expected to offer 10 percent of its shares to the public at a valuation of $20 billion. Here are ten things you should know about Zynga and its July 1 S-1 filing.
1. Unlike Groupon, Zynga is
Following up on state fiscal challenges, our CBPP team has an important new figure showing that while state revenues are getting better, they’re doing so a lot more slowly than in the past.
So I’m like… why? Are there structural changes — ways in the which the underlying relationship between growth and state revenues have changed — in play here?
To examine this possibility, I ran a very simple model of state revenues controlling for GDP growth. I ran the model through 2007q1, and predicted revenues through 2011q1. The blue line is real revenues and the red line controls for GDP growth (ignore the green line for now).
Up until the 2000s the fit is actually pretty good, as the predictions closely follow the actual revenue
The appeal of Cirque du Soleil is pretty much beyond me. I like my shows with a comprehensible story. But there is no denying the unquestionable impressiveness of some of the famous Cirque stunts. And there is also no doubting that tons of people love Cirque du
The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term this week and now starts a three-month vacation. If the Court’s members follow past practices, Justice Thomas will head out in his motor home in search of NASCAR race venues. Justice Scalia will spend the summer racking up speaking fees at Federalist Society conferences or in a duck blind with Dick Cheney.
Judging from some of the cases decided by the Court during its past eight-month term, the conservative bloc of five Republican appointees appear to want more time for
In a few days’ time, world leaders and policy makers will convene at the United Nations for a special summit on young people. Given recent developments in many parts of the world, such a meeting is timely.
With world population projected to reach 7 billion this year on Oct. 31, there is renewed interest in our collective impact on the
Never has there been a bucket of fried chicken, a slice of greasy pizza, or a juicy double cheeseburger that I wasn’t happy to have appear on my plate. I love to eat, and I’m not shy about indulging my enthusiasm for food.
As a first-time candidate for public office, I’ve quickly realized that just as so many other daily routines take on a life of their own in the context of trying to get elected, chowing down has its own set of rules and realities on the campaign trail.
The primary impact is predictable enough: Candidates eat more, and we eat less sensibly.
Obama’s arugula-ism would seem to be the exception; Bill Clinton’s donut diving feels much more
I’ve been blogging for about two years now, and it’s time to step up my game–with a newsletter! I really love blogging. It’s the perfect creative outlet for all my diverse interests–whether it’s organic tirades, utterly simple and yummiful recipes, or insights into my eclectic reading and musical tastes. And whether you read these posts right on my mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com blog, the Huffington Post, Care2.com, or Facebook or Twitter, or some random linkage, the truth is, I want you to be counted. I want to know that you are with me!
So here are my top 10 reasons to sign up for my newsletter:
As always, remember that John’s book The Influence of Teachers is for sale at Amazon.
Last week in this space, I speculated about the most influential educator in America. Although I put forth more than a half dozen names, most respondents ‘voted’ for Diane Ravitch, the historian/policymaker/apostate whose book, The Death and Life of the Great American Public School, is a best seller.
Her landslide victory is not particularly surprising, because she is a Five Star General in the ongoing education wars; her badly outgunned army includes the two teachers unions, Linda Darling-Hammond and a lot of
(Photo by JB Banks)
Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person’s
Question: What would billionaire Mark Zuckerberg lose by refusing Chinese demands that he censor Facebook? What would he and his company gain from being more principled?
This came up after reading Christopher Luna’s analysis of Google Plus as an alternative to Facebook, Zuckerberg’s social networking colossus that boasts more than 600 million users globally.
Google Plus, which launched in beta last week, has been Topic One among the “digerati,” who’ve spent much of the week kicking the tires of Facebook’s new competitor and reporting back to followers and friends.
But Luna, a masters student at Harvard Divinity School, looked at the competing services through a different lens.
He wrote that he’s come to trust Google more because of its refusal to buckle to Chinese censors:
Facebook, Cisco and Microsoft have shown themselves to be much more willing to comply with Chinese gatekeepers in order to gain access to the nation’s vast marketplace of users.
For Luna, Google’s stance on behalf of free speech and human rights should be the deciding factor for social media users.
“The choice here isn’t just about business. It’s about whether a capitalist economy can show that the bottom line is not the only thing in the world that matters,” he writes. “It’s about whether a corporation can exist and thrive while standing by principles that support the value of human beings.”
In 2011, networked technology has become a megaphone for freedom movements from Tunisia and Yemen to Burma and
I sometimes feel like I am living in several different time zones simultaneously, all in the same country, often at the same desk.
There is the here and now, always the most pressing, often the most challenging, especially if you have something of an up and down mental state (certificates to prove), and a book out dredging up the past again. There is the place where the present meets the future, and as a diarist, and one now committed to what one reviewer called a ‘publishing juggernaut’, that is a place I have grown to know well. What I write in my diary at night gets published some years down the track, in a different context for different times. The raw and immediate can sometimes look a bit odd when even the author has forgotten all about it.
The process of publication, all the messy editing, lawyering and official vetting, takes place in the present, but whilst reviewing the past with a view to the future, namely ‘pub
Recently, I stepped out of bed and managed to double-stub my toe on a computer printer and a lamp, both of which were on the floor next to my bed for some unknown reason. In college, a lamp and printer on the floor would have been part of my preferred design aesthetic. But now, living in a New York apartment with a wife and two kids, this clutter meant our two-bedroom was bursting at the seams. It was time once again to consider a move to the
Credibility is a fraught issue these days. Playing out in one courtroom is the debacle of the discredited accuser in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. In another is the Casey Anthony trial with its holiday parade of potential liars. Maybe you are confident that you are a terrific lie detector — you are sure you can separate the trustworthy from the
Recently, psychologists have stepped outside of the clinical setting and have accumulated research on how the dark side of human nature varies in the general population. What has become quite clear is that the “dark triad,” which consists of the combination of Machiavellianism, subclinical narcissism and subclinical psychopathy, is an overarching trait that everyone has to some degree. Unfortunately, some people just have a lot more of it than others.
While acknowledging that clinical levels of the dark triad traits are certainly socially undesirable, Peter Jonason and his colleagues argue the traits that underlie the dark triad are best viewed as one particular social orientation toward others and may facilitate people’s goals, especially when those goals involve an exploitative social strategy and a short-term mating strategy. They have found across multiple studies that those scoring high on the dark triad are characterized by a distinct psychological profile of personality traits and social strategies, displaying higher extroversion, openness to experience and self-esteem while being less agreeable, neurotic, conscientious and altruistic.
The common thread running through all three traits of the dark triad is high selfishness and low
Day and night torrents of words cascade through every building down every telephone line and out of all our wireless paraphernalia. Every public space — elevators, shopping malls, hotel lobbies, restaurants, airports — is plastered with some variety of musical wallpaper. In her novel, “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,” Jeannette Winterson comes up with an ingenious solution to all this noise: She has a sky-cleaner come on duty every night and mop up all the verbal and musical flotsam that is hovering over the city. Even better, perhaps, might be for every major city to take a five minute silence break every
Brain fitness ranks as one of the hottest topics at the water cooler these days. Suddenly everyone wants to learn more about what we can do to keep our minds sharp and stay in top intellectual form at the office.
Although the science of brain health remains young, research clearly indicates there is much we can do to improve our everyday memory. Building better brain health can help us boost work skills such as recalling important client information, learning training materials or just keeping track of key documents. It can also lower our risk of serious memory
Most of us were good at playing games of pretend as children and as adults, that skill can be harnessed to take powerful leaps in consciousness. Just as we can suspend our disbelief as we watch a movie and enter the lives of characters as real people, we can suspend our disbelief by putting on hold our view of a sullied world full of bad people and enter a new “movie” filled with pure beings. The “game” I describe here is the Buddhist practice of pure view in which we use all of our imaginative faculties to help us let go of distorted thinking and perceive something closer to the truth of how things actually exist. In a sense, we “pretend” the truth until we can fully live
When it comes to stories that bear transposition to varying eras and settings, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) seems a prime example of a plot that never seems to get old.
It was the basis for the classic American western, The Magnificent Seven, and the less classic (but still enjoyable) Battle Beyond the Stars, a cheesy 1980 sci-fi action film that featured a script by John Sayles (and included Robert Vaughn as a nod to Magnificent Seven).
Still, some variations simply aren’t worth the effort. Exhibit A: Ironclad, a kind of Braveheart version of the same plot, set in post-Magna Carta England.
The backstory is thick and, for a post-literate viewership, probably off-putting because writer-director Jonathan English thumbnails the British history that led up to King John signing the Magna Carta. Turns out the barons and the Knights Templar teamed up to force John (played by Paul Giamatti) to sign the document limiting the king’s power to act at will and establishing laws of the land for free men.
In this telling, John is pissed – and so starts a revenge tour of his country, aided by a group of Danish mercenaries, killing off the barons and knights who twisted his arm to give up some of his powers. His plan is to simply kill them all and take his powers back.
Escapees from his early attacks get word to Albany (Brian Cox), the top baron in the anti-John coalition of the
Republicans won’t take yes for answer in the debt ceiling negotiations. As conservative columnist David Brooks writes in the New York Times, this should be the “mother of all no brainers.”
tRepublicans have achieved everything they might have imagined at the beginning of the process and more. Yet they still refuse even the smallest of compromises to accept victory.
Brooks correctly concludes that the reason is that the “Republican Party may no longer be a normal party.” Instead it is “infected by a faction that is more psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.” But this faction is led not by backbench insurgents, but by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Republican leader Mitch
News that Sir Paul McCartney is to marry again should not come as too much of a surprise, bearing in mind that he has been dating Nancy Shevell for four years.
Of course, given the acrimonious and costly end to his marriage with Heather Mills, the former Beatle could have been forgiven for avoiding any exchange of rings or vows this time around.
What might be even more surprising to some is that, having proposed, Sir Paul has apparently not insisted on a prenuptial agreement to limit any claim which his third wife-to-be might potentially have on his 495 million ($813 million) fortune. Although not officially confirmed by either his lawyers or publicists, there was been extensive media speculation that the couple merely have what has been described as “a simple document” to protect the trust funds established for his children.
This does beg the question of what such “a simple document” may be if it isn’t a pre-nuptial agreement.
However, while not having a pre-nup might simplistically be seen as a triumph of hope over very bitter experience, it is easy for a British divorce lawyer to understand why Sir Paul may have taken such a decision, even allowing for the painful and all too public nature of his divorce from Heather Mills.
The current status of pre-nups in England is one thing he may have taken into account. According to an interview Nancy Shevell gave to a columnist on the New York Post, she and Sir Paul plan to divide most of their time after the wedding living in his homes in London and East Sussex.
Any separation, therefore, might end up in London’s divorce courts. Despite a Supreme Court ruling in favour of German heiress Katrin Radmacher last October interpreted as a further step towards making pre-nups binding, their position in law remains in a state of
Fundamentally, I am a proponent of the Paleolithic diet. However, much depends on the specifics of the Paleo diet in question. The designation seems to be somewhat open to interpretation — and thus the dietary devilry may reside in the details.
That, in essence, is the punch line for this piece — and I provide it right away as a bow to a recent correspondent who reminded me that busy readers want the take away, right away. I do, however, hope you hang in there for the