“We just published the biography of Dr. Claude Shannon… We’ve distilled what we’ve learned from him over these last few years into this piece. It isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but it does begin, we hope, to reveal what this unknown genius can teach the rest of us about thinking — and living.”
Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you. No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will.”
That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering. On the other hand, when the political scientist Charles Murray argues that genetic factors help account for racial disparities in I.Q. scores, you might find his view to be repugnant and misguided, but it’s only offensive.”
The tyranny of the urgent crowds in around me. If I yield to that tyranny, my life fills with mental clutter. Boredom, say the researchers, is when creativity happens. A wandering mind wanders into new, unexpected places. When I retire to the mountains and unplug for a few days, something magical takes place. I’ll go to bed puzzling over a roadblock in my writing, and the next morning wake up with the solution crystal-clear—something that never happens when I spend my spare time cruising social media and the Internet.
As a teacher, I’ve found that regardless of how open or resistant my literature students initially are to poetry, real progress begins when they get literal with the words on the page. I ask them to pick one interesting word, then go to the library and investigate that word.”
Shortly after waking, they curl up with a journal and pen or pencil. They start writing, and they don’t stop until they’ve filled at least three hand-written pages—about 750 words. The routine is called Morning Pages, and people ranging from journalist Oliver Burkeman to entrepreneur Tim Ferriss say it’s changed their lives.”
In scarcely more than half a century, neutrinos have gone from wispy, exotic particles at the edge of detectability to tools for investigating matter at its most essential – from prize-worthy quarry to something more like a forensics kit. In retracing that transformation, we catch glimpses of a larger story, of physicists groping toward an abstruse, beguiling account of nature, set against (and at times engulfed by) larger dramas of the nuclear age.”
Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.
Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.
– Peter Nilsson