The Law of Priorities

The most remarkable aspect about John Wooden--and the most telling about his ability to focus on his priorities--is that he never scouted opposing teams. Instead, he focused on getting his players to reach their potential. And he addressed those things through practice and personal interaction with the players. It was never his goal to win championships or even to be the other team. His desire was to get each person to play to his potential and to put the best possible team on the floor. And, of course, Wooden’s results were incredible. In more than 40 years of coaching, he had only one losing season--his first. And he led his UCLA teams to four undefeated seasons and a record 10 in NCAA championships. No other college team is ever come close.

John Maxwell, The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership

Daring to say "No"

Many of us seem to have great difficulty in simply saying “No” to requests made of us or even invitations to us. Somehow we assume – whether we are aware of it or not – that either the other person is too weak to cope with our refusal and will be offended or a relationship is impossible to maintain without 100 percent mutual agreement.

Daily examples of the results of this nonassertive belief can be seen when other people invite you out to join them in some social activity. How comfortable do you feel in assertively revealing your true state by saying simply and openly: “No, I just don’t feel like it this weekend. Let’s try it another time?” Instead you invent “good” reasons that will not allow the other person to get irritated, feel rebuffed and possibly dislike you. Most of us follow this inane behavior pattern because of our childish belief that we cannot function properly if we do things that cause other people to remove their good will toward us, even a little bit.

Although generalizations are suspect and typically useless, our behavior in this area is sufficiently childish to prompt me to make this observation: one cannot live in terror of hurting other people’s feelings. Sometimes one offends. That’s life in the big city!

Manuel Smith, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty

The Standard

The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people's ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.

Or put it this way. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something-some Real Morality--for them to be true about.

If the Rule of Decent Behaviour meant simply 'whatever each nation happens to approve,' there would be no sense in saying that any one nation had ever been more correct in its approval than any other; no sense in saying that the world could ever grow morally better or morally worse.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Get inside your box!

You probably know one of the "box people." Whenever they meet someone new, the box people try to identifying which box the person belongs inside. "What do you do?" That's the first question to determine a label. Once they know the "box" (based on class, politics, religious affiliation, etc) then they can related to the new person in the way appropriate to how they've learned to treat folks with that label.

Now, suppose they meet someone living outside the set of predetermined boxes? Well, then thefundamental box-people belief is challenged: Everyone belongs in one of the tidy little containers. This challenge will be met with greater and greater demands to "get inside a box! I don't approve of non-box-affiliated lifestyles."

Ever had that feeling? The feeling of being treated as a prepackaged echo of bias and unjust expectations.. rather than as a unique person?

Stephen Goforth

articles of interest - Oct 24



Facebook Says It Still Isn't a Media Company Despite Deciding What's Newsworthy  Fortune

Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate  BuzzFeed

Social-media endorsements are the latest thing in advertising  Economist

The Social Mediators: 7 Young Social Stars Share Their Rules For Engagement  Fast Company

First Snapchat-Native Documentary Films to Launch From PBS Series POV  Variety


Would You Click on These Fake Gmail Alerts?  Motherboard


The Feds Already Have Your Face in a Database  Gizmodo

The Internet of Things: When Toasters Go Online  Blooomberg

Are E-sports Eating Up Traditional Sports Viewership?  Watching other people play video games is just as compelling to millennial men as baseball and hockey  MIT Technology Review


Reading Gaol, Where Oscar Wilde Was Imprisoned, Unlocks Its Gates For Art  NPR

How the Web Became Unreadable: I thought my eyesight was beginning to go. It turns out, I’m suffering from design  Backchannel

Tiny Hand Will Be Your New Comic Sans: BuzzFeed News made a font  BuzzFeed

108 million web users are color blind. Tips for designing keeping them in mind Ux Planet

Disenfranchised by Bad Design  Propublica



Three big data trends that 2016 brought out: Spark, Multi-core Servers, & IoT  Dzone

Spark for Scale: the fundamental concepts  Social Cops

MachineLearning is like a deep-fat fryer  IdleWords


Writers Group Seeks Middle Ground on Campus Speech  Inside Higher Ed


The Billion Dollar Copyright Lawsuit that could Legalize a new kind of Scam  Fast Company

Rolling Stone Defamation Trial: UVA Student Who Made Up Rape Story Got Tattoo To Mark It  Huff Post


Education Department opens civil rights investigation at Baylor University  Politico

Connie Chung ‘went through hell’ as a woman in journalism  Page Six

'Mansplaining' On 'Jeopardy!'  Huff Post


Study: Immigrants Face Backlash But Do The Same To The Next Group  NPR


Graduation Gap for Black Football Players  Inside Higher Ed

ProPublica Reveals Discriminatory Pricing By Computer Algorithms  NPR

The Importance of Talking Explicitly About Race  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Growing Racial Disparities in Student Debt  Inside Higher Ed

Every Asian American has been asked this question. A computer gives the best answer  Washington Post


Colleges are debating when to notify students about sexual assaults  Business Insider

UNM fires professor tied to sexual misconduct allegations  Albuquerque Journal

Education Dept. Opens Title IX Investigation at Baylor  Chronicle of Higher Ed


How Movie Studios Rejected Scripts During the Silent-Film Era: A Cold, 17-Point Checklist Circa 1915  Open Culture


Evangelicals are a lot more chill about religion and politics than they used to be  Washington Post

Dobson is calling for civil disobedience against a California law  Associated Press

RIP Jack Chick, father of the Satanic Panic  BongBong


Bob Dylan Set to Share His Gospel Roots  CBN

Hear Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonies & Ballets in a Complete, 32-Hour, Chronological Playlist  Open Culture


Print advertising woes are getting worse  Poynter

NBCUniversal is doubling its bet on BuzzFeed by investing another $200 million  Recode

AT&T Is Buying Time Warner Because the Future is Google  Wired

The Next Generation Of Local, Low-Power FM Stations Expands In Urban Areas  NPR

German Chatbot Startup Tries to Help Publishers Reach Larger Audience  MediaShift

Newsonomics: Here are 10 storylines we’ll be talking about into 2017  Harvard’s Nieman Lab


The full-time MBA is under pressure from specialist degrees and online education  Economist

Two economists win the Nobel prize for their work on the theory of contracts  Economist


Black Christian producer sues CNN because his colleagues kept saying 'Jesus Christ  Daily Mail

Kidnapped Journalist Forced To Explain To ISIS Captors What BuzzFeed News Is  The Onion

Writing about think tanks and using their research: A cautionary tip sheet  Journalist’s Resources

The power of comics journalism  Economist

Hacking: What journalists need to know. A conversation with Bruce Schneier  Journalist’s Resources

For journalists battling censorship, focus on people, not politics  International Journalists' Network


Robot journalists to start writing news and sports stories for Britain and Ireland's national news agency  Mirror

It’s 2016, and we’re still arguing whether newspapers should have websites  Poynter

Can A.G. Sulzberger Save The New York Times?  Vanity Fair

Gannett announces across chain staff layoffs, while ‘tronc’ acquisition rumors continue  Talking New Media


Student newspapers trashed over rape story   WFTS-TV

Missouri Journalism School Was A Bit Too Bullish Before Middle  Tennessee Game

Award recognizes Central Florida college journalists for bucking aggressive campus secrecy tactics (news release)  SPLC  

Liberty Blocks its Student Paper Publishing Column Critical of Trump  Inside Higher Ed


UC Irvine Is Offering E-Sports Scholarships  Fox Sports Radio

Student at Washington University in St. Louis reveals 5 apps that people are talking about on campus  Business Insider


Keep politics out of science? Fugghedaboutit  STAT


The Cure for Cancer Is Data—Mountains of Data  Wired

Millennials took Adderall to get through school. Now they’ve taken their addiction to the workplace  Quartz

Electrodes in the brain can mimic sensations from the hand  Economist


How The Concept Of Implicit Bias Came Into Being  NPR

Colleges Turn Online Text Messaging Services to Help with Counseling Demand  Inside Higher Ed

Psychiatric patients wait the longest in emergency rooms  Washington Post

A new generation of drugs could change the way depression is treated  Economist

Social attitudes to faces: Your class determines how you look at your fellow creatures  Economist

Hazards of pointing out bad meta-analyses of psychological interventions  PLOS

How do politicians get so comfortable with lying? One theory: practice  Vox


Space Brain': Mars Explorers May Risk Neural Damage, Study Finds  NBC

There’s Such a Think as Too Much Neuroscience  New York Times

Brain study shows how small lies grow into whoppers  Stat News

Frequent liars show less activity in key brain structure  Science News


Why Donald Trump says “the” before “African Americans” and “Latinos”A linguist calls it “the key to othering.”  Vox


Student Writing in the Digital Age  Jstor

'Blackacre': A Collection Of Poems About 'Searching And Being Buffeted'  NPR

Bye-Bye, Cursive  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize, Redefining Boundaries of Literature  New York Times

#TrumpBookReport trends after debate as people imagine Donald Trump's response to literature  Telegraph

11 of literature’s best closing lines  PR Daily

The 8 Most Misunderstood Witches In Literature  Bustle

Oxford University Press: New edition of Shakespeare's works will co-credit Christopher Marlowe  Business Insider


John Cleese & Jonathan Miller Turn Profs Talking About Wittgenstein Into a Classic Comedy Routine (1977)  Open Culture


How our brain tricks us when visualizing the future  Becoming (my blog)


What You Need to Know About the Overtime Rule and Higher Ed  Chronicle of Higher Ed

To an enthusiastic crowd at Regent University, Donald Trump makes his case in final days of campaign  Virginian Pilot


LinkedIn Free Courses Week  LinkedIn

A Defense of the Multiple-Choice Exam: Its value may be limited, but there is no better way to test whether students have read the material  Chronicle of Higher Ed


There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts  The Atlantic

What was it like to get a PhD in the 1840s?  Physics Today

This photo essay shows what it really means to be adjunct faculty  Washington Post


 How many IRB members does it take to screw in a light bulb?"  Anonymous

Why Data Citation Is a Computational Problem  ACM

Ask The Chefs: What’s Your Favorite ‘Dirty Little Secret’ About Scholarly Publishing?   Scholarly Kitchen

Our Brian Tricks Us

The futures we imagine contain some details that our brains invented and lack some details that our brains ignored. The problem is that our brains fill in and leave out. God help us if they didn’t.

No, the problem is that they do this so well that we aren’t aware it is happening. As such, we tend to accept the brain’s products uncritically and expect the future to unfold with the details—and with only the details—that the brain has imagined. One of imagination’s shortcomings, then, is that it takes liberties without telling us it has done so.

Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness

Both Tough and Tender

In many parts of American society it is considered inappropriate for men to express any emotion save one--anger. When a man learns to express other feelings and not be so concerned whether as to whether others think he is strong or “manly” he takes a major step forward.

Sure, there’s a time and place to "come on strong and take no prisoners." But it's a denial of your humanity to oversimplify, hiding behind a narrow definition of manhood. Men must be both tough and tender. Maturity comes when when we understand which one is appropriate at what time.

Stephen Goforth

Time to Cheer

Encourage others and cheer for them. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.

Marc and Angel Chernoff


Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people CALL ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a bit envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

It's Contageous!

Not only do you tend to hang out with people like yourself, your friends will influence you toward or away from self-control. Even the people you are forced by circumstances to hang out with (like co-workers) have an influence on your behavior.

That's the finding of researchers who asked participants to watch people either select carrot sticks or cookies to eat before taking tests related to self-control (not involving cookies and carrots). Participants who watched someone eat cookies before the tests did not do as well as those who had watched someone decide to eat carrots.

In another test, participants were told to think of a friend with good self-control. This group performed better on a handgrip test (used to measure self-control) than did the participants assigned to think about a friend with weak self-control. Other tests showed similar results.

Their conclusions: If you surround yourself with people who make wise choices, you are more likely to do the same. You can boost your self-control simply by networking with other people who reinforce positive behavior (or vise versa). And when you show a lack of self-control, you are probably influencing someone else to do the same.

Details of the study are published by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Stephen Goforth

The far and near future

Studies show that the parts of the brain that are primarily responsible for generating feelings of pleasurable excitement become active when people imagine receiving a reward such as money in the near future but not when they imagine receiving the same reward in the far future.

If you’ve ever bought too many boxes of Thin Mints from the Girl Scout who hawks her wares in front of the local library but too few boxes from the Girl Scout who rings your doorbell and takes your order for future delivery, then you’ve experienced this anomaly yourself. When we spy the future through our prospectiscopes, the clarity of the next hour and the fuzziness of the next year can lead us to make a variety of mistakes.

Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness