Talking Through a Problem

Can’t figure out a complicated problem? Talk about it out loud or doodle on some paper. Psychologists in Spain say their tests show processing information verbally or visually is more effective than remaining silent and still. They put students in separate rooms and gave them the same problems to solve. The students who talked to themselves or drew pictures to map out solutions finished first and scored higher. Psychologist Jose Luis Villegas Castellanos says he isn’t sure why it works this way but believes verbal and visual problems-solving creates greater opportunities to discover the right answers.

Stephen Goforth

True Friendship

If friends relate to you only on their terms--or see you as just a means to an end (that is, they are trying to turn you into little versions of themselves) then they have created a barrier to true friendship. The irreligious actually honor God more than the professing believer when accepting people for who they are, as means in themselves. This does not mean you don't try to help friends grow and learn and move into truth. It means you start by acknowledging they are made in the image of God and worthwhile and valuable--simply for being themselves (Psalm 139:13).

Stephen Goforth

Effectively Remixing Other People’s Materials

According to Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist, the so-called “original” thinkers and creators are simply people who effectively learned to remix other people’s materials.

Originality isn’t about doing what’s never been done in a strict sense, but it’s about the unique way in which each individual gives expression to his or her artistic influences. Quoting Jonathan Lethem, Kleon argues that “when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”

It’s a simple idea, but not as simple as “copy the people you like” and you’ll be an instant genius.

The kind of stealing Kleon refers to is not about pretending you came up with somebody else’s idea or just modifying a few details, but it’s about being strategic and selective with the process of choosing your influences, taking what resonates with you, making other people’s ideas your own, and being diverse enough to find unexplored points of intersection between your various influences.

TK Coleman, 5 Ways to Steal Like An Artist

Articles of interest - Sept 26


Half of U.S. smartphone users download zero apps per month: Thirteen percent of smartphone owners account for more than 50 percent of all app downloads  Recode

Snapchat’s Wild New Specs Won’t Share Google Glass’s Fate  Wired

How Colleges Should Adapt in a Networked Age  Chronicle of Higher Ed


An 18-year-old is suing her parents for posting embarrassing baby pictures on Facebook  Fusion


The top 5 habits of a professional data scientist: 1. Be motivated by business problems rather than technology  O’Reilly

Supervised learning is unacceptable, inadequate & yet the most powerful tool at our disposal. Some cautionary advice  KD Nuggets

A White House data scientist on knowing when to go with the gut.  Washington Post

Data science cheat sheets covering R, Python, Django, MySQL, SQL, Hadoop, Apache Spark and Machine learning algorithms  KD Nuggets

The medical co.’s using Machine Learning to change healthcare  Forbes   

A list of top algorithms used by data scientists including the most academic and most industry-oriented algorithms  KD Nuggets



A designer altered this 'Girls' Life' cover to show what empowerment really looks like  Mic

New Book: Gender Shrapnel  Inside Higher Ed


NCAA calls on college leaders to sign pledge promising to recruit and interview more women and ethnic minorities for top sports positions  Inside Higher Ed


Forgiveness is  Becoming (my blog)

Against happiness: Companies that try to turn happiness into a management tool are overstepping the mark  Economist


Grammar Snobs Can Now Correct People’s iOS Text Messages   Buzz Feed


Don’t Try to Make a Living Writing Short Stories  Wired


Bringing up Babel: There are cognitive benefits to raising bilingual children  1843 Magazine


How Literature Can Improve Mental Health  Open Culture

What Is Shakespeare’s Most Popular Play?  Priceonomics


Meet the world’s top peer reviewer   Stat News

21 Brutal, Honest And Relatable Things That Happened In Academic Publishing  BuzzFeed


Academic Ethics: What Should We Do With Sexual Harassers in Academe?  Chronicle of Higher Ed

New Bill Fights Sexual Harassment By Going After Professors’ Grant Money  BuzzFeed

Campus sexual assault Re-education: Students starting college are trained in how to avoid committing rape  Economist

U Kentucky is suing its Student Newspaper, trying to Block Sexual Assault Reporting Washington Post  


College Threatens to Punish Students If They Share ‘Self-Destructive’ Thoughts With Friends  The Fire


IMDB would be required to remove actors' ages when asked under new California law  The Verge

‘So to Speak’ Podcast: ‘Twisting Title IX’ (opinion)  The Fire


Like Katy Perry, I broke up with the conservative evangelical project (opinion)  Religious News Service

Many evangelicals favor Trump because he is not Clinton  Pew Research

Phillip Yancey Is Downright Baffled By Evangelical Support For Trump  Huffington Post


Number of U.S. low-power FM radio stations has nearly doubled since 2014  Pew Research


The Big Problem Still Plaguing America’s News Media  Fortune

When important investigative reporting must compete with Brangelina Columbia Journalism Review

Website ‘Rate My Media’ hopes to increase media accountability through crowd-sourced ratings  Talking New Media

How the FDA Manipulates the Media  Scientific American

Five takeaways from the ONA 2016 conference  Columbia Journalism Review


Why bad science persists: Poor scientific methods may be hereditary  Economist


Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pledge $3 billion to cure all diseases  Recode

The average person is better off without a fitness wearable, weight loss study finds  PBS

Bad science misled millions with chronic fatigue syndrome  Stat News

This Globe-Trotting Brain Surgeon Says Doctors Are Doing Medical Missions Wrong   Vice


The scientists who make apps addictive and some of the psychologists who are worried about the way behavioral design is being used  1843 magazine

Watching sad films boosts endorphin levels in your brain, psychologists say  The Guardian


University May Remove Online Content to Avoid Disability Law  Inside Higher Ed  

Christian University kicks out freshman who used Racial slur in Social Media Inside Higher Ed


The Importance of an Arts Education (and How It Strengthens Science & Civilization)  Open Culture

Fear of a College-Educated BaristaIs there really a Millennial underemployment crisis? Yes, but only among liberal-arts majors  The Atlantic


Zero Correlation Between Evaluations and Learning: New study adds to evidence that student reviews of professors have limited validity  Inside Higher Ed

LinkedIn unveils new online learning and messaging tools   Mercury News

Do Your Students Take Good Notes?  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Why students who do well in high school bomb in college  Washington Post

When a C Isn’t Good Enough: Some Students being made to Retake Classes if they earn a ‘C’  Inside Higher Ed


Jury finds University denied tenure to a female professor based on her gender and in retaliation for a speaking out against the culture of her male-dominated department  Inside Higher Ed

The Dangers of Faculty Book Club  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Forgiveness is

Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.

Remember, the less time you spend hating the people who hurt you, the more time you’ll have to love the people who love you.

Marc and Angel Chernoff

Breaking up is hard to do

The time immediately after a bad relationship is filled with promise. It's as if you've rid yourself of something that was weighing you down and keeping you from reaching your full potential. You fell light and clear and free. But this honeymoon with yourself is short-lived and you’re soon in a new relationship fraught with the same old problems. This pattern continues until you finally realize that most of the issues are your own, and that to be truly free, you must break up with yourself.

Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions

The Prediction Learning Curve

If you have strong analytical skills that might be applicable in a number of disciplines, it is very much worth considering the strength of the competition. It is often possible to make a profit by being pretty good at prediction in fields where the competition succumbs to poor incentives, bad habits, or blind adherence to tradition—or because you have better data or technology than they do. It is much harder to be very good in fields where everyone else is getting the basics right—-and you may be fooling yourself if you think you have much of an edge.

Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise

Strengthen Your Alliances

The best way to engage with new people is not by cold calling or by "networking" with strangers at cocktail parties, but by working with the people you already know. Of the many types of professional relationships, among the most important are your close allies. Most professionals maintain five to 10 active alliances.

What makes a relationship an alliance? First, an ally is someone you consult regularly for advice. Second, you proactively share and collaborate on opportunities together. You keep your antennae attuned to an ally's interests, and when it makes sense to pursue something jointly, you do. Third, you talk up an ally. You promote his or her brand. Finally, when an ally runs into conflict, you defend him and stand up for his reputation, and he does the same for you. An alliance is always an exchange, but not a transactional one. A transactional relationship is when your accountant files your tax returns and you pay him for his time.

An alliance is when a co-worker needs last-minute help on Sunday night preparing for a Monday morning presentation, and even though you're busy, you agree to go over to his house and help.

Reid Hoffman, The Start-Up of You

Finding my Keys

I was running late for work and was frantically searching for my keys. I would be working my 7th overtime shift in 7 days. I knew I wasn't thinking clearly.  Where were my keys? I gave up, picked up the spare keys to the house and car and decided I'd find the real ones later.

When I got off of work, I decided to clean the entire apartment while looking for the keys. That way, when I found them, instead of being upset at wasting a lot of time, I would have the keys along with a clean apartment.

As the cleaning proceeded, I got to thinking. What if I carelessly dropped them while working outside? Someone could find them, see my car on the property and take it. Or steal everything while I was at work. Hours went by, midnight came, and no keys. I had to get to bed.

Just before retiring, I started toward the trash. I took it out every Sunday night. That's when it hit me. What if?  I began rummaging. Sure enough, the keys were buried deep inside, covered with coffee grounds and spaghetti sauce.

Takeaway: Sometimes you have to go through some garbage to find what you need.

Stephen Goforth



The Passion for Control

Researchers arranged for student volunteers to pay regular visits to nursing-home residents. Residents in the high-control group were allowed to control the timing and duration of the student’s visit, and residents in the low-control group were not. After two months, residents in the high-control group were happier, healthier, more active, and taking fewer medications than those in the low-control group.

At this point the researchers concluded their student and discontinued the student visits. Several months later they were chagrined to learn that a disproportionate number of residents who had been in the high-control group had died.

Only in retrospect did the cause of this tragedy seem clear. The residents who had been given control, and who had benefited measurably from that control while they had it were inadvertently robbed of control when the study ended.

Apparently, gaining control can have a positive impact on one’s health and well-being, but losing control can be worse than never having had any at all.

Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness

Stress can Be Good

Researchers visited “an investment bank, at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. They split around 400 bankers into three groups. The first watched a video that reinforced notions of stress as toxic, the second watched one highlighting that stress could enhance performance and the third watched no clip at all. A week later the second group reported greater focus, higher engagement and fewer health problems than before; the other two groups reported no changes.”

One of the researchers says, “Google images of stress and you’ll see a guy with his head on fire. We’ve internalised that idea.”

“He instead compares stress to going to the gym. You only get stronger if you push yourself beyond what feels easy, but afterwards you need to recover. The analogy suggests that stress at work may be performance-enhancing, but should be followed by rest, whether that means not checking e-mails on weekends, taking more holiday or going for a stroll in the middle of the day.”

Read more in The Economist