the Nazis hung him

The Nazis arrested Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1943 for his work with the resistance. He had been warned not to speak publicly. He did anyway. They hung him in April of 1945. The book Ethics is a gathering of his notes for a book he intended to write on the subject. The notes were hidden away from the police in a garden. Here is a quote from it:

"Christ did not, like a moralist, love a theory of good, but He loved the real man. He was not, like a philosopher, interested in the 'universally valid,' but rather in that which is of help to the real and concrete human being. What worried him was not, like Kant, whether the 'maxim of an action can become a principle of general legislation', but whether my action is at this moment helping my neighbor become a man before God."

Career Choices

Find what you are good at. Find what you have a passion for doing. People will pay you good money to do the things that fit within both of these circles. No one is going to be willing to pay for your "C minus" work (or not very much). So forget about bringing your "fours" up to "sixes" (on a scale of one to ten). Focus on getting your "eights "up to "nines" and your "nines" up to "tens." (A bit of an oversimplification.. but you get the idea).

Stephen Goforth

10 Things to do when people bring you their problems

1. Empathize with hurt feelings.

2. Reflect a genuine concern.

3. Offer a summary of the problem as you see it.

4. Be slow to give advice. Let the other person come to the best decisions themselves whenever possible.

5. Distinguish between causes and symptoms.

6. Keep confidences.

7. Wisely use questions. Especially open-ended and indirect questions. Use “why” sparingly.

8. Watch your body language.

9. Be willing to refer the person to someone else more qualified when the problem is beyond your abilities or knowledge.

10. Ask the person how he or she is doing a few days later. Let the person know you haven’t forgotten about them and you care. Their situation is important to you.

Stephen Goforth

Articles of Interest - August 22


Live-streaming  Economist

What you need to know to get started with Facebook Live  International Journalists' Network

98 personal data points that Facebook uses to target ads to you  Washington Post

Is 'FaceBragging' the quickest route to divorce?  Stuff

Twitter ‘quality filter’ works because it’s about news, not social  The Next Web


A GIF-by-GIF guide to GIFing everything you see  Daily Dot

Everything you ever wanted to know about WeChat  Medium


Chronic procrastination? Rather than lamenting your lack of will power, you can just blame your parents  Becoming (my blog)

Patience Is the Secret to Wealth and Health, Economists Suggest in a New Study  Wall Street Journal


What’s the Matter With ‘Me’?  Resistance to the personal object pronoun continues to rise Chronicle of Higher Ed

The Linguistics of Assassination Threats: What exactly did Donald Trump mean about 'the Second Amendment people"?  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Reflections on the origin of the phrase "drink the Kool-Aid"  Chronicle of Higher Ed


8 Writers on How to Face Writer’s Block and the Blank Page: Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, Joyce Carol Oates & More  Open Culture

Learning to Write All Over Again  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Thank Heavens for Email Clichés  The Atlantic


Is repeating your toddler’s cute speech mistakes bad for her development?  Slate

Machine-to-Human Communication: Nobody Cares   Chronicle of Higher Ed


Will Reading Romance Novels Make Artificial Intelligence More Human?   Jstor  

Literature of the Forever War  New York Times

Happy Birthday, Dorothy Parker  Jstor

Better To Reign In Hell: Literature's Unpunished Villains  NPR


Women are judged by the way they speak  Economist


Study Finds More Faculty Diversity at Public Institutions Than at Private Ones Chronicle of Higher Ed

Are black Americans more likely to be shot or roughed up by police?  Economist


If computers wrote laws: Decisions handed down by data  Economist

Confusion over legality of republishing Data Sets  Nature


 The 7 Steps of a Data Project  Data Science

DARPA wants AI with the capacity to help humans trace the conclusions, decisions and reasoning  Next Big Future

Will reading romance novels make artificial intelligence more human?  Jstor

The hardest work in data analysis lies in the data munging-an unglamorous yet critical part of data science  Analytic Bridge


P&G to Scale Back Targeted Facebook Ads citing limited effectiveness  Wall Street Journal

Facebook Profit Nearly Triples on Mobile Ad Sales and New Users  New York Times

Television is at last having its digital-revolution moment  Economist


Buyouts hit GateHouse newspapers across the United States  Poynter

Facebook Traffic to U.S. News Sites Has Fallen by Double Digits, Report Says  Fortune

NYT decides to shutter its mobile app NYT Now, will rely on Facebook to drive new traffic  Talking New Media

News Apps Are Dying Off. But in a Way, They’ll Live On  Wired


Law Professor to Students: Stop Calling Me by My First Name  Wall Street Journal


The Changing Face of Scientific Collaboration: A spirit of collective enterprise in research is being replaced by a rush to assign precise credit for who did what  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Menopause Makes Your Body Age Faster  TIME


Bayesian reasoning may help to explain some mental disorders where processing flaws confuse prior expectations  Science News


Researchers just doubled what we know about the map of the human brain  Washington Post

Sting's Brain Scan Reveals Clues About How The Musical Mind Works  NPR


UC Berkeley chancellor to resign following widespread criticism by faculty  LA Times

As College Costs Soar, Critics Question Open Curriculum Courses  NPR

California bill to ban grant students from religious colleges stymied   Washington Times

Oklahoma Wesleyan University Joins Lawsuit Over 'Dear Colleague' Letter  KOTV


Do perceptions of the utility of ethics affect academic cheating?  Science Direct


Two Cheers for the Retraction Boom  The New Atlantis

‘Does This Have to Go through the IRB?’ Chronicle of Higher Ed

Two studies, one on neuroscience and one on palaeoclimatology, cast doubt on established results  Economist

Science editor-in-chief sounds alarm over falling public trust  Times Higher Ed


Bible commentaries pulped after New Testament scholar admits plagiarism  Christian Today

Despite his popularity, the pontiff’s efforts to reshape his church face stiff resistance  Economist

Evangelical Lutherans Overwhelmingly Vote to Approve Declaration of Unity With Roman Catholics  Christian News

The Obsession With Biblical Literalism: A Christian theme park in Kentucky brings the ancient to life through a life-sized reconstruction of Noah’s Ark—but not without dipping into fiction (opinion)  The Atlantic

the science of putting it off

Chronic procrastination can feel like a character flaw, but a new study indicates that rather than lamenting your lack of will power, you can just blame your parents.

Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, surveyed pairs of identical and fraternal twins about their tendency to procrastinate and to set and meet goals, and their level of impulsiveness. Identical twins were much more likely to match answers than fraternals, showing that genetics plays a significant role in forming these habits. “Learning more about the underpinnings of procrastination may help develop interventions to prevent it,” study author Daniel Gustavson tells

Researchers also believe impulsiveness, which overlaps with procrastination tendencies, may have given our ancestors an evolutionary advantage by helping them focus on day-to-day survival rather than long-term goals. Procrastination could be a by-product of that thinking, showing how behavioral traits that evolved millennia ago can clash with the demands of modern life.

The Week Magazine

Finding Sorrow

When you get depressed, it’s comforting to remember that deep inside you is a well of pain. This pain can help you. It’s a reservoir of self-knowledge and nourishment. When you’re able to welcome this pain, it can carry you out of depression into sorrow.

When depressed, you are merely numb and listless. But in sorrow, you feel the fine-grained texture of loss. Whereas depression diminishes our world, sorrow teaches you the true value of the things you mourn. Sorrow is the other side of joy—a dark, moist cradle of grief that slowly nourishes you, a solemn vigil that honors what you love. So the next time you are ensnared in darkness, cut through the gray armor of depression straight to the dark heart of sorrow.

Lost in depression, I am found in sorrow.

Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions

a feeling of disenchantment

The lesson of disenchantment begins with the discovery that if you want to change – really to change, and not just to switch positions – you must realize that some significant part of your old reality was in your head, not out there. The flawless parent, the noble leader, the perfect wife, and the utterly trustworthy friend are an inner cast of characters looking for actors to play the parts. One person is on the lookout for someone older and wiser, and another is seeking an admiring follower. And when they find each other they fit like the interlocking pieces of a puzzle.

Or almost. Actually, the misfit is greater than either person knows, or even wants to know. The thing that keep this misperception in place is an “enchantment,” a spell cast by the past on the present. Most of the time, these enchantments work fairly well, but at life’s turning points they break down. Almost inevitably, we feel cheated at such times, as though someone were trying to trick us. But usually the earlier enchanted view was as “real” as we could manage a the time. It corresponded to a self-image and a situation and it could not change without affecting ourselves and others.

William Bridges, Transitions

wired to blunder

We're hardwired to make blunders and avoiding them requires nearly superhuman discipline. Four tendencies conspire to sabotage our decisions at critical moments:


We think we're smarter than we are, so we think the stocks we've chosen will deliver even when the market doesn't. When evidence contradicts us, we're blinded by...


We seek information that supports our actions and avoid information that doesn't. We interpret ambiguous evidence in our favor. We can cite an article that confirms our view but can't recall one that challenges it. Even when troubling evidence becomes unavoidable, we come up against...


We like leaving things the way they are, even when doing so is objectively not the best course. Plenty of theories attempt to explain why, but the phenomenon is beyond dispute. And supposing we could somehow fight past these crippling biases, we'd still face the mother of all irrationalities in behavioral finance...

LOSS AVERSION (and its cousin, regret avoidance)

We hate losing more than we like winning, and we're terrified of doing something we'll regret. So we don't buy and sell when we should because maybe we'll realize a loss or miss out on a gain.

These tendencies are so deep-rooted that knowing all about them isn't nearly enough to extinguish them. The best we can do is wage lifelong war against them and hope to gain some ground.

Geoff Colvin (from his Fortune Magazine article "Investor March Madness: We're Wired for Blunders, but can Improve Odds")

arguments worth having

Parents who browbeat their kids into being obedient and agreeable may not be giving them the best preparation for the real world. A new study shows that encouraging teens to argue calmly and effectively against parental orders makes them much more likely to resist peer pressure.

University of Virginia researchers observed more than 150 13-year-olds as they disputed issues like grades, chores, and friends with their mothers. When researchers checked back in with the teens two and three years later, they found that those who had argued the longest and most convincingly—without yelling, whining, or throwing insults—were also 40 percent less likely to have accepted offers of drugs and alcohol than the teens who had caved quickly.

“We found that what a teen learned in handling these kinds of disagreements with their parents was exactly what they took into their peer world,” study author Joseph P. Allen tells The key to having a constructive debate with your kids, experts say, is listening to them attentively and rewarding them when they make a good point—even if you don’t end up reaching a mutual agreement. “Think of those arguments not as a nuisance,” Allen says, “but as a critical training ground” for wise, independent decision-making.

The Week Magazine