August 24, 2014
Pop songs as sonnets


Pop Sonnets is a tumblr that turns pop music into Shakespearean sonnets: above, YMCA (“Oh sweet and noble lad, be not aggrieved!”).

Below, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (“From western Philadelphia I hail, where in my youth I’d play upon the green”). Lots more to enjoy at Pop Sonnets!

August 15, 2014
"Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event, anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do). This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.
When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions. He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example."

— Brian  (via boysncroptops)

(Source: gypsy-hip, via mostlysignssomeportents)

August 13, 2014

Today’s daily cartoon by Farley Katz.


Today’s daily cartoon by Farley Katz.


August 12, 2014

Heartening news of the day: Stanford’s Maryam Mirzakhani becomes the first woman to win the Fields Medal, the “Nobel Prize of mathematics.” In some distant galaxy, Maria Mitchell’s heart is bursting with joy.


Heartening news of the day: Stanford’s Maryam Mirzakhani becomes the first woman to win the Fields Medal, the “Nobel Prize of mathematics.” In some distant galaxy, Maria Mitchell’s heart is bursting with joy.

August 10, 2014
The Mystery of Consciousness



The Flaming Chalice Labyrinth

This is the text for my August 10, 2014 Unitarian-Universalist sermon to the Community Unitarian-Universalists in Brighton, Michigan. This is the seventh Unitarian-Universalist sermon I have posted. The others are

July 21, 2014
Naomi Schaefer Riley: Math Camp in a Barn



Image created by Miles Spencer Kimball. I hereby give permission to use this image for anything whatsoever, as long as that use includes a link to this post. :)

I like Naomi Schefer Riley’s account in the Wall Street Journal of Ben Chavis’s math camp in North Carolina’s poorest county: "Math Camp in a Barn: Intensive Instruction, No-Nonsense Discipline"

July 7, 2014
Given the choice, how much choice would you like? -


A famous psychological study challenging the economic principle that more choice is better fails to replicate. Chalk up one for the economists. 


July 6, 2014


[noobtheloser] (more behind the gifs)

June 25, 2014

(Source: iraffiruse, via npr)

June 20, 2014

In Turkey, tea is shared in the same way as a handshake in the United States; when you meet someone, whether for the thousandth time or a first time, you have a glass together. Tea in Turkey isn’t just a drink. It’s a ritual deeply ingrained into the fabric of day-to-day social life. Because of this, the way tea is brewed in Turkey is very different from the way it is done in the United States.


From a design perspective, it’s hard not to admire the Turkish teakettle. Distilled to the essence of its function, the çaydanlık solves many problems at once.


— A design ode to Turkish tea. Compare and contrast with George Orwell’s 11 golden rules for brewing the perfect (British) cup of tea. (via explore-blog)

(Source: explore-blog)