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Month: August, 2011

You’ve Got Mail: Bill Simmons and Jonah Keri Discuss Desmond Jennings – The Triangle Blog

by Scott Smith

From time to time, Grantland editor in chief Bill Simmons likes to harass his staff by e-mail, start arguments with them and prevent them from doing anything legitimately productive. Yesterday, he pulled that trick on Grantland’s lead baseball writer and resident Canadian, Jonah Keri.

The topic: Desmond Jennings.

Malcolm Gladwell on the NBA lockout – Grantland

by Scott Smith

Yawkey was not just a racist, in other words. He was a racist who put his hatred of black people ahead of his desire to make money. Economists have a special term they use to describe this kind of attitude. They would say that Yawkey owned the Red Sox not to maximize his financial benefits, but, rather, his psychic benefits. Psychic benefits describe the pleasure that someone gets from owning something — over and above economic returns — and clearly some part of the pleasure Yawkey got from the Red Sox came from not having to look at black people when he walked through the Fenway Park dugout. In discussions of pro sports, the role of psychic benefits doesn’t get a lot of attention. But it should, because it is the key to understanding all kinds of behavior by sports owners — most recently the peculiar position taken by management in the NBA labor dispute.

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? | People & Places | Smithsonian Magazine

by Scott Smith

Years later, a 20-year-old Besart showed up at Kirkkojarvi’s Christmas party with a bottle of Cognac and a big grin. “You helped me,” he told his former teacher. Besart had opened his own car repair firm and a cleaning company. “No big fuss,” Louhivuori told me. “This is what we do every day, prepare kids for life.

Skillshare Raises $3.1 Million to Turn Everyone Into Teachers – NYTimes.com

by Scott Smith

Now, Skillshare is hoping to turn the average person with a bit of know-how into a teacher. The service, based in New York, lets people sign up to teach and attend short classes that touch on subjects as diverse as beer tasting, photography, programming and making baby food from scratch.

Naked sunbathers added to endangered species list in Deutschland? | Secretary of Innovation

by Scott Smith

The naked sunbathers who once crowded Germany’s Baltic beaches and city parks are becoming an endangered species due to shifting demographics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, growing prosperity and widening girths.

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” – it’s a lawyer joke

by Scott Smith

The setup for the “kill the lawyers” statement is the ending portion of a comedic relief part of a scene in Henry VI, part 2. Dick and another henchman, Smith are members of the gang of Jack Cade, a pretender to the throne. The built-up is long portion where Cade make vain boasts, which are cut down by sarcastic replies from the others.

How to write faster. – By Michael Agger – Slate Magazine

by Scott Smith

The scientifically-tested fun facts abound. Ann Chenoweth and John Hayes (2001) found that sentences are generated in a burst-pause-evaluate, burst-pause-evaluate pattern, with more experienced writers producing longer word bursts. A curly-haired girl on a white porch swing on a hot summer day will be more likely to remember what you’ve written if you employ concrete language—so says a 1995 study. S. K. Perry reports that the promise of money has a way of stimulating writerly “flow.” Amazing! One also finds dreadful confirmation of one’s worst habits: “Binge writing—hypomanic, euphoric marathon sessions to meet unrealistic deadlines—is generally counterproductive and potentially a source of depression and blocking,” sums up the work of Robert Boice. One strategy: Try to limit your working hours, write at a set time each day, and try your best not to emotionally flip out or check email every 20 seconds. This is called “engineering” your environment.