Category Archives: Impressions

Quick thought pieces, often in response to something I’ve recently read.


Ethical sales, selling ethics

NPR’s Natalie Jacewicz asks whether Millennials are hypocrites when it comes to chocolate: In a survey of participants ages 18 to 35, millennials reported caring about ethical issues like environmental sustainability and social responsibility in chocolate production. But when choosing … Continue reading

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Corrupting the youth

I have four bird feeders in my small urban yard (tube, thistle, platform, hummingbird) but can’t see any of them from my second-story study window, which is veiled by a maple tree far taller than the house. So I fixed … Continue reading

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Building an ethic behind the food movement

Sales of breakfast cereal are down, and I have trouble being sad. I eat boxed breakfast cereal for the same reason everybody else does — it’s convenient – but generally only as a midnight snack. For quick breakfast I’m more … Continue reading

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Some thoughts on planning, remembering, and the body (a.k.a. “getting things done”)

First, a note of explanation: What follows is not a post on “getting things done” or on the merits of various productivity tools. It is, rather, some thoughts on the ways I’ve found those tools to shape my thinking and … Continue reading

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That which cannot be possessed (not by you, anyway)

Dan Cohen’s “review” of the Wu Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (HT: Alan Jacobs) is primarily a meditation on the nature of art and ephemerality, but I have trouble getting past the story that sparked it. This … Continue reading

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Blessings for children

Last Tuesday in the Western Christian calendar was the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which commemorates Herod’s murder of the children who might have been Jesus: Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, … Continue reading

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Some thoughts on suffering, “cures,” and ethics

Scott Alexander, a psychiatrist who has worked extensively with people with autism argues that yes, we do need a cure for autism: Would something be lost if autism were banished from the world? Probably. Autistic people have a unique way … Continue reading

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Technological change and the hard work of parenting

Alison Gopnik reports in the Wall Street Journal: “Two large-scale surveys done in 2007 and 2013 in the Netherlands and Bermuda, involving thousands of adolescents, found that teenagers who engaged in more online communication also reported more and better friendships.” … Continue reading

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Losing our language

This news has been wending its way through the blogosphere for a few months now, with predictable hand-wringing and defense, but Robert MacFarlane reports in Orion that the new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary replaces a number of words … Continue reading

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Does the physical task of writing shape our words?

These thirty-six miseries of reading and writing in 1806, penned by the pseudonymous Mssrs. Timothy Testy and Samuel Sensitive, are (like most anything written two hundred years ago) a mix of the familiar and the archaic. The first will, I … Continue reading

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