The 333rd Five Star Mixtape Is Brought to You By Bill Bryson
This week's Five Star Mixtape great blog roundup is brought to you by the joy in greater connectedness, a violation, a reasonable approach to a situation about which people are being unreasonable, making a tv show's plot do what we want, revealing lies that beget money, the high value of politeness, the incorrectness of the conclusion that women have less spatial ability than men, and Bill Bryson:
I overthink things, and employing small talk in these scenarios allows me to stop overthinking. Small talk is a comforting fallback. I know that I can say “How are you?” to my neighbor and she’ll say “Fine, how are you?” back — and sure, maybe I don’t actually know how she is, but meanwhile, we’re both human beings acknowledging the other person’s humanness and we’ve done a fine job of it. No one’s cried! Well done, all around.
When you are 10 and you are jogged from your sleep by the sensation that someone is touching you, you don’t open your eyes right away.
The “PC in comedy” debate has been going on for a long time now, and there’s a tendency — on both sides — to let “the ideas are bad” become “the people with the ideas are bad.” In some cases, it’s true. Some people really do harass, abuse, or seek to harm people in the name of being “funny.” Or, potentially, in the name of being “right.” But I think this conflation of person and idea undercuts the debate, or at least limits its potential.
A young widower, Tim Haspel, moves next door after having lost his wife Jenny in a tragic carnival accident.
The Green Family, owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores, has asked the US Supreme Court to grant them 'conscience protection,' exempting them from their obligations under the Affordable Care Act. They claim that their religious convictions don't allow them to cover employees' birth control.
As it happens, I know a little something about conscience protection. I'm a Quaker--one of the groups for whom the first conscience protection laws were created.
Politeness buys you time. It leaves doors open. I’ve met so many people whom, if I had trusted my first impressions, I would never have wanted to meet again. And yet — many of them are now great friends. I have only very rarely touched their hair.
"'Picture yourself as a stereotypical male'" by Michelle G. at MIT Admissions:
As it turns out, there is zero statistically significant gender difference in mental rotation ability after test-takers are asked to imagine themselves as stereotypical men for a few minutes. None. An entire standard deviation of female underperformance is negated on this condition, just as a man’s performance is slightly hindered if he instead imagines himself as a woman. (well then.)
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