How Ramona Quimby Helps Kids Make Sense of this Unstable World–Ramona reminds us that many of our adult-constructed rules don’t make much sense. Why would her teacher, who has told the class she cares for them and reinforced the importance of the kindergarten classroom practices, stay home sick and leave them with a stranger as a substitute—an older, sensible woman who does not know the traditions of their kindergarten? Why would her mother scold her for sticking out her tongue at the neighbor, when the neighbor had clearly asked if the cat had gotten it? Ramona puzzles through the conventions of the world around her, a world in which she is expected to know how to behave, even though it makes few accommodations for joyful, expressive little girls. lithub.com
Is Tylenol Dulling Our Capacity for Empathy?–It is frequently lamented that we have become a me-first society, in which people care little about the welfare of others. This ethos, arguably personified by our president, has been blamed in part on modern technology, and especially on social media.
But new research points to a very different and unexpected culprit: Tylenol. psmag.com
A Personal History of Dating Men With ‘Potential’–Since then, I’ve experienced various reiterations of what I now consider my original sin (and which others may recognize as a propensity for codependency). I hadn’t diagnosed what was really wrong — that I fall for potential only I can see, rather than the person actually standing in front of me. I tried to “do better” by dating wildly different men rather than working on myself. humanparts.medium.com
Economic Dignity–Like values such as freedom or liberty, economic dignity is a concept that brings with it great intuitive power, but usually lacks a rigorous definition. There is no shortage of usages of the word “dignity”—from showing grace under difficult circumstances (“He handled the rebuke with great dignity.”), to the basic respect all people are due by virtue of their common humanity recognized in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the respect for autonomy of the individual that Supreme Court justices from William Brennan, Jr. to Anthony Kennedy have found embedded in the core of the Constitution. democracyjournal.org
Human Drugs Are Polluting the Water—And Animals Are Swimming in It–Today, another kind of migration—a pernicious, microscopic one that folds together the private lives of humans with those of riverine creatures—risks disrupting this cycle, even as it offers (a meager silver lining) insight into fish mentality and animal migration. Pharmaceuticals are emitted from our bodies, homes, and factories, entering waterways and accumulating in fish, bugs, mollusks, crustaceans, birds, and warm-blooded animals. Areas around drug-manufacturing plants are hot spots for this kind of pollution. So too are watercourses near hospitals and aging sewage infrastructure. But medicinal compounds have also been detected in remote environments, imbuing surface waters even in Antarctica. www.theatlantic.com
The Therapy of Desire: Toward a Revolutionary Philosophy–We arrive with alarming swiftness at the heart of our problem: we want to be ourselves and we want nothing more than to flee from ourselves. The natural escape is to identify only with the desires we approve of at any given moment, and to forget the ones that shame or horrify us. This way our self-image can maintain a modicum of plausibility to itself. But our conflicting desires remain more permanent than our fleeting succession of identities that we fashion and discard as they become unbearable, even to us. lareviewofbooks.org
Here’s a Global Heatmap of People with Your Last Name–Ever wonder where people with your last name end up? Forebears is a website started in 2012 that's dedicated to mapping out mentions of some 11 million surnames, and it'll allow you to further cull them from newspaper mentions, genealogical record sites, and a host of other historical sources from paid sources. It even lists the most popular surnames by country, highlight how many times the last name's occurred in countries, and list off various permutations and spellings of the last name that may have also appeared. motherboard.vice.com