July 6 – Brunch, Egypt, and Errands

Here’s what I’ve accomplished today:

  1. J and I went to brunch at Miss Shirley’s this morning with some of his friends from college. Miss Shirley’s is a Baltimore institution with an amazing brunch menu, and I had the perfect meal: a veggie and goat cheese omelet with hash browns (I love me a potato product) plus a couple of bites of J’s coconut-stuffed french toast, which was delicious but so sweet and rich that I can’t imagine eating it as a meal.
  2. I got a little bit of a handle on the situation in Egypt by watching Hank Green’s video summarizing recent Egyptian politics.
  3. J and I took Daisy for a long walk to run errands. First, we went to our local indie pet store to get her some new dog food, since she has decided to stop eating hers, and then we stopped by our local fancy booze store so that J could run inside and buy things while I stayed outside with the dog. These are both things that I’ve been meaning to do during the week, but it was much nicer to do them as an outing with J instead of as chores on my own.

June 18 – 3: Survival voyeurism + science

Like most people, I love reading news stories about people surviving against all odds, so this article in Slate about a man trapped underwater for three days caught my eye as I was scanning the headlines during a break from my boring day at work today. And then the article got even better – because it wasn’t just a survival story. It also touched lightly on the science behind how Harrison Okene was able to survive, which makes the story way more interesting (at least for me, anyway). Go check it out.

June 16 – 2: Hillary Clinton on Twitter

I kind of love the way that Hillary Clinton has joined Twitter. I’m not a twitter-er myself at this point – I’ve been avoiding joining because I don’t really think I need another social networking tool (or another Internet time-suck). But I think I might give it a go over the summer. Because, seriously, I kind of want to read more of her tweets and generally be a fangirl.

June 15 – 1: Why even wedding industry reporters should know basic statistics

I really enjoyed this Slate article about the price of an “average” wedding. Although I got married almost two years ago and never plan to have another wedding, I still read almost any article I come across that talks about weddings. I even have a wedding blog or two in my feed reader that I read regularly.

Weddings are celebrations of love – both a couple’s love for each other, and the community’s love for the couple. And I find them fascinating. In part, I like looking at them from an anthropological point of view – thinking about the different traditions and where they have come from, thinking about how weddings have changed over the generations, or how they differ from culture to culture (or subculture to subculture). I also like the pretty pictures that usually go along with wedding articles. Even within a relatively traditional, conservative wedding, a celebration that has a fairly set formula for what is going to take place and how everything should look, I am amazed at the variation and creativity that people show, the details large and small that they put hours or days into developing.

But beyond my interest in weddings, I loved this article because its author grasped basic middle school math, and pointed out the difference between reporting a mathematical average (also known as the “mean”) versus what “average” means to most people when they hear it. And how, at least in the context of an article about “average” wedding budgets, the median is a more accurate “average” than the mean. Go read the article for the reasons why.

June 10 – 3: Nerd humor

This xkcd comic today reflected my feelings about the recent revelations about NSA surveillance pretty accurately. No, I’m not happy that the government is monitoring our Internet usage. Yes, I think it’s a violation of our civil liberties to have the government intruding into our communications. But even more than that, I think that for the most part, it’s a colossal waste of time and taxpayer money, because they’re going to get so much useless data back, and sifting through it to find the relevant data seems like it probably takes more time and energy than it’s worth.

At least it gives us something to laugh/cry about, though. (And don’t worry – a post on Dwarf Fortress is coming at some point – it’s another of my favorite super nerdy computer games)

May 31 – 1: Brittney Griner

I just read this ESPN article on Brittney Griner. It makes me happy for a couple of reasons.

First, I’m always glad to learn about celebrities who I feel like I can really respect. Especially working with middle school students, it’s clear to me that celebrities can have a huge effect on shaping our culture. My students are constantly talking about what’s going on with their favorites celebrities, and I cannot begin to keep up with their demand for biographies of Justin Bieber, or Katy Perry, or One Direction, or whoever the Next Big Thing might be. So it’s always exciting to me when I find a new celebrity whose biography I’ll hopefully be able to pick up and wholeheartedly recommend to my students.

And secondly, I’m glad to be living in a time when it seems like huge steps are being made in our society towards treating all people equally. We  still have a lot of work to do in a lot of areas, but it seems like we’re headed in the right direction, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ issues. I was super excited when Jason Collins came out – having an openly gay athlete playing on a major sports team is huge. And even though I was disappointed that it didn’t go far enough, I was still happy to hear that the Boy Scouts have ended their ban on openly gay scouts. Not to mention the strides being taken across the country towards legalizing gay marriage. And now Nike is sponsoring an openly gay athlete, and allowing her the freedom to stay true to herself by wearing their clothes branded as menswear. Which is awesome.