This month Clara and I welcomed our first child, a daughter, into the world. She is unbelievably wonderful and it already feels like she’s been with us forever. Here are some thoughts on life with a newborn (sometimes, on life with this newborn specifically), in no particular order: When she cries, it’s often just sad … More Welcome to the world!
Minnesota has recently gone from its “Stay Home” order to a series of “Stay Safe” guidelines for which activities to reintroduce when. Here’s an example graphic posted by our governor last week: This type of advice puts each activity at any given time into one of two buckets: “Allowed” or “Not allowed.” And that makes … More Three questions to ask instead of “Is it safe?”
I’m writing this on the fifth night of protests and riots in Minneapolis. We live relatively far away from the main sites of conflict with the police department, and having been staying home for pandemic and pregnancy reasons, we’ve been grateful to our friends on the ground for keeping us informed. For those of us … More It doesn’t have to be senseless
When I think about the different aspects of my life, I keep coming back to this list of goal types Gretchen Rubin collected for her book Better than Before: Eating healthfully Exercising regularly Spending wisely Enjoying rest Accomplishment Simplifying one’s environment Deepening relationships I’ve been astonished how much this pandemic has disrupted every one of … More Quarantine Knits
A recent Washington Post article has the title “When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t.” The article talks about how suddenly exponential growth seems to go from vanishingly tiny to passing a major threshold. This made me wonder if there is some natural moment in time at which we can … More Does an exponential curve have a corner?
Our new apartment has laundry in the building, but in a room that can only be accessed by going outside and then in through a separate entrance. The result in winter is that on its way back, a hamper full of freshly dried clothes will acquire a layer of cold clothing around its warm cozy … More Why cold clothes feel damp
I do not enjoy public speaking. This may sound odd coming from someone whose chosen profession involves regularly getting up in front of a crowd of students several times a week, but somehow that feels different. When I’m teaching, I’m the expert. By getting up and speaking, I am merely fulfilling the role that everyone … More Multiplying Joy
FiveThirtyEight recently posted a piece called “The Impeachment Hearings Just Confirmed Voters’ Preexisting Opinions”: the same wave of new information has just made everybody more convinced of what they already thought: One explanation of this phenomenon is “motivated reasoning”: a person finding data more reliable and arguments more convincing if they fit with what the … More More information doesn’t have to make you more certain
What’s the best way to measure progress toward long-term goals? For some goals, like “Read 100 novels in 2020,” it’s easy to measure your progress as you go, and you’ll know pretty quickly whether you’re on track to complete your goal. But if your goal is to write a novel, it’s not clear how to … More The metric that matters
I’ve often found great comfort in the idea that work is never wasted: even if a project doesn’t go the way I hoped, I will still have learned something from the attempt, and I’ll carry that knowledge and experience forward with me. However, it recently occurred to me that work done is not the same … More Effort spent procrastinating is wasted