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A Recent Memo from the Teenagers Union

I am convinced that no matter how good a teenager is, they still have an obligation to act out against their parents. It’s like they are saying, “Look, Mom and Dad. You know I’m a good kid. I don’t want to be like this but I’m a teenager and teenagers have certain responsibilities.” It’s like they’re all part of some union. Here’s what I imagine that union would say:

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Uncategorized

How TikTik Brings Peer Pressure to the Internet

A study published last year quantifies how social media platforms like TikTik create digital peer pressure and use it to their own advantage. Kids feel compelled to use these platforms because their friends are on then even though it makes them feel worse.

Why are our kids using social media so much when there are piles of evidence that it’s bad for them? This isn’t the classic generational clash where parents disapprove of the new-fangled gadgets the kids have. Instead, it’s about how these tools are hijacking their social worlds and enabling a new form of peer pressure.

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Adventures

Thank You for a Most Excellent 25th Reunion

This is my Thank You note to all of my classmates who made my 25th reunion so special.

Thank you for coming together to create such a wonderful event.I can’t get over the incredible feeling of connecting with old friends, building new connections, and feeling this pervasive sense of love and support. It was like stepping into a time machine, with memories of late-night conversations and impromptu adventures rushing back. It was more than a nostalgic trip down memory lane; it was a celebration of community, lasting friendships, and new connections. Each conversation, hug, and shared laugh reinforced a deep sense of belonging.

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Meditation

The High-Definition Experience of Scaring Yourself Half to Death

I have a love/hate relationship with those giant water slides, especially the ones that go straight down. The hate side is easy. They’re terrifying. At 46, I’m too old to be up there, teetering on the edge, staring down a steep drop that makes my heart race and my palms sweat. Sitting on the top of the slide, ready to plunge, I question my sanity. What am I doing here? I could be relaxing by the pool, enjoying a cold drink, instead of subjecting myself to this self-inflicted torture.

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Uncategorized

How to Believe in God

I’m writing this in response to a d’var Torah I heard at shul. The speaker said, “I love going to shul and feeling this sense of beauty and love. But I don’t think I believe in God.” I felt bad for her. Something was keeping her from believing in God that didn’t need to be there. I talked to her afterward and told her the following story.

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ChatGPT

How to Communicate Better. Lessons from AI.

People aren’t blank slates. While the old idea, famously critiqued by Steven Pinker in his book The Blank Slate, suggested we start with empty minds, ready to be filled, that’s not quite right. Pinker argues that humans are born with inherent traits, instincts, and predispositions that significantly shape our learning and behavior. So, while our experiences influence us, they don’t write on an empty slate but rather interact with our inborn capacities.

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Life Lessons Product Management

The Perils of Magical Thinking

It’s tempting to want something so bad that you believe you can will it to happen. Instead of examining risks and continually examining and reducing them, projects just forge ahead. This happens at work all the time. But most interestingly, there are some things that humans want so bad, like peace, that we also think that our prayers might make this happen, even when complete peace is impossible.

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Adventures

Cheeky Royal Art

Royal art, with its grand portraits and stately sculptures, usually strikes a note of seriousness and tradition. Yet, hidden in the corners of museums and palaces are playful and childish works of creativity that show a lighter side of royalty. This post delves into the world where royal decorum meets whimsical mischief.

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Adventures Science and Math

The Beauty of Standards: The Royal Observatory of Greenwich

London, April 27, 2024, 7 PM

Today, our journey took us to the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Much like our visit to Stonehenge, I was drawn to this global landmark. I realized that standing on the Prime Meridian is like no other place in the world. I was neither East nor West, but centered, anchored in global time and space.

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Adventures Life Lessons

High and Low Culture: Pastry Fork vs. Spork

London, April 27, 2024, 7 PM

At first, I thought I was stepping into a world of high culture, of high tea, which many of us think of as posh and elite. But in reality, high tea is a working-class meal, hearty and robust, eaten at the end of the workday. It turns out I was going for afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is the high culture one. It’s all about elegance and light bites—think scones and tiny sandwiches, eaten in the late afternoon.