What Soccer Can Teach Us About Grading

Strawn ED

As I briefly alluded to in my previous post, I got hooked on soccer watching the 2010 World Cup. Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria is one of the most spectacular sports moments I have ever witnessed. In that moment, I was converted. That fall, I ordered the extra sports package to be able to follow the Premier League and my newly adopted team, Everton FC (thanks in large part to #24 Tim Howard). Ever since, I have been a huge fan, learning more and more about the beautiful game and getting ready for 2014 in Brazil.

Landon Donovan celebrating his winning goal against Algeria to send the USA to the top of Group C and into the knockout round in the 2010 World Cup (photo: ussoccer.com). Landon Donovan celebrating his winning goal against Algeria to send the USA to the top of Group C and into the knockout round in the 2010 World Cup (photo: ussoccer.com).

While I played soccer growing up, it was never with the same passion as baseball. I have nothing beyond a surface-level understanding of soccer…

View original post 661 more words

Stem cell sharing – part 1

Marshallian Surplus

Some years back, I joined the British Bone Marrow Registry. It was a simple process, just an extra sample was taken during a blood donation session. A card with my registry ID number has sat in my wallet since then and I’ve thought little of it.

Last week: I received a letter from the BBMR saying I am a potential donor for a patient, likely someone suffering from leukaemia (leukemia for those in the US) or other blood disorder. Included was a booklet all about the process from Anthony Nolan.

You're a match booklet from Anthony Nolan The booklet from Anthony Nolan. It’s a more in-depth version of this page.

I made a quick phone call to answer some health questions, and an appointment at my doctor’s surgery for a blood sample. A week later, I went to the nurse with the sample kit the BBMR posted out to me. After 2 minutes of painless blood…

View original post 587 more words

Just Like Candy

Carla Prieto

Cigarettenot my hand

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

My love affair with cigarettes began at an early age. The first one I ever tried had no filter and had a bumpy and chalky texture. It came in a long, flimsy, red box that read “KINGS” with a crown underneath, which I had gotten in a goodie bag from a friend’s birthday party. It was candy.

I took mine out and began chewing it after my mom took hers out and lit it, the smoke billowing elegantly above her and blending into the hot summer air like thin branches of an infinitely tall and bare acacia. She sat on our hardwood porch, lined with impatiens and gardenias and buzzing with bees, while I sat on the green summer grass not too far away, watching her lounge coolly with wonder and admiration.

At four or five, I didn’t know much about cigarettes. Why didn’t…

View original post 1,876 more words

Play with me?

why i left my job


It is the 20th day of February, and Mother Nature is dumping some more snow on us here in Minnesota. I am looking outside my window as I type, and I feel like I am inside a snow globe. Whoever is shaking this globe, please stop! It was pretty the first time, but I am over it now. Really, I don’t remember ever hating winter as much as I have this year. It’s been cold. My back still hurts from shoveling earlier this week. And the kids and I are going crazy in this house.  Let me rephrase that: My house and children are driving me crazy. Pretty soon I’ll be trying to peel away the yellow wallpaper.


I am a workaholic at heart. Weird, you may be thinking, since this is coming from someone who could no longer take the pressure of working a full-time job and taking…

View original post 1,646 more words

‘Voices from the Syrian Tragedy’: Three New Poems

ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

Fawaz Azem has translated three new Syrian poems — one from Dima Yousf and two from Nihad Sayed Issa — all responding, in some way, to the nation’s current landscape:

By Fawaz Azem

Dima Yousf, courtesy of the author. Dima Yousf, courtesy of the poet.

Dima Yousf, a Syrian Palestinian born in 1986, graduated from Damascus University with a degree in Arabic literature and a teaching diploma. She teaches Arabic in Damascus schools, and is pursuing a graduate degree “but with a stay of execution.”  A recent post on her Facebook page reads “I have so many stories to tell, if I survive.”

Yousf’s poem is untitled.


Oh, if I only had a knife
like those that are forgotten on necks,
after massacres.
If I only had the fingers of a murderer
and his unblinking eyes.
If I could only utter the cry of his victim
the moment he gathers in the voices
from all four corners…

View original post 396 more words

Manuscripts for the Rich & Famous (Super Bling)!


By Jenny Weston

For the most part, medieval books do not look like this:

Front cover of the Lindau Gospel (© Morgan Library, New York) Front cover of the Lindau Gospel with raised gem stones (© Morgan Library, New York)

But just as some people today add chrome to their cars or gems to their watches or phone cases, some medieval people chose to add ‘bling’ to their books.

Take for example the following Gospel book known as the Codex Aureus or ‘Golden Book’. Made in the 9th century for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles II, the cover of the book is covered with gold, gems, sapphires, emeralds, and pearls.

Codex Aureus of St Emmeram ("Golden Book") Codex Aureus of St Emmeram (‘Golden Book’)

These extremely luxurious book covers are often referred to as ‘treasure bindings’ (for  obvious reasons)!

Because these books were extremely valuable, they were naturally a target for thieves. As a result, only a handful of ‘intact’ examples survive today. It’s possible to see a…

View original post 437 more words

21 things they never tell you about poor countries

Emergent Economics

Prompted by Bill Gates’s annual letter and the response from the Overseas Development Institute I thought I’d list some of the things that in my experience seem to be less understood about poor countries. (I wanted to list 23 things like Ha-Joon Chang on capitalism but I couldn’t think of another two). I use the word poor on purpose because although the word risks sounding patronising or dismissive, euphemisms like developing and less-developed can be worse. Thoughts are welcome.

1. Poverty is the rule, not the exception.For most people life just isn’t as good as it is for you and I, the comfortable people from a country rich enough to allow us the literacy, time and Internet access to read blogs written by well-meaning left liberals. Poverty-as-rule-not -exception is difficult to bend our minds around because we tend to base our views about the world on direct experience. If…

View original post 3,098 more words


Emily Schleiger

Rachel, waiting for her upgrade to OS2, stared at the red screen of her laptop, and fidgeted.  What would dating an OS be like?  She wondered.

Prematurely, she envisioned the details of the wedding.  What kind of fancy stand might she need, to place the smartphone at eye level so she could easily kiss the camera at the end of the ceremony?  Who would fill the guest seats on the groom’s side?  How would she explain her love to her great grandma, who still only had a landline rotary phone?

A male voice startled her from her thoughts. “Welcome to the world’s second artificially intelligent operating system.”

She grinned, and shouted at her screen like she was at a drive-thru restaurant with a broken microphone.  “HI!  I’m Rachel!  Wow, I love your voice, it’s great!  What’s your name?  I—“

The voice slowly interrupted.  “Hi Rachel—I’m not your OS.  I…

View original post 841 more words