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Malaria vaccine will change the world forever

Amazing news out of the University of Oxford: A malaria vaccine trial on 409 children was found to have an 80 percent rate of protection. Malaria kills 409,000 people a year — mostly babies — so this is historically, astoundingly, profoundly good news. Not only is the vaccine inexpensive, but the team behind it has…

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Worst decision #1: SportsCenter hat

I thought it might be fun to occasionally reveal some of the worst decisions of my life. Humiliation is always amusing. Right? Here’s one: A purple SportCenter hat, which I purchased while on a tour of ESPN circa 1995 and wore religiously for more than two years, was not a good decision on my part.…

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Is The Yearling a sad movie?

For reasons that are unimportant and amount to little more than following an internet rabbit hole. I found myself wondering: Is The Yearling a sad movie? I knew that the film was based upon a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and I knew it had a reputation for being sad, but I’d never read the book or…

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Religious wisdom on a boat

Charlie and I are on a paddleboard in the middle of Dunning Lake when I hear the first rumble of thunder in the distance. Charlie hears it, too. “Time to head to shore,” he says. He’s not wrong. The lifeguards will call us in soon enough. But it’s one of our final days of summer,…

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The lifespan of “Leaving on a Jet Plan”

Making stuff is a circuitous and oftentimes unpredictable route. Doing the work, every day, again and again, when the outcome is uncertain and unknowable and seemingly impossible, is most important. Do the work. The rest is almost entirely out of your hands. Case in point: “Leaving on a Jet Plane” was a song written and…

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Teachers, this is our time…

My fellow teachers: I would like to humbly suggest that given the massive teacher shortages that school districts are experiencing around the country, we must recognize that our value to our school districts and society has never been higher. People have long claimed that teachers change the world. They assert that education is the backbone…

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The proper response to a bad handshake

Earlier this year, a man reached to shake my hand after I congratulated him on winning a storytelling competition. As his hand clasped mine, he squeezed much harder than was necessary or expected, causing me pain, so I responded in the way I always do when a man (it’s always a man) attempts to crush…

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Pivoting toward Lizzo

Elysha and I were discussing marriages wherein one spouse takes a sudden turn towards the ultra-orthodox version of their religion, oftentimes attempting to impose new rules and patriarchal gender roles into the relationship as a result. Better, we thought, for your spouse to abandon religion altogether than to have them suddenly pivot toward the most…

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“I’m too old for pronouns.”

I was speaking to someone who told me that he was “too old” for the changes in the way we use pronouns to treat people respectfully. I felt bad for this person. Obviously, his brain has atrophied to the point that a shift in simple, everyday language was beyond his level of cognition. I also…

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Shortcomings and Flaws: 2022

More than a decade ago, a reader accused me of being materialistic after I wrote about my lack of a favorite number, specifically criticizing me for saying that when it comes to my salary, my favorite number is the largest number possible. After properly refuting his charges of materialism, I acknowledged that I had plenty…

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