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Art elevates the human experience. Science contextualizes it. Art says we are important. Science says we are not.
I think of this tension often — it’s a theme of a lot of the writing I’ve done for years. High culture is the best tool we have against nationalism and provincialism. The best of what we collectively create tends to come from collaboration and gains interest beyond race or country or tribe. Science is a collection of the facts as best we can see them now. Art motivates us to care, to understand, to act. I’m interested in when we seem to deploy the wrong one for a circumstance.
Continue reading Art tells us we are important. Science reminds us we are not
I first visited the Pen and Pencil Club in January 2009, as a spunky, 23-year-old. After visiting frequently, I finally became an official member of the country’s oldest surviving open daily press club in early 2012.
Then, in 2013 I ran and was elected to the club’s board of governors, with some encouragement from then club President Chris Brennan, a celebrated politics reporter and columnist who worked hard to grow the kind of members in the club. I was growing a reputation with Technical.ly and an active local organizer of the Online News Association.
I was proud. I learned a lot, and I put a lot of effort into being a board member. Next week, rather than run for a fifth term, I am stepping down. Here I share some of what I accomplished during the last four years.
Continue reading What I accomplished as a Pen and Pencil Club governor
I learn new big foundational truths every year. Yet for some reason, three trends in particular that I learned this year meaningfully shifted how I understood my country, in particular the work I do in reporting and organizing around economic development.
They’re so important and telling that I admit I’m a little embarrassed I only really understood them this year.
Continue reading 3 trends I learned this year that totally shook my understanding of the American economy
I always asked a lot of questions.
I can remember annoying even my patient parents by always asking ‘why,’ to follow any experience or discussion. Sometimes I would ask ‘why’ to be a brat, but most often I found my mind trying to play out whatever circumstances would follow and discovered that I rarely knew what was next.
So I was likely curious by nature. Still, there was a second step in my developing a love for learning.
In my sophomore year of high school, I sat next to a networked printer in my math class. That printer was apparently the default printing choice for a variety of nearby classes. As you might expect, people would regularly print to that printer, not know where it is and then try again. The result was a regular stream of random class essays, research papers, academic articles and, yes, people’s personal poems.
Continue reading How I first fell in love with information before I knew what the Internet was