My brother and his family are currently in India visiting my parents after COVID. Although he had made a short visit just before my visit in January, this was an extended trip for his son & my sister-in-law to spend more time with my parents. Unfortunately, the trip …

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In India, we have a concept called jugaad. It’s basically MacGyvering, i.e., problem-solving using previously unthought-of hacks. It often works best when using limited resources and working within constraints. At least that was the original thought. But soon, it devolved …

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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had to scramble to update our Institute website since our second Nature paper was going to be published that week. As before, we were expecting more than average press coverage. Unlike last time, we wanted a functioning website that laid out our …

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Reading about Parag and his son’s college tours reminded me of how eagerly I’m looking forward to those trips. My wife might think I’m trying to kick our son out of the house sooner, but I really love college tours. Both of us work in K-12 and postsecondary education research, so …

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This note by the director was part of the program, and I found the story of the musical production lovely enough to share in full:

About twenty years ago, I had the opportunity to work on an AIDS benefit that was a Sound of Music Sing-A-Long party. I was struck by how …

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We now live in a bright blue congressional district (TX-35) thanks to the latest redistricting so it doesn’t make sense to donate locally. So, I have recurring monthly contributions to Beto O’Rourke’s and Raphael Warnock’s campaigns.

But I also want the Dems to utilize my …

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Although international airlines have started direct flights to and from Austin, the airport is woefully equipped to handle the load.

It has only one conveyor belt for international arrivals, which inexplicably is before the immigration check-in in one smallish hall. They can’t …

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In our home, we are still processing the events at Uvalde, Texas. Having a kid in elementary school makes the danger seem even more real. We remember being shocked and devastated at the Newtown shooting, but this time around, it’s more of a quiet resignation yet a feeling of …

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Maximizing Mental Agility

This post was originally posted on Medium on March 14, 2017, and is shared here for my archival purposes.

One of the advantages of working for a Tier 1 public university in the U.S. is the access to excellent (and inexpensive) professional development opportunities. I’ve been …

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Quitting Twitter wasn’t easy. Although I rejoined late last year, I found the conditions were the same as five years ago. Thankfully, Elon Musk gave me a reason to reconsider.

Inherently, Twitter was a tremendous social network hangout. Even though it killed the blogging star, it …

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I don’t judge people on whether they choose to stay on Twitter or not. I understand the allure of an existing social network they have cultivated over the years and the mental effort it takes to pick up and move elsewhere. Plus everyone has a different trigger point.

But for me, …

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What’s the real purpose of the prosecution?

I wrote this post on Nov.26, 2014 on Medium. Cross-posting it here for posterity

Like most people that may read this, I also got hooked on the Serial podcast that outlined the reexamination of the murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old high schooler in Baltimore that ended with …

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I’m always surprised by the lack of understanding of free speech among Americans considering they pride themselves on it. In fact, it is one of the best things about America but as they say, half-understanding something is just as bad as not understanding it at all.

Our …

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Since we work in education research, we have become those parents who will reach out to the teacher to ensure they are using best practices in pedagogy. To avoid being too overbearing, we only reach out in case of serious issues.

For example, we noticed that the class quizzes are …

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Sometimes attributed to community organizer Saul Alinsky, but likely adapted from a story by Irving Zola:

A group of people is standing at a riverbank and suddenly hear a baby crying. Shocked, they see an infant struggling in the water. One person immediately dives in to rescue …

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