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Today is a sad day in our house. Our dog, Potter, is being put down. Potter is 13 1/2 years old, and by far the best dog that has ever lived. Not only did he star as “dog” in a local production of Cheaper by the Dozen, he also saved the life of a young boy-really! Of course, he also ate an entire pound of Godiva dark chocolate that I had received for my birthday (I had eaten one piece, ugh) and multiple pencils and kids’ toys, but nobody’s perfect…

He will be missed forever and ever.

Here are some great links from around the web this week.

Ursula K. LeGuin on Aging and What Beauty Really Means– As always, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings distills an already brilliant book into a series of even more brilliant observations. LeGuin looks at how dogs, cats, and dancers see themselves, and how we would do well to adopt some of their attitudes. Two great quotes, as quoted from the book:

“Dogs don’t know what they look like. Dogs don’t even know what size they are. No doubt it’s our fault, for breeding them into such weird shapes and sizes. My brother’s dachshund, standing tall at eight inches, would attack a Great Dane in the full conviction that she could tear it apart. When a little dog is assaulting its ankles the big dog often stands there looking confused — “Should I eat it? Will it eat me? I am bigger than it, aren’t I?” But then the Great Dane will come and try to sit in your lap and mash you flat, under the impression that it is a Peke-a-poo.”

“There are a whole lot of ways to be perfect, and not one of them is attained through punishment.”

Brilliant: The Science of How We Get Smarter – Annie Murphy Paul studies intelligence and what affects our intelligence. This talk is an overview of her “forthcoming” book (no release date as of yet) positing that by affecting the environment we function in, we can affect how well we function. Some fabulous quotes from the talk:

“Is this an environment that is evoking or suppressing the intelligence of all the people in it?”

“We would see our own bodies as the most intimate of microenvironments.”

“The way we get smarter is by structuring the microenvironments in which we learn and work so that they evoke from us as much intelligence as possible.”

I Got 99 Problems and Palsy is Only One– This TED talk by the very funny and oh-so-real Maysoon Zayid made me laugh a lot and cry a little. It was in the TED category “Charming talks for a bad day.” Her brilliant look at being both Arab-American and disabled in America is truly proof that laughter can teach. I’m not going to quote from it because frankly, none of it would be as funny coming from me.

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