Image by Christian Cable

You are still going to hear more and more this summer and fall about the “new normal” or the “next normal” as we hopefully move out of the pandemic and return to something similar to but not the same as what we called normal in 2019.

Isn’t normal always changing? What is normal anyway?

Normality for an individual is when your behavior is consistent with the most common behavior for that person. But normal is also used to describe individual behavior that conforms to the most common behavior in a society. …


April 8 is the day Buddhists celebrate the birthday of Buddha. Gautama Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama, Prince of Kapilavastu in India in the sixth century B.C.E.

I first encountered his story when in Siddhartha. a novel by Herman Hesse. (In the novel, the Buddha is referred to as “Gotama.”) Though it is a novel and not a religious tract, it put me on a path to learn about this man who is revered as the founder of Buddhism and his teachings.

He is worshipped by most Buddhist schools as the Enlightened One because he transcended Karma and escaped…


I read that the American rock band Kings of Leon is getting in on NFTs (non-fungible tokens). They are not the first. I looked into this term which I was not familiar with and found that the artist Grimes sold a bunch of NFTs for nearly $6 million and an NFT of LeBron James making a historic dunk for the Lakers garnered more than $200,000. The auction house Christie’s got bids in the millions for the artist Beeple.

NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” meaning a token that you can’t exchange for another thing of equal value. Fungibility is the ability…


Image by Andi Graf from Pixabay

Tech companies use “persuasive design” to get us hooked. Some psychologists say it’s unethical. Children are particularly susceptible to “hidden manipulation techniques,” but lots of adults are also taken in by its use, especially in social media and advertising on the Internet. by companies like Facebook and Twitter.

It is in front of our faces when we are getting notifications on our phone and even when that next episode or video on Netflix or YouTube loads itself as soon as we finish one.

Back in the 1970s, there were plenty of articles and theses written about the dangers of too…


Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up. — Chinese Proverb

School teaches us very quickly that you don’t want to fail. In school and at work, failure has consequences. But it also has benefits.

I wrote earlier about how important it is to know what you don’t know. That is not a lesson that comes early in life. Seeing the benefits of failing also takes some time. It also requires a setting where failing is not high stakes. That is why some teachers give practice tests and coaches have scrimmages.

I suspect that the best teachers (in…


The phrase “cancel culture” is showing up in the news more frequently. Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is the term sometimes used when someone is shut out of a social or professional group. This could be either online (particularly on social media), in the real world, or both. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be “canceled.”

I wrote earlier about moderating content and issues about freedom of speech. …


There is what is called the “negativity effect” and we have all felt it. The book that inspired this post is not going to be on the education shelf at bookstores, but I suspect that many of you have felt the negativity effect in schools.

Wikipedia says that “The negativity bias, also known as the negativity effect, is the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things.”

As a student, I…


Photo by Movidagrafica Barcelona from Pexels

On November 10, 1973, school officials in Drake, North Dakota, burned copies of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five.

If you haven’t read the novel — and you should — it is the story of Billy Pilgrim, an American soldier who survives the bombing of Dresden. On February 13, 1945, allied aircraft dropped 4,500 tons of high-explosive and incendiary “firebombs” that devastated an area of around 13 square miles of that city.

Vonnegut enlisted in January 1943, three months after his mother’s suicide. He was captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner in Dresden. He and some of his fellow…


Right off, I don’t actually blame Blinkist for the decline of civilization. It is just one of many, many reasons. It is a service that offers non-fiction books in “bitesize audio and text.” These are much-abridged versions of books made for busy people with little bits of time.

You can get a free trial for 7 days. With these short knowledge hits you could consume a lot of titles in 7 days. I’m an audiobooks fan so I can listen to Robin Sharma’s The 5 AM Club which can help me “Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life” in 12 minutes…


image via Pixabay

I have been reading and writing about the gig economy and about unretirement and various other work-related topics the past year. I just finished a one-year contract gig and I believe I will no longer do any work that involves a “contract.”

But in the two weeks before my contract ran out and the two weeks since I have had 4 offers for new gigs. I had already decided to really stop working. Oh, I still have some clients for my services that I’ll continue working for, and I have my writing, but no more contracts.

So why have I…

Kenneth Ronkowitz

Random by design. Predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Education + Tech + Poetry. Jersey boy

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