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The Triumphant Day of Fernando Pessoa

On March 8, 1914, in Lisbon, Portugal, “I found myself standing before a tall chest of drawers, took up a piece of paper, began to write, remaining upright all the while since I always stand when I can. I wrote thirty some poems in a row, all in a kind of ecstasy, the nature of…

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King Lear Can Wait

The guilt-trip phase of this lockdown is mercifully over. Remember about six weeks ago when people seized on the idea that this is actually an opportunity for creative types? That we all could — should — be super-productive with the oceans of time that have opened up? The backlash was swift. “It’s tough enough to…

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Lessons in follow-through from the backyard marathoners

Say this about the Covid-19 lockdown: it has separated those who keep their promises from those who are happy to take a mulligan in these extraordinary circumstances. By now you’ve likely heard of a UK man named James Campbell, and not because he is a Scottish record-holder in the javelin. A month ago, grounded in…

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Pi and I Scream

With Spring Break upon us and there’s nowhere to go because everything’s cancelled and everything’s closed, what better way to spend the cooped-up hours than thinking about something equally irrational and never-ending: Pi. Happy Pi Day, folks. When math geeks the world over consider the almost mystic ratio of the circumference of a circle to…

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Workplace Switcheroo: CEOs swap jobs

“Trading places,” as a social experiment and story hook, is older than Eddie Murphy, older than Mark Twain, older even than Shakespeare. But it’s likely no two CEOs had stepped into each others’ shoes before Kip Tindell and Maxine Clark gave it a go one February day. Tindell, co-founder of the Missouri-based Container Store, hopped…

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Inspired Lunacy

Adbusters magazine is no stranger to high-concept one-day actions. Call them provocations, call them statements. Call them invitations to live with greater depth, meaning and resistance. The calling-card example is Buy Nothing Day, an international protest against runamok consumerism held, not coincidentally, on Nov. 29 — “Black Friday”— one of the biggest shopping days of…

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Extreme Language Learning: a hyperglot in overdrive

  There are certain endeavours that would seem to be unattackable in anything but a million little duck bites — they’re just too big and complicated. And anyone who claims to have mastered such tasks in a single day immediately sets off the charlatan alarm. Scott Adams comes to mind. The creator of the cartoon…

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24 Hours with the Stanley Cup

With hockey season finally about to resume – it was a looong summer for those of us whose teams were mathematically eliminated in April – it seems apt to do a post on one of the coolest traditions in sports. Remember how in school some lucky kid got to take the hamster home overnight? The…

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Maarten van der Weijden’s Big Swim Day

On March 1, Dutchman Maarten van der Weijden climbed into a swimming pool in Oosterhout, wearing special swim goggles fitted with lights to combat drowsiness, and when he climbed out the next day, he’d put 102.8km (63.87 miles) behind him. That’s the farthest anyone has ever swum in 24 hours. It beats a mark that…

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