Phases of Learning

One evening last week my 6-year-old daughter and I ran out to Dairy Queen to get treats and bring them home for everyone. It was around 6:30, and as we drove east on 17th Avenue it was still fairly light outside but the moon was already visible. It was nearly full; it was full a night or so later.

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Positively Brilliant

I’d never heard a more miserable, pitiful statement in my life, and I haven’t heard a more miserable, pitiful one since.

It came in an upper-level English literature course of some sort, when the group was chewing through a work by Dickens or some other dead Englishman. This woman raised her hand, then said, “When I wake up every morning, I tell myself, ‘This is going to be the worst day of my life.’ That way, I’m never disappointed.”

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Robots Rock. And Score Goals. And Write.

With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans. They also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

140727_Robots-Rock-WriteThey’ve been rolling into our lives for years, performing tasks from the relatively mundane, like vacuuming floors, to the Jetsonish, like working as teachers’ aides in classrooms. With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans.

Robots also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

According to the experts, if robotics continues to advance at the current pace, it might not be long before bots will be able to score goals as effectively as Lionel Messi, and other machines will report the wins and losses.

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Thanks for Being Here

Father’s Day, 2004

“Thanks for being here.”

My father, Martin C. Fredricks III, said this to me many times, usually at family gatherings. Just as often, though, he said it to people he’d just met, at one of my brother’s NDSU football games, for example, even if they had their own child playing. It always seemed an odd thing to say to people with their own reasons for being somewhere.

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Gee, Dad, You’re Such a Dork!

Photo of Martin C. Fredricks IV with his father, Martin C. Fredricks III
Photo of Martin C. Fredricks III with his son, Martin C. Fredricks IV, June 16, 2002 – Father’s Day

“Mart probably fell into the toilet, and Dad’s making a list of ways to get him out.”

That punch line, originally delivered by my older sister when we were just kids, never fails to bring a laugh at family gatherings. It’s a short story that recently took on new meaning for me.

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The Man Chair

A Few Tips for the Hapless Male

photo of guy in chair while women shop

There I sit, helplessly, in The Man Chair.

Don’t confuse this with the infamous lounger where men devour chips and beer in front of the game. Far from a throne overlooking any urban kingdom, this chair is reserved for the stalwart few who venture forth to malls on weekends.

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