Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and it may be inhibiting their ability to recognize emotions, according to new research out of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found that sixth-graders who went five days without exposure to technology were significantly better at reading human emotions than kids who had regular access to phones, televisions, and computers.

The UCLA researchers studied two groups of sixth-graders from a Southern California public school. One group was sent to the Pali Institute, an outdoor education camp in Running Springs, Calif., where the kids had no access to electronic devices.

For the other group, it was life as usual. At the beginning and end of the 5-day study period, both groups of kids were shown images of nearly 50 faces and asked to identify the feelings being modeled.

Researchers found that the students who went to camp scored significantly higher when it came to reading facial emotions or other nonverbal cues than the students who continued to have access to their media devices.

"We were pleased to get an effect after five days," says Patricia Greenfield, a senior author of the study and a distinguished professor of psychology at UCLA. "We found that the kids who had been to camp without any screens but with lots of those opportunities and necessities for interacting with other people in person improved significantly more."

If the study were to be expanded, Greenfield says, she’d like to test the students at camp a third time – when they’ve been back at home with smartphones and tablets in their hands for five days.

Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say? : NPR Ed : NPR


FYF Fest: Benjamin Booker

We had quite a few Vans House Party Alums at FYF this year and one we were particularly proud of was Benjamin Booker. Shading the early afternoon sun with a pair of Ray Bans, he introduced the crowd to his just-released, self-titled debut album that’s already getting buzz from NPR and Rolling Stone. Booker’s music is the raw, edgy rock we’ve been yearning for which also ends up being oh-so easy to shimmy to. You couldn’t stop toe-tapping or head-bobbing the whole time he was on stage. 

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens

Feminism In A Run-Down Taffy Factory: The Women Of Bob’s Burgers | NPR

"I’m no hero," Tina declares in season three. "I put my bra on one boob at a time like everyone else." But for many, Tina does represent a new kind of hero. She weathers the anxieties of adolescence while gently testing the waters of her confidence. Tina might not be great at public speaking, but her message is clear: embrace your weirdness. Embrace your Tina.

I know most news networks are not covering Ferguson or are doing a shit job. So here is a compilation of NPR's coverage. It's really good.

How People In Ferguson See The Police in Ferguson  

For A 4th Night, Ferguson Police Disperse Protesters

In Tense Ferguson, Mo., 2 Reporters Caught in Arrests

Tear Gas and Arrests: Ferguson Police and Protesters Face Off

Race Relations ‘Top Priority” in Ferguson, Police Chief Says

In Ferguson Shooting’s Tumultuous Wake, Leaders Call for Peace and Protest

In the Absence of Answers, Protests fill Ferguson’s Silence

In Ferguson, Missouri, Calls for Justice and Calm After Michel Brown’s Death

Police Shooting Death of Missouri Teen Stokes Racial Tension

Protesters in St. Louis- Area Call for Accountability in Teen’s Death

FBI Opens Probe Into The Police Shooting That Roiled St. Louis

In Hashtag Protest, ‘Black Twitter’ Shows Its Strength

What Policing Looks like to Former (Black) Officer

What Policing Looks Like to Former Investigator of Misconduct

Vigil For Teen Killed by Police Officer Spirals into Violence

St. Louis Police: Black Teen Shot In Altercation With Officers

Do you know what people want more than anything? They want to be missed. They want to be missed the day they don’t show up. They want to be missed when they’re gone.

In another excellent episode of NPR’s TED Radio Hour, Seth Godin dispenses some of his signature wisdom in discussing what makes a great leader. (David Foster Wallace had similar ideas.)

Pair with Godin on vulnerability, creative courage, and how to dance with the fear.

His take on The Doctor’s new personality is also quite specific. “This character presents himself to those around him a certain way, but in fact, there’s a completely unknown Doctor that is rarely revealed to those around them,” Capaldi says. “Because that other Doctor probably exists on a whole other plane and has a relationship with the universe that is probably beyond the ken of human beings.”

In the past year, my first in a prestigious Ph.D. program in creative writing and literature, I have often felt conspicuous as a writer of color. I have felt a responsibility to speak up when race is discussed, but I have also resented this responsibility. Lately, I have found myself burying my head. It bothers me to no end that the pressure is beating me, and yet it is.

Like many writers of color, I read Junot Diaz’s “MFA vs. POC” on the New Yorker blog, and identified with his anger and sadness at the loss of voices of color to the “white straight male” default of the writing workshop — a group of writers gathering to critique one another’s work. I have had “good” and “bad” workshop experiences, but for me whenever race comes up, it feels, somehow, traumatic. While most issues in workshop are presented as universal to story, race can come off as a burden personal to writers of color.

—  Matthew Salesses, When Defending Your Writing Becomes Defending Yourself, NPR, July 20, 2014
Success is being able to look in the mirror and know that I am all right on that day. I don’t believe I’ve made it. I believe that I’m making it. I believe that I found my past so I can live in the present. It’s the most important thing to me. In the books and the plays and the touring and the gigs and the speeches and the – and the cash – it all pales into insignificance when compared with knowing that I didn’t do anything wrong. And I’m OK now.

In a fantastic episode of NPR’s TED Radio Hour, poet Lemn Sissay echoes Thoreau.

Complement with 5½ excellent commencement addresses on defining your own success.

Watch on

Depending on where you’re born, cooking dinner, having sex and going to the bathroom are either three of life’s many pleasures - or three of the riskiest things you can do.

NPR did a great story on Ferguson today

Had me crying.
Whatever you’ve heard- here are five solid facts:
1. An unarmed teen was shot and killed
2. He was shot MULTIPLE times
3. He was shot in the head
4. No ambulance was called
5. His body was on the road for 4 hours

Even if you’re the most racist piece of shit that can’t see that Ferguson police are brutalizing POC, you have to at least acknowledge how fucked up the shooting was.

Friends, we need your help. NPR’s Melissa Block recently interviewed musician Passenger (Mike Rosenberg) and he shared a story about a chance encounter with a stranger who had a profound impact on his life. We want to find that stranger.

Here’s the deal: Last year during a tour stop in Minneapolis, Rosenberg made a late-night gas station trip to buy cigarettes. He struck up a conversation with an older man who was smoking outside next to his motorcycle. He learned that this gentlemen had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was midway through a cross-country road trip to see his family in New York, where he planned to spend the rest of his days. 

Rosenberg never got the man’s name, but the experience affected him deeply. He quit smoking and wrote the song “Riding to New York.”  

We’d love to reach this man or his family. If you think you might know who he is, please email

Please reshare this. I know we can track this guy down. (We did it once before.) 

Update #1, 12:21 PM:  He met the man on Tues. July 30th, 2013 in Minneapolis.