Punishment and reward teach people how to weigh benefits and risks — but nothing about why their behavior matters.

Here’s a conversation we’re not ready to have:

Punishments do not change behavior. Punishments only change the costs of behavior.

For example: Say that your older child is teasing, tormenting, bullying…


We may not all be impaired. Yet every spring, we are all disabled.

It’s the week of the switch to Daylight Saving Time, and we are all disabled.

That assertion may come as a surprise to folks who think of themselves as “healthy,” “fit,” “functional” or “abled.” I don’t have any medical problems. What are you talking about?

I’m not talking about medical…


Sometimes weird risks need weird coverage.

Over the centuries, one insurance model came to dominate the industry. It’s the one we’re all familiar with: A customer pays an insurance company a premium in exchange for a promise that the insurer will cover certain specified types of losses when they occur.

This model works well for a…


The decision to stop publishing six Dr. Seuss titles was purely business.

On March 2, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it intended to cease publication of six Seuss titles, ranging from the career-launching And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street to titles that I, despite being a member of the Dr. …


I was part of the mass burnout affecting an entire working generation

A woman gasping for air above water

Reader note: This article contains discussion of self-harm and suicidal ideation. See the end of the article for helpful resources.

My name is Dani Alexis, and I’m a workaholic.

Were I confessing to a drug or alcohol addiction, this admission would elicit concern. It might even be mildly shocking. Certainly…


Here are the ten steps I follow for creative work, from idea generation to final product.

My entire career is creative. I write marketing copy for a living. I write novels for amusement and the occasional spare dollar. I write colorguard and winterguard choreography and consult on marching band show design.

Consequently, I’m often asked: What is your creative process?

And How do you generate ideas?


Workers automate their jobs, then agonize over whether to tell their employers. And for good reason.

I haven’t always made my money via freelance writing. I’ve also been conventionally employed in various jobs: medical records clerk, camp counselor, editor, lawyer, adjunct.

Despite its challenges, I find I prefer freelancing to conventional employment. The headaches of filing my own business taxes or worrying about cash flow bother…


The Takeaway

Students can’t learn, online or in person, if they’re hungry or homeless. Covid-19 multiplied the inequities.

I coach at a Title I high school. According to the most recent statistics I can find on our district (not linked here to preserve some anonymity for my students), 72.2% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Close to one-third are technically homeless, having no fixed address…


As my family knows, I love Turkish Delight.

I’m the only person in the family who does like Turkish Deligh, however. This Christmas, I ordered myself a box of Turkish Delight, figuring that since no one else likes it, no one else would order it. …

Dani Alexis Ryskamp

As seen in The Atlantic that one time. Freelance writer, sci-fi author, pageantry arts nerd. Tweets @danialexis. See also http://danialexis.net

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