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Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:40 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Email: ryanfan17@gmail.com. Support me: ko-fi.com/ryanfan

“No surge” revolutionized how I run. Then it revolutionized how I live my life.

Athletes jump over a hurdle.
Photo from Pexels on Pixabay

Without trying to be productive, I became more productive. Without trying to maximize my life, I started maximizing my life. Something changed and I didn’t feel prone to procrastination.

What changed? I had started applying something I learned from competitive running to how I lived my life: a pacing mindset.

As an accomplished long-distance runner, “no surge” is a mantra that runs through my mind when I run. It’s the mantra that I have carried with me in my most successful races. I used the mantra when I ran a 15:36 5K. I used the mantra when I ran a…


Inside the darkness of NXIVM, Keith Raniere’s sex trafficking cult

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From the US Government, Eastern District of NY — Public Domain

NXIVM had personal development seminars that claimed to enlighten people and make them happy. People claimed attending the seminars cured them of their smoking habit or fear of public speaking. The organization had Hollywood celebrities, children of heads of states, and business leaders adding to its credibility. Many saw its leader as a god.

However, in early 2018, NXIVM’s house of cards collapsed. …


A child pornography scandal gave him 15 and a half years in prison

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From Late1 at Wikipedia Commons

When I was a kid, I remember Jared from Subway, who, in commercials, claimed he lost over 200 pounds just by eating Subway sandwiches and constantly presented before and after photos of his progress. He even showed his jeans of when he weighed more than 400 pounds as a comparison to his then much slimmer weight.

While my brother and I knew that you do much more than eat Subway sandwiches to lose 200 pounds, the effects still stuck with us — Subway became our go-to “healthy” fast-food restaurant. …


There were five suspects, but it’s still a cold case

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From Weaponbb7 on Public Domain

After middle school, I grew up on Long Island. It was always my parents’ dream to have the prototypical suburban life. Moving from Queens, New York to Long Island, we finally had a house we owned. I went to a better school as per my father’s dream, and although I lament going to a high school so privileged and sheltered, I am luckier in my post graduate life for it.

According to My FOX NY, in 2011, searchers found eight sets of remains on Jones Beach, New York, which is a popular beach on Long Island. …


If you’re anything like me, your greatest enemy might be yourself

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Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

Much of the life advice and self-help advice I see across the Internet requires very drastic changes to your life. Waking up at 5 a.m. every day is one example. Other advice includes drastically changing your diet or developing a morning routine where you meditate, go to the gym, do yoga, and make a healthy breakfast (who has that much time in the morning anyway?)

However, I receive feedback all the time from my administrators as a special education teacher that goes against the tide of self-help advice. …


Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s art made his scientific discoveries legendary

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Drawings of Purkinje cells in a pigeon by Ramón y Cajal in 1899 — Public Domain

Santiago Ramón y Cajal is the most famous neuroscientist in human history. When I was studying for my neuroscience major in my undergrad, Cajal had his paintings on every single textbook. Anyone who has studied neuroscience is familiar with Cajal’s paintings and knows him as the father and pioneer of neuroscience. Cajal discovered the nervous system is composed of neurons — individual, discrete cells. He disproved an earlier theory hypothesizing the nervous system being a continuous network.

“Cajal is considered the father of modern neuroscience, as important in his field as Charles Darwin or Louis Pasteur are in theirs,” says


It was about the county’s independence, not slavery

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Photo from David Benbennick on Public Domain

Growing up in New York, I was taught to demonize the South and its role in the Civil War. They were the side of slavery, after all, and my demonizing only exacerbated after I attended Emory University in Atlanta and had many friends who had teachers and textbooks call it the “War of Northern Aggression.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen the history of the North’s racism as not the same, but as pernicious as that of the South. …


SATIRE

It’s not just an expression!

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Photo by Ernesto Leon on Unsplash

Going into my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, I was scared. I heard horror stories of friends who got fevers, friends who could barely move their arms, friends who had flu-like symptoms so bad they couldn’t sleep, and friends who slept for 14 hours. All of these symptoms seemed in line with what medical experts say to expect. For many, getting the second dose of the COVID vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna was getting hit by a truck.

Yesterday, I went into a facility to get my second dose of the COVID vaccine. I got it, and felt…


Some passages make me feel like I’m reading in a foreign language

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Every time I see a reading comprehension passage practicing for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), I roll my eyes — the passage is too damn long. I don’t feel like doing it. I might as well just rush to the questions and use process of elimination and hope for the best.

In that thought process, I caught myself. As a special education teacher who is teaching 9th-grade students, some of whom are reading as low as the Kindergarten level, this is how my students feel often say they feel. The reading is too damn long. It’s easier to just…


Abe Lebewohl was known as “the Mayor of Second Avenue”

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Second Avenue Deli — From Librarygroover on Flickr

Abe Lebewohl was killed in broad daylight when he was delivering deposits to the bank in 1996, and to this day, his killer has not been caught. It remains today one of the most notorious cold cases in the state of New York. Lebewohl was a legendary owner of a New York kosher deli called the Second Avenue Deli and a beloved member of the community, known as “the Mayor of Second Avenue.”

According to Gary Buiso, Larry Celona, and Maureen Callahan at the New York Daily News the 64-year-old man was killed after two people came to his van…

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