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Defining American

Sometimes, when I hear a word, images and stories immediately come rushing into my head.

American.

Betsy Ross sewing stars and stripes. Laura Ingalls running across the prairie. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids watching fireworks. The Oregon Trail. Hands on hearts screeching out the Star-Spangled Banner. A picture of Uncle Sam.

“Hey, you!” Uncle Sam says.

I look around.

“You!” He barks. “I want you!”

“Me?” I ask nervously. “For what?”

His index finger points at me accusingly, even though in my culture pointing is a gesture for dogs. I imagine he’s calling me out, saying: “You don’t belong here.” I look into Sam’s eyes at his white hair and beard and creamy skin and realize he’s right. As a mixed race, Chinese-American woman, these stories of America, quite literally, don’t know the half of it.  

Defininf american This  entry also appears on the Minnesota Humanities Center blog. 

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Being creative is aided by breaking away from tradition, order, and convention, and a disorderly environment seems to help people do just that.

Is it better to work in a clean office or a messy one?

The answer may depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. For, according to an intriguing new study from the University of Minnesota, a tidy and well-ordered environment may promote healthful eating and generosity, but a bit of chaotic clutter appears to encourage creative thinking.

(via minnpost)