5 Tips for Decreasing Word Count

Dr. Punita RiceAcademia

5 Tips for Decreasing Word Count

With some of my final papers for the summer term due in the next week, I figured this might be a good time to share some basic tips for decreasing word count. In the past, I’ve written papers, thought I was pretty much done, and then checked word count and realized I was 500 words over the limit.

Like so many others in the same position, I’ve found myself desperately googling “decreasing word count” to find tips for whittling down my writing, and for some reason, all of these articles I’d find would themselves be extremely wordy, and would all seem to offer the same information in scary lists of 50 or more time-consuming strategies for decreasing word count. Those 50+ tips can be boiled down to “5 Basics of Decreasing Word Count” — read the whole post here.

What Music Makes You Cry?

Dr. Punita RiceStyle

Entre Acero y Cristal - Aitor Renteria - What music makes you cry?

What music makes you cry? NPR shared a story a few years ago about why some songs make us cry. In the story, a professor of music psychology shares that music can, in fact, trigger strong emotional reactions (the full story delves into why and how, if you’d like to learn more). I can relate to this! There are definitely songs that make me have an emotional and physical reaction. If you can relate, maybe they’ll elicit a similar response from you? Here are a handful of songs that move me close to tears…

You Don’t Know What Love Is by Nina Simone (this song makes my heart hurt. The intro is so, so beautiful. And when Nina finishes saying “you don’t know/what love is” the first time, makes an inflection like it’s almost a question, and it sounds so lovely).

My Love by Sia (I love anything Sia, and the piano intro is also so great).

Destiny by Zero 7 (with vocals by Sia). A great line: And when I’m down, you breathe life over me

Twice by Little Dragon (Yukimi Nagano’s voice that sounds like an unexpectedly appealing combination of liquid and silk and sandpaper)

The Dumbing Down of Love by Frou Frou, which has this relevant lyric: Music is worthless unless it can/Make a complete stranger break down and cry

My Heart Still Beats For You by Anna Ternheim (and it feels like there’s a slow “heartbeat” that runs through the background of the song.)

Gole Hayahoo, an Iranian song with lovely lyrics (if you click-through that link, it includes the song as well as a translation.)

Beautiful by Karsh Kale (this song makes me think of college, perfect weather).

What music makes you cry?


P.S. – Scientific American also discussed why music makes us cry here. Also, what music do you listen to when you’re concentrating?

(Painting is “Entre Acero y Cristal” by Aitor Renteria, from here).

A Sikh Tragedy, an American Tragedy

Dr. Punita RiceCulture

A Sikh Tragedy, an American Tragedy

Before reading this post, please make sure you are familiar with the Shooting at the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) in Wisconson.

“For me, the mass shooting is not just about how to keep guns out of the hands of a murderous few. It’s also about my community’s sacrifice in the struggle to live as free and proud Americans

…this is not a Sikh tragedy but an American tragedy.”

– From Valarie Kaur, in Today, we are all American Sikhs

This morning, someone decided to say that Sikh men shouldn’t be surprised by the prejudice some of them face when stepping out in the morning — and to this, I had to say no. To that someone, and to any other person who would raise the notion that any person should expect to face prejudice because of what they believe, I have to say no, in America, they shouldn’t have to expect it.  Having an unshorn beard and wearing a turban are not fashion choices for which a few men should expect to face consequences — for most Sikhs, they are non-negotiable. It is a part of who they are.  So, no, a Sikh man, like any freedom loving American, should not have to expect it or anything less than equal and respectful treatment, because we as a nation are better than that.

A Sikh man (or woman or child) should never “expect” to be treated like a terrorist. This very statement, that a Sikh man should expect to be treated a particular, prejudiced way, is unnerving and implies, “follow your religion at your own risk” — I don’t believe that in this day and age, this mentality is something we should be perpetuating.

We are a nation that defends the right to follow one’s religion — not just allows it, but actively defends it. So to perpetuate the notion that a man who chooses to follow his should expect to be treated with violence is unacceptable. We should be aiming to end ignorance, NOT suggesting that Sikh men and women can exercise their religious freedom at their own risk, particularly in a country where exercising religious freedom is a fundamental RIGHT.

More about Sikhism

Sikhism is the 5th largest Organized Religion in the world, with approximately half a million followers living in the United States. Learn about the fundamental beliefs and central tenants of Sikhism by *clicking here.

*Wikipedia‘s overview of Sikhism is straightforward and helpful for those who are completely unfamiliar with the religion.

A Nation Supports Sikh Americans Together

Americans from all backgrounds have rallied together to show their Sikh brothers and sisters how supported they are. Without Fear or Waver (Navroop Mitter) observes the camaraderie of Americans after this tragedy, and revels in how Sikh Americans have had no cause or need for fear following this incident. The feeling in the nation is one that certainly makes clear how isolated the perception of the terrorist responsible for this tragedy is.

In contrast, the article “Why the Reaction is Difference when the Terrorist is White” by Conor Friedersdorf approaches America’s reaction from an admittedly more glass-half-empty perspective.  While less optimistic, it is an interesting and very provocative read (I highly recommend it — thanks again, Rasika).

The bottom line is, our nation’s well being and interests are best served when Americans of all creeds and walks of life band together and give support to one another, with no tolerance for anyone who threatens our tolerant way of being.

A final thought:

“…Let us get to know our Sikh sisters and brothers, as well as all of the ‘others’ in our neighborhoods so that we might grow stronger as one nation, and as one global community.”

The difference between Muslims and Sikhs… Misses the point by Paul Raushenbush (Thanks Jeet for link)


Repetition, and Soundboards

Dr. Punita RiceTeaching

Repetition, and Soundboards

Repetition in the classroom — or anywhere — is so powerful, right? I created a a “soundboard” activity based on the power of repetition. You can see how to use the activity (and the full rationale behind it) over at Punlearning. Click here for the whole thing.