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I always did like Gallatin

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The nicest place in America, according to Readers Digest.

Nicest Place in America 2017 Winner: Gallatin, Tennessee!
Gallatin is our winner for Nicest Places in America 2017. Aside from winning our online popular vote, Gallatin separated itself from the pack among our judges, who felt that the town’s story of racial reconciliation and grace through hardship really showed what “nice” is made of. It’s easy to be “nice” when things are going well. It’s much harder when folks face challenges. (Read more about Gallatin and why it’s the Nicest Place in America in 2017.)

Sadly,

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None of the happiest cities in the country can be found in Tennessee. Sigh. From The National Geographic.
These Are the Happiest Cities in the United States
Who are the happiest Americans? Ask this question anywhere from Montauk to Maui and you’re bound to pique interest (you may even pick a fight). While fans of the film Moana might sing the lyrics “Happiness is where you are,” for scientists studying the roots and fruits of happiness, location-specific qualities of place, community, and opportunity powerfully inform the way we feel about our lives.  National Geographic, bestselling author Dan Buettner, and Gallup’s social scientists teamed up to develop an index that assesses measurable expressions of happiness and identifies where Americans are living their best lives. Designed by Gallup senior scientist Dan Witters, the study established 15 metrics—from eating healthy and learning something new every day to civic engagement, financial security, vacation time, and even dental checku…

Happy Hanakkah!

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Down by the lazy river

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My curiosity piqued by an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, I googled my alma mater's lazy river. Sure enough. Had it been around during my time at Iowa, I would have been too busy to use it much. But maybe I could have taken the kids.

The Lure of the Lazy River
Lazy rivers, while still relatively rare in higher education, are becoming a staple at public universities known for big-time college sports and vibrant social scenes. You’ll find them at the Universities of Alabama, Iowa, and Missouri and at Texas Tech. The University of Central Florida has plans to build a lazy river just for athletes, as part of a "Recovery Cove" that will also include miniature golf and beach-volleyball courts.

Infographic Friday

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Threats to public research universities

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Like my alma mater, The University of Iowa. From The Atlantic.
The Decline of the Midwest's Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies But university research is in trouble, and so is an economy more dependent on it than many people understand. Federal funding for basic research—more than half of it conducted on university campuses like this one—has effectively declined since 2008, failing to keep pace with inflation. This is before taking into account Trump administration proposals to slash the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) budgets by billions of dollars more.  Trump’s cuts would affect all research universities, but not equally. The problem is more pronounced at public universities than private ones, and especially at public institutions in the Midwest, which have historically conducted some of the nation’s most important research. These schools are desperately needed to diversify economies that rely disproportion…