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You should read this for 4/7/2019:
Last year, the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, facing declining enrollments, announced it was eliminating degrees in History, French, and German. The University of Southern Maine no longer offers degrees in either American and New England Studies or Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, while the University of Montana has discontinued majors and minors in its Global Humanities and Religions program. Between 2013 and 2016, US colleges cut 651 foreign-language programs.
An obvious remedy would be to place more stress on good writing; courses on how to write for the informed laity should be central to all humanities instruction. But the humanities need a more thorough overhaul, drawing on the tools developed by the tech world to capture and convey the complex, tortured, confounding, and inspiring story of human cultures and civilization. The vogue-ish term “digital humanities” usually refers to the use of computing to archive and analyze texts and records, but practitioners could apply digital technologies to create works that appeal beyond the ivory tower. For instance, the podcast Irish History—currently the most popular digital audio show in Ireland—offers a two-hour “Dublin Famine Tour” that uses multimedia effects to recreate what the city was like in 1845.
History and Archaeology
Via History News Network: Ronald L. Feinman on The Red Scare: From the Palmer Raids to Joseph McCarthy to Donald Trump
During his nearly five years of power from February 1950 to December 1954, McCarthy was aided by a zealous young man not all that different in character or motivation from J. Edgar Hoover three decades earlier. McCarthy’s chief aide was attorney Roy Cohn, who zealously attacked innocent people who were accused of being Communists (Reds), or soft on Communism (Pinkos). Many believed he lacked any sense of ethics or honor and he was much feared. Even after McCarthy fell from favor and then died in 1957, Cohn’s prominence continued and spent his remaining career as an attorney who often chose to represent reprehensible elements of society, including Organized Crime. He was also known for his wild social life.
Then, Roy Cohn met a young real estate entrepreneur named Donald Trump. The two men became close friends and Cohn impressed upon Trump how to exploit and play “hard ball” to gain ever more wealth and public influence. As others have argued, Cohn was one of the most influential people in the development of Trump’s public persona and political views.
Science and Nature
“Scientists are also intrigued by Ms. Cameron’s extraordinarily low anxiety level. On an anxiety disorder questionnaire, she scored zero out of 21. She cannot recall ever having felt depressed or scared.”
As a joke, I say I’m an internet janitor. I just clean up the shit. My real answer is, “I work for this website. And most people use it for good, but the people who don’t use it for good, I kick them off the website.” And it’s that simple. The people who do bad things, I kick them off.
According to a new report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, more than 47,000 bridges in the U.S. are in poor condition and in need of urgent repairs. The organization, which analyzes data from the Federal Highway Administration and releases an annual report on bridges, estimates it will take more than 80 years to fix all of the nation’s deficient bridges.
Courtesy of Wirecutter: Lessons From the Asus Hack: How to Keep Your Computer Safe
Kira Swisher in the New York Times: I’m a Tech Addict and I’m Not Ashamed
Glenn Fleishman via TidBITS: Fed Up with Facebook? Move Your Family to Slack
Pay It Forward and Make It Better
Brad Simpson: I’m a historian of genocide and mass violence.
Let’s be clear. Trump talks like a Nazi, like Rwandan genocidaires, like the Indonesian military folks who killed 500,000 civilians in six months in 1965. This is the pre-language of genocide, the dehumanizing of future victims.