You should read this for 1/4/2020:
Art and Film
Melinda Snodgrass with thoughtful commentary and SPOILERS: The Rise of Skywalker I am particularly struck by her last full paragraph.
Books, Writing, Libraries, and Language
Phillip Pullman: The Sound and the Story
Exploring the World of Paradise Lost
The 20 Best Books of a Decade That Unmade Genre Fiction Ignore the title; it’s really about Le Guin and Jemisin.
One of the world’s largest private equity firms just bought one of the world’s largest library ebook companies That “library ebook company” is Overdrive. And the company that bought them is KKR, who, in 2018 acquired RBMedia/RBDigital and Audiobooks.com, “providers of audiobooks and other materials to libraries and consumers.” Given the standard practices of such companies, this is not good news for Overdrive or its users.
When humans switched to processed foods after the spread of agriculture, they put less wear and tear on their teeth. That changed the growth of their jaws, giving adults the overbites normal in children. Within a few thousand years, those slight overbites made it easy for people in farming cultures to fire off sounds like “f” and “v,” opening a world of new words.
Interesting, but we need a lot more research and comparison, including with non-I.E. languages.
James Hatch: My semester with the snowflakes~
A federal program awarded $7.7 million to charter schools in Michigan that never opened. That’s according to a report from the Network for Public Education. . . . “The most disturbing thing that I found from reviewing the documentation from these grants was that there really appeared to be no prohibition on conflicts of interest,” Ulbrich says.
The report from the Network for Public Education lists several examples from Michigan in which charter school operators paid themselves, or their family members, tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees for schools that never opened.
H/T Tim Spaulding: Audrey Watters:
The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade
For the past ten years, I have written a lengthy year-end series, documenting some of the dominant narratives and trends in education technology. I think it is worthwhile, as the decade draws to a close, to review those stories and to see how much (or how little) things have changed. You can read the series here: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
I thought for a good long while about how best to summarize this decade, and inspired by the folks at The Verge, who published a list of “The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech,” I decided to do something similar: chronicle for you a decade of ed-tech failures and fuck-ups and flawed ideas.
Food and Drink
History and Archaeology
Science and Nature
Gavin Evans: The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’ “Its defenders claim to be standing up for uncomfortable truths, but race science is still as bogus as ever”
Although race science has been repeatedly debunked by scholarly research, in recent years it has made a comeback. Many of the keenest promoters of race science today are stars of the “alt-right”, who like to use pseudoscience to lend intellectual justification to ethno-nationalist politics. If you believe that poor people are poor because they are inherently less intelligent, then it is easy to leap to the conclusion that liberal remedies, such as affirmative action or foreign aid, are doomed to fail.
“The story of the tiger that in 1997 was wounded by a poacher who also stole part of its kill: the tiger found the poacher’s cabin, destroyed his belongings, waited at least half a day for him to return, then killed and ate him
The internet of the 2010s will be defined by social media’s role in the 2016 election, the rise of extremism, and the fallout from privacy scandals like Cambridge Analytica. But there’s another, more minor theme to the decade: the gradual dismantling and dissolution of an older internet culture.
H/T Eric Meyer: Matt Holt:
H/T Lisa Carnell: Once-Suppressed Dorothea Lange Photos Capture Wartime Paranoia
Soon after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, paving the way for the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, the War Relocation Authority (WRA) inexplicably hired Lange to photograph the removal proceedings and detentions. It’s possible the WRA was inspired by her powerful Depression-era documentation for the Farm Security Administration. . . . Perhaps predictably, the WRA saw subversion in even Lange’s most innocuous-looking photographs and suppressed her work during the war.
Hillary Clinton appointed chancellor of Queen’s University, Belfast “She is the university’s 11th chancellor and first woman to take up the post.”
💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰
U.S. government ‘retires’ (read removes) detailed pollution map from internet “The National Library of Medicine’s Toxmap application shed light on pollution nationwide. It’s no longer available to the public.NLM”
Constitution expert: By trying to out Ukraine whistleblower, Trump “has violated yet another law” “Trump has used his Twitter account to post the name of a man believed to be the Ukraine scandal whistleblower”
“The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (ICWPA) outlaws actions by government officials or agencies that directly or indirectly encourage retaliatory actions against employees who legitimately perform a whistleblower role in the intelligence community, as the whistleblower in this case clearly did regarding a matter of urgent concern, as determined by the Inspector General.”
Pay It Forward and Make It Better
Brent Simmons: My New Year’s Resolution Is to Focus My Anger