NY Times: What’s So Great About Young Writers?
“Perhaps I’ll be accused of sour grapes, but thankfully I have reached a point at which I care less about what people think. Partly, that is one of the true joys of middle age, and partly the Internet has taught us, if nothing else beyond the infinite appeal of cats, that someone will always think you’re being a jerk, so you may as well say what’s on your mind. Here’s what’s on my mind: Age-based awards are outdated and discriminatory, even if unintentionally so. Emerging writers are emerging writers.” Among younger writers, I find more of the particular malady, “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Likely because I am no longer a younger writer.
Commonweal: The Liberal Arts vs. Neoliberalism.
“One consequence of this seismic cultural shift is the train wreck of contemporary higher education. Nothing better exemplifies the catastrophe than President Barack Obama’s plan to publish the average incomes earned by graduates from various colleges, so parents and students can know which diplomas are worth the most in the marketplace, and choose accordingly. In higher education as in health care, market utility has become the sole criterion of worth.” My italicized emphasis. Gag.
The New York Review of Books: Sensual Sappho.
Guardian.UK: Creative Schools – we need to call time on exam-factory education.
Britain, but we in the US risk the same result: “... scarred by the media reporting of the Pisa international league tables on school performance, they have retreated into a self-defeating cul-de-sac of testing and assessment. As a result, we are at risk of inculcating an industrial education system producing compliant, linear pupils.”
Archaeology News Network: Marble naturally illuminated the statue of Zeus at Olympia.
Neat bit of historical trivia.
PS Mag: How Affluent Private Universities Act as Tax Shelters for the Rich.
NY Times: Why Writers Love to Hate the M.F.A.
“Other realities conspire to make the M.F.A. one of the fastest growing graduate degrees. Among them: the pervasiveness of digital media and celebrity culture, where anyone with a blog feels like a best-selling novelist-in-waiting; the rise of memoirs, a natural extension of the online selfie writing culture; the popularity of magical realism and noir fiction novels, which have turned many 20-somethings on to literature; and changes in generational attitudes, aspirations and culture.”
ArtDaily: Classicist sheds new light on lost epics; show a bloodier side of Ancient Greeks.
“One passage in a later author, though containing no direct quotation, preserves an unusually gruesome episode from the Thebais. The warrior Tydeus has been mortally wounded by a Theban and both are dying. Tydeus seizes his attacker and bites into his head in revenge.” Inferred history. Hmmmm.
WSJ: Good Mental Health Away From Home Starts Before College.
“Why mental illness seems to be rising among college students is unclear.” Really? See earlier today. If kids can’t venture out on their own, there’s no foundation of confidence to rely on. You go ‘solo’ in college; if you’re not a self-starter, you’ll have issues.
SciAm: Mystery of Ceres’s Bright Spots Grows.
Guardian.UK: The thunder lizard returns - Brontosaurus resurrected.
“Such a change is in fact a very normal part of the constant updates and revisions that come with the process of taxonomy (identifying and naming new species) though in this case it comes as part of a quite exceptionally detailed study.” Reminds me of a saying ... Havelock Ellis? ... I’m paraphrasing from memory: “One shouldn’t take as fact the declarations of a court which is itself still undergoing trial.”
BBC: Eleven Atlanta teachers teachers in mass cheating scandal.
“She insisted that she was innocent, but many accused her of pressuring the teachers to show improvements in scores which would unlock greater federal funding.” You know, I’ve wondered how prevalent this behavior is, given the linking of funds to performance. Checks and balances? Are there any?
Yale Journal of Law & Tech: The Virtues of Moderation.
The Economist: America - A flagging [education] model.
“The country that has given the world so many ideas about how to run higher education could do with some new ones itself.” Note also that for-profit colleges are swiftly going the way of the dodo ... and rightfully so. Every ‘graduate’ of these schools I’ve run across has been unqualified. One in particular, the only skill s/he seemed to have acquired was an ability to make dreadful graphics in Powerpoint ... something Lynda.com could remedy for $25/mo, a significant savings over one of those ‘colleges’. Employers need to loosen up on their degree requirements and look at actual skills; I’m reminded of when airlines began requiring degrees of pilots. They lost a generation of some of the best stick-and-rudder flyers in history. Wouldn’t you rather have a Chuck Yeager flying you to your destination? No degree, likely no HS diploma either; unimpeachable skills.
NY Times: A Sucker Is Optimized Every Minute.
“The gut is dead. Long live the data, turned out day and night by our myriad computers and smart devices. Not that we trust the data, as we once trusted our guts. Instead, we ‘optimize’ it. We optimize for it. We optimize with it.” Optimization = pablum.
OpenCulture: Umberto Eco’s How To Write a Thesis.
ArtDaily: Study by Mexican anthropologist says elites’ clash led to Teotihuacan collapse.
Project MUSE/Postmodern Culture: Zombie Apocalypse as Mindfulness Manifesto (after Žižek).
“The terror of the zombie apocalypse is not the xenophobic fear of alien invasion, but the horror of our own radical (and contagious) dehumanization (perhaps resulting from foreign contamination); it is precisely our imagination of the human condition after the death of the ego.” A distant acquaintance discussed arming themselves for the ‘coming zombie apocalypse’ the other day. Some people really believe this stuff. I’ve only had time to skim the article, linked for my audience and for deeper reading later. I feel like a zombie myself sometimes, what with the seeming lockhold of corporations over government. Via always surpassingly excellent wood s lot.
Zenobia: Empress of the East ... elegy for Hatra.
The bulldozers of ISIS continue to advance. Hatrene religion, by my recollection, was a pre-Islamic sun-worshipping culture.
Mashable: The ISIS campaign to erase history
Anyone who has visited temples in Egypt and other ancient locations around the Mediterranean can always view the defacement perpetrated by ‘Dark Age’ Christians ... religious extremism breeds this behavior. KJV: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Orwell: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
Guardian.UK: Henry VIII’s evidence to support break with Rome turns up in Cornish library.
ThinkProgress: Oklahoma AP US History - Ten Commandments, 3 Speeches By Reagan?
2016, OK AP student: “I aced Bonzo!”
Slate/Inside Higher Ed: Marquette tries to fire tenured professor over blog post.
If blogs are dead and have no value, then what is this blog post doing?
NY Times: How to Be a Stoic.
“Participants in Stoic Week reported a 9 percent increase in positive emotions, an 11 percent decrease in negative emotions and a 14 percent improvement in life satisfaction after one week of practice.”