Open Culture: 700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.
A trove. Not really 700; there are repeats. But with a list like this, I shouldn’t quibble.
Pew: Twitter Reaction to Events Often at Odds with Overall Public Opinion.
What’s the consensus on Twitter? Comme ci, comme ça.
HScott: Could the ancient Romans have built a digital computer?
Nah. It would have to have come from the remnants of Greek culture, whether under Roman rule or not.
S+R Today: How Do Zombies Help Us Cope With Fears About the Future?
“From overpopulation, disease, nuclear meltdowns, and species endangerment to climate change and dwindling resources, people around the world have been hearing about and discussing what our attempts to ensure a good future have potentially done to threaten it. Regardless of our opinions on those topics, they still form part of our cultural experience and add further to the list of possible ways we are collectively at risk.” Discussed among my commenters previously here. I can buy into a broader concept of ‘fear of the future’ more than just a ‘fear of WWII.’ We seem to collectively long to descend into dystopia; I suppose with the lack of religiousity, something had to replace ‘imminent Second Coming’ for the populace.
OpenCulture: W.H. Auden’s 1941 Literature Syllabus Asks Students to Read 32 Great Works.
“Such a broad education seems out of reach for many people in a lifetime, much less a single semester.” Obviously they’ve never heard of St John’s College.
Aeon Magazine: Godless but good.
“After all, there are plenty of people in this world who don’t believe in God but nor do they behave like sociopaths. Of course, one might reply that such atheists are confused: given that they don’t believe in divine punishment, they should act like sociopaths, whether they realise it or not.” Ethics and morality exist quite comfortably outside of religious framework. This bit I’ve quoted out struck me pretty hard … I recall when I first worked in NYC, I was ostracized for not seeing a shrink weekly. It seems just about everyone in Manhattan of the ‘80’s needed a psychiatrist to verify their normalcy. They firmly believed that since I was not ‘one of them’, I was going to ‘pop’ at some unpredictable point.
Given the subject matter of the article, imagine what would happen if you told someone you were unbaptized in today’s culture!
ArtDaily: Mexican archaeologists reveal studies made on sacrificial stone at Templo Mayor.
“According to the first anthropological results, most bones corresponded to extremities; they also found 10 skulls, eight of which had been deformed.” Very interesting, that last. The skeletons they found at Chaco Culture NHP which showed arguable signs of marrow-extraction were all unusually tall for the period (corresponding to ‘deformed’ here?). A clear link to Mexican culture, I wonder.
Publishing Perspectives: Digital Textbooks—Publishers and the Unrealized Promise.
Hmmph. Even though they’re roughly half the price, you can’t sell ‘em and recoup your money. Given the expense, kids’re being smart.
The New Yorker: Hilary Mantel and the Pitfalls of the Public Lecture.
I can’t help but think of what Monty Python might have done, given the same material. And the British people’s reception of said Python skit.
ArtDaily: At Princeton U’s Art Museum, “Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe.”
PU’s Art Museum consistently comes up with really interesting exhibitions.
NY Times: Russians Seek Clues and Count Blessings After Meteor Blast.
“As the sun rose Saturday, the snow crystals sparkling in the sun like a million tiny mirrors, steam wafted from the site, apparently related to the work of divers, but the lake yielded little to shed light on the mystery. Mr. Pushkov later said divers found nothing on the lake bed, but did not rule out meteor shrapnel as the cause of the hole.” My italic emphasis. Astonishing that something so large, with such an explosive force, could just disappear. No dusting of powdered residue over the snow?
British Library, Digitised Manuscripts: Leonardo da Vinci, The Codex Arundel.
Read a digitized Leonardo notebook!
Chronicle of Higher Ed: Pell Grant Restrictions Hurt Enrollment.
“Under the changes, students are limited to six years of Pell Grants, down from the previous limit of nine; fewer students automatically qualify for the maximum grant because of a lower income cap for receiving an ‘automatic zero’ expected family contribution; and students without a high-school diploma or GED are no longer eligible to receive federal financial aid.” For a start, those working through school need longer time periods–six years is too short. Way to go, Republicans … that’s the way you create wage slaves; keeping your family in nannies and groundskeepers.
HuffPo: Celebrating Darwin—Religion And Science Are Closer Than You Think.
WaPo: A warning to college profs from a high school teacher.
“My students did well on those questions because we practiced bad writing. My teaching was not evaluated on the basis of how well my students did, but I felt I had a responsibility to prepare them for the examination in a way that could result in their obtaining college credit. I would like to believe that I prepared them to think more critically and to present cogent arguments, but I could not simultaneously prepare them to do well on that portion of the test and teach them to write in a fashion that would properly serve them at higher levels of education.” An important read, if you’re going to be dealing with current graduates. Via Medley on Twitter.
The Atlantic: Liberal Arts Majors Didn’t Kill the Economy.
New Yorker: How the Ancient Greeks Viewed Weapons.
Alas, a nice observation, but our culture is the problem.
Gear Patrol: 100 Best Books for Men.
Needs more nonfiction and philosophy, if you ask me. A novel can be a terribly time-wasteful way to glean a threadbare moral or a few ‘truths’.
WSJ: The New Script for Teaching Handwriting Is No Script at All.
“At a growing number of schools, young students are no longer tracing curving L’s and arching D’s with pencil and paper, no longer pausing at the end of words to dot an i or cross a t. The common core state standards, a set of math and English goals agreed upon by 45 states and now being implemented, sends cursive the way of the quill pen, while requiring instead that students be proficient in keyboarding by fourth grade.” Heralding the death of the venerated Post-It?
WSJ: Will Technology Bring Back the City-State?
“The digital revolution means that we will see dispersed power, wider networks and self-government as a global norm. [snip] To prosper you need not be part of a large block. You can flourish if you are a pretty small entity provided you are part of a network, provided you are independent, provided you have dispersed power. There will be all these little political entities—Estonia maybe, Singapore, Hong Kong—and we will marvel at how successful they are at attracting the brightest and the best and the most inventive. Lots of 21st-century Venices.”
SF New Mexican: New Mexico graduation rate jumps after exit exam reprieve.
“The Albuquerque Journal reported that a bill passed and signed in spring 2011 gave students a one-year reprieve from a difficult exit test. The class of 2011 was required to pass the state High School Competency Exam, while the class of 2012 had no such requirement because of the reprieve.” Aaah … you political observers, remember this in 2016, if Martinez does indeed become Jeb Bush’s choice for VP. Bookmark it to jab your memory back to accuracy.
Guardian.UK: Timbuktu mayor - Mali rebels torched library of historic manuscripts.
“They covered a diverse range of topics including astronomy, poetry, music, medicine and women’s rights. The oldest dated from 1204.” Again, this is another reason to spread such treasures far and wide across the globe, rather than bringing all the artifacts back to their origins.
Pacific Standard: How Wine Tasting is More—and Less—of a Scam Than You Thought.
“Expectation-influencing variables like a label and price make a big difference—just as they do for other ‘experiential goods’ like food or hotels. With wine, however, blind taste tests by experts are supposed to eliminate those external cues. But it turns out the experts may be no more reliable than the rest of us.” Wine, wine, whine.
Cornell.EDU: With Digitization Complete, Hear 7 of the Coolest Natural Sounds in Our Archive.
“It’s taken more than 12 years, but all archived reel-to-reel analog recordings going back to 1929 have now been digitized to the highest industry standards and made available online. It’s a major milestone.”