I understand John Nash and wife have died in a car accident.
I wrote a piece a few years ago about my experience of John Nash during his ‘dark period’ in Princeton, over on Quora.
Pacific Standard: Creative Thinking Can Inspire Unethical Behavior.
“According to a research team led by Ke Michael Mai, a creative frame of mind enables one to come up with compelling justifications for bad behavior.” Someone, somewhere is going to start using this as an excuse to further eliminate the liberal arts, just watch.
Nice Marmot: The Growth of Oligarchy.
Yep. It’s been many years now since Princeton University made more money as a real estate holding company than as a university. They could drop the whole education side of things and be quite well off.
Guardian.UK: After 350 years of academic journals it’s time to shake things up.
“The panellists agreed that the goal should be to move away from scientific publishing — towards scientific communication.” One might suggest the ‘lowly’ blog as the form of communication.
Hyperallergic: Entire First-Year MFA Class Drops Out in Protest at USC.
Bad form, on the part of the school.
Italian Ways: Ancient Rome’s bikinis, in Piazza Armerina.
Veni, vidi ... and swooned.
The Mischiefs of Faction: The Threat the STEM Focus Poses to the Social Sciences.
The Atlantic: Don’t Overthink It.
“The clearest contrast to the narcissist that I can think of is the repairman, who must subordinate himself to the broken washing machine, listen to it with patience, notice its symptoms, and then act accordingly.” I tend to discuss ‘pragmatism’ in this vein. Eventually concepts have to hit the pavement and function within realities.
Later: In this vein of thought, imagine an optimism-spouting social media person describing how to fix a badly-manufactured automobile engine.
Aeon: Human beings do not have an instinct for war.
“... chimpanzees are known to engage in violent, group-level encounters, complete with search-and-destroy missions that conjure images of human skirmishing and outright warfare. Bonobos, on the other hand — genetically, no more distant from Homo sapiens — do nothing of the sort, and are renowned for making love, not war.” The author is a budding Buddhist, so grain of salt.
Globe and Mail.CA: Nick Bostrom - ‘I don’t think the AI train will slow down.’
“If I am correct, it means that we might go, in a relatively brief period of time, from something slightly subhuman to something radically super intelligent. And whether that will happen in a few decades or many decades from now, we should prepare for this transition to be quite rapid, if and when it does occur. I think that kind of rapid-transition scenario does involve some very particular types of existential risk.”
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.