Sefaria: a Living Library of Jewish Texts Online.
The Atlantic: Historical Commemoration and the Age of Marble.
“Princeton affixed Woodrow Wilson’s name to a residential college in 1968 (primarily in recognition of his role in Princeton’s development, though the controversy today involves his public record). But its two most recently built colleges are named for donors: the publishing tycoon Malcolm Forbes and a business executive, Meg Whitman. Quietly, the commemorative sphere has been eroded by the practice of naming buildings, not for figures of community esteem, but for the people who pay for them.” And boy, what eyesores some of them have put up. Hire a starchitect, build hyperexpensive albatrosses.
Phys.org: Unexpected wood source for Chaco Canyon great houses
“We think this is a powerful new method to use in the Southwest. We tested the method using modern trees and could determine their source of origin with 90 percent accuracy.” Very exciting. Via Jim O’Donnell, on FB.
Vox: What it’s like to be black at Princeton.
I shouldn’t, but I have to chuckle a bit. We kids used to torture the campus police. Climbing a statue, we’d get ‘interrogated’ for ‘doing thousands of dollars of damage to priceless architecture’. Security’s used to being bullies. Frightening the first time, not so much on the dozenth. I’m in no way minimizing the effect of her race - Princeton’s had a fraught relationship with race/nationality for a long time. I feel the need to explain the situation: it was the campus rapes in the 80’s/90’s that saw campus security turn into jackbooted no-accountability thugs. The ‘blue light’ safety phones popped up all over campus, and the grey searchlight-equipped cruisers would dash around the internal campus road system like “Starsky and Hutch.” They get bored, trump up excitement. A litterer will bring out the SWAT trucks, I’ll bet. I’m sure other campuses are similar. They all need serious oversight.
The U-Store’s security was a joke even when I grew up. Mix that with bored security people, add racial prejudice and ... a perfect storm of harmful stupidity.
But alas, minority/low income treatment is awful across the entire Ivy League. There are precious few parachutes for those working themselves to the bone, realizing their dream of attending such a storied institution. Noone should have to work so hard, feel so alone and isolated, they cannot excel. Alumni should band together and make a fund for such support; the affluent alumni probably wouldn’t lift a finger, but those who have kicked and scratched their way to diplomas should get together and do some meaningful good for future generations.
Washington Post: Young fogies - Modern illiberalism is led by students.
Orwell, 1984: “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
Do kids no longer read Orwell - or is this, in itself, requiring a ‘trigger warning’?
I’ve had a hell of a time on this blog, increasingly over the last half-dozen years, playing Devil’s Advocate. The younger generations just plain old don’t understand it.
Guardian.UK: What treasures could lurk inside Egypt’s lost chambers?
Um ... because we didn’t have such technology in the past, we don’t know if hidden storage chambers with painted-over entrances were routine. They might find similar features in other tombs, if they look for them, stuffed with ... I don’t know ... dried out foodstuffs. Still interesting, but not what they’re hoping for. So relax, until we see what’s actually there.
Crooked Timber: What We Owe the Students at Princeton.
Chronicle of Higher Ed: Bringing Up Genius.
Register.UK: D-Wave heads for New Mexico.
“In other words, conventional supercomputers can only do so much nuke-simulation, and if quantum annealing works as it says on the box, it’ll help give the US a shiny new arsenal without having to actually blow things up.”
The Economist: The right to fright.
Ridiculous. Have none of these kids ever seen “Animal House”? Yale has the “Skull and Bones” group on-campus. Reality is completely weirder than National Lampoon - college teaches valuable lessons in this vein. I give you the immortal John Belushi on propriety ...
Later: Seems Yale is also succumbing to ‘microaggression theory.’ I’ve warned folks, this latest psycho-fashion is becoming pervasive on college campuses. It has no theory by which empirical tests can be performed.
Medium/Benloulou: Why I dropped out of design school.
Sounds like things haven’t changed at design schools. Back in the day, this used to be the fashionable-but-socially-approved “no-work” degree to have, for daughters who were ‘creative’ amongst the Ivy League set.
Aeon: Reading should not carry a health warning.
“At universities around the world, students are claiming that reading books can unsettle them to the point of becoming depressed, traumatised or even suicidal.” Today’s students sound like ‘70’s parents, wanting to hide certain magazines behind solid shelves. I think there are solid arguments to be made for age appropriate reading (some books cannot be appreciated without meaningful life experience). Yet I hear of wide swaths of college freshmen popping Adderall and Xanax like Pez. Different world from mine - I’d say the education system needs a rethink, if kids are drugged up to their eyeballs.
PS Mag: Confessions of a For-Profit College Inspector.
“Debt was what everyone paid off with lucrative post-college careers.” This idea was starting to grow moss even when I attended college.
BillMoyers: The GOP and the Rise of Anti-Knowledge.
“English unfortunately doesn’t have a precise word for the German “Fachidiot,” a narrowly specialized person accomplished in his own field but a blithering idiot outside it.” However - we know ‘em when we see ‘em. Some of us, anyways. Fachidiot is now permanently in my lexicon ...
Later: You know, I take that back. When below the Mason-Dixon Line in America (the “South”), the term “Yankee” can conform pretty well to fachidiot. Southerners think Northerners are very smart with “book-learnin’”, but don’t have the God-given wits to accomplish any basic tasks. “How smart can you be, if you can’t chop wood or adjust a carb?”
Religion Dispatches: Handwritten Draft of King James Bible Reveals Secrets of Its Creation.
“The King James companies worked at integrating the orientations of these two editions, but they also had the profound literary example of William Tyndale, who finished the first complete English translation of the New Testament (an accomplishment which led to his execution in 1536). A literary genius whose influence on the language is arguably second only to Shakespeare’s, Tyndale lent the King James translators such phrases as ‘lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,’ ‘eat, drink and be merry,’ ‘my brother’s keeper,’ ‘it came to pass,’ ‘the salt of the earth,’ ‘the signs of the times’—and perhaps most sublimely, ‘let there be light,’ among many others.”
ArtDaily: German experts aim for end-of-year repair of boy pharaoh Tutankhamun beard.
Hmmm. Seeing the photo, I wonder which came first, the mask or the mummy? Surely it had to be made for the circumference of the final mummification product.
PS Mag: The Unbelievable Power of the Home-Schooling Lobby.
Archaeology News Network: Reeves - Tutankhamun’s treasures may have originally belonged to Nefertiti
Making the most of his time in the spotlight. Hope he’s right.
OpenCulture: 20 New Lines from The Epic of Gilgamesh Discovered in Iraq, Adding New Details.
Boss. I still suspect we’ll learn more of early Bible tales, in the archaeology of Iraq.
The Atlantic: When Schools Overlook Introverts - Why Quiet Time is Important for the Learning Proces
Important. In our world of helicopter parents and planned childhoods, I stand shocked. I could never have been the person I am, if I wasn’t able to lie with my back on the grass for hours and stare at the clouds. BY MYSELF.
Guardian.UK: Shady dealings of William Shakespeare’s father ‘helped to fund son’s
There seem to be two tracks on ol’ Shakes. One is doing serious research, the other is expending efforts to deny his existence.
The Atlantic: The Best Job Candidates Don’t Always Have College Degrees.
“Many companies find that skills-based pre-employment tests are better predictors of success on the job.” The airlines saw this most starkly in the ‘60’s and 70’s, though they did virtually nothing about it. They lost some of the best veteran stick-and-rudder flyers by pushing a degree restriction on pilots. Never overlook ‘naturals.’
History: 4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Manuscript Found.
“The drawings are believed to predate by 1,000 years those found in the Egyptian ‘Book of the Dead,’ another, more famous ancient funerary text that dates from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1500 B.C.).” The Book of Two Ways. Can’t wait to hear more.
New Republic: Ivy League Schools Are Overrated. Send Your Kids Elsewhere.
This has sort of been true forever. Second tier, and even state universities turn out better graduates ... more adaptable ones. With the challenges to liberal arts curricula, however, I’d imagine moderns are not quite as adaptable as in previous decades. I had problems with interns even in the ‘90’s, as I’ve related before.
Archaeology News Network: Handwriting analysis reveals unknown Magna Carta scribe.
“According to Treharne, her research suggests the Salisbury Magna Carta was not just received and preserved at Salisbury, but that the Salisbury Magna Carta was written at Salisbury by one of the cathedral’s own scribes.” So the King’s clerk didn’t end up with carpal tunnel.