The Best Question To Ask on the Last Day of Class | HASTAC
Today is the last time we will all be in a room together. Take a moment to write out the one question you would really like to ask--of the profs, of another student, of everyone in this room.
teaching  hastac  pedagogy  reflection  writing  questions 
26 days ago
America’s Brand of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy
In these grisly conditions, social democrats see a textbook case of malignant capitalism. Democracies cannot survive on norms alone. When markets are left under-regulated — and workers, unorganized — the corporate sector becomes a cancerous growth, expanding until it dominates politics and civil society. An ever-greater share of economic gains concentrates in ever-fewer hands, while the barriers to converting private wealth into public power grow fewer and farther between. Politicians become unresponsive to popular preferences and needs. Voters lose faith in elections — and then, a strongman steps forward to say that he, alone, can fix it.
capitalism  democracy  economics  politics  nymag 
26 days ago
Disrupting the Commons: Dockless Bikes and Scooters Create Layers of Community Instability - Motherboard
The bikes and scooters offer a way for monied denizens of the new order of technology to swiftly glide over the debris in a city, without having to come in contact with it, and to move at a pace where they can avoid being a target of harassment or crime. Being in motion also “protects” people from having social cooperative human interaction with others in the Commons. Thus, the bikes and scooters enable avoidance of both sociability and the community problems they cause, which desperately need the help of all to be present in the Commons in order to resolve.
transportation  technology  vice  community 
26 days ago
Fascism is back. Blame the Internet. - The Washington Post
The Internet has revived fascist habits of mind. Smartphones and news feeds structure attention so that we cannot think straight. Their programmers deliberately appeal to psychological tactics such as intermittent reinforcement to keep us online rather than thinking. Is pulling your phone out 80 times a day really a free choice? Companies know that interruptions to flow are more likely to get a response, which is why the experience of a smartphone or a social platform is so jarring. Once attention is gained, it is kept by deliberately bottomless feeds that reinforce what we like and think. Researchers have found users of the Internet believe they know more, but in fact are less able to recall what they think they know.
history  politics  culture  philosophy  fascism  internet  wapost 
26 days ago
How everything on the internet became clickbait | The Outline
As the internet grew as a source of news, the number of separate firms appealing to smaller niches exploded. This setup is perfect for people motivated primarily by diversion and duty — anyone with an internet connection has access to more high-quality information sources than Harvard professors 50 years ago could have dreamed of. It turns out that there just aren’t many people who want to take advantage of that; most of us are more into drama and display. And so social media ate the internet; we have overwhelmingly rejected the library for gossip blogs.
outline  media  internet  commentary  criticism 
26 days ago
Why Michigan Needs To Tax its Bottled Water Industry - CityLab
As long as private companies are selling Michigan’s water, I believe, the state should at least tap portion of their profits to fund public water infrastructure improvements and wetland restoration. Taking this step might also discourage bottlers from endangering the public, wildlife, and Michigan’s farmers by harvesting too much water.
water  michigan 
26 days ago
Tolkien and Twitter | L.M. Sacasas
With Twitter as with the Ring, those like Boromir who are most naively intent on using its power for good are also those who are most likely to be corrupted by its power.
sacasas  twitter  tolkien  commentary 
26 days ago
Opinion | The Cost of Paying Attention - The New York Times
Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence — the condition of not being addressed.
attention  nytimes  crawford 
26 days ago
The United States of Guns
America is a stuck in a Groundhog Day loop of gun violence. We’ll keep waking up, stuck in the same reality of oppression, carnage, and ruined lives until we can figure out how to effect meaningful change. I’ve collected some articles here about America’s dysfunctional relationship with guns, most of which I’ve shared before. Change is possible — there are good reasons to control the ownership of guns and control has a high likelihood of success — but how will our country find the political will to make it happen?
politics  guns  kottke  culture  society 
26 days ago
Michael Chabon: Are Kids the Enemy of Writing? | GQ
If I had followed the great man's advice and never burdened myself with the gift of my children, or if I had never written any novels at all, in the long run the result would have been the same as the result will be for me here, having made the choice I made: I will die; and the world in its violence and serenity will roll on, through the endless indifference of space, and it will take only 100 of its circuits around the sun to turn the six of us, who loved each other, to dust, and consign to oblivion all but a scant few of the thousands upon thousands of novels and short stories written and published during our lifetimes. If none of my books turns out to be among that bright remnant because I allowed my children to steal my time, narrow my compass, and curtail my freedom, I'm all right with that. Once they're written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them. Unlike my children, my books are cruelly unforgiving of my weaknesses, failings, and flaws of character. Most of all, my books, unlike my children, do not love me back. Anyway, if, 100 years hence, those books lie moldering and forgotten, I'll never know. That's the problem, in the end, with putting all your chips on posterity: You never stick around long enough to enjoy it.
writing  children  gq  chabon 
26 days ago
Roman Polanski, Quentin Tarantino, and The Myth of the Male Artistic Genius | Bitch Media
Those who try to separate the art from the artist are setting up an illogical argument: The art was always separated, which is why these male auteurs had the license, the support, and the cover to victimize as they did and still make more celebrated art. In the aftershocks of predatory unveilings, we have seen multitudes mourn the loss of the genius of these men. We need to now consider that we have elevated what we’ve inscribed as genius at the expense of the humanity and potential of people they silenced, erased, and preyed upon. We need to examine the destruction wrought by the archetype, and acknowledge that we have let it fuel rape culture and sexual exploitation. We need to acknowledge that genius has been a construct all along—that it may not actually exist.
genius  art  film  bitch  culture 
26 days ago
The Erotic Professor - The Chronicle of Higher Education
What makes sex an ever-present possibility for the erotic professor — something to be embraced, according to Gallop; something to be held in tense abeyance, according to Deresiewicz, Figlerowicz, and Ramachandran — is not only these vast tracts of time but also the cultural code, the easy rapport, of people with money, whether they have it or teach it. Unlike most students at CUNY, the erotic professor’s students come to her with enough cultural capital to know how to acquire and accumulate more. The student pays for access; the professor provides it. It is a communion of the knowledge class and the ruling class, a marriage of mind and money rather than of souls.
che  students  professors  sex  academia 
26 days ago
America's 'Cadillac Desert': Is there a substitute for fresh water? - Resilience
It turns out that there is no substitute for potable water—despite what economic theory may wish to assert. To get enough of it in many locales will be increasingly expensive as we turn to ever more exotic means to extract water while both population grows and climate-enhanced droughts diminish replenishment of existing sources.
water  future  resilience 
26 days ago
How technology is designed to bring out the worst in us
Technology feels disempowering because we haven’t built it around an honest view of human nature. The reason we called our new project the Center for Humane Technology is it starts with a view of ourselves.

Silicon Valley is reckoning with having had a bad philosophical operating system. People in tech will say, “You told me, when I asked you what you wanted, that you wanted to go to the gym. That’s what you said. But then I handed you a box of doughnuts and you went for the doughnuts, so that must be what you really wanted.” The Facebook folks, that’s literally what they think. We offer people this other stuff, but then they always go for the outrage, or the autoplaying video, and that must be people’s most true preference.

If you ask someone, “What’s your dream?” that’s not a meaningless signal. A psychotherapist going through an interview process with someone is accessing parts of them that screens never do. I think the [traffic] metrics have created this whole illusion that what people are doing is what people want, when it’s really just what works in the moment, in that situation.
technology  ethics  people  via:ayjay 
february 2018
Don’t knock kids for rereading books. Encourage them to read, full stop | Andrew McCallum
A new report seems to agree with me. It claims secondary pupils are falling behind in their reading because they are not moving on from writers they first met in primary school. It cites data showing the 10 most popular books in secondary were all written by Jeff Kinney and David Walliams. In corresponding data for primary pupils the books were all written by Kinney, Walliams and Roald Dahl. The report comes from Renaissance Learning, which runs the Accelerated Reader programme in schools. This directs pupils to choose books based on their assessed reading age. It has a vested interest in constructing reading as a linear process to be tracked and measured. Is reading development really this simple though? I would argue that it’s much more complicated, particularly in the early teenage years. Of course we want children to tackle more challenging material as they grow older. But there are good reasons not to worry if your 13-year-old is yet again reading Walliams’s Billionaire Boy, so long as they still enjoy reading, do it regularly, and have teachers who can gradually nudge them towards new material
reading  via:ayjay 
february 2018
The Case Against Reading Everything
To read widely—to flit from book to book, writer to writer—is to flaunt an open mind while never stopping long enough to fill it up. Consider instead what Chris Wiman, the previous editor of Poetry magazine, said about the consumption of poetry: “Seamus Heaney has noted that if a person has a single poem in his head, one that he returns to and through which, even in small ways, he understands his life better, this constitutes a devotion to the art. It is enough.” Devotion to art, in other words, is a devotion to individual works—and not many, at that.
reading  via:ayjay 
january 2018
Bryan Garner on rules and writing
On writing and rules, those to follow and those to ignore.
BryanGarner  writing  via:M.Leddy 
july 2017
List: 8 Male Authors to Read Before You Die - McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
"Alone in the woods, except for a dozen-or-so friends who visit daily, the neighborhood kids who play in the pond, and his mom who frequently delivers food to him on foot, Thoreau is able to explore the depths of his physical and political existence in relationship to nature. He concludes that the key to a contented life is profound simplicity, which only requires enough money to buy land, build a house, not work, and have enough solitude to really listen to your own brilliance."
reading  literature  gender  mcsweeneys  humor  summary 
july 2017
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