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20 posts
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Are we tired of showmen yet? 

Watching he Greatest Showman in 2018 was a matter of reflecting on a disquieting juxtaposition: a spectacle celebrating a liberal outcome of the culture wars while a very illiberal administration governs the United States. Everyone can be a showman now. It also offer an interesting juxtaposition of our leading men: hucksters both, but with different …

Posted 18 days ago by

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Is Curiosity Fleeting, or Worse? 

An interesting combination. From an evolutionary perspective, there is a clear reason why animals would seek out information: it can be vital to their survival and reproduction... Another possibility is that evolutionary pressures have made information intrinsically rewarding. - From HuffPost For educators with an interest in enhancing the truthiness of society, the present is a good …

Posted a month ago by

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Evil Genius: What Satan Tells Us About Leadership 

A menacing portrayal of Satan. Satan is one example of a personification of evil found in many cultures. He's a devil, and in the case of Abrahamic religions, a fallen angel. Once good, Satan became a particularly crafty and ingenious devil working against God, and luring humans to sin. As a being who seduces us, he's an example of an evil genius. Humans …

Posted 2 months ago by

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Using Words Against Us 

A powerful word. On Monday, POTUS followed a familiar pattern. Upon his apparent exoneration of accusations of treason, he accused his accusers of "treasonous" actions. President Trump went on the offensive on Monday a day after the special counsel investigation reported no conspiracy with Russia, suggesting that critics who pursued such suspicions were “treasonous,” guilty …

Posted 2 months ago by

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A Quantified Selfie (2018 in Review) 

There are carbon footprints, ecological footprints, and other ways to measure our personal impact on the environment. Then there's the evidence that Americans are materialistic and consumption-oriented. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my family's consumption by disclosing some of our 2018 consumption and economy-related activities. (Some facts and fact-areas are added because wanted to include major service providers …

Posted 4 months ago by

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A Foundation of Lies 

Disgust with criminals and their crimes is still possible, even in the case of three-star generals: The judge was not upset only about Mr. Flynn’s sneaky prevarication. He said he felt “disgust” at Mr. Flynn’s offenses, that a retired three-star general would lie to the F.B.I. “while on the …

Posted 6 months ago by

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Vote 

Vote for Democratic Congresspersons to provide a much-needed check on the Executive Branch's power.

Posted 7 months ago by

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All the President’s (Racist) Men (and Women) 

Don’t tell me about “economic anxiety.” That’s not what happened in Poland, which grew steadily through the financial crisis and its aftermath. And it’s not what happened here in 2016: Study after study has found that racial resentment, not economic distress, drove Trump voters. - Paul Krugman from Why It Can Happen Here

Posted 9 months ago by

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Double-edged Generosity 

American elites are monopolizing progress, and monopolies can be broken. Aggressive policies to protect workers, redistribute income, and make education and health affordable would bring real change. But such measures could also prove expensive for the winners. Which gives them a strong interest in convincing the public that they can help out within the system …

Posted 9 months ago by

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Social-democratic Capitalism 

It’s true that Denmark doesn’t at all fit the classic definition of socialism, which involves government ownership of the means of production. It is, instead, social-democratic: a market economy where the downsides of capitalism are mitigated by government action, including a very strong social safety net. - Paul Krugman from Something Not Rotten …

Posted 10 months ago by

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Living Versus Imagining 

What if one of the make-or-break achievements in life is learning how to grapple with the following challenge: Live in the present, but imagine in the future. What if that is much easier said than done? What does it take to really imagine in the future? How does one really assess the "present"? What if the desire …

Posted 12 months ago by

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Meritocracy is a Joke 

The term “meritocracy” was coined by sociologist Michael Young in his 1958 satire, The Rise of Meritocracy. Pro-tip: he was satirizing meritocracy, and was not happy that his work led to the popularization of the idea as a positive political philosophy. (I’ve recently run across this history in Edward Luce’s book, The Retreat of Western …

Posted 16 months ago by

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Progress and Imagination 

Talk of racism in the U.S. has grown tremendously this year. I feel a key underlying issue of racism itself is a lack of imagination, or effort to use one's imagination in such a context. "Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) Take a Knee"   Why are some people racist? Do they feel superior to others? …

Posted 20 months ago by

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Skeptically Optimistic 

The hat. The slogan is deeply judgmental yet optimistic: "Make America Great Again." Until now, a week away from the inauguration, I've mostly turned a blind eye to it. But there it is, now firmly lodged in our collective imagination. There is some truth in it. K-12 education education in America isn't "great." But it never …

Posted 29 months ago by

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Making of a Learning Theater 

"Library Orientation" in the Learning Theater, Summer 2016 by Yuntong Man I just had the great fortune of spending two days with Leakey Foundation members exploring the meaning of evolution (and human origins) in relation to the theme of "human survival." It was an amazing experience led by seven thoughtful and well-spoken scientists speaking about diverse topics such as physiology, …

Posted 33 months ago by

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The Rise of the New Groupthink 

The Rise of the New Groupthink - NYTimes.com I like this discussion, but it misses a key perspective. Cain make a bit of a straw man out of the pro-groupwork crowd. Fair enough, there are plenty of reasons to push back. But here's my spin: cut the part about "creativity" and there are many reasons …

Posted 82 months ago by

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Transmedia for Social Change  ☆

Today I attended the final day of an intensive workshop event hosted by Working Films. The event brought together a diverse group of talented filmmakers, powerful activists, and leaders in the education sector – I was lucky I got to crash their party! In their own words, it was: a residential workshop designed to help …

Posted 101 months ago by

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Programming as a New Literacy 

I've just read Douglas Rushkoff's shortbook Program or Be Programmed, wherein he shares "Ten Commands for a Digital Age." Though his portrayal of various "biases" of digital technology (e.g., timelessness, abstraction, depersonalization) is polemical, he succinctly describes major challenges of new technologies in 144 pages. His main point is to describe a new literacy – …

Posted 103 months ago by

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On unlimited wealth, or the dream of it 

I have begun reading Linchpin by Seth Godin. One topic I find interesting is Godin's support of the idea of an "unlimited" market ("Limited or Unlimited," p. 30). I am always struck by the optimism of this perspective. For on this view, one should not behave as if there is a limited market for goods, …

Posted 112 months ago by

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Awards for online learning tools 

I was just perusing the great set of professional development resources our EdLab team created for the Teaching the Levees project, and I'm saddened that there are no awards for online learning resources. OK, so I'm not entirely surprised. (Would any existing award include this in anything but a minor way?) Short of finding …

Posted 134 months ago by

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