December 24 - December 31, 2017

A year or two ago, I read The Two Cultures, C. P. Snow's oft-invoked 1959 lecture purportedly about the humanities/STEM divide (which was described differently then).  One of the great takeaways--aside from the lecture inflaming rather than bridging that divide--was that in the 1950s the literary intellectuals were a dominant force in culture, but today it is the STEM titans who seem to drive our national and global conversation.  Now, warranted or no, one senses the need for a defense of the humanities, not the sciences, as was the case half a century ago.  This winter, American Affairs published a surprising provocation, arguing the essential nature of the humanities while also arguing their indefensibility.  It's thick and has some bluster, but also opens conversation in interesting ways.

Also this week: the leadership article on when to decentralize decision making (and when not to) seems incomplete to me, but seems a start.  I'd be interested in recommendations for further reading on this topic.

Several other pleasant surprises this week--long reads and short reads alike.  And for some good new year cheer, check out the Bodleian Library's animated GIFs made from medieval manuscripts.

2018!  Enjoy!



A Surprising Provocation Against--And For--The Humanities American Affairs
"The confusion over the purpose of the humanities has nothing to do with their relevance. The humanities are no more or less relevant now than they ever were. It is not the humanities that we have lost faith in, but the economic, political, and social order that they have been made to serve."

A Fantastic Dialog About How Language/Thought Works NY Review of Books
"When we say we are thinking, what we are actually doing is rearranging causal relations with past events, objects that we have encountered before, to see what happens when we combine them."

A Chance Encounter With An SAT Tutor. A Life Changed New York Times
"He spent hours with me that day demystifying the test-taking and application process and sharing study tools that I still find useful. He taught me the tricks to multiple-choice, and how to strategically answer math questions that I didn't recognize. He walked me through my difficulties with subject-verb agreements and showed me how to 'hack' large passages of text in order to answer reading comprehension questions."


A Book To Introduce Kids To Skateboarding Vice

NYT Collects Concussion-Related Articles From This Year... New York Times

...But Do More Concussions Come From PE Class Than From Sports? Reuters

Fewer Kids Are Playing Sports. Is It Because Of Parents? BBC


Persistence: The Most Rejected Books That Were Eventually Published LitHub
"I received 60 rejections for The Help.  But letter number 61 was the one that accepted me. After my five years of writing and three and a half years of rejection, an agent named Susan Ramer took pity on me. What if I had given up at 15? or 40? Or even 60?"


Deconstructing The Silicon Valley Narrative: STEM = Success Long View on Ed
"If we step back a moment, there is no lesson about employability and technical training to draw from Google's hiring practices here, but rather a lesson about what employees want from a good manager."


Justin Simien Reflects On Naming His Film: "Dear White People" Medium


When To Decentralize Decision Making, When Not To Harvard Business Review


Schedule Of Education Conferences In 2018 EdSurge


Two Mistakes In How We Teach Math, And How To Fix Them Quartz

Competency-Based... Project-Based... All Basically: Active Learning? EdSurge


Five Tips For Encouraging Students To Read More School Library Journal

A Ringing Tribute To Difficult Reading Guardian
"The difficulty is the point... We all want the same things now: phone, clothes, and food to photograph. We are all consumers. Teenagers don't want to stick it to the man anymore. They are the man... I want them to find something difficult and do it anyway. Then, I want them to notice what a powerful tool literature is, to understand that without it we can't know ourselves or the society we live in. I want them to discover that if they learn to handle language they'll no longer be helpfulness, drowning in sugary gratification."


"Scientists Are Designing Artisanal Proteins For Your Body" New York Times
"Already, the team has built proteins for purposes ranging from fighting flu viruses to breaking down gluten in food to detecting trace amounts of opioid drugs."

Circular Visualizations Of Integer Factors Twitter

An Online Tool For Anyone To Make Circular Visualizations Of Factors Desmos

The Math And Science Of (Why We Lose) Carnival Games YouTube

Does A CS Major Actually Mean A Higher Salary, Anyway? Free Code Camp


"How Tech Companies Own Your Day" Bloomberg
"As tech companies mature, they're seeking new ways to generate revenue from each customer, and the battlefield is increasingly your most finite resource: time. That battle plays out every minute from the time we wake up until we go to bed, and doesn't look the same for everyone."

Drones Are A New Economic Landscape (See: China) New York Times

Video Gaming Disorder Officially Labeled By World Health Org Chicago Tribune

Gaming Community Responds To WHO Gaming Disorder Label  Kotaku


"How The Quality Of School Lunch Affects... Academic Performance" Brookings

Audrey Watters On "The Business Of 'Ed-Tech Trends'" Hack Education

How Different Countries Use Different GIFs To Express Themselves NY Times

Bodleian Social Media Mgr Makes Medieval Animated GIFs Art + Marketing
"I spent just over a year at the Bodleian being sassy on social media and making GIFs out of centuries-old collections. The animation of the Bodleian's collection lent them new life. Beautiful images painstakingly made by monks and illustrators hundreds of years ago leapt from their pages anew onto Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr feeds."