Exposing the Overediting of Textbooks

“Ravitch reports that a textbook committee rejected the heroic story of Mary McLeod Bethune, the black woman who founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls nearly a century ago. Why? The word ‘Negro.’ That was bad. Also because Bethune raised the money for her school from rich white men like John D. Rockefeller. That was also bad.” Bruce Ramsey reviews The Language Police: How Pressure Groups…

Poetry is Dead. Does Anybody Really Care?

“Anyone can write a bad poem. To appreciate a good one, though, takes knowledge and commitment. As a society, we lack this knowledge and commitment. People don’t possess the patience to read a poem 20 times before the sound and sense of it takes hold. They aren’t willing to let the words wash over them like a wave, demanding instead for the meaning to flow clearly and quickly. They want…

Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions?

“The idea that you should let a fire burn, and destroy valuable forest, was so counter-intuitive that it took the U.S. Forest Service a hundred years to realize the problem and to change the strategy and let the fire burn.” Jared Diamond –Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions?Edge) Hit “page down” three times to get to the actual start of the article. Diamond complains that “Our president is still…

Mosaic Blows Out 10 Candles

“Mosaic wasn’t the Web’s first browser. It wasn’t even, as it’s so often been described, the first browser to sport a graphical user interface. Tim Berners-Lee’s “WorldWideWeb” was the first graphical point-and-click browser, followed by Pei Wei’s Viola browser.|But for most people, Mosaic was the easiest browser to use. It installed easily, and allowed people to effortlessly surf the World Wide Web, which had been conceived of and developed by…

Which Price is Right?

“A company is making two versions of the same product… One has a little more gold and foil on it, but they’re essentially the same. One is $14.95; the other is $18.95.” Not surprisingly, the $14.95 item is selling better. It’s also the lower-profit product.|”Then a competitor comes in with a third product. Again, it’s essentially the same thing, but a fancier version. And it’s much higher priced: $34.95.”…”[W]hat becomes…

Polish Perceptions

Robert Frezza writes: I ran across an interesting passage in a book about the native peoples of Siberia called “The Shaman’s Coat.” In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a lot of well-educated Polish revolutionaries were exiled to eastern Siberia where they acquired a certain reputation among the natives. As one of them put it: “When the inhabitants learned that I was Polish, they came to me for solutions to…