When ''Digital Natives'' Go to the Library

At a packed session for academic librarians attending the annual meeting of the American Library Association, in Washington, the topic was how to help students who have learned many of their information gathering and analysis skills from video games apply that knowledge in the library. Speakers said that gaming skills are in many ways representative of a broader cultural divide between today‘scollege students and the librarians who hope to teach…

Three passengers killed in fiery turnpike crash

The crash involving a tandem tractor-trailer and four passenger vehicles happened around 12:30 p.m. on the westbound lanes, several miles east of the Lebanon-Lancaster exit, state police said. –Three passengers killed in fiery turnpike crash (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) There is a lot of bad news out there, from the disappearance of the pregnant woman in Ohio, to the girl whose feet were cut off on an amusement park ride in Kentucky. My…

An Angry Look at Modern Schooling: An Enclosure Movement for Children

The secret of American schooling is that it doesn’t teach the way children learn, and it isn’t supposed to; school was engineered to serve a concealed command economy and a deliberately re-stratified social order. It wasn’t made for the benefit of kids and families as those individuals and institutions would define their own needs. School is the first impression children get of organized society; like most first impressions, it is…

Journalists dole out cash to politicians (quietly)

Traditionally, many news organizations have applied the rules to only political reporters and editors. The ethic was summed up by Abe Rosenthal, the former New York Times editor, who is reported to have said, “I don’t care if you sleep with elephants as long as you don’t cover the circus.” But with polls showing the public losing faith in the ability of journalists to give the news straight up, some…

Read the sunspots

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the…

Mass Culture 2.0

He is full of high sentence, like J. Alfred Prufrock. But beneath it all, one finds a sense of cultural history combining one part idyllic idealization with two parts status anxiety. Gorman only appears to be facing hard questions about the new digital order. Actually he is just echoing debates on “mass society” from five or six decades ago. So let us go, then, you and I — friends, as…

Required Reading: the next 10 years

Of course he would expect I was in the pay of those whose interests I advanced. Why else would I advance them? Both he and I were in a business in which such shilling was the norm. It was totally reasonable to thus expect that money explained my desire to argue with him about public policy. I don’t want to be a part of that business. And more importantly, I…

Single Bee Sends Gathering Of Humans Into Helpless Panic

The college-educated humans, all of whom are not allergic to bee-sting venom and possess both cerebral and muscular capacities several orders of magnitude beyond that of the insect, proceeded to retreat in abject fright from its half-millimeter stinger, which, when used, causes a twinge of discomfort followed by mild irritation and kills the bee. According to entomologists at the University of Texas at Dallas, the Apis mellifera was most likely…

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Va. School's No-Contact Rule Is a Touchy Subject

All touching — not only fighting or inappropriate touching — is against the rules at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. Hand-holding, handshakes and high-fives? Banned. The rule has been conveyed to students this way: “NO PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!!!” [...] It isn’t as if hug police patrol the Kilmer hallways, Hernandez said. Usually an askance look from a teacher or a reminder to move along is enough to stop girls who are…