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Transcendentalism Today: Echoes of Walden, online and in the classroom

Our students are transcendentalists, but they don’t know it. Speaking metaphorically, Thoreau writes “I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.”  Rather than treating children as wild creatures that needed to be tamed and civilized, Thoreau seesorder and meaning in nature, which is threatened, worn down, and buried by civilization. At a time when being educated at Harvard meant reciting verbatim from establishment experts, Bronson…

The New-Media Crisis of 1949

Old joke… when’s the best time to air a radio drama? 1937.  Radio is still around, but the salary of TV personality Katie Couric ” is more than the entire annual budgets of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered combined.” (so says Michael Massing).  If you knew nothing about the internet beyond what you learned about it from the TV news, you’d probably think it was full of child…

Princeton Students: Kindle 'Disappointing, Difficult to Use'

When the University announced its Kindle e-reader pilot program last May, administrators seemed cautiously optimistic that the e-readers would both be sustainable and serve as a valuable academic tool. But less than two weeks after 50 students received the free Kindle DX e-readers, many of them said they were dissatisfied and uncomfortable with the devices. –Fox News

Library 'scissor ban is absurd'

Ms Watts, from Islington, north London, said: “I asked why I couldn’t borrow a pair of scissors and she said, ‘they are sharp, you might stab me’. “I then asked to borrow a guillotine to cut up my leaflets but she refused again – because she said I could hit her over the head with it!” She added: “It’s absurd – there are plenty of heavy books I could have…

Videogames now outperform Hollywood movies

Videogames may be economically formidable, but they remain a byword for crass, shallow thrills. A game, it’s understood, can look spectacular, but it will have little to offer its audience in the way of values, insights or craftsmanship. It’s a curious and increasingly untenable situation, given that, to the increasingly large percentage of the population who play them, games are rapidly establishing themselves as the single most exciting and vigorous…

Somewhere Nearby is a Colossal Cave Paper

Okay, I admit it, being known as the academic expert on a singe indie computer game from the 1970s is something like saying “I’m the handsomest one-eyed pirate on this particular ship, today,” which might well be true, but doesn’t exactly mean very much. Still, I’m thrilled that I could be part of Jason Scott’s forthcoming text adventure documentary.  I had a fever of 101 when he interviewed me a…

Washington Post Issues Twitter Guidelines: Signing Their Own Death Sentence?

In all media that boasts your byline remain impartial, and don’t do anything stupid. But is it in the best interests of the paper? Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander points out the the Post (along with just about every other mainstream publication) has at times come under fire for being partisan. These guidelines aim to cut off those accusations before they can be made (and already senior post editor Raju…