Journalist math fail: “New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent”

Hold on… An on-again, off-again move by the Obama administration to scrap the federal gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile fee would boost the tab to Americans as high as 250 percent, raising their current tax of 18.4 cents a gallon to as high as 46 cents, according to a new government study. –New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent | WashingtonExaminer.com The math example doesn’t illustrate the…

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My View: What will you do with an English degree? Plenty

I just found my first reading assignment for the “Intro to Literary Study” class I’ll be teaching in a week. Almost every college student who considers majoring in English – or French, or philosophy, or art history – inevitably hears the question: “What in the world are you going to do with that?” The question can come from worried parents, perplexed relatives, or derisive, incredulous peers, but it always implies…

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Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?

The Twitter version: There’s a slight decrease in violent crime when violent movies are playing. People who like violence tend to go watch the movie instead of going out and doing violent things. Laboratory experiments in psychology find that media violence increases aggression in the short run. We analyze whether media violence affects violent crime in the field. We exploit variation in the violence of blockbuster movies from 1995 to 2004,…

Xark!: Why I shut down comments

While blogs still exist as convenient ways for authors to compile and archive their writing over time, commenting has long been driven (by spammers) into other social media, like Twitter and Facebook. What follows is an interesting snapshot of the Cyberculture change, as it was happening. What really changed between 2005 and 2009 was that regular people left blogging for social media platforms that far better suited their purposes. Blogs,…

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A 27-Story Vertical Forest Grows in Milan

Bosco Verticale was conceived in response to the alarming levels of air pollution in Milan. The structure itself is no more radical than your average high-rise tower block, but when fortified with over 700 balcony-perched trees, not only will the buildings look like two enormous topiaries in the middle of the city, but they will also filter dust particles, absorb carbon dioxide, and protect the apartment complexes within from radiation…

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On Stephen Hawking, Vader and Being More Machine Than Human

In one version of Hawking’s eulogistic story, we praise the smartest person in the world, the brilliant physicist, one of the greatest cosmologists of our time. He fits perfectly well with our conception of how science and its heroes work: To be a genius all one needs is a powerful – a “beautiful” – mind. And indeed, because of his disability, Hawking embodies the mythical figure capable of grasping the…

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Mother 3: My Mom, and Me

Thoughtful, powerful, personal analysis of a computer game. Blogging this as an example of “new games journalism,” so I can have it handy the next time I teach Video Game Culture and Theory. When someone you love dies, your view of the world takes on an air of mysticism. You find meaning in places you wouldn’t normally look. The unexpected scent of a favorite flower in your loved one’s bedroom;…