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The Essayification of Everything

The word Michel de Montaigne chose to describe his prose ruminations published in 1580 was “Essais,” which, at the time, meant merely “Attempts,” as no such genre had yet been codified. This etymology is significant, as it points toward the experimental nature of essayistic writing: it involves the nuanced process of trying something out. Later on, at the end of the 16th century, Francis Bacon imported the French term into…

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Ave atque vale

What is a liberal education and what it is for? From Cicero’s artes liberales, to the attempts at common curricula in more recent times, to the chaotic cafeteria that passes for a curriculum in most American universities today, the concept has suffered from vagueness, confusion, and contradiction. From the beginning, the champions of a liberal education have thought of it as seeking at least four kinds of goals. One was…

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Remembering When Ice Cream Was, You Know, Ice Cream – NYTimes.com

I’ll be alert, you be alert, for Breyers “frozen dairy dessert.” [N]ot all Breyers is what we once understood the name to mean. A Breyers carton in the store’s freezer might be ice cream, but the Breyers carton right beside it, identical in nearly every way, might be something called “frozen dairy dessert” — which, when translated from the original Orwell, means: not ice cream. —Remembering When Ice Cream Was,…

It’s Not What You Say; It’s What Google Says

“More people will learn about your institution from Wikipedia than from your own site,” the panelist said. “And in a crisis, more people will learn about what happened from Facebook and Twitter than from your own press releases.” That was a sobering assessment to many of us in the room. –It's Not What You Say; It's What Google Says – Run Your Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Does Math Exist?

Millions of high-school students might wish math did not exist, but, alas, it does, at least as a human creation. The question, however, of whether math exists independent of humans is a much deeper one, and PBS’s Mike Rugnetta gives a fun, brief overview of the age-old philosophical debate in the video above. via Does Math Exist? – Rebecca J. Rosen – The Atlantic.

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The Speech Eisenhower Never Gave On The Normandy Invasion

A fascinating text from an alternate history. “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops,” Eisenhower wrote. “My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt…