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How to Disagree

If we’re all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy: Truly refuting something requires one to refute its central point, or at…

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Republican National Convention: Scrutiny of Melania Trump’s speech follows plagiarism allegations

As a college English teacher, I come to the table with a nuanced professional stance on the value of originality in writing. In a given discourse community, I can refer to common ideas without making it look like I am claiming original thinking. For example, when I was an undergrad with a work-study job in the theatre department’s scene shop, I saw a tired grad student scowl at the lopsided chicken-wire…

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Neuroscientist Explores the Ethical Quandries of a Digital Afterlife

Now imagine the resources required to simulate the brains of millions or billions of dead people. It’s possible that some future technology will allow for unlimited RAM and we’ll all get free service. The same way we’re arguing about health care now, future activists will chant, “The afterlife is a right, not a privilege!” But it’s more likely that a digital afterlife will be a gated community and somebody will…

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‘Our worst nightmare’: New legal filings detail reporting of Rolling Stone’s U-Va. gang rape story

The court documents, submitted as evidence in associate dean Nicole Eramo’s $10 million defamation lawsuit against the magazine, show how journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely deferred to a U-Va. junior named “Jackie” instead of digging deeper to verify the student’s claims. Source: ‘Our worst nightmare’: New legal filings detail reporting of Rolling Stone’s U-Va. gang rape story   Saving this for the next time I teach journalism.

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The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb.

The song “No One Is Alone,” from the musical Into the Woods, always gives me chills. Last year when my daughter was learning it in her voice class, I helped her work through some of the words. While the whole musical has a dark tone that I find comes too close to nihilism, in the context of that darkness, I find this part deeply moving: Everybody makes One another’s terrible mistakes Witches…

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Gawker Media Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

This is fallout from losing an invasion of privacy lawsuit, filed in the name of wrestler Hulk Hogan and backed by tech investor Peter Thiel (co-founder of Paypal and an early investor and current board member for Facebook, and in his younger days also co-founder of the Stanford Review). Gawker slogan: “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news.” That’s from the <title> tag on the website — I’m not making some kind of…