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Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed [a Certain Political Slant] News

One day when I was an undergraduate working for one of two competing student papers, two rallies were held on opposite sides of the downtown mall. One group held signs like “Keep your laws off my body,” and “Keep abortion safe and legal,” and the other group held signs like “It’s a child, not a choice” and “Abortion stops a beating heart.” The student paper I did not work for ran…


An Experimental Autism Treatment Cost Me My Marriage

Interesting essay challenging the notion that medical difference equals pathology. With Children of a Lesser God, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, “Flowers for Algernon,” “Cathedral,” The Glass Menagerie, The Miracle Worker, and The Sound and the Fury, I can see putting together a special topics literature course on pathology and pathos in literature. An intervention to switch on my emotions succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, but…

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There is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.

I have so far resisted the jump to streaming media. I do regularly by Kindle books, which Amazon can send down the memory hole without my permission . James Pinkstone gives me another reason to continue resisting. For about ten years, I’ve been warning people, “hang onto your media. One day… information will be a utility rather than a possession. Even information that you yourself have created will require unending, recurring payments just to…


Facebook Hired Journalists to Train Its Trending Topics Algorithm

Recently I noticed an unusually incendiary phrase in the Facebook “trending” list, and noticed that several people in my feed were reacting strongly to that language. When I clicked the link, I was taken to a page that did not actually contain that phrase. When I searched for the source of that phrase, the results came up nil. A few hours later, searched turned up bloggers who were angrily…

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How ‘twisted’ early childhood education has become — from a child development expert

Kids who got low scores, I was told, got extra drills in reading and math and didn’t get to go to art. They used a computer program to teach 4- and 5-year-olds how to “bubble.” One teacher complained to me that some children go outside the lines. In one of the kindergartens I visited, the walls were barren and so was the whole room. The teacher was testing one little…

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The dangers of ‘character education’ in universities

As the authors depressingly note, “the UK is one of the most economically unequal of the rich countries, and closing many of the gaps we describe will require systemic change beyond the scope of this report”. Well, quite. And herein lies the problem with teaching young people that through sheer vim and vigour they can achieve anything they want: for an individual, as the Sutton Trust report shows, it’s a…


For News Outlets Squeezed From the Middle, It’s Bend or Bust

Hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook followed BuzzFeed’s live video of two people putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it burst. We should all reflect on how journalism can make the news that is truly important interesting enough to compete with exploding fruit. Traditional media companies face the increasingly daunting task of hooking already-inundated audiences, but they also have more tools than ever to lure them. Videos, podcasts,…