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Russia Conspiracy Theories Trap Putin Malaysia Airlines MH17

An old journalism joke suggests that, during the Cold War, the USSR state-run news agency reported the results of a two-car race this way: “Soviet car finishes second; Americans next-to-last.” In a culture without a free press, the official story is the only story. Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia? Well, it’s all true—at…

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Buzz Aldrin: It’s Time to Put a Man on Mars

There are eight U.S. astronauts left out of the 12 who walked on the moon. All of us are in the eighth decade of our lives. Each of us can attest to the importance of continuing human exploration of space and the tremendous impact it has had on so many facets of our society. The technical innovations, scientific achievements, medical breakthroughs, environmental enhancements, national defense improvements and educational impacts have…

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Apple faces threat of legal action over ‘in app’ payments

I haven’t taken the plunge and installed a new iOS app on a whim in quite some time, because so many of them require in-app purchases in order to be useful. Now I carefully read the reviews first. Among the issues regulators have highlighted is a default setting within Apple’s app store where, after a payment is made, there is a 15-minute window allowing purchases without requiring a password. The…

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Educators approve national campaign to halt high stakes, “toxic tests”

Not a news item, but an announcement from a stakeholder. As a homeschool parent and college teacher, I’m interested in the rhetoric of the “toxic testing” pushback. Increasingly frustrated with the abuse and overuse of high stakes standardized and the negative effects on student learning, nearly 9,000 educators approved a national campaign to reduce the amount of student and instructional time consumed by standardized tests and to implement more effective…

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Cooper Hewitt: the typeface by Chester Jenkins

“[S]ince Cooper Hewitt is a government institution, “utilizing a well-crafted, American-made product was important. And not something that’s Helvetica.” Jenkins echoes that sentiment: “The design was created for the Smithsonian, which is owned by the people of the United States, so the typeface should likewise belong to the people of the United States.” –qz.com The new typeface, Cooper Hewitt, is a contemporary sans serif, with characters composed of modified-geometric curves…

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Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins (five Serbs and oneBosnian Muslim) coordinated by Danilo Ilić. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary’s south-Slavprovinces so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. The assassins’ motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. The assassination led directly…

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Raise It Up! :: Star-Spangled Banner – 1814-2014

I usually start my American Lit I course with an analysis of “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” “Two hundred years ago, Francis Scott Key, inspired by the sight of the flag’s ‘broad stripes and bright stars,’ wrote a song that gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which Americans have invested the flag with their own meaning and memories,” said John L. Gray, director of…

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How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

While I appreciate the efficiency of uniform standards, I am concerned because it becomes even more efficient to teach to the test, which means more students will arrive in my college classes expecting to be told exactly what to do. I want them to take risks which means I have to convince them that I will reward them, not take off points, for making and fixing mistakes — which can…

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Even in the U.S., Chinese Students May Have Tiananmen ‘Amnesia’

But now that he was at college in America, someone had mentioned Tiananmen, a friend. And he went online, to YouTube and Google, and pulled up videos and photographs from 25 years earlier, images not easily accessible behind China’s Great Firewall, as its Internet-censoring regime is called. He kept looking at one, he said, “the one.” A photograph of an unknown man, futilely trying to block a column of tanks.…

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What Makes Ohio State the Most Unequal Public University in America?

So while university presidents are making huge salaries, Tom Frank explains, students “borrowed and forked over enormous sums in exchange for the privilege of hearing lectures…lectures that were then delivered by people who earned barely enough to stay alive. It is a double disaster of the kind that only we Americans are capable of pulling off.” The schools that followed OSU on the “most unequal” list were, in order, Penn…