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In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest

Comedian Robin Williams and actress Lauren Bacall died. That news made me sad. Reporters from the Washington Post and the Huffington Post were arrested last night by police who refused to provide their badge numbers. The reporters were covering the ongoing tension between police and crowds protesting the death of an unarmed teenager, who police say resisted arrest, but who witnesses say was shot in the back with his hands…

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How Humans Respond to Robots

The play that coined the word “robot,” Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), included violent robots, compassionate robots, and herd robots (who are content to be workers until incited by the violent robot leaders). This article explores a wide range of human responses to robots. Our expectations of robots and our response to their designs varies internationally; the Uncanny Valley curve has a different arc depending where you are. Certainly,…

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Operation War Diary

One hundred years ago today, Britain declared war on Germany, and the world found itself sucked into a vortex of conflict which centred for many on the battlefields of the Western Front. Every unit which slogged its way through the awful years which followed kept a war diary describing their experiences. Official accounts of movements, actions and casualties, their authors often allowed something of themselves into the pages as well,…

Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position

That’s not an argument. (Yes it is.)

I spent some time this afternoon sifting through lecture notes to create a new handout: Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position In everyday language, we may use the word “argument” to mean very different things. In the living room, siblings Charles and Petra argue about what movie to watch. The two groups of protestors chanted slogans and waved signs, arguing about abortion. The prosecutor argued that Wilson was at the scene of the crime, while the defense argued that Wilson…

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Seriously, Fuck You, “Kindle Unlimited”

I’m just quoting the f-bomb in the link, but I do agree with the sentiment behind it. Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn’t cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization. For a monthly cost of zero dollars, it is…

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Stop Using ‘Poet Voice’

This article analyzes (and skewers) that lilting steamroller tone of voice that so many poets use when reciting their work. During this banter the poet uses a slightly performative but mostly natural voice. It’s the voice they’d use to introduce you to their grandmother. Then they read the title of their first poem and launch into the first line. But now their voice is different. It’s as if at some…