Smith College Protesters Bar Journalists From Covering Sit-In Unless They Support the Cause

Reporters planning to cover the sit-in arrived at the Massachusetts college’s student center on Wednesday only to find that the protesters intended to keep them out. Alyssa Mata-Flores, a Smith senior and a sit-in organizer, elaborated on the decision to The Republican: “We are asking that any journalists or press that cover our story participate and articulate their solidarity with black students and students of color. By taking a neutral stance, journalists…


I worked in a video store for 25 years. Here’s what I learned as my industry died.

If you’re actually in a video store, the stakes are different. You’re engaged. You’re on a mission to find a movie — the right movie. You had to get out of bed, get dressed, and go to a store. You had to think about what you want, why this movie looks good and not that one, perhaps even seeking guidance or advice. Whether it’s from nostalgia, advertising, packaging, reputation, recommendation,…

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Audisee Presents: The War of the Worlds

As new age synthesizer music, a rich baritone narrates: “Audisee presents: The War of the Worlds. The year is 2015 A.D. From the first launching into space, in 1961, to the establishment of a base on Jupiter this year, man has not encountered extraterrestrial life forms.” When I was about 10 or 11, I loved listening to this audio book-and-tape adaptation. When I read the H.G. Wells version, I was…

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Canon Australia video: 1 man; 6 backstories; 6 photographers; 6 photos

Canon Australia wants to sell cameras. This soft-sell video flatters the creative ambitions of customers in order to make them want to invest money in a fancy camera. We should be critical of the premise, because the video is not an art project or a psychological study. Still, this is good storytelling, and helps make a point about how media creates the reality that we perceive.  

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Where is the tipping point?

What if universities stopped buying academic journals, and put the money towards hiring editors who helped their faculty publish their scholarship in their own free, open-source journals? I don’t know how much labour goes into running a prestigious journal, but let’s say all the universities that really need those specialised mathematics journals sat down and discussed what kind of editors they would need in order to create their own journals.…


Play-Doh was Originally Wallpaper Cleaner

The story of Play-Doh began when Kutol, a Cincinnati based soap company, was about to go under in the late 1920s.  Cleo McVicker, just 21 years old, was tasked with selling off the company’s remaining assets, which at the time comprised mainly of powdered hand soap. Once that was done, the company would be too.  Cleo, however, managed to turn a nice profit in performing his task, the result of…


Editors and editorial board quit top linguistics journal to protest subscription fees

When I publish as a scholar, my goal is not to make money, but to share my intellectual creation. That’s part of my job description, so my university writes my paycheck with the expectation that I will publish. My publications will have more impact if more people read them. Hiding them behind subscription paywalls will reduce their audience. Scholars at public instutitons, whose salaries are paid by taxes, have a…