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Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored

Most arguments for “saving” the humanities focus on the fact that employers prize the critical thinking and communication skills that undergraduate students develop. Although that may be true, such arguments highlight the value of classroom study, not the value of research.But humanities research teaches us about the world beyond the classroom, and beyond a job. Humanities scholars explore ethical issues, and discover how the past informs the present and the…

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Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)

Someone who thought Twitter was da bomb, and who apparently has very little historical awareness of previous forms of social media, now realizes that, human nature being what it is, this is why we can’t have nice things. We once glorified Twitter as a great global town square, a shining agora where everyone could come together to converse. But I’ve never been to a town square where people can shove,…

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‘Great Pause’ Among Prosecutors As DNA Proves Fallible : NPR

It seemed the labs were using an outdated protocol for calculating the probability of DNA matches in “mixtures”; that is, crime scene samples that contain genetic material from several people. It may have affected thousands of cases going back to 1999. At first, they assumed the update wouldn’t make a big difference — just a refinement of the numbers. But when a state lab reran the analysis of a DNA…

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Every conversation between a parent and a child, in four conversations. (Slate)

This whole item applies very well to one of my children. Me: Put your shoes on. Child: Did you know that we don’t actually vote for president, we vote for people who vote for president? Me: I don’t care, put your shoes on. Child: I am. Me: You’re not. Put your shoes on. Child: Why do we have shoes anyway? Me: Just put your shoes on. Child: That reminds me, where are my shoes? Me: What? They’re right there! Right next…

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All the ‘Happy Birthday’ song copyright claims are invalid, federal judge rules

In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, the judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the “Happy Birthday To You” song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright. —LA Times

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Male Microsoft Leaders Ignored Women Who Really Hated Clippy

I hated Clippy, not because it looked like it was leering at me, but because it was so intrusive. [T]he engineers in the room were willing to throw out the focus-group-provided data—data which they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for—because it didn’t cohere to their expectations. The software shipped with 10 male assistants and two female assistants, she adds.It turned out to be one of the most unpopular features…