Neverending stories

The reason they survive to this day, Zipes suggests, is because the classic fairy tales—such as Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel, which all have analogues in cultures throughout the world—are perfect examples of “memetic” engineering. Drawing on the notion of the meme coined by Richard Dawkins, Zipes imagines the elements of fairy tales competing for mental space over generations of cultural evolution, until only the fittest tales survived. And what…

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RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event – English – YouTube

Department of Homeland Security-funded video. Part of me hopes it’s more effective than the infamous “duck and cover”  cold-war films, but that’s probably the part of me this video is carefully designed to mollify. I must say the chevon design theme looks cool, and the “Run > Hide > Fight” very nicely emphasizes the hierarchy of the evidence. Note how the announcer gets really aggressive when he punches the word…

Opting Out of the ‘Rug Rat Race’

When you talk today to teachers and administrators at high-achieving high schools, this is their greatest concern: that their students are so overly protected from adversity, in their homes and at school, that they never develop the crucial ability to overcome real setbacks and in the process to develop strength of character. American children, especially those who grow up in relative comfort, are, more than ever, shielded from failure as…

Why am I Getting the Paper?

  Newspapers and their fans make a lot of noise about the professionalism of journalism, that journalism needs to be paid for, that the Internet is no substitute for the hard core objectivity and insightful commentary newspapers offer. and so on. Whether these arguments are true or not does not interest me. I have found distortions online and distortions in print. I worked at a newspaper and in trade publishing.…

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Dozens of Plagiarism Incidents Are Reported in Coursera’s Free Online Courses

“If we really are trying to teach the world, including people from other cultures, we have to take a responsibility to educate people about plagiarism, not just vaporize people for it,” said Mr. Severance, who is also a clinical associate professor of information at Michigan, in an interview on Wednesday. –The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Relative Number of Tweets containing the terms “church” or “beer” aggregated to the county level, June 22-28, 2012

But what about tweets containing “church” AND “beer”? So in honor of the 4th of July, we selected all geotagged tweets[1] sent within the continental US between June 22 and June 28 (about 10 million in total) and extracted all tweets containing the word “church” (17,686 tweets of which half originated on Sunday) or “beer” (14,405 tweets which are much more evenly distributed throughout the week). See below for more…

Women Explain Why Google+ is All Dudes

Google, which declined to comment on the gender breakdown of its social network, has a long tradition of using its own products internally before releasing them to the public. Products like Gmail and Google Buzz had lengthy incubation periods inside the company before they were released to the public. But that internal testing process can lead to products too tailored to the distorted bubble in which Googlers operate, where the…

Experts: No right choice for women about work, being at home with kids

JoAnne Boyle says she thinks women should stop worrying about child-rearing choices they make and stop criticizing other women’s choices. Boyle, president of Seton Hill University in Westmoreland County, raised six sons and a daughter — now ages 37 to 50 — while working full-time. She said she “often felt like I wasn’t doing a very good job at anything, but I did the best I could and I made…

Video game nation: Why so many play

Since its November release, Skyrim has won award after award and led reviewers to call it the “greatest role-playing video game ever made.” In its first month, it made $650 million, almost double the entire year’s gross in the United States for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the bestselling movie of 2011. Gamers know this. Why don’t you? C’mon. You don’t. One surprising thing about the video…

Culturomics Looks at the Birth and Death of Words

Roughly 30 to 50 years after their birth, they either enter the long-term lexicon or tumble off a cliff into disuse. The authors suggest that this may be because that stretch of decades marks the point when dictionary makers approve or disapprove new candidates for inclusion. Or perhaps it’s generational turnover: Children accept or reject their parents’ coinages. –Culturomics Looks at the Birth and Death of Words – WSJ.com.