School shuns tech, teaches fountain pen

There is no clacking of keyboards in most classrooms at the Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville Junior School, although there is a full range of facilities for computer lessons and technology isn’t being ignored. But the private school’s principal believes the old-fashioned pens have helped boost the academic performance and self-esteem of his 1,200 pupils. —School shuns tech, teaches fountain pen (Yahoo! | Reuters (will expire))

Slouching Towards Bedlam

*clunk* The rotating tin cylinder within the phonograph vibrates slightly as a brass needle scrapes against it. The sound of a throat being cleared emerges from the machine’s hornshell speaker, followed by a thin, haunting voice. “March the 16th.” A deep, shaky breath. “I dread to say it, but I believe I am going mad. The — *moments* — come more frequently now. I fear that I have found what…

Gadgets Built to Fail

Someday, much sooner than you’d like, that shiny new toy you just bought will break. When it happens, you’ll swear, you’ll cry — then you’ll sigh and open your wallet.–Kris Wagner —Gadgets Built to Fail (Wired) “They time them so when you finally paid for them, they’re used up.” — Willy Loman, Death of a Salesman

Verizon doesn’t know Dollars from Cents

I have a Verizon unlimited data plan in the U.S. and recently crossed the border to Canada. Prior to crossing the border I called customer service to find out what rates I’d be paying for voice and data. The data rate I was quoted was “.002 cents per kilobyte.” I was surprised at the rate so I confirmed it with the representative I spoke to, and she confirmed it “point…


How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

I no longer see cases of blatant plagiarism as personal insults. They are, instead, the pathetic bleats of students who think they know enough — maybe all there really is to know — about how to read and think and write. The paradox of plagiarism is that in order to be really good at it, you need precisely the reading and writing skills that ought to render plagiarism unnecessary. —Jonathan…

Papers battle online news sites

“For more than 100 years journalism has been sustained by this virtuous circle in which the audience paid for their news, and the advertiser paid to reach that audience, and the publisher made a profit and paid his journalists and the society benefited into the bargain,” said Michael Oreskes, executive editor of the International Herald Tribune. “That whole circle breaks down on the internet. This requires wildly creative thinking on…