Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

All the Sunday Links

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* Sad news: Iain Banks has died. A Few Notes on the Culture. A list of spacecraft in the Culture series.

Screen-Shot-2013-06-07-at-11.01.25-PM* Coffee’s good for you again. Stay buzzed, America.

* This piece on MOOCs from Jonathan Dettman is really interesting, not least of all for its observations on running the university like a business:

According to this paradigm, the years spent at a university are not intended so much as to educate the student (either in the vocational sense or the liberal-arts sense of forming citizen-scholars), but rather to turn as many recruits as possible into “active alumni.” In the meantime, as much profit as possible should be extracted from the student, through amenities, food services, business partnerships, textbook sales, tuition, etc. Image and branding are extremely important to these efforts, but so is information. Universities now build data-driven profiles of prospective students in order to identify and recruit those most likely to be attracted to the university’s own carefully constructed market profile.

As I said on Twitter yesterday: they couldn’t have found a model that sounded a bit less… pyramid-schemey?

On PRISM, or Listening Neoliberally.

* This piece on epigenetics in Discover is really interesting, but my god, the reporting. It’s hard to imagine a piece that sensationalized these findings more.

* Announcing the MOOC Research Institute. Can’t we scale this up? You know, crowdsource it.

* Claire Potter smells a rat in those academic paternity leave studies I’ve blogged about in the past.

Black Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have an unemployment rate of 21 percent, almost triple the national average.

* Simply put, 99 percent of the increase in employed persons seen in the last year was for individuals who had attended at least some college (this removes the negative change in employment for high school grads with no college to not produce a number above 100 percent). Among those who didn’t go to college, we actually lost 284,000 employed persons from May of 2012 to May of 2013. Within the college-going categories, about 60 percent of the increase went to those with a bachelor’s degree and 40 percent to those with an associate’s degree. 

Change in Employed Persons 5-12 to 5-13

* The death of the cliffhanger.

* The screenplay writes itself: Gustl Mollath was put in a psychiatric unit for claiming his wife was involved in money-laundering at the Bavarian bank. But seven years on evidence has emerged that could set him free.

* The headline reads, “New long distance quantum teleportation system ‘extremely reliable.'” So, the ansible is real, then?

Va. Republican Lt. Governor Candidate Said Birth Defects Were Caused By Sin. I give up.

* Because a bunch of us have been rewatching Star Trek lately: Voyager Inconsistencies. By the numbers it’s actually a little better than I thought.

* And the LEGO museum. At least there’s that.

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