Posts Tagged ‘Google’
* We’re all to blame for MOOCs. (Hey! Speak for yourself. I just got here.) A second chance to do the right thing. Online college course experiment reveals hidden costs.
“I get this call from San Jose State: ‘Uh, we have a problem,’” recalled Mark Ryan, superintendent of the Oakland Military Institute, a public school set up on a military model.
It turned out some of the low-income teens didn’t have computers and high-speed Internet connections at home that the online course required. Many needed personal attention to make it through. The final results aren’t in yet, but the experiment exposed some challenges to the promise of a low-cost online education. And it showed there is still a divide between technology-driven educators and the low-income, first-generation college hopefuls they are trying to reach.
To make it work, the institute had to issue laptops to students, set aside class time for them to focus on the online course, and assign teachers to make sure they stayed on task.
* In disaster after disaster, the fear returns that people — under stress, freed by circumstance from the bonds of authority — will turn on one another. The clear consensus is that this has no basis in reality.
* Where do greenhouse gases come from? Links continue below the graph.
* Facts as ideology: women’s fertility edition.
* …this wealthiest of all wealthy nations has been steadily falling behind many other nations of the world. Consider just a few wake-up-call facts from a long and dreary list: The United States now ranks lowest or close to lowest among advanced “affluent” nations in connection with inequality (21st out of 21), poverty (21st out of 21), life expectancy (21st out of 21), infant mortality (21st out of 21), mental health (18th out of 20), obesity (18th out of 18), public spending on social programs as a percentage of GDP (19th out of 21), maternity leave (21st out of 21), paid annual leave (20th out of 20), the “material well-being of children” (19th out of 21), and overall environmental performance (21st out of 21).
Perhaps the most intriguing news: “Sony said they’re very interested in recording me watching it as a commentary track” for the Season 4 DVD set, he said. His co-host for the evening, Rob Schrab, asked if the DVD commentary could also include a visual in the corner of the screen of Harmon’s facial expressions as he watches the season he was aced out of.
* The Today Show has confirmed that the “disabled guide” Disneyland thing is actually happening.
* And a headline that seems like it must have been generated by a fake headline generator, and yet: Update: Was Pablo Neruda Murdered By a CIA Double Agent Working for Pinochet?
* Arrested Development Season 4 Timeline. We’re still working our way through, but I’m significantly more bullish on the season than most reviewers, to the point where I feel as though I literally don’t know what some of these people are talking about. I’m talking about this on Twitter now; maybe a post of some sort later. Subtle jokes of season 4. And more.
* A new study from Emory Sports Marketing Analytics concludes that Marquette University has the 9th best fan base in the country among collegiate basketball programs.
* An internal faculty report generated by professors in the College of Computing says there were “significant internal disagreements,” despite Georgia Tech’s portrayal of the deal as heavily supported by faculty.
* “You are all going to die”: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Speech.
* It is the one moment of genuine interest in Frank Marshall’s hilarious 1995 adaptation of Michael Crichton’s laughable 1980 novel. Marshall’s decision to replace Crichton’s white mercenary with a black character is the only time either book or film acknowledges the problem of working in a genre — the colonial adventure narrative — fundamentally constituted around imperialist-racist ideology. Admittedly, Marshall does nothing more, but even this very little sets his film apart from such epic racefails as the Indiana Jonesfilms and Peter Jackson’s inept attempt to not make a racist King Kong. But can such pulp fictions be redeemed? Or when revived are they destined merely to be, in Lavie Tidhar’s infamous description of steampunk, “fascism for nice people”? Mark Bould reviews Black Pulp.
* During the decade 2000-10 in the USA, for the first time the number of poor people in major metropolitan suburbs surpassed the number in cities. Between 2000 and 2011, the poor population in suburbs grew by 64% — more than twice the rate of growth in cities (29%). By 2011, almost 16.4 million residents in suburbia lived below the poverty line, outstripping the poor population in cities by almost 3 million people. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.
1. You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad.
2. Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads (and some of them aren’t even humans!).
3. You are more likely to get a full house while playing poker than click on a banner ad.
4. The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Do you remember any?
5. You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.
6. The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.1%.
7. You are more likely to birth twins than click a banner ad.
8. About 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental.
9. You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad.
10. You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.
Pagel and his collaborators have come up with a list of two dozen “ultraconserved words.” It contains both predictable and surprising members. The most conserved word is “thou,” which is the singular form of “you.” “I,” “not,” “what,” “mother” and “man” are also on the list. So are the verbs “to hear,” “to flow” and “to spit,” and the nouns “bark,” “ashes” and “worm.” Together, they hint at what has been important to people over the past 15 millennia.
* When Dickens met Dostoevsky: the best piece on a multi-decade literary hoax you may ever read.
* Over the past 23 years, California constructed roughly one new prison per year, at a cost of $100 million each, while it built only one new public college during the same period. Nationwide, spending on prisons has risen six times faster than spending on higher education.
* “Becoming oneself” has turned into a crappy job — a compulsory low-paying, low-skill job. The promise of modernity, that we might escape the contingent circumstances of our birth and become who we “really are,” has become an injunction to continually work on the self with no hope of ever fully knowing ourselves or feeling fully recognized. Neoliberal ideology, as Jodi Dean argues in the quote above, effaces boundaries between work and life and requires subjects to continually seek opportunity to prove their creativity and flexibility. Social-media companies have emerged to offer just that, an endless number of opportunities for us to test our creativity and transform everyday life experience into proof of our economic fitness. Social-media profiles may thereby become necessary collateral, mandatory passports to participate in a consumer society gone “social.”
* And Google wants to build the Star Trek computer. More and more it seems clear that Google is run by crazy people.
* An unnamed English teacher at Albany High School who wanted to “challenge” his/her students to “formulate a persuasive argument” tasked them with writing an essay about why “Jews are evil,” as if they were trying to convince a Nazi official of their loyalty.
* I’m afraid you’ll find the Daleks are already here.
* The actual rendezvous and lassoing of an asteroid, which NASA characterizes as the “most technically challenging aspect of the mission,” could begin as soon as 2019 and result in the asteroid arriving in the vicinity of the moon in 2021.
* Actually existing media bias: Al Gore is fat edition.
* The New Yorker remembers radical feminist Shulamith Firestone.
Meeting with journalists this morning, Pope Francis laid out his vision for the Catholic church, which includes cutting spending on ornate ceremony and instead spending that money on the poor. He urged excited fellow-Argentines to skip the costly trip to Rome to visit the first non-European Pope in almost 1,300 years, and instead give that money to the poor.
“Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor,” he told the gathered journalists. He explained the reason he took the name, Francis, after St. Francis of Assissi, was because of St. Francis’s devotion to the poor and love of animal life. On climate change, the Pope remarked, “Right now, we don’t have a very good relation with creation.”
The report, authored by David Callahan and J. Mijin Cha, found that “wealthy interests are keenly focused on concerns not shared by the rest of the American public, like keeping taxes low on capital gains, and often oppose policies that would foster upward mobility among low-income citizens, such as raising the minimum wage.”
* Chicago tried to ban Persepolis? Why? Why?
Years later von Kleist remembered explaining the suicide plot to his father, who paused only briefly before telling his 22-year-old son: “Yes, you have to do this.”
“He got up from his chair,” von Kleist remembered, according to an account by The New York Times, “went to the window, looked out of the window for a moment, and then he turned and said: ‘Yes, you have to do that. A man who doesn’t take such a chance will never be happy again in his life.’”
There is no possibility that UC faculty will shirk its responsibility to our students by ceding authority over courses to any outside agency.
* ”Education,” said Mr. Chambers. ”The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a rounding error” in terms of the Internet capacity it will consume.
What will drive it will be the demands on companies, in an intensely competitive global economy, to keep improving productivity. E-learning, insists Mr. Chambers, if done right, can provide faster learning, at lower costs, with more accountability, thereby enabling both companies and schools to keep up with changes in the global economy that now occur at Net speed. Schools and countries that ignore this, he says, will suffer the same fate as big department stores that thought e-commerce was overrated. Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, November 17, 1999.
A very common mistake entrepreneurs make is to assume that a feature is not necessary because it doesn’t have a lot of usage, thus it can be safely removed from the product. Sometimes that’s the case, but sometimes, not so much.
Google made a big mistake cancelling Google Reader that will have severe ripple effects to its empire. I know a lot has been written about it, but let me give you a different angle on it.
* America in Decline: Young People Are Much Worse Off Than Their Parents Were At That Age.
* Disenfranchisement, 2000s style: 49% of Michigan’s African American Population Is Under an Emergency Manager.
* Why is Google killing Google Reader? Google’s Lost Social Network: How Google accidentally built a truly beloved social network, only to steamroll it with Google+.
* California’s Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Key Questions Remain Unanswered.
* “An emergency manager is like a man coming into your house,” said Donald Watkins, a city councilman. “He takes your checkbook, he takes your credit cards, he lives in your house and he sleeps in your bed with your wife.” Mr. Watkins added, “He tells you it’s still your house, but he doesn’t clean up, sells off everything and then he packs his bag and leaves.” Lessons for Detroit in a City’s Takeover.
* And How to Put On a Show: The Unwritten WWE Rulebook.
* In case you missed it last night: “Some Preliminary Theses on MOOCs.”
* New York Times editorial: The Trouble with Online College.
A five-year study, issued in 2011, tracked 51,000 students enrolled in Washington State community and technical colleges. It found that those who took higher proportions of online courses were less likely to earn degrees or transfer to four-year colleges. The reasons for such failures are well known. Many students, for example, show up at college (or junior college) unprepared to learn, unable to manage time and having failed to master basics like math and English.
* The problem isn’t the idea of a postdoc, Stephan said, but the way that position has evolved as so many more people end up in the role. “Ostensibly the postdoctoral scholar is to train someone to be a researcher, and an independent researcher,” Stephan said. “Putting people into postdoctoral positions is great training if they are going to go on and use that training,” she said. But increasingly a postdoc doesn’t lead (certainly not quickly) to an independent, tenure-track position, Stephan said. And postdocs are being used, not trained, she said. “Postdocs have become cheap staff scientists,” she said.
JT: The pope simply felt that he didn’t have the physical strength to carry out the duties of the papacy in the modern age. He has clearly grown frailer in recent months, but I think Benedict probably had this in mind from the beginning of his pontificate. He, along with others in the church, watched Pope John Paul II struggle with illness right up until the end, and I’m sure he felt that was a great witness to the value of suffering. But I’m also sure Pope Benedict saw the dangers of a moribund pope who might linger in office for years. He wanted to break the taboo against resignation, and I think it sets a precedent that will alter the way the church looks at the papacy. For one thing, the cardinals who come together to elect his successor may well look to someone younger, knowing that resignation is an option.
* Is there another developed nation that has a standing monument to a dictator, built by the forced labor of the defeated? Letter from Madrid.
* And Mississippi bans slavery a mere 148 years late. At that point, my impulse really would have been to pretend I sent the email. Oh, you didn’t get our ratification of the 13th Amendment? Oh no! Let me send it again…
* Having a monetary value tied to human incarceration and justice creates a deeply perverse incentive that should not exist in the world of commerce. When the for-profit prison industry places the iron fist of criminal justice in the invisible hands of the market and sells it as a cost-cutting measure, it is hard not to interpret as anything but the predatory capitalism of a self-perpetuating slave state.
* Just end the filibuster. This is a no-brainer.
Following the events of last week, in which a crazed western lowland gorilla ruthlessly murdered 21 people in a local shopping plaza after escaping from the San Diego Zoo, sources across the country confirmed Thursday that national gorilla sales have since skyrocketed.
“After seeing yet another deranged gorilla just burst into a public place and start killing people, I decided I need to make sure something like that never happens to me,” said 34-year-old Atlanta resident Nick Keller, shortly after purchasing a 350-pound mountain gorilla from his local gorilla store. “It just gives me peace of mind knowing that if I’m ever in that situation, I won’t have to just watch helplessly as my torso is ripped in half and my face is chewed off. I’ll be able to use my gorilla to defend myself.”
* 56 Up now playing in the US. I can’t wait.
* For the fiscal year, which for most schools ends this June, 18% of 165 private universities and 15% of 127 public universities project a decline in net tuition revenue. That is a sharp rise from the estimated declines among 10% of the 152 private schools and 4% of the 105 public schools in fiscal 2012.
* Google will now translate into Flanders. (Not really-a-doodly.)
* Horrifying: On zombie foreclosure.
* And on the science fiction beat: Joss Whedon Directing SHIELD Pilot Right Now, Already Working On Scripts For Later In The Series. Christopher Nolan’s next movie is called Interstellar. For the 50th anniversary, five Doctors and a cavalcade of Companions will reunite…on an audio special. Fan hopes science will prove tragic Firefly death never happened. And Y: The Last Man has a director: the unknown fan director of that Portal fan film.