Liked Storytelling And The Technological Nothing (kinlane.com)
90% of what you are being told about AI, Blockchain, and automation right now isn’t truthful. It is only meant allocate space in your imagination, so that at the right time you can be sold something, and distracted while your data, privacy, and security can be exploited, or straight up swindled out from under you.
Bookmarked Unfollowing Everybody by Anil Dash (Anil Dash)
Keeping in mind that spirit of doing necessary maintenance, I recently did something I'd thought about doing for years: I unfollowed everyone on Twitter.
Anil Dash discusses the steps he took to unfollow everyone on Twitter and start again. There are some interesting ideas in this piece, such as archiving a list of people you are following. Might be one to come back to.
Liked selfishness or survival by Anne Helen Petersen (TinyLetter)
People make parenthood and full-time employment work all the time, I realize that. My friends in Seattle make it work. But it's not a coincidence that I'm the only one of those friends who incurred substantial debt from post-grad education, and I don't mean that as a commentary on intelligence. Like many late-mid-and-young millenials, my decisions about having children are the result of many factors — the (very slowly) growing acceptance of non-parenthood as a viable lifestyle choice, observation of the ways in which parenthood stunted my own mothers' professional life and fulfillment, but, above all else, a clear-eyed look at the costs of parenthood. To suggest that it's just a matter of wanting more leisure time — laying by the pool! watching ESPN! — is to fundamentally misunderstand the ways in which millenials have come to conceive of labor.
Bookmarked
Stewart Riddle discusses the five steps, which every failing teacher can follow to improve not only their students’ test scores, but also their lives, relationships and financial success:

  1. Focus on the learner
  2. Teach them some stuff
  3. Check that they learnt some stuff
  4. Teach them some more stuff
  5. Enjoy your amazing new successful look

Here’s a testimonal from a ‘real’ teacher:

“I tried Learner-Based-Learning™️ in my classroom and it completely transformed me overnight!”

Bookmarked Can Reading Make You Happier? (The New Yorker)
So even if you don’t agree that reading fiction makes us treat others better, it is a way of treating ourselves better. Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”
Ceridewn Dovey takes a look at bibliotherapy and the act of reading as a cure. Some argue that readers are more empathetic, while others suggest that it provides pleasure, whatever the particular outcome maybe, reading has shown to provide many health benefits. As Kin Lane suggests, when in doubt, read a book.

As a side, the article opens with a nice description of reading:

In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself. As Woolf, the most fervent of readers, wrote, a book “splits us into two parts as we read,” for “the state of reading consists in the complete elimination of the ego,” while promising “perpetual union” with another mind.

Bookmarked Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags (Locus Online)
For 20 years, privacy advocates
Cory Doctorow provides a commentary on the current state of affairs involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Rather than blame the citizens of the web, he argues that the fault exists with the mechanics in the garage and the corruption that they have engaged with. The question that seems to remain is if this is so and we still want our car fixed, where do we go?

Marginalia

Cambridge Analytica are like stage mentalists: they’re doing something labor-intensive and pretending that it’s something supernatural. A stage mentalist will train for years to learn to quickly memorize a deck of cards and then claim that they can name your card thanks to their psychic powers. You never see the unglamorous, unimpressive memorization practice. source

The comparison between Cambridge Analytica (and big data in general) with the stage mentalist is intriguing. I am left wondering about the disappointment and disbelief in the truth. Sometimes there is a part of us that oddly wants to be mesmerised and to believe.


It’s fashionable to treat the dysfunctions of social media as the result of the naivete of early technologists, who failed to foresee these outcomes. The truth is that the ability to build Facebook-like services is relatively common. What was rare was the moral recklessness necessary to go through with it. source

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica raise the question of just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should.


Facebook doesn’t have a mind-control problem, it has a corruption problem. Cambridge Analytica didn’t convince decent people to become racists; they convinced racists to become voters. source

In relation to the question of mind-control verses corruption, I wonder where the difference exists. Does corruption involve some element of ‘mind-control’ to convince somebody that this is the answer?

Bookmarked Flexible Classrooms: Research Is Scarce, But Promising | Edutopia (Edutopia)
Classroom flexibility, isolated from other measured factors, appears to be roughly as important as air quality, light, or temperature in boosting academic outcomes.
What is interesting about this report is that rather than discussing furniture in isolation, it is considered as a part of a wider conversation about learning and environment.

Flexible classrooms are successful because they go hand in hand with a change in pedagogy.

The impact of flexible spaces though can be almost incidental at times, as is with the case of Maths:

Flexible, welcoming spaces had a startlingly large effect on learning in math—73 percent of the students’ progress that was attributed to classroom design was traced back to flexibility and student ownership. The reasons are a mystery, but Barrett and his team hazarded a guess: Academic subjects that provoke anxiety—in math, that’s a known issue—are better addressed in classrooms that feel comfortable and familiar to students.

This speaks of agency as much as it does of the chairs in the classroom.

Liked On Being African (and other things) ahead of @emergeAfrica (Reflecting Allowed)
So yeah. I mean, we can’t generalize about Africa. I share some things w South Africa but not apartheid history. I share some things w Tunisians but I don’t actually understand their Arabic dialect. I share a lot with Sudan but more with Jordan even though Egypt and Sudan used to be one country. I was born and raised in Kuwait but share more with third culture kids than I do with Kuwaitis.
Liked Reply to This Indispensable Digital Research Tool, We can Say, Without Lying, Saves Time by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (BoffoSocko)
Think of an OPML subscription as an updating subscription to a bundle of RSS feeds which all also provide their own individual updates. Instead of subscribing to a bunch of individual feeds, you can subscribe to whole bundles of feeds.
Liked Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70% (Ars Technica)
It was clear from employee surveys and media reports that workers are not fans of the open architecture trend. Employees complain of noise, distractions, lowered productivity, a loss of privacy, and a feeling of being “watched.” On top of that, studies have suggested that open offices can be bad for workers’ health.