Bookmarked The cult of Mary Beard – podcast by Charlotte Higgins (the Guardian)
How a late-blossoming classics don became Britain’s most beloved intellectual
An intriguing insight into the life and times of Mary Beard. A classicist who has made her name as a popular intellect. Full of wit, there were two quotes that really struck me. One was about the supposed ‘logical’ path to a career:

Her career stands, in a way, as a corrective to the notion that life runs a smooth, logical path. “It’s a lesson to all of those guys – some of whom are my mates,” she said, remembering the colleagues who once whispered that she had squandered her talent. “I now think: ‘Up yours. Up yours, actually.’ Because people’s careers go in very different trajectories and at very different speeds. Some people get lapped after an early sprint.” She added softly, with a wicked grin: “I know who you are, boys.”

The other was on the lessons learnt about understanding the ‘Classics’:

This approach was neatly displayed in her bestselling history of Rome, SPQR (2015). The early history of Rome, the era of its fabled seven kings, is notoriously difficult to untangle. There are few, if any, contemporary sources. The whole story slides frustratingly away into legend, with the later Romans just as confused as we are about how an unremarkable town on a malarial swamp came to rule a vast empire. One way of handling this material might have been simply to have started later, when the historian’s footing among the sources becomes more secure. Instead Beard asked not how much truth could be excavated from the Romans’ stories about their deep past, but what it might mean that they told them. If the Romans believed their city had started with Romulus and Remus, with the rape of the Sabine women – in a welter, in other words, of fratricide and sexual violence – what can we learn about the tellers’ concerns, their preoccupations, their beliefs? According to Greg Woolf, “One of the things Mary has taught is to look at the window, not through it, because there isn’t really anything behind it.

For a text version, go here.

Liked Feel free to enjoy Gary Oldman's portrayal of Churchill but don't forget his problematic past (The Independent)
The man who took part in 'jolly little wars against barbarous people' and claimed to have shot three 'savages' also defended the use of concentration camps in South Africa and the use of poison gas against 'uncivilised tribes'
It is worth reading some of Raw’s replies on Twitter too:

Liked PLATO and the History of Education Technology (That Wasn't) (Hack Education)
The Friendly Orange Glow is a history of PLATO – one that has long deserved to be told and that Dear does with meticulous care and detail. (The book was some three decades in the making.) But it’s also a history of why, following Sputnik, the US government came to fund educational computing. Its also – in between the lines, if you will – a history of why the locus of computing and educational computing specifically shifted to places like MIT, Xerox PARC, Stanford. The answer is not “because the technology was better” – not entirely. The answer has to do in part with funding – what changed when these educational computing efforts were no longer backed by federal money and part of Cold War era research but by venture capital. (Spoiler alert: it changes the timeline. It changes the culture. It changes the mission. It changes the technology.) And the answer has everything to do with power and ideology – with dogma.
Bookmarked Scripting News: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 (Scripting News)
Five years. Between 1994 and 1999, there was a brief period when the web was truly open. There was no one who could veto you. No one who, if they took offense to what you said or did, could knock you off the net. There were people who tried. That made it dramatic. But there was blue sky everywhere. Now the web is divided into silos controlled by big companies. A little bit of light shows through between the cracks. I keep hoping that one crack will open into a new world that's open where we can play where we have users to serve, and competitors to compete with. I go from slightly optimistic to get-a-clue-Dave-it-ain't-happening.
Winer remembers when the web was without silos who could control what we see or do. He wonders about finding cracks in today’s web to support such expression and experience once again. This reminds me of Chris Aldrich’s desire for a better web:

I’m not looking for just a “hipster-web”, but a new and demonstrably better web.

I wonder what part something like Micro.blogs could play with all this.

Liked Explainer: the evidence for the Tasmanian genocide (The Conversation)
"Whereas the master narrative framed this state of affairs as proof of a benign government caring for unfortunate victims of circumstance, the colony’s archives reveal that Aboriginal people were removed from their ancient homelands by means fair and foul. This was the intent of the government, revealed by its actions and instructions and obfuscations. In the language of the day the Aboriginal Tasmanians had been deliberately, knowingly and wilfully extirpated. Today we could call it genocide."