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Daily Archives: June 21, 2023

Everyone Likes Reading. Why Are We So Afraid of It?

The New York Times: Book bans, chatbots, pedagogical warfare: What it means to read has become a minefield. “Everyone loves reading. In principle, anyway. Nobody is against it, right? Surely, in the midst of our many quarrels, we can agree that people should learn to read, should learn to enjoy it and should do a lot of it. But bubbling underneath this bland, upbeat consensus is a simmer of individual anxiety and collective panic. We are in the throes of a reading crisis. Consider the evidence. Across the country, Republican politicians and conservative activists are removing books from classroom and library shelves, ostensibly to protect children from “indoctrination” in supposedly left-wing ideas about race, gender, sexuality and history. These bans have raised widespread alarm among civil libertarians and provoked a lawsuit against a school board in Florida, brought by PEN America and the largest American publisher, Penguin Random House…The reading crisis reverberates at the higher reaches of the educational system too. As corporate management models and zealous state legislatures refashion the academy into a gated outpost of the gig economy, the humanities have lost their luster for undergraduates. According to reports in The New Yorker and elsewhere, fewer and fewer students are majoring in English, and many of those who do (along with their teachers) have turned away from canonical works of literature toward contemporary writing and pop culture…Beyond the educational sphere lie technological perils familiar and new: engines of distraction like streaming (what we used to call TV) and TikTok; the post-literate alphabets of emojis and acronyms; the dark enchantments of generative A.I. While we binge and scroll and D.M., the robots, who are doing more and more of our writing, may also be taking over our reading…”

Chamber of Secrets

Washington Monthly: “…The Supreme Court’s habit of deciding hugely important cases without briefings, arguments, or even a word of explanation threatens democracy. Some progressive legal scholars have coined the term demosprudence to underline that the opinion announcements are the only time that the Court’s members directly address the public. Clearly, however, the justices do not… Continue Reading

The Presidential Records Act, Clinton’s Socks, and Trump’s Boxes

Lawfare: “…In 1950, Congress passed the Federal Records Act, which requires federal agencies—but not the president—to preserve their records. Five years later, Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act, which encouraged (but did not require) former presidents to donate their records to private, federally maintained libraries.  Then came Richard Nixon. Four months after Nixon resigned in… Continue Reading

Suicide Hotlines Promise Anonymity. Dozens of Their Websites Send Sensitive Data to Facebook

Via LLRX – Suicide Hotlines Promise Anonymity. Dozens of Their Websites Send Sensitive Data to Facebook – Reporter Colin Lecher and Data Journalist Jon Kreeger discuss how websites for mental health crisis resources across the country—which promise anonymity for visitors, many of whom are at a desperate moment in their lives—have been quietly sending sensitive visitor… Continue Reading

How AI could take over elections and undermine democracy

Via LLRX – How AI could take over elections and undermine democracy – Archon Fung, Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government, Harvard Kennedy School, and Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard University, pose the question: “Could organizations use artificial intelligence language models such as ChatGPT to induce voters to behave in specific ways? Sen. Josh… Continue Reading

What Makes News Sharable on Social Media?

What Makes News Sharable on Social Media?Chen, X., Pennycook, G., & Rand, D. (2023). Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media, 3.   – “With the rise of social media, everyone has the potential to be both a consumer and producer of online content. Although one might assume that people share news because they believe it… Continue Reading

The Modernized Website is Here

“Today, Beta, the modernized version of, becomes the primary The modernized website has an updated design that is visually appealing and easy to read. This new design includes simple web components, such as left-side menus and expandable accordions, that improve navigation and make information readily findable. In addition, the modernized website is… Continue Reading

The data on 40 years of California wildfires is alarmingly clear

Quartz: “Wildfires in northern and central California increased fivefold between 1971 and 2021, according to a new study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The scientists behind the study found that those fires were mostly caused by anthropogenic climate change, the kind accelerated by human actions like burning fossil fuels… Continue Reading

Purdue Plant Doctor

 Purdue Plant Doctor – Enter the name of the plant, plant problem, pest, or disease, or click your way to identify and manage your pest or disease. “The Purdue Plant Doctor was a collaboration between Dr. Janna Beckerman (Department of Botany and Plant Pathology) and Dr. Cliff Sadof (Department of Entomology), who contributed equally to… Continue Reading

PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2023

“Business leaders everywhere are prioritising transformation, but what if your most skilled people are more reinvention ready than your company culture is? And what if your employees say they are even more likely to quit now than they were last year—back when everyone thought the “great resignation” was at its peak. This is the complicated—and… Continue Reading