"But it is also true that the public school system of the United States, the richest country in the world, still struggles to educate our citizens about science and to make that education relevant and present in their daily lives. How well we understand science affects almost every aspect of our personal and civic lives: our health, our reproductive choices, our understanding of the news, how and whether we vote, and our interaction with the environment. Many of the most important and contentious political issues of our time—climate change, hydraulic fracturing, offshore drilling—are also environmental and require an understanding of basic scientific principles that many of our poorest citizens lack. These same citizens will suffer from their lack of understanding: from water quality damaged by fracking, from mountaintop removal, from flooding caused by rising water levels. Poor people are disproportionately susceptible to poor health and more likely to be exposed to environmental or household pollutants. But for many of our poorest citizens, science education is largely ignored, especially in the foundational elementary and middle school years, as we favor the “basics” of reading and math through a testing and school accountability system that does not prepare our students for the significant social and environmental challenges to come."
— The Science of Citizenship | Belle Boggs | Orion Magazine
Chuck Klosterman (first book Fargo Rock City): I got a job at the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio, in 1998. That was the first time I was ever able to afford a home computer, so that was a big reason why I decided to start writing a book then. I also moved to a city where I didn’t know one person so I had no friends. That improves your likelihood of completing a book.
Junot Díaz (first book Drown): I was in my MFA program and I had two part-time jobs. You’re in a program, so the telos of the program is you’re supposed to generate a body of work. I’d also been on a pretty strict reading schedule. For the last three or four years or so, I was trying to read a book every other day and I would write the book down and what I as a reader took away from it — I still have the notebook. What happened was, after a couple hundred books I began to have an organic inspiration about how I might create a book.
George Saunders: One thing I might have said to myself — a lot of my student writers think this — I thought that if you write one book you’re all set. That’s not true. I didn’t realize that books can vanish. I think that’s why I worked hard to make the book strange or unusual. Better to wait on the first book, make sure it’s special, because you never has much collateral as you do in that moment before that first books come out.
"But at no point throughout my academic career did anybody raise the possibility that my problem wasn’t that I hadn’t been yelled at enough about my shitty grades. This didn’t happen until this week, when I sat there drinking coffee with my sister and listened to her tell me about the term “twice exceptional,” or “2e.” Basically it’s when a gifted kid’s stellar potential masks a learning disability of some kind. Undiagnosed, it can lead to depression and social anxiety (“Hmm,” I said) and also lonerish behavior (“Go on,” I said) and difficulty finishing big projects (“You don’t say,” I said) and even being bad at returning phone calls. That’s me in the corner! I’m twice-exceptional!"
— I Suck at Football 2.13: Twice Exceptional - The Triangle Blog - Grantland
Why am I like this? Not only why am I a music collector, but why am I the kind of music collector that I am? I might as well ask why I breathe the way I do. It comes from my being an only child. Not a lonely child, but a child who knew intuitively how to keep himself entertained. A child who always loved being in control of his physical and imaginative space. Equally, it comes from my growing up in a suburban house where life tended to be pleasant and uneventful. Music opened worlds. Records were a route to ecstasy, exoticism, challenge, and fun. So I’m playing—playing at collecting, then playing what I collect.
"This argument follows a simple causal chain: unequal growth concentrates wealth in the hands of a tiny slice of consumers who can only spend so much money. In turn, the vast majority of earners are left with little extra cash for goods and services. Resulting weak demand undermines growth. Low growth makes everyone poorer than they otherwise might be, including those who own the means of production. Inequality produces other bad economic outcomes, too, such as the underutilization of the nation’s human capital, inadequate public investment in both human and physical capital, and social ills that are costly to address, diverting away resources from investment."
— The Single Best Argument Against Inequality
This bubbling discontent is reassuring. It might even help bury some of the myths spun by Silicon Valley. Wouldn’t it be nice if one day, told that Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” we would finally read between the lines and discover its true meaning: “to monetize all of the world’s information and make it universally inaccessible and profitable”? With this act of subversive interpretation, we might eventually hit upon the greatest emancipatory insight of all: Letting Google organize all of the world’s information makes as much sense as letting Halliburton organize all of the world’s oil.
Yeah, ok article. Loses me in the second half.
"…while I had failed to cure the three Christs of their delusions, they had succeeded in curing me of mine—of my God-like delusion that I could change them by omnipotently and omnisciently arranging and rearranging their daily lives within the framework of a “total institution.” […] I came to realize—dimly at the time but increasingly more clearly as the years passed—that I really had no right, even in the name of science, to play God and interfere around-the-clock with their daily lives."
— Three Thrown Over the Cuckoo’s Nest • Damn Interesting
(via Berkeley Professor Inspires - Imgur)
“And do not fall into the trap of thinking that you focusing on your education is a selfish thing,” Coward wrote. “It’s not. It’s the most noble thing you could do.” He continued: “Society is investing in you so that you can help solve the many challenges we are going to face in the coming decades, from profound technical challenges to helping people with the age old search for human happiness and meaning. That is why I am not canceling class tomorrow.”
“Everybody benefits when people are educated and can see the complexity of life and they are able to question and evaluate and consider the difference between what we know and don’t know and what’s right and wrong and appreciate the complexities in these questions,” Coward said.
They never even got close to fame. It didn’t help that they never really named their group. They were called The Gospel Quartet. It was like naming a funk band The Funk Band.
"Extrapolating beyond the data is risky. Patterns found within a given range do not necessarily apply outside that range. Thus, it is very difficult to predict the response of ecological systems to climate change, when the rate of change is faster than has been experienced in the evolutionary history of existing species, and when the weather extremes may be entirely new."
— Policy: Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims : Nature News & Comment