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Assorted Links

1. In Praise of Downtime -Yet another Op-Ed in the Atlantic that responds to and builds upon Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece. Ellen Ruppel Shell instead focuses on the “system that increasingly relies on overwork–and underemployment–to pad the bottom line.”

2. In Praise of Idleness – One of the articles that Shell references is this one by Bertrand Russell from 1932.

3. Do The Eyes Have It? – A hypothesis that the domestication of dogs and particularly communicative eyes may have given early humans an advantage over Neanderthals. Evidently the large amount of white in human eyes could have made it particularly easy for humans to silently communicate with their canine companions.

4. Subway Work Unearths Ancient Road in Greece – Work on a subway in Thessaloniki (which should make that city significantly easier to traverse!) has unearthed a Roman road that used marble paving stones. The current plan is to raise the road to the surface level to put it on display. There was also an older Greek road that was found underneath the Roman one. Work on the subway has allowed for some of the best archeological work in the center of Greece’s second largest city and workers have been excited to discover that the earlier roads lie roughly in the same spot as the modern ones (although in a city that has been continuously occupied for something over two thousand years and with some other indications that the center of the city has not changed layout in pretty much the entire time, I am not sure why this is a surprise).

5. The Missing Constitution – Some more thoughts about the ACA ruling, this time by Mark Graber, a law professor at the University of Maryland.1

6. Romney: Students should Get “As Much Education As They Can Afford” – I actually think that some people (such as the ones at Think Progress who wrote this article) are taking the quote a bit out of context, though it is true that there is a symptomatic problem with his statement that the presidential candidate is not acknowledging. People have been honing in on the byte about affording the education when he is trying to say that they should get as much education as they can. I am also a bit more concerned when he says “if they have a willingness to work hard and the right values, they ought to…have a shot at realizing their dreams” (emphasis mine). Of course he mentioned money and this is not the first time that Romney has been out of touch with how (most) students pay for college and hasn’t actually offered a viable solution to fix the cost and paying for college. Sadly, this is just yet another of the election year sound clips that are more about rhetoric than about solutions–as are the knee-jerk reactions to pieces like this. In fairness, the Think Progress article is not nearly as bad about this as were some other places I saw report on this.

7. Professors condemn New York’s ‘overreliance’ on standardized tests – Earlier this week more than 1,100 professors in New York signed a petition aimed at ending the reliance on standardized tests to evaluate teachers.

8. The Liberal Arts and the Great Recession – an op-ed in the Huffington Post that suggests that reformed liberal arts are needed to end the adversarial relationship between liberal arts and career-oriented degrees. He tries to find a middle ground between people who believe that kids should go to college to prepare for a career and those people in the liberal arts who claim some sort of intrinsic superiority. I agree that some direction is necessary, but I often feel that the reforms to the liberal arts are mere appeasement.

9. The Incredible Resilience of Publishing Fantasy – A blog post from the Huffington post that argues that traditional publishers have lost their two main monopolies, marketing and distribution. He is, in particular, responding to an overly cheery op-ed put out by a publishing executive.

1 Thanks to Naomi Graber for forwarding me this link.