- Ignoring Past Warnings
In 1904, a report was published by the Mosely Educational Commission to the United States on a number of observations and comparisons between schools in the United States and in England. The report was based on visits by twenty-five Commission members the preceding fall. The members were all distinguished educators in England at the time.
It's interesting to read from a perspective that is more than 100 years old regarding the disdain for an educational system (their own) driven by testing and their appreciation for the American system that did not rely on testing. Here are two excerpts from the study:
- The 44 Chromosome Man
A doctor in China has identified a man who has 44 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. Except for his different number of chromosomes, this man is perfectly normal in every measurable way.
His chromosomes are arranged in a stable way that could be passed on if he met a nice girl who had 44 chromosomes too. And this would certainly be possible in the future given his family history.
- Of the Algorithms, by the Algorithms, for the Algorithms
So, why is an algorithmic solution for congressional redistricting such a pipe dream?
In part it's because it is surprisingly hard to define, or at least reduce to a set of rules, what a "gerrymandered district" is. Writing a formula for drawing districts requires us to define how funny-looking is too funny looking. And what is funny, anyway?
- Has any author's reputation fallen further or faster than Dostoevsky's?
Still, the 24-year-old Fedya D was suddenly feted everywhere as the new literary genius of St Petersburg. It went to his head and he soon became insufferable, alienating all his new literary "friends", who revenged themselves when he published his second novel, The Double. Not merely trashed, the book was denounced. Dostoevsky became a bad joke.
What I didn't know until now was the length of time between his moment of glory and terrible downfall. Authors then wrote much more quickly than they do today, and some of those impossibly fat 19th-century mega-books were composed in a quarter of the time it takes Milan Kundera to crank out a boring late novella. Bearing that in mind, take a guess: how long did Fedya D last as a cause celebre? A year? Nine months? Six? Three?
- Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography - Language
Monday, July 4, 2011
Prime Number of Links #1
Here are some links I'm saving (I want to say for this week but I don't want to commit to a fixed schedule). The number of links is arbitrary. Posts will be published whenever (most likely when there's too many tabs in my browser).