30 October, 2019

Privileged Poor vs. Doubly Disadvantaged at Elite Schools

Each of these questions are considered in Anthony Abraham Jack’s The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students. Jack’s argument is that it is well and good that elite campuses continue to diversify their student bodies, but it is not enough. They must also recognize that lower income students are different. Among these students there are real cultural differences and levels of college preparedness because of the high schools from which they graduated. These differences are captured in what he refers to as the Privileged Poor and the Doubly Disadvantaged. 
The Privileged Poor are lower-income graduates of wealthy private high schools like St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire and Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts. These students, according to Jack, have benefited from all the resources and opportunities their exclusive high schools provided—study abroad programs, language immersion, and contact with faculty with higher degrees. As Jack puts it, “Lower income graduates from these schools enter college already accustomed to navigating elite academic arenas, already familiar with the ways and customs of the rich. True, they are poor, but they have the privilege of an early introduction to the world they will enter in college.” 
The Doubly Disadvantaged on the other hand, tend to be students of color and from local public high schools that are under-sourced, racially and socioeconomically segregated, overcrowded, and chaotic. Often the teachers in these schools are younger, inexperienced, and unsupported. According to Jack, when these students “first set foot on an elite college campus, it looks, feels, and functions like nothing they have experienced before.” 

29 October, 2019

Everything is Amazing, But Nothing is Ours

We love services. Services free us to be pure consumers, seeking exactly what we want for as little friction and overhead as possible. So long as everything works, trading ownership for access is an attractive deal: everything under the hood just gets magic-ed away, and provided for us as a service. No files, no updates, no maintenance; just access.
This isn’t just a software thing, by the way. New technology generally reorganizes our consumption away from ownership and towards access. 100 years ago, music came from a piano, then it came from the record store, and now it comes from Spotify. 100 years ago, food came from a farm, then it came for a grocery store, and now it comes from DoorDash. There’s no denying that this is forward progress for the consumer. You would not want to go backwards. But there’s a cost. The more you can access, the less it’s yours. 

25 October, 2019

The 2010s Broke Our Sense Of Time

This isn’t contained to Twitter: The internet has finally and firmly moved from being an obscure gathering for nerds to the foundation for most communication. Linguist Gretchen McCulloch traces that history in Because Internet, her recent book that is particularly interested in the different waves of users — people who started using email at work in the ’90s, for instance, or millennials who grew up chatting on instant messaging apps — and how those platforms or users have affected language. These generational differences can manifest in small but familiar ways; McCulloch explores why people who are long accustomed to chat and text use line breaks for timing and emphasis, and intuit information left unsaid in an ellipsis. (Hey are you around…) She contends that a younger generation of users over the last decade, who’ve never known an internet without Facebook or YouTube, have turned to a phone experience that emphasizes control over context: disappearing messages, live video, using second and third accounts for specialization and privacy.
As the 2010s went on, the platforms adopted the live and the disappearing and attempted to reach you with what you care about most — to make the experience less disorienting by focusing on what garners the most attention. During the 2016 election, Instagram added the ephemeral stories and shifted to an algorithmic timeline. “If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in,” reads the corporate unveiling, a cheerful promise of permanent detachment from the clock in favor of what you (are thought to) care about.

Here's Why Ants Are Practically Immune to Traffic Jams, Even on Crowded Roads

Filming 170 repeat experiments, researchers observed how this particular species of ant moved along a bridge between their nest and a food source. The experiments included different widths of bridge (5 mm, 10 mm, and 20 mm), holding anywhere between 400 and 25,600 ants.
Throughout the process, data was collected on traffic flow, the speed of the ants, and the number of collisions that occurred.
What the authors found was surprising: these ants appeared to be immune to traffic jams.
"The exact nature of the mechanisms used by Argentine ants to keep the traffic flowing in this study remains elusive," they write, "yet when density on the trail increases, ants seemed to be able to assess crowding locally, and adjusted their speed accordingly to avoid any interruption of traffic flow."
In fact, compared to humans, these ants could load up the bridge with twice the capacity without slowing down. When humans are walking or driving, the flow of traffic usually begins to slow when occupancy reaches 40 percent. Argentine ants, on the other hand, show no signs of slowing, even when the bridge occupancy reached 80 percent.

24 October, 2019

Dropshipping journalism - No one working at Newsweek can tell me why it still exists

Newsweek has the name and the professional website it has built in years past, but it’s increasingly repurposing the work of others—whether the Washington Post, the outrage fiends at Fox News, or a dozen people on Twitter—and packaging it as its own. Plenty of news sites aggregate, and in many ways the story of Newsweek is the story of the industry. But whereas other aggregators—Mashable, BuzzFeed, Upworthy; the list goes on—built their sites around this kind of internet-first strategy, Newsweek is selling off its own legacy while hoping that readers won’t notice. Reporters and editors there tell me they’re willing to do good work; the question is whether Newsweek is willing, or even able, to find a business model that allows them to do it.

22 October, 2019

British journalists have become part of Johnson’s fake news machine

Had the comment been made on the record by an official government spokesperson Shipman would have been well within his rights.
The spokesperson would have been accountable for her or his allegation against Rudd. He or she could have been identified and questioned about it.
Instead Shipman allowed an unknown Whitehall figure to label Rudd a liar, while granting him or her complete impunity.
Put another way, he allowed his Twitter account to be used as a vehicle for someone unknown to smear a prominent public figure as dishonest.

20 October, 2019

Remembering Action Park, America's Most Dangerous, Daring Water Park

Over the decades Andy has relived the Action Park fatalities many times, especially since in one case, the 1984 DePass drowning, he was the one who, as a 20-year-old lifeguard, pulled the body from the bottom. "It was devastating," he says.
But the Mulvihills lived by a code. Amusement/water parks come with an implicit buyer-beware contract. "Do they close the Jersey Shore when there's a drowning?" Andy asks. "Should you only have things for people that are 100% safe? Life would be pretty boring, right?" Needless to say, those questions are rhetorical.
In his reflective moments, though, Andy concedes his father was to a large degree the author of his own misfortunes, and he certainly walked an ethical tightrope in his business operations. "Gene cut a lot of corners—a lot of corners," he says, "and sometimes he got caught and there were repercussions. That's what happens when you live life like there's no tomorrow."

19 October, 2019


(U) Analysis of the behavior of the IRA-associated social media accounts makes dear that while the Russian information warfare campaign exploited the context of the election and election-related issues in 2016, the preponderance of the operational focus, as reflected repeatedly in content, account names, and audiences targeted, was on sociapy divisive issues-such as race, immigration, and Second Amendment rights-in an attempt to pit Americans against one another and against their government. The Committee found that IRA influence operatives consistently used hot-button, societal divisions in the United States as fodder for the content they published through social media in order to stoke anger, provoke outrage and protest, push Americans further away from one another, and foment distrust in government institutions. The divisive 2016 U.S. presidential election was just an additional feature of a much more expansive,, target-rich landscape of potential ideological and societal sensitivities.

(U) The Committee found that the IRA targeted not only Hillary Clinton, but also Republican candidates during the presidential primaries. For example, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were targeted and denigrated, as was Jeb Bush. 14 As Clint Watts, a former FBI Agent and expert in social media weaponization, testified to the Committee, "Russia's overt media outlets and covert trolls sought to sideline opponents on both sides of the political spectrum with adversarial views towards the Kremlin." IRA operators sought"to impact primaries for both major parties and "may have helped sink the hopes of candidates more hostile to Russian interests long before the field narrowed."

Brexit: The uncomfortable truth about Boris Johnson's deal

But this is about something deeper: the Tory hardliners are coming onboard because their side has finally won.
The fight against Mrs May's deal was as much about her as about its contents.
Her opponents voted against it repeatedly because they wished to remove her and wagered that that was the best way.

18 October, 2019

A Million People Are Jailed at China's Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here's What Really Goes on Inside

“At the end of 2016, the police began arresting people at night, secretly,” Sauytbay related. “It was a socially and politically uncertain period. Cameras appeared in every public space; the security forces stepped up their presence. At one stage, DNA samples were taken from all members of minorities in the region and our telephone SIM cards were taken from us. One day, we were invited to a meeting of senior civil servants. There were perhaps 180 people there, employees in hospitals and schools. Police officers, reading from a document, announced that reeducation centers for the population were going to open soon, in order to stabilize the situation in the region.”

By stabilization, the Chinese were referring to what they perceived as a prolonged separatist struggle waged by the Uyghur minority. Terrorist attacks were perpetrated in the province as far back as the 1990s and the early 2000s. Following a series of suicide attacks between 2014 and 2016, Beijing launched a tough, no-holds-barred policy.

17 October, 2019

WeWork and Counterfeit Capitalism

The goal of Son, and increasingly most large financiers in private equity and venture capital, is to find big markets and then dump capital into one player in such a market who can underprice until he becomes the dominant remaining actor. In this manner, financiers can help kill all competition, with the idea of profiting later on via the surviving monopoly.
Engaging in such a strategy used to be illegal, and was known as predatory pricing. There are laws, like Robinson-Patman and the Clayton Act, which, if read properly and enforced, prohibit such conduct. The reason is very basic to capitalism. Capitalism works because companies that thrive take a bunch of inputs and create a product that is more valuable than the sum of its parts. That creates additional value, and in such a model companies have to compete by making better goods and services.
What predatory pricing does is to enable competition purely based on access to capital. Someone like Neumann, and Son’s entire model with his Vision Fund, is to take inputs, combine them into products worth less than their cost, and plug up the deficit through the capital markets in hopes of acquiring market power later or of just self-dealing so the losses are placed onto someone else. This model has spread. Bird, the scooter company, is not making money. Uber and Lyft are similarly and systemically unprofitable. This model is catastrophic not just for individual companies, but for their competitors who have to *make* money. I’ve written about this problem before. Amazon has created a much less competitive and brittle retail sector. Netflix’s money-losing business is ruining Hollywood.

15 October, 2019

After 80 years, DeKalb to demolish water tower in Decatur

For about 80 years, the water tower bearing the Decatur logo hovered over residents and guests as they drove in to the city.

But by 2019, the tower will be no more.

12 October, 2019


Chinese officials initially denied the existence of mass internment camps in Xinjiang. Since 2018, they have described them as vocational and educational centers for “criminals involved in minor offenses.” But leaked documents suggest that residents are targeted for detention en masse based on their ethnic background, religious practices, and any history of traveling abroad. According to one internal report by Xinjiang’s agriculture department, the drive has been so thorough that “all that’s left in the homes are the elderly, weak women, and children.”
No independent monitoring is permitted inside Xinjiang. State-sponsored tours for journalists and government emissaries are highly choreographed. The region has become a black box, with little reliable news getting in or out except through extraordinary channels: satellite photography, secret communications between family members across borders, and a handful of former detainees who have escaped China. Foreign correspondents who travel to Xinjiang are closely monitored and report being harassed, assaulted, and even kidnapped by authorities.
In 2018, I began to travel to Kazakhstan to interview the family members of Xinjiang’s imprisoned and disappeared. I also interviewed former detainees who described their own experiences. Most had crossed from China into Kazakhstan in the weeks, months, and years before our meeting, either by applying for residency and citizenship or by escaping across the border. The result is an oral history of life in contemporary Xinjiang. To my knowledge, it is the first document of its kind.

SRE as a Lifestyle Choice

In theory the vast majority of hiring the government does should be through a competitive process governed by Title 5. In reality that system is shockingly and profoundly broken. Something like 60% of positions that open through competitive hiring close without an offer put out to a single qualified candidate. One could write an entire thesis on how broken it is or why it is broken, but here are some highlights to give you the lay of the land

11 October, 2019


Rich McHugh recounts how top NBC brass, including news chairman Andrew Lack and news president Noah Oppenheim, bowed to Harvey Weinstein to quash the truth.

10 October, 2019

The Fragility of American Citizenship

Naturalized citizens are at particular risk of losing their citizenship under the Trump administration, as Baljinder Singh recently discovered. Singh has lived in the United States for nearly three decades, married a U.S. citizen, and became a naturalized citizen more than 10 years ago. Nonetheless, last year the government revoked his citizenship. Why? Because when he arrived in the United States as a teenager, the government recorded his first name as “Davinder” rather than “Baljinder”—quite possibly due to an interpreter’s error—and he never received the notice to appear in immigration court under that different name.

Explaining Privilage


09 October, 2019

Athletics dept. rethinks JV teams as participation dwindles

When Athletic Director Lisa Melendy came to the College in the mid-1980s, junior varsity (JV) teams were a fixture of athletic departments across the country. When Melendy coached the JV women’s lacrosse team 25 years ago, she could often field three teams on a game day, splitting the group up into shifts to give all the women playing time. However, after decades of decline in JV sports due to dwindling student participation, the College now only has a fraction of the teams it once had. “That was the mid-90s,” she said. “And now we can’t even get enough people on a bus to go to a game. It’s changed so dramatically.”
Currently, only three JV teams remain: men’s JV soccer, men’s JV basketball and women’s JV basketball. This fall, the longstanding women’s JV soccer program was converted into a physical education class, after years of difficulties with participation and finding other teams to compete against. The women’s JV lacrosse team underwent the same transition last spring, but was ultimately cancelled after receiving no sign-ups. There are no plans to bring back the program this spring, Melendy said. 
These changes are indicative of a broader trend in collegiate athletics, Melendy said. Many of the College’s peer institutions have ended their JV programs in the past decade, as participation levels and athletic department budgeting for JV teams decreased.

The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad

The entire Brexit choice was presented to the public in 2016 with utterly misleading simplicity. It was sold with a pack of lies about both the size of the benefits and the ease of implementation, and it continues to be pushed by Conservative hard-liners who used to care about business but are now obsessed with restoring Britain’s “sovereignty” over any economic considerations.
They don’t seem to be listening at all to people like Tom Enders, C.E.O. of the aerospace giant Airbus, which employs more than 14,000 people in the U.K., with around 110,000 more local jobs connected to its supply chains. Enders has warned the political leadership here that if the U.K. just crashes out of the E.U. in the coming weeks, Airbus may be forced to make some “potentially very harmful decisions” about its operations in Britain.
“Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that ‘because we have huge plants here we will not move. …’ They are wrong,” he said. “And, make no mistake, there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft.”

07 October, 2019


Now, after months without news, I just recently got a letter from my daughter’s colleague. Their firm had become concerned with her case. They managed to send a colleague to the camp to speak with her. In the letter, my daughter told her colleague she felt completely brainwashed. She said she felt like she had been born in that place, like she’d spent her whole life in the camp. She said she could barely remember her family. The colleague’s letter was sent to me here in Kazakhstan, and included another new piece of information: if I returned to China, my daughter would be released.
Why do they care about me? I’ve heard each village has to meet a quota of how many people are sent to each political camp. Most people are taken into the camps for religious knowledge or for having relatives in Kazakhstan. I fall into both categories. I imagine I’d be useful for filling those quotas. And not only was I an imam, I overstayed my visa by a year. I was supposed to go back to China one month after I came to Kazakhstan. I violated the terms of my visa. If I go back, I’ll be put on trial. When my daughter’s firm inquired at the camp to ask why she was being detained, they received the following reply: it’s not about her; it’s about her father.

06 October, 2019

Strike with the Band

Despite its reputation as being a pastime of the rich and cultured elite, classical musicianship is better understood as a job, a s***** job, and the people who do that job are workers just as exploited as any Teamster. Classical music has a high rate of workplace injury, especially chronic pain and hearing loss. Many musicians don’t own their instruments, some of which can be as expensive as a new car. My high school orchestra teacher, who played in a regional symphony, was still paying off a viola that cost $20,000. Even the elite among players don’t own their instruments outright; many of these instruments, including Amati and Stradivari violins, are loaned by philanthropists as gifts. I had to rent violins from the same company for sixteen years before I had accrued enough credit to buy one outright at $7,000, right before I graduated from college. One percussionist I interviewed, who works as a middle school band teacher, told me: “As a percussionist, another point of privilege comes with equipment. To own everything we could ever need professionally is very costly, especially a marimba, vibraphone, and full set of timpani. So that’s another huge point of privilege when, for example, one of my middle school students . . . his parents bought him a marimba earlier in the year. Which is great for him, yet here I am with my master’s degree, and I definitely don’t own one yet. I probably won’t for a long time.”

05 October, 2019

How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars

A piece of good news in all this is that the timescales here are huge. The sun’s bad behavior doesn’t start for an insanely long time, and I’m assuming that if we make it all the way to the end of the green window, our technology by that point will enable us to either A) easily move around to safe parts of the Solar System as needed, B) become a multi-solar species that can spread out to other life-friendly solar systems in the galaxy, and/or C) create safe space habitats that make energy without the need for stars—either through nuclear technology or, much more likely, some advanced technique we can’t conceive of.
So our to-do list is:
1) Get ourselves Earth-proof (by going multi-planetary) before something extincts us on Earth. Which will give us plenty of time to:
2) Get ourselves Solar System-proof before the sun ruins the Solar System.
And when it comes to Item 1, yes, the next mass extinction event could happen anytime, but if we take the next few thousand years to figure out how to expand beyond Earth, odds are we’ll be able to back ourselves up before anything too catastrophic happens.

Botham Jean’s Brother’s Offer of Forgiveness Went Viral. His Mother’s Calls for Justice Should Too.

Brandt Jean’s response to his brother’s murderer helps us see the gospel.
But so does Allison Jean’s.
Did you miss hers? Only one response was widely shared on social media after the conviction and sentencing of Amber Guyger, a former Dallas police officer who entered 26-year-old Botham Jean’s apartment and fatally shot him. On Wednesday, Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The Jean family was given the opportunity to make a victim impact statement. Brandt used his time to directly address the officer who killed his brother.
He said, “If you truly are sorry, I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you.”
Brandt told Guyger that Botham would have wanted her to give her life to Christ. He asked to give Guyger a hug, and after State District Judge Tammy Kemp gave her okay, Brandt offered a long embrace. In the video, you can hear Guyger’s loud sobs.
Most have probably seen this footage. Brandt’s offer of forgiveness and hug has been shared and praised widely across social media.
But many have likely missed footage from the rest of the family, including these words from Botham’s mother, Allison Jean.
"Forgiveness for us as Christians is a healing for us, but as my husband said, there are consequences. It does not mean that everything else we have suffered has to go unnoticed,” Mother Allison told the court.

04 October, 2019

Runs in the Family

Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough went searching for his biological parents. He found them where he never would have expected.

03 October, 2019

01 October, 2019

‘At What Point Does Malfeasance Become Fraud?’: NYU Biz-School Professor Scott Galloway on WeWork

You can only blame charismatic CEOs for so much. What is wrong with investors? 
There’s a few things at play here. One is just a function of the marketplace. It’s frothy, and there’s more capital than operators. Any operator who has a vision and can promise the potential and convince people they can be the next Google or Facebook can attract billions of dollars right now. The reality is there’s more money out there. We reached “peak founder” with Travis Kalanick. Now, there’s always a tension between capital and founders around who has power. Ever since Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, slowly but surely the pendulum has swung back to the founder. In the ’90s, founders didn’t survive. We were seen as crazy, and once the company became real, we were to be shoved to the side and some 55-year-old CEO from PepsiCo was supposed to come in and be the real CEO. Then when Jobs was ousted and a series of gray-hairs came in and almost brought the company to the ground and he came back and took them from $3 billion to $300 billion, that changed everyone’s perception of founders. Then Bill Gates took a company from zero to $500 billion. So Bill Gates and Steve Jobs totally changed the market’s viewpoint on founders and the balance of powers shifted way back to founders. Founders were seen as DNA and visionary. We’ve not seen another peak. It’ll start swinging back. This is a train wreck.

David Gauke: We won’t leave the EU on October 31st – and Johnson will be blamed

The overwhelming likelihood is that, by October 19th, the House of Commons will have neither voted to support a deal nor voted in favour of a No Deal Brexit. The EU Withdrawal (No 2) Act 2019 (or the Benn Act) is very clear as to what happens next. The Prime Minister must seek an extension to Article 50.
He does not like this state of affairs. He would prefer to leave without a deal. But what the Prime Minister would like to do is not the point. He has a statutory duty to seek an extension.
In the course of this week, Ministers will be repeatedly asked what will happen. Will the Government abide by the law? Yes, of course. Will the Government seek an extension? No.
The answers to these questions are mutually incompatible. The Government will seek to get away with this contradiction by hinting that there is a cunning plan, a secret flaw that only it knows about, something that only a strategic genius – who could turn his mind to legal matters as and when necessary – would be able to identify. Pin your hopes on that if you like, but my money would be on the UK being members of the EU on November 1st.
And then what happens? I know that there will be a huge amount of abuse and criticism directed at those of us who supported the Benn Act. We will take some consolation from the fact that goods are flowing in and out of the country as per usual, our agricultural and manufacturing industries are not facing crippling new tariffs and that the pound will not have tanked.
But what of the man who said – again and again – and who will continue to say this week – again and again – that we will leave on October 31st ‘come what may’? You might blame Parliament for the fact that the Prime Minister will have broken his promise, but Parliament didn’t force him to make that promise. It was a promise that depended upon factors beyond his control. It was a guarantee that he could not, in truth, guarantee.
Not for the first time in the Brexit process, a large part of the public will feel let down. And, I accept, that they will have been let down.

Statement by His Royal Highness Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world – on every level – we have never needed responsible media more.

Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.

There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip-paper.

Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations - something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

It is for this reason we are taking legal action, a process that has been many months in the making.