articles of interest - Feb 20


WhatsApp is rolling out its own version of Snapchat (and Instagram) Stories  Recode

Cheat Sheet: All Facebook Chatbot Interactions  Chatbots Mag

Pinterest introduces ‘real world’ Search Engine  The Verge

What's Up With Hive, a Nascent Successor to Yik Yak  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Facebook Wants Great Power, But What About Responsibility?  NPR

The Queen Wants to Pay You to Tweet on Her Behalf  Mental Floss

It’s a weird time to be in charge of Sweden’s Twitter account  The Verge

WhatsApp Changes Everything With Its New 'Status' Feature  Forbes

Social Media Impersonation Exploding, With Brands In The Crosshairs  Media Post


Gene Editing  Bloomberg

Patent Office Upholds Controversial Gene-Editing Ruling : Shots  NPR

What is the best way to address a voice assistant?  1843 Magazine


A robot revolution: Building work once done by human hands can now be done by machines. That, as Jonathan Glancey explains, opens up new possibilities for architects  1843 Magazine

Art Market vs. Predator  1843 Magazine


Apple Vowed to Revolutionize Television. An Inside Look at Why It Hasn’t  Bloomberg


The Macedonian Teens Who Mastered Fake News  Wired

Get to know the Enemies of the People  Dallas Morning News

Journalists react to being called ‘the enemy of the American people’  Poynter

Journalists, Battered and Groggy, Find a Renewed Sense of Mission  New York Times

What Do the Next 5 Years Hold for Higher Ed Technological Innovation  Ed Surge

In Trump’s anti-press rhetoric, a dark echo from the past: A movie called "An Enemy of the People"  Poynter


University of Michigan to offer class helping students fight fake news  Detroit News

The corpse factory and the birth of fake news  BBC

Documentary championed by Trump featured bogus interviews, Swedish police say  Daily Dot

Mark Zuckerberg takes on fake news, the importance of the news industry and the rise of filter bubbles in new manifesto  Poynter

Trump campaign sends survey on media bias that is, well, pretty biased  Boston Globe

Google expands fact-checked news to Brazil, Mexico & Argentina  Tech Crunch

The new civics course in US schools: How to spot fake news  Associated Press

How Wikipedia Is Cultivating an Army of Fact Checkers to Battle Fake News Pacific Standard


How Facebook and Google could disrupt the subscription model for news  Monday Note

Snap paid out $58 million to media companies last year  Recode


Look at Machine Learning Visualized: Artificial intelligence processes are similar to human "brain scans"  GraphCore

An emerging class of products, Data Science platforms, are starting to provide a general structure to he Data Science workflow  Datanami

How Yahoo’s internal Hadoop Cluster does double-duty on Deep Learning  Next Platform

7 emerging technologies critical to the future of IT including dark analytics, mixed reality and blockchain  Information Week

Data may not lie, but they can be interpreted in ways that have the same effect  Bloomberg

A few tricks to clean data quickly  Data Science Central

MIT: a technique that lets machines learn to recognize concepts in images/text much more efficiently   Technology Review

How data lakes work & can help eliminate cost/time involved in working w/large amounts of data  Dzone

A general Machine Learning technique to make predictions applicable to large amounts of unstructured data  Data Science Central


Savage Love and Marriage  Becoming (my site)

Widowed man dedicates life to fostering terminally ill children  ABC News


Expresso App: Type or paste in text to see different metrics of your writing


An earpiece that Translates Languages Simultaneously  Financial Times

My New Crush on the Dictionary  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Linguist's 'big data' research supports waves of migration into the Americas  Science Daily


The Novel of the Century by David Bellos review – the story of Les Misérables  The Guardian

Can Poetry Keep You Young? Science Is Still Out, But The Heart Says Yes  NPR


The World’s most famous human-rights lawyer is working with a former Sex Slave to put Islamic State in the dock  1843 Magazine


The Purely Accidental Lessons Of The First Black 'Bachelorette'  NPR

Millennials in many countries are more open than their elders on questions of national identity  Pew Research


The Campus Free Speech Battle You're Not Seeing  Jezebel

Young people and free speech  The Economist


Court Sides With Drug Legalization Group in Speech Dispute  Inside Higher Ed

Facebook Wins Battle Over Text Alerts  Media Post


When people claim to be Christian and commit violence in the name of Christianity, most Americans say that person wasn’t really Christian but when people claim to be Muslim and commit violence in the name of Islam most Americans say that person is really Muslim  Public Religion Research Institute

Creationist Ken Ham’s Giant ‘Noah’s Ark’ To Feature Dinosaurs vs. Giants Diorama  Huffington Post

Congressional subcommittee hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in America”

Southern Baptist leader apologizes for legal brief supporting the building of a New Jersey mosque  Baptist News

Trump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC  Christianity Today

Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, dies at 69  Washington Post

Episcopal Church Sues Trump Administration Over Travel Ban  NPR


For Want of a Copy Editor the Sense Was Lost  Chronicle of Higher Ed

How to Write a Scientific Peer Review: A Guide for the New Reviewer  Canadian Science Publishing

The Place of the P-value in interpreting scientific results  Stat News


The Next Pseudoscience Health Craze Is All About Genetics  Gizmodo

Could your Fitbit data be used to deny you health insurance?  The Conversation

Health insurer calls analysed for signs of disease in your voice  New Scientist

Wearable Fitness Devices Don’t Seem to Make You More Fit  New York Times


Quiet Doesn't Cut It: Why Your Brain Might Work Better In Silence: Your brain doesn't deal that well with background noise, but even small doses of silence can help rejuvenate it  Fast Company


How Machiavelli Really Thought We Should Use Power: Two Animated Videos Provide an Introduction  Open Culture


People Are Finding It Hard to Focus on Work Right Now: A survey finds that nearly a third of people say they have been less productive since the election  The Atlantic

Top 10 Productivity Tips From Former Presidents  Life Hacker


The Shaky Science of Microaggression  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Maybe College Isn't the Great Equalizer  Inside Higher Ed

University drops logo opposed by many students because it featured university without a capital U.  Inside Higher Ed

Bob Jones University regains nonprofit status 17 years after it dropped discriminatory policy  Greenville Online


Minnesota philosophy professor writes that immigrants have low IQs and refugees are part of "religious-political cult"  Inside Higher Ed

Stanford says no to ‘sanctuary campus’ label  Mercury News


Online Education Costs More, Not Less: Study challenges the myth that digital instruction costs less both for students and for the colleges producing the courses  Inside Higher Ed

Pixar & Khan Academy Offer a Free Online Course on Storytelling  Open Culture


WNKU sold to religious broadcaster for $1.9 million  WLWT

Committee hears testimony on student press freedom protection bill  Indiana Daily Student


College student suspended after filming teacher saying Trump's election was 'an act of terrorism'  Orange County Register

Undocumented Students’ Fears Escalate After a DACA Recipient’s Arrest  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Here Are The 10 Most Painful Spots To Get A Tattoo  Daily Inofgraphic


You Will Be Assessed and Found Mediocre: How to cope with the endless urge to evaluate every aspect of faculty work  Chronicle of Higher Ed



Savage Love

It may be objected that marriage must then be simply ‘the grave of love’. It would be more accurate to echo Croce and say that ‘marriage is the grave of savage love’ and more often the grave of sentimentality.

Savage and natural love is manifested in rape. But rape, like polygamy, is also an indication that men are not yet in a stage to apprehend the presence of an actual person in a woman. This is as much as to say that they do not know how to love. Rape and polygamy deprive a woman of her equality by reducing her to sex. Savage love empties human relations of personality.

On the other hand, a man does not control himself owing to lack of ‘passion’ (meaning ‘power of the libido’), but precisely because he loves and, in virtue of his love, will not inflict himself. He refuses to commit an act of violence which would be in the denial and destruction of the person. He thus indicates that his dearest wish is for the other’s good. His egotism goes round via the other. This, it will be granted, is a notable revolution.

And we may now pass beyond that altogether negative and privative statement of Croce’s and at last define marriage as the institution in which passion is ‘contained’, not by morals, but by love.

Denis de Rougemont, Love in the Western World

Finding Great Value

When God wants to give you something of great value, how does he go about it? Does he wrap it up in a glamorous and sophisticated package and hand it to you on a silver platter? No, more than likely he buries it at the heart of a great big tough problem and watches with anticipation to see whether you have what it takes to break the problem apart and find at its center what might be called the pearl of great price.

Stephen Goforth

Loving too much

It is probably impossible to love any human being simply 'too much.'  We may love him too much in proportion to our love for God; but it is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for the man, that constitutes the inordinacy.

But even this must be refined upon. Otherwise we shall trouble some who are very much on the right road but alarmed because they cannot feel towards God so warm a sensible emotion as they feel for the earthly Beloved. It is much to be wished--at least I think so--that we all, at all times, could. We must pray that this gift should be given us. But the question whether we are loving God or the earthly Beloved "more" is not, so far as concerns our Christian duty, a question about the comparative intensity of the two feelings. The real question is, which (when the alternative comes) do you serve, or choose, to put first? To which claim does your will, in the last resort, yield?

CS Lewis, The Four Loves

Why we Gossip—It’s not what you think

Did you hear what happened at yesterday's meeting? Can you believe it?

If you find those sort of quietly whispered questions about your co-workers irresistible, you're hardly alone. But why are we drawn to gossip?

A study out of the Netherlands suggests it's because the rumors, innuendo, and hearsay are ultimately all about us — where we rate in the unofficial local hierarchy, and how we might improve our standing.

"Gossip recipients tend to use positive and negative group information to improve, promote, and protect the self," writes a research team led by Elena Martinescu of the University of Groningen. "Individuals need evaluative information about others to evaluate themselves."

"Contrary to lay perceptions," the researchers assert, "most negative gossip is not intended to hurt the target, but to please the gossiper and receiver."

The researchers write, "Negative gossip makes people concerned that their reputations may be at risk, as they may personally become targets of negative gossip in the future, which generates fear."

Fear is hardly a pleasant sensation, of course, but it can be a motivating one.

Beyond providing "emotional catharsis and social control," confidentially treaded information about the competence, or lack thereof, of a co-worker can be "an essential resource for self-evaluation."

Tom Jacobs writing in the Pacific Standard

seeing potential

A New York businessman dropped a dollar into the cup of a man selling pencils and hurriedly stepped aboard the subway train. On second thought, he stepped back off the train, walked over the beggar and took several pencils from the cup. Apologetically, he explained that in his haste he had neglected to pick up his pencils and hoped the man wouldn’t be upset with him. “After all,” he said, “you are a businessman just like myself. You have merchandise to sell and it’s fairly priced.” Then he caught the next train.

At a social function a few months later, a neatly-dressed salesman stepped up to the businessman and introduced himself. “You probably don’t remember me and I don’t know your name, but I will never forget you. You are the man who game me back my self-respect. I was a “beggar” selling pencils until you came along and told me I was a businessman.”

The greatest good we can do for anyone is not to share our wealth with them, but rather to reveal their own wealth to them.

Zig Ziglar, See You at the Top

Motivated by Screaming

I had the most satisfying Eureka experience of my career while attempting to teach flight instructors that praise is more effective than punishment for promoting skill-learning. I was telling them about an important principle of skill training: rewards for improved performance work better than punishment of mistakes. This proposition is supported by much evidence from research on pigeons, rats, humans and other animals.

When I had finished my enthusiastic speech, one of the most seasoned instructors in the audience raised his hand and made a short speech of his own. He began by conceding that positive reinforcement might be good for the birds, but he denied that it was optimal for flight cadets. This is what he said,

“On many occasions I have praised flight cadets for clean execution of some aerobatic maneuver. The next time they try the same maneuver they usually do worse. On the other hand, I have often screamed into a cadet’s earphone for bad execution, and in general he does better one his next try. So please don’t tell us that reward works and punishment does not, because the opposite is the case.”

This was a joyous moment of insight, in which I saw in a new light a principle of statistics that I had been teaching for years. The instructor was right – but he was also completely wrong! His observation was astute and correct: occasions on which he praised a performance were likely to be followed by a disappointing performance, and punishments were typically followed by an improvement. But the inference he had drawn about the efficacy of reward and punishment was completely off the mark.

What he had observed is known as regression to the mean, which in that case was due to random fluctuations in the quality of the performance. Naturally, he praised only a cadet whose performance was far better than average. But the cadet was probably just lucky on that particular attempt and therefore likely to deteriorate regardless of whether or not he was praise. Similarly, the instructor would shout in to a cadet earphones only when the cadet’s performance was usually bad and therefore likely to improve regardless of what the instructor did. The instructor had attached a causal interpretation to the inevitable fluctuations of a random process.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow

articles of interest - Feb 13


Is Google Maps trying to be a social network?  The Verge

Snap’s IPO will be the largest in years: The app company has pioneered a distinctive vision of the internet  Economist

Yik Yak is secretly pivoting to group messaging  The Verge  


The ear training guide for audio producers  NPR


Google figured out a way to zoom and enhance photos just like in the movies  TheNextWeb

The promise of augmented reality: Replacing the real world with a virtual one is a neat trick. Combining the two could be more useful  Economist


A crash course in understanding numbers: A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics Economist

A Litany of Problems With p-values  Statistical Thinking blog

A generalMachine Learning technique to make predictions applicable to large amounts of unstructured data  Data Science Central

Using Bayesian optimization to tuneMachine Learning models: including the most important unresolved problem   Infoq

1300 tech experts were asked: Will the net overall effect of algorithms be positive or negative?  Pew Internet

Google releases massive visual databases for Machine Learning  Data Science Central


Trump Accuses Media of Not Reporting Voices He Hears in Head  The New Yorker

8 Ways to Write Shorter Stories  Poynter

The boundaries of journalism — and who gets to make it, consume it, and criticize it — are expanding  Harvard’s Nieman Lab

The New York Times Claws Its Way Into the Future  Wired

Facebook is beginning to reach out to local newsrooms  Poynter

Kellyanne Conway’s interview tricks, explained  Vox

6 essential digital journalism tools from  International Journalists’ Network


Want to resist the post-truth age? Learn to analyze photos like an expert would  Quartz

Trump Accuses Media of Not Reporting Voices He Hears in Head  New Yorker

Era of hoaxes, fake news keeps Snopes Writers Busy  Union Tribune

Librarians take up arms against fake news  Seattle Times


Remove gag from student journalists  Seattle Times


White House list of underreported Terror Attacks Riddled with Grammatical Errors  Washington Post  


How to provide context when Writing about numbers  Poynter  


We Just Added More Than 1,000 New Words to the Dictionary  Merrian-Webster

How Not to Teach Chinese  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Study about words’ effect on mood to be retracted after investigation finds evidence of data manipulation  Retraction Watch


Joyce Carol Oates' New Novel Begins With An Abortion Doctor's Murder  NPR

William Faulkner’s Home Illustrates His Impact on the South  NPR

How A Jane Austen Character May Have Looked In Real Life  NPR


In Just 5 Moves, Grandmaster Loses And Leaves Chess World Aghast  NPR


How a polarizing election, a free-speech fight, and a real-life internet troll made the U. of Washington turn on itself Chronicle of Higher Ed

The ACLU Explains Why They're Supporting The Rights Of Milo Yiannopoulos  NPR

Conspiring to stifle free speech is a crime: Glenn Reynolds  USA Today

Brown U's campus speech faces its first test, with a scholar using racial and religious slurs  Insider Higher Ed

How Canceling Controversial Speakers Hurts Students  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Jury awards $2.5 million to former UC Riverside counsel fired after alleging sex discrimination by campus officials  LA Times


Mormons formally launch worldwide online college program  Associated Press  

Southern Baptist retailer removes black hip-hop artist’s album that includes the word ‘penis'  Washington Post

100 evangelical leaders sign ad denouncing Trump's refugee ban  CNN

These Conservative Christians Are Opposed to Trump—and Suffering the Consequences: People working in ministry, music, and nonprofit advocacy are facing pressure for their political beliefs  The Atlantic

Conflict Over Trump Forces Out an Opinion Editor at The Wall Street Journal  The Atlantic

Christians Say Hollywood Ignores them but they ignore Great Films about Faith (opinion) Washington Post


The Met Makes Its Images of Public-Domain Artworks Freely Available through New Open Access Policy   Met Museum

Netflix’s New Documentary Series About “the Art of Design” Premieres Today  Open Culture

How font choices create contrasts in your design  Poynter


Science, lies and video-taped experiments: Too many researchers make up or massage their data, says Timothy D. Clark. Only stringent demands for proof can stop them  Nature

Trial results need to be better presented, so that readers can understand and act on the results  The BMJ opinion

The pros and cons of A.I. in publishing  Science Friday


The doctor’s dilemma: is it ever good to do harm?  The Guardian  

Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems  Wired


Steve Bannon Cited Italian Philosopher Who Inspired Fascists  New York Times


IFTTT: The smart person's guide  Tech Republic


Defining Success  Becoming (my site)


Betsy DeVos has family and likely financial connections to The College FixInside Higher Ed

Forged racist emails cause stir at University of Michigan  Associated Press

Colleges Prepare for Chaos in Wake of Violent Protests  Inside Higher Ed

17 Universities Join N.Y. Legal Challenge to Trump Immigration Ban  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Designing a Lab in the Humanities  Chronicle of Higher Ed

'The Great Shame of Our Profession': How the humanities survive on exploitation  Chronicle of Higher Ed


The Number Of Hungry And Homeless Students Rises Along With College Costs  NPR

Depression Strikes Today's Teen Girls Especially Hard  NPR

How to prepare for disaster when you're studying abroad  USA Today


Baylor is not alone in protecting athletes from punishment for sexual violence and other troubling behaviors for years  Inside Higher Ed

Baylor Sanctioned By Big 12 After New Revelations About Sexual Assault Controversy  NPR

Stanford Drops Lawyer Who Advised Students in Sexual Assault Cases  New York Times


If a high school senior displays a swastika at his school, should colleges be told? A teacher is being punished for doing just that  Inside Higher Ed

Satirical academic social media accounts go serious to protest Donald Trump Inside Higher Ed

Collegiality and Disability  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting  The London School of Economics and Political Science



He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;

who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;

who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;

who has left the world better than he found it whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul;who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;

who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;whose life was an inspiration;

whose memory a benediction.

Meanwhile, where is God?

Life is lived on the grocery aisle and in the check book register. It’s cleaning toilets and fixing holes in ceilings. It’s being told, “no” one too many times. Life is knowing there are more things to fix and problems to solve than there are hours in the day. And you don’t have the energy, even if you had the time.

Meanwhile, where is God?

"Go to Him," CS Lewis wrote, "When your need is desperate, when all other help is vain and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting an double bolting from the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away."

If one of the greatest apologists of the past century can find himself in such despair, what can we expect?

The great Chi­ca­go Fire of 1871 financially ruined Horatio Spafford. Not long afterward, he suffered another devastating loss. The ship taking his wife and four daughters across the Atlantic collided with another vessel. When his wife finally arrived in England, she sent Horatio a chilling two-word tel­e­gram. It simply read, “saved alone.” Several weeks later, as Spafford's own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters had been lost at sea, he wrote down these words that became an enduring hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

We’re bracing for our own storms. We know from past experience how they can interrupt and dramatically change lives. You’ve probably walked across piers built deep into the water that failed to survive. How quickly our plans and dreams can quickly be dashed on the rocks by a hurricane. The powerful winds and raging flood waters serve to remind us of life's brevity. We face the clamor of the enemy, determined to wear us down, discourage us, and defeat us.

We have choice when the winds of the world beat against our windows. We can join Spafford and build on a firm foundation, so we’ll still be standing long after the storm has passed through.

Stephen Goforth