It’s mingled pride at being thought worthy of censorship and grumpiness at the people who think that the solution to ideas is to try and stop them. — In his Reddit Q&A about An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman adds to famous writers’ thoughts on censorship. Also see Voltaire’s fantastic 1733 letter on the subject. (via explore-blog)
(Source: , via explore-blog)
[T]he price of textbooks has risen more than 800% over the past 30 years, a rate faster than medical services (575%), new home prices (325%), and the consumer price index (250%). — from The Changing Textbook Industry - a fascinating blog post by Jonathan Band for CCIA’s DisCo blog. (via arlpolicynotes)
English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet
Let’s start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism.
The word “because,” in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, “because” has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I’m reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I’m reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which “because” lends itself.
I mention all that … because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use “because.” Linguists are calling it the “prepositional-because.” Or the “because-noun.”
You probably know it better, however, as explanation by way of Internet—explanation that maximizes efficiency and irony in equal measure. I’m late because YouTube. You’re reading this because procrastination. As the linguist Stan Carey delightfully sums it up: “‘Because’ has become a preposition, because grammar.”
Read more. [Image: Skreened.com]
Because GDP uses the dollar-value of all transactions as a proxy for economic vibrancy, it discounts to zero any productivity improvements that result in expensive things becoming free….
New technologies have always driven out old ones, but it used to be that they would enter the market economy, and thus boost G.D.P.—as when the internal-combustion engine replaced the horse. Digitization is distinctive because much of the value it creates for consumers never becomes part of the economy that G.D.P. measures. That makes the gap between what’s actually happening in the economy and what the statistics are measuring wider than ever before. —
Life is going to present to you a series of transformations. And the point of education should be to transform you. To teach you how to be transformed so you can ride the waves as they come. But today, the point of education is not education. It’s accreditation. The more accreditation you have, the more money you make. That’s the instrumental logic of neoliberalism. And this instrumental logic comes wrapped in an envelope of fear. And my Ivy League, my MIT students are the same. All I feel coming off of my students is fear. That if you slip up in school, if you get one bad grade, if you make one fucking mistake, the great train of wealth will leave you behind. And that’s the logic of accreditation. If you’re at Yale, you’re in the smartest 1% in the world. […] And the brightest students in the world are learning in fear. I feel it rolling off of you in waves. But you can’t learn when you’re afraid. You cannot be transformed when you are afraid. — Junot Díaz, speaking at Yale (via beaucadeau)
(Source: avelvetmood, via gloriousclio)
(We’re REALLY EXCITED about this one. Click to watch!).
Want it on the record? Want to stop the silencing and the bullying and the closed-door negotiations and the abusive licensing terms and the confusion, all of which hold us back rather than drive us forward? Put it in writing. Then put it on the web where it can be accessed, reused, and learned from. —
U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan accepted Google’s argument that its scanning of more than 20 million books, and making “snippets” of text available online, constituted “fair use” under U.S. copyright law.
"This is a big win for Google, and it blesses other search results that Google displays, such as news or images," said James Grimmelmann, a University of Maryland intellectual property law professor who has followed the case.
"It is also a good ruling for libraries and researchers, because the opinion recognizes the public benefit of making books available," he added.
Chin wrote that the scanning makes it easier for students, teachers, researchers and the public to find books, while maintaining “respectful consideration” for authors’ rights.
He also said Google’s digitization was “transformative,” meaning it gave the books a new purpose or character, and could be expected to boost rather than reduce book sales.
The judge noted that Google takes steps to keep people from viewing complete copies of books online, including by keeping some snippets from being shown.
"In my view, Google Books provide significant public benefits," Chin wrote. "Indeed, all society benefits." —