The Gimmick Economy: how central banks pretend software isn't eating the world

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Mathematician/economist Eric R Weinstein is managing director of Thiel Capital, but that doesn't mean that he thinks capitalism has a future. Read the rest

Colorado school district wants to arm security staff with military-style rifles

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Richard Payne, director of Douglas County School District security, spent $12,000 on 10 Bushmaster semi-automatic long rifles that will be given to the district's in-school security guards. Read the rest

Universities could use PhDs to do administrative work


The modern university offers no stable employment for scholars, and ballooning, secure, long-term employment for a gigantic, top-heavy cohort of administrators who know little about scholarship and scholarly endeavors. Read the rest

America's teachers are being trained in a harsh interrogation technique that produces false confessions


The Reid Technique is the go-to method for coercing false confessions in America's police interrogation rooms, and now it's being taught to America's schoolteachers, just as schools are using "zero-tolerance" policies and on-site cops to re-characterize school discipline problems as criminal matters, creating a school-to-prison pipeline. Read the rest

Judge says Citibank's law-school loan isn't "student debt" and can be discharged in bankruptcy


The most toxic debt in America is student debt: your student loans (originated by universities, backed by the federal government, and handed off to banks, who securitize them) are subject to virtually unlimited (and uncontestable) penalties and fees, and are immune to bankruptcy, and are the only form of debt that can be taken out of your Social Security. Read the rest

Cuba's free med schools are the meritocratic institutions that America's private system can't match


The median parental income of the parents of new med school students in America is $100,000 -- twice the national average. In Cuba, America's brilliant, working class med students pay nothing -- free tuition, lodging and meals -- and they come home to America and provide front-line medical services to families who are frozen out of the US system, in which debt-saddled doctors opt for lucrative specialties instead of family medicine. Read the rest

XKCD is coming to America's science textbooks


Textbook giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishes Randall Munroe's amazing Thing Explainer, and a lucky accident happened when someone in the textbook division noticed Munroe's amazing explanatory graphics, annotated with simple language (the book restricts itself to the thousand most common English words) and decided to include some of them in the next editions of its high-school chemistry, biology and physics textbooks. Read the rest

Student loan garnisheeing topped $176M in three months


The latest figures on government-backed student loans are in, and with them, the news that the US government took $176 million out of ex-students paychecks and Social Security in the last three months of 2015. Read the rest

America's universities: Hedge funds saddled with inconvenient educational institutions


Public and private universities alike have been transformed into financial shell-games for Wall Street's wealthiest hedge-funds, while tuition and student debt soar, adjuncts are exploited, and the lifetime expected returns on a university degree plummet. Read the rest

Shortly after her death, Harper Lee's heirs kill cheap paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird


A court upheld the sealing away of Lee's will from public view, so it's impossible to say for sure what prompted the move, but this much is clear: schools that assign "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- one of the most commonly assigned books in US classrooms -- will have to pay a lot more for their books, and that money will not, and cannot, benefit the author. Read the rest

Proposal: replace Algebra II and Calculus with "Statistics for Citizenship"


Andrew Hacker, a professor of both mathematics and political science at Queens University has a new book out, The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions, which makes the case that the inclusion of algebra and calculus in high school curriculum discourages students from learning mathematics, and displaces much more practical mathematical instruction about statistical and risk literacy, which he calls "Statistics for Citizenship." Read the rest

Black students say Donald Trump had them removed before his speech


A group of about 30 black Valdosta State University students say that they were ejected yesterday from an on-campus Trump speech by Secret Service agents who told them that Donald Trump didn't want them in the audience. Read the rest

Teaching kids about copyright: schools and fair use

I'm incredibly skeptical of the project of teaching kids about copyright and fair use -- not because it's unimportant, because it's so dire. Read the rest

California parents: file this form to ask for your kids' school records to be kept private


There's a hard-fought lawsuit underway about whether California schools failed in their duty to provide special ed to students, and as a part of that, the court has ordered disclosure of the school records of every California so the plaintiffs can analyze them. Read the rest

Stop paying your student loans and debt collectors can send US Marshals to arrest you


Student debt is a life-destroying trap, engineered by Wall Street and backed by the US government. Read the rest

After 3d grade complaint, Florida school district bans award-winning "This One Summer" from high-school library

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Peter from the National Coalition Against Censorship sez, "A Florida parent thought 'This One Summer' was too graphic for an elementary school library. The district agreed, and then went further; they're restricting access to the graphic novel in the high school libraries as well. Read the rest

Donate: scholarship fund for the Alpha teen sf/f writing workshop


Lara writes, "The Alpha SF/F/H Workshop For Young Writers is running a scholarship drive February 16-23. Make a tax-deductible donation to change a teen writer's life!" Read the rest

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