“47 percent of us trust the IRS compared with 36 percent ten years ago. The U.S. Postal Service—a whopping 83 percent of us like them. 61 percent like NASA. 67 percent like the Centers for Disease Control. And when you ask Americans what they want to cut, they want to protect their Medicare, they want to protect the military, they want to protect Social Security, they don’t want to cut spending on education and highways. A marketing consultant might reasonably conclude it’s the federal brand we hate, not the product.”—Donovan Hohn, senior editor at Harper’s, in A Superbowl Spot for Uncle Sam. Harper’s tasked a group of ad creatives (Perry Fair of Grey Group, Mark Fitzloff of Wieden+Kennedy, Thomas Frank of Harper’s, Marc Sobier at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and Con Williamson at Saatchi & Saatchi) to develop a superbowl ad for the federal government. This is the forum of discussion and it is super interesting if you can get your hands on it. (via dihard)
We live in a time of amazing transformation. Nowhere has this been more apparent recently than in Tunisia and Egypt where people are fighting against entrenched regimes and for democracy. In both places the Internet has played a critical role as an organizing, information and documentation tool. So it is not surprising that authorities in Egypt have taken steps to cut off the people there from all modern forms of communication and especially the Internet.
It couldn’t be any clearer that the Internet is what citizens need to keep their governments in check or (if necessary) overthrow them — not guns! That is why we need a new amendment that protects our freedom to access the Internet, publish on it and communicate through it. That is also why the “Internet Kill Switch” type legislation and anything else that does away with due process (e.g., COICA) is such a terrible idea.
I know that constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in both houses and that we seem further away from that then ever. On the other hand this fundamental issue of supporting the individual’s right to bear witness and to communicate should in theory be something that can be supported by everyone, even the Tea Party.
Follow my friend kamlot if you want to learn cool stuff about your brain.
“The researchers engaged 200 college students in two experiments, assigning them to read several paragraphs about a scientific subject — how the digestive system works, for example, or the different types of vertebrate muscle tissue.
In the first experiment, the students were divided into four groups. One did nothing more than read the text for five minutes. Another studied the passage in four consecutive five-minute sessions.
A third group engaged in “concept mapping,” in which, with the passage in front of them, they arranged information from the passage into a kind of diagram, writing details and ideas in hand-drawn bubbles and linking the bubbles in an organized way.
The final group took a “retrieval practice” test. Without the passage in front of them, they wrote what they remembered in a free-form essay for 10 minutes. Then they reread the passage and took another retrieval practice test.
A week later all four groups were given a short-answer test that assessed their ability to recall facts and draw logical conclusions based on the facts.
The second experiment focused only on concept mapping and retrieval practice testing, with each student doing an exercise using each method. In this initial phase, researchers reported, students who made diagrams while consulting the passage included more detail than students asked to recall what they had just read in an essay.
But when they were evaluated a week later, the students in the testing group did much better than the concept mappers. They even did better when they were evaluated not with a short-answer test but with a test requiring them to draw a concept map from memory.”
My experience at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School shaped me tremendously. One of the most unique aspects of the school was its fervent and seemingly religious celebration of Martin Luther King Day. I have powerful memories of our school assemblies and the songs we would sing like If I had a Hammer, Blowin’ in the Wind.
Below is one of the images that our school would prominently display… (courtesy of Susannah Heschel’s faculty page at Dartmouth) As a child it seemed obvious that Rabbi Heschel was doing the ‘right thing’. As an adult, I recognize how much harder it is to be conscious of injustice and fight it actively and creatively, let alone make time for it in our lives.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Susannah Heschel’s father, participated in the Selma Civil Rights March: March 21, 1965. The march led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in July 1965. From far left: U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA), who had been severely beaten on March 7, 1965, while leading the “Bloody Sunday” march; an unidentified nun; Ralph Abernathy; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ralph Bunche, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Rabbi Heschel; the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.
I made time for “I have a Dream” today to reinvigorate my spirit and reconnect with my child-like sense of justice.
If you’re impatient to get the chills, go to minute 12…
Much has already been said about the need for more gun control in the aftermath of the Arizona shooting of Rep. Giffords. I am in complete agreement that we need much tighter controls, especially for assault weapons (which should encompass semi-automatics). One point I have not seen is the need for pro-active education about guns. In the absence of such, people will form their views of guns based on their depictions in movies and games, which are utterly misleading. The two grossest misrepresentations are: historic guns shooting straight and modern blazes of gunfire leaving people unscratched.
The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. To give some idea of the weapons commonly available then, it is useful to keep in mind that Samuel Colt did not patent the Revolver until 1836! Everything back then was handmade and often only slightly more dangerous for the person being shot at than the shooter. Some more education on this point might get slightly fewer people to support the idea that the framers could have even conceivably thought about giving people the right to carry a concealed semi-automatic weapon with a 30-round clip (if they had, there might also have been a provision for mobile phone number portability in the Bill of Rights).
More importantly though is education about just how dangerous modern guns actually are. They tend to fire reliably and in the case of a cocked weapon all too easily (especially semi-automatics). Bullets will go through a lot. The standard movie scene these days of some hero driving a car through a hail of automatic weapons fire and emerging without a scratch is completely ludicrous. I am not against movies showing it per se - I don’t think censorship is the answer here - and Mr. and Mrs Smith was kind of fun. But kids need to know that this has no bearing on reality.
Growing up I used to shoot pistol competitively and belonged to a gun club in my hometown in Germany. I believe that I have much greater respect for guns as a result. While I have not figured out exactly how, I intend for our own kids to have some exposure to guns, both to avoid unguided curiosity and to show first hand how dangerous guns can be. In the meantime, I have been telling them that if a friend should as much as mention that there is a gun to look at, they should leave immediately.