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Take the information you need and throw it away

There it was, knocking at the door of imagination and begging us to take it for a walk. The mistake we all make is assuming we have all the information we already need. After all, Google spits up all the answers. But just because every grade school has an art class doesn’t ensure that the […]

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Connecting tiny pieces of information

The internet was made for aggregation. The abundance of information is impossible to swallow. So we pluck the highlights, the most useful stems. If we gather all the data from our environment, we don’t have to do all the work. We puzzle it out ourselves. Collecting artifacts online is a social experiment, a peer to […]

The design of the classroom from 1750 to today

The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids by Alexandra Lange  The design of the classroom is a technology, and you can interpret that in a lot of different ways. Architects can make that look more, and less, typical. But the point is the instruction, the interaction in the classroom, not that it looks […]

Bottoms up

Attention works like a loose gate. We can’t always control what information sneaks in, nor can we parse the data so it makes sense coming out. We grind away at the information life throws at us, some of it tangible and worthwhile but most it nonsense. Like a Google search, the stuff worth keeping is […]

Still ignorant, not stupid

A lot of people get dumber after college. It’s not entirely their fault. A job takes up all their time. Besides spending time with family and friends and doing chores — getting on with the business of living — a lot of free time is spent on staring at lite brites for entertainment. “We think […]

One page at a time

Reading a book, preferably a physical one, is a good way to get your attention back. The problem in reading on smartphones is distractibility. You’re a notification away from checking Instagram, email, or a text. If you’re going to read on a digital device, make it a Kindle. Its lack of functionality — just try […]

Shake it up

They say that it’s better to start something new when you’re young to avoid humiliation. As an adult, you’re not expected to learn new stuff: languages, sports, art, etc. Your skillsets are permanent. While that may be true, it doesn’t hurt to shake up the system to remind yourself that you’re still alive. Think about […]

Susan Sontag on taste

“For taste governs every free — as opposed to rote — human response. Nothing is more decisive. There is taste in people, visual taste, taste in emotion – and there is taste in acts, taste in morality. Intelligence, as well, is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.” — Susan Sontag From the essay […]

How was your day?

If you ask someone how they’re doing, they’ll usually provide a short answer like “well, thanks,” even if they’re having a bad day. No one wants to go into detail about their present state because of the length of time it would require to explain all the details. The truth may sound something like “I […]

“The map is not the territory”

The human head consists of a left brain and a right brain, each with distinct cognitive functions. The left hemisphere is known for processing logic and doing verbal and mathematical analysis while the right half excels in creativity and imagination, the visual stuff. But the left brain holds responsibility for how we react since it’s […]

A zibaldone was a 14th-century scrapbook

Whether you journal, blog, or keep a collection of inspirational images and quotes on Pinterest or Tumblr, you’re continuing the tradition of zibaldoning. A zibaldone was a 14th-century scrapbook that means “a heap of things” in Italian. “Some media scholars argue that commonplace books and zibaldones were precursors to the Internet, which is similarly scrappy and […]

What’s the point of university?

If the SATs are a university’s way of evaluating  students, than a college degree is an employer’s way of making hiring decisions. If you don’t attend college at all, your chances of making decent money are slim. Economist Tim Harford explores the costs and benefits of a university education. He cites recent research that institutions […]

This professor describes the future educated person

Dear digital denizens, please rest easy. That so-called ‘internet addiction’ you have is an evolution of what humans have been doing along — curating, collecting, and sharing. We just do it with more often with the assistance of our screens. According to professor Kenneth Goldsmith at the University of Pennsylvania, “an educated person in the […]

Reading: A 21st-Century Migrant’s Essentials: Food, Shelter, Smartphone

I joked 3 weeks ago on Instagram that all you really need is ‘wifi and water.’ But it’s not far from the truth for migrants in today’s world. “Every time I go to a new country, I buy a SIM card and activate the Internet and download the map to locate myself.” Today’s migrants are bypassing traffickers […]