Posted by: CJ | February 11, 2010

Link Fest

Links I’ve read in the past few days and liked.

  1. Tim Burke points out that Batman, taken on his own terms, is at least a little creepy and not with it. At least from the modern viewpoint. Batman made more sense around the time he was first introduced. So, Burke asks, who will be the enduring folk heroes first created in our era? (Personally, I’m not sure the idea of a folk-hero makes as much sense in our facts are over-abundant and easy-to-access times. It seems like many stories have reverted to sci-fi/fantasy or modern twists on common archetypes.)
  2. Tim Burke also has a long-ish meditation on the importance of humanities education, and the difficulty of explaining that to students. His discussion is in the context of Sarah Palin and other anti-intellectuals. He frames this as a very important discussion to have, since various anti-intellectual groups have a great deal of resentment pent up from schooling they didn’t enjoy, appreciate, or feel is important. My personal experience has been that I didn’t learn anything in a humanities class that I needed to know to live life, but I’ve learned things that make my life richer and make it easier to relate to others. I think it’s important, maybe even vital, that teachers and educators figure out what is worth teaching and how to convince their students the material is truly worth their time.
  3. Fiction is more persuasive than non-fiction. In other words, marketers known their business.
  4. At many universities where sex-ratios are not controlled, females outnumber males. (Be warned, the comment thread on that post is has a low signal-to-noise ratio. It’s an interesting case-study in biased gender viewpoints, though.)
  5. Robin Hanson makes a point I enjoy thinking about. When considering how easy an idea is to implement in real life, ask how much coordination between different parties is necessary. Because coordination is hard.
  6. David Henderson quickly and effectively explains why means-testing, especially with cut-offs, is a bad idea.
  7. How to divide up the US into regions according to Facebook.

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