Of MOOCs and Luddites: teaching and the limits of technology
It seems like everyone is talking about MOOCs. According to proponents, massive open online courses will revolutionize higher education and turn traditional academics into the hand weavers (and potential Luddites) of the twenty-first century. But can the efficient delivery of talking heads to far larger audiences than permitted by even the largest lecture halls, all without the geographical constraints of physical buildings, really replace today’s in-person classrooms?
Embracing the Opposition: The Conservative Appropriation of Liberal Critiques
I have put up a paper I’ve been working on, “Embracing the Opposition: The Conservative Appropriation of Liberal Critiques,” that explores the appropriation of the critiques and rhetoric of liberals and progressives by modern conservatives.
Jürgen Habermas on the public sphere, the state, and the private sphere
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher. He is perhaps most well known for the concept of the “public sphere.” Contrasted against this sphere are the state and the private sphere.
Kara Swanson on blood banks, commodification, and “de-propertization”
Kara Swanson’s presentation on blood banks highlighted the move to commodify blood first, and then — at least partly in reaction to product liability concerns — to de-commodify it and move to a service-provider, gift-based system.
Nullification and Obamacare: rejection of the rule of law
The idea of nullification — essentially, states telling the federal government that state law outranks federal law — is both seductive and persistent. As philosophically desirable as this may be, 200 years of settled law says this is a dead constitutional theory.
Done recovering posts after server failure
After a little more than a week of work, I’ve successfully recovered from the server failure at my old hosting provider.
Recovering from server failure and bad backups: the Internet remembers
Two days ago I received several emails notifying me that my sites were all down. Soon thereafter my VPS hosting provider emailed me to say my server, and numerous others, had all been lost, and they had no backups.
Facebook’s core problem: customers vs. users
Facebook’s massive growth came because they gave users what they wanted: connect with your friends, see what their doing, conveniently share with them, and so on — and do it for free. But now they’re publicly traded, and satisfying users has become secondary to profit growth.
Do we need God to understand the Constitution?
While it’s the foundation of our political system, many Americans really don’t understand the Constitution. While many of those who try to help do contribute useful understandings, sometimes their approaches neglect the historical and textual complexity of the document — and are potentially misleading.