Weakly Post #2

Note: Here is a quick collection of recent links that have tittled my interest. Go to my blog. Read. Comment (I have to approve your first comment, but then you can whenever.) And yes, I know tittled is not a word and I didn't spell Weekly right. It makes searching easier.

Kitties: My wife’s kitty (Noah) has been keeping me company while she is helping her mother in Nagoya. Did you know that their whiskers are just wide enough to tell them they can get through a hole?

Politics

We can see the underbelly of the immigration crisis, with the capitalists making out like bandits with help from the Banana Republicans. For-profit jails (like for-profit universities) are raking in government money and paying slave wages. Literally. Slave wages. (DailyBeast)

Fortunately, we have people taking a bit longer look at the year ahead, and how similar it is to a century ago. (NYTimes) Politics, literature, and culture were changing at a tremendous rate then and now. For a broader look at post-WW1 and how it really wasn’t so peaceful, read futurist Bryan Alaxander.

Media

Speaking of Alexander, I have just finished (late) reading Twitter and Teargas as part of his online book club. Zeynep Tufecki has covered demonstrations all over the world in research and has long been studying the beneficial (initially) and detrimental (ongoing) effects on political movements. Confession here, reading the book, I imagined Tufecki as a man and just saw her picture, making the book even more amazing considering all the places (Mexico and Guatemala, Egypt, Turkey and others) in her studies of often contentious and violent demonstrations. The excellent research goes without saying.

Rachel Maddow is killing it with her incisive journalism, marshalling details often overlooked, connecting the past to today, making her more and more popular. (WashingtonPost). With her BA from Stanford, and PhD from Oxford (PoliSci), she regularly pummels Trump colluder Sean Hannity (did not graduate) on information available. One of the best things I did on my walks this last month was to listen to Bag Man, a podcast about Spiro Agnew, a corrupt local Maryland politician elevated to Vice President under Nixon for his rhetoric against politics and the media. The Justice Department investigation into his ongoing bribery in the white house as it was coming down around the ears of Nixon and him was faithfully rendered by Maddow in 7 episodes of about 30 minutes each. The reflection on today is both alarming and exhilarating. There is precedent.

New Weakly Post

Instead of posting so much on Facebook, I am going to collect ideas here. Each week, I plan to publish on the weekend a set of new stuff that I find each week. See the new stuff from this week. (And yes, I know I misspelled it. Makes it easier to search for.)

No more Nutella

Got this for Christmas. I don’t eat that much Nutella, but now I can’t at all. This is sooo good. Did you know that Nutella and this spread are made from chocolate and hazelnuts? And hazelnuts are grown in Turkey (1) and Italy (2) and consumed mostly in Italy. Nutella uses about half of all hazelnuts.

In Politics, we see that the detention camp in Tornillo Texas is slated to close down. Also note that since its opening in June, it has cost $144 million. That is $400/day/child. They could have been housed in the Presidential Suite of most hotels for that. Also note that the word “tornillo” in Spanish means screw or bolt, as in the phrase “tighten the screws.” Midieval.

Watch this 20-minute video on a group of activists against animal abuse as part of corporate meat manufacturing. They may face decades in prison, yet continue. Sounds almost as crazy as the laws the companies were able to get passed in corrupt state governments. Another symptom of end-stage capitalism.

EdTech: Audrey Watters used to write a series of articles at the end of the year about trends in EdTech. I read all 30,000+ words religiously each year. This year, she is working on a book, so only wrote one article, and it is a doozy.

On moving away from Facebook

Time to move and refocus

The idea is to post once a week here on this blog, with all my thoughts for the week, and then link to it from Facebook. So I am not giving up on FB completely, but only accessing it on the weekends. I have taken it off my phone and am avoiding the urge to post. I hope to have the process down by the new year. (I may blog more often, if it becomes sustainable).

I have noticed, though, that my outrage is mitigated by posting to the blog instead of FB. It requires a bit more contemplation, some thought, and more consideration. The zing is less, but that, in my opinion, is a good thing. Zing is addictive and destructive.

Instead of having FB open on my phone, I have WordPress ready to go. I have reworked the site here, mostly ignored in 2017, but ready for a resumption.

What you guys can do to move away from the FB ecosystem is to use one that I have used over the years, and you may have done too. RSS. Get a reader. I use Feedly, Mac people like Inoreader. You can even set up Flipboard as an RSS reader if you are using that. You will see, after the initial investment to set up your feeds (the websites you monitor), that the control you get is well worth it. I end 15 minutes of FB enraged; I end 15 minutes of Feedly enlightened.

And if you do make it over to my blog at kevinryan.com, you are welcome to make comments. I have to approve your first comment (this is spam control), but once approved, you can comment any time.

New Year Passwords

Every year I update my passwords. That is a lot easier than it sounds.

I use a password manager to create a different nonsense password at every site I register. But I need 3 that I remember; my master password (for Lastpass.com), one for logging into my computers, and another for my phone.

For the phone, I usually use old numbers from my childhood (my address number on Cordova Road, for example). But for the other two, I use abbreviations of quotes.

For example Iyttt,ydhtra. “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Mark Twain. I like quotes with numbers in them, or easily insertable numbers, as that adds to the randomness. 80%osisu. “Eighty percent of success is showing up. -Woody Allen.

Best if you have all four elements: Uppercase, Lowercase, numbers, symbols. For example, (not a quote) you could make a password out of that last sentence. Biyha4e:U,L,n,s. Need more help?

Here is a short video too. 

The CommonCraft guy explains how to make a password.

For even more security, if you use Lastpass, you can limit the countries where you log in from (be careful to reset before traveling). 

And more important, you can set up Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for your main sites (I do it with Google, Evernote, Facebook and Microsoft. But more about that in another post. 

Edutopia and EdSurge, too many Edu-websites

Steven Herder interviewed me for the iTDi Teacher’s Room a few days ago. In it he said he liked Edutopia and I said that it was primarily funded by big tech stakeholders in education. The truth is a little more complicated.

Though I hold to my opinion, I will have to admit I was confusing Edutopia with EdSurge. Edutopia was created by George Lucas of Star Wars fame as a non-profit to look into ideas for education.

Edsurge, on the other hand, is a total creation of the edtech companies and is little more than a front for its PR. Audrey Watters in her essential weekly run-down of edtech news (that run-down can be taken both ways), often berates EdSurge as company pablum.

So both websites depend on money from large corporations and thus are suspect. Edutopia is a bit more balanced, as it is more separate from its corporate parent. But mostly I agree with Steven, that the articles in Edutopia are very uplifting.

So there you have it. I haven’t even covered EduCause and a couple of others.