1. THE MEN WHO LEFT WERE WHITE

    The weekend essays are a bloodbath. I enjoy them because they remind me of how vulnerable us humans are, despite our disconnected/connected world, and I respect the writers even when their writing is a little non Pulitzer-esque. But oh the comments. I think it’s just a great excuse for everyone to rage after a big hangover or a night in county jail. ~pigsareflying

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    RELATED

    'Slavery by Another Name' Wins the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    Even less known is the hidden history that although slavery was officially abolished, after the end of Reconstruction a new kind of brutal slavery took its place, and that this new slave system—which included concentration camps and torture—continued to ensure that the blood of African Americans drenched the ground of the post-slavery South and provided a main source of the wealth of this country.

    Douglas A. Blackmon: bio

     
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    EDWARD SNOWDEN: HERE’S HOW WE TAKE BACK THE INTERNET

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    PREVIOUS: Mikko Hypponen: How the NSA Betrayed the World’s Trust

     
  3. In Ghana, miners work 200 or 300 feet below the surface in illegal gold mine shafts, surrounded by dust and darkness.

     

  4. Our Food Supply

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    The Story of Glass Gem Corn

    The emergence of a breathtaking heirloom variety like Glass Gem reveals that the art and magic of seed saving lives on. It reminds us that we can return to this age-old practice and restore beauty, wonder, and abundance to our world. Indeed, this renaissance is already underway. The rising seed library movement is encouraging local gardeners to become crop breeders and empowering communities to reclaim sovereignty over their food. [More images]

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    • The Cornucopia Institute is a non-profit organization headquartered in Cornucopia, Wisconsin, with the mission of “Seeking economic justice for the family-scale farming community.” [More here]
    • Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.
     

  5. Editorial Cartoons 2

    TERRENCE NOWICKI, JR.

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    Quit Buggin’ Me" via: This is Historic Times

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    Verizon

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    JIM MORIN

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    2007 Herblock Prize Winner

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    JOHN SHERFFIUS

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    2008 Herblock Prize Winner

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    MIKE PETERS

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    HERBLOCK

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    Herbert Lawrence Block, commonly known as Herblock (October 13, 1909 – October 7, 2001), was an American editorial cartoonist and author best known for his commentary on national domestic and foreign policy from a liberal perspective. In 1950, Herblock coined the term “McCarthyism” in a The Washington Post cartoon.

    When Herb Block died in October 2001, he left $50 million with instructions to create a foundation to support charitable and educational programs that help promote and sustain the causes he championed during his 72 years of cartooning. The Herb Block Foundation awarded its first grants and the annual Herblock Prize in editorial cartooning in 2004. The Herb Block Foundation is committed to defending the basic freedoms guaranteed all Americans, combating all forms of discrimination and prejudice and improving the conditions of the poor and underprivileged through the creation or support of charitable and educational programs with the same goals. The Foundation is also committed to improving educational opportunities to deserving students through post-secondary education scholarships and to promoting editorial cartooning through continuing research. All efforts of the Foundation shall be in keeping with the spirit of Herblock, America’s great cartoonist and his lifelong fight against abuses by the powerful.

    During the course of a career stretching into nine decades, Herb Block received many honors. Notably, he won three Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning (1942, 1954, 1979), shared a fourth Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for Public Service on Watergate, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1994), the National Cartoonist Society Editorial Cartoon Award in 1957 and 1960, the Reuben Award in 1956, and the Gold Key Award (the National Cartoonists Society Hall of Fame) in 1979.

    "Political cartoons, unlike sundials, do not show the brightest hours," Herblock once wrote. "They often show the darkest ones in the hope of helping us move to brighter times."

    PREVIOUS: Editorial Cartoons: Mike Peters

     

  6. Editorial Cartoons: Mike Peters

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    Michael Bartley Peters (b. October 9, 1943), better known as Mike Peters, is an American cartoonist who draws editorial cartoons, and his popular, long-running comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm.
    In regard to politics, Peters’ editorial stances are generally left of center. In 1981, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning.

    AHEAD: Editorial Cartoons 2

     
  7. [Via: Gawker.com]

    The New American Movement (NAM) was an American New Left socialist and feminist political organization established in 1971. The organization continued an independent existence until 1982, when it merged with Michael Harrington's Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee to establish Democratic Socialists of America.

    Edward MichaelMike" Harrington (1928 – 1989) was an American democratic socialist, writer, political activist, political theorist, professor of political science, radio commentator and initiator of the Democratic Socialists of America. During the 1970s he invented the term neoconservatism.

     
  8. HEAD TO HEAD: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ISLAM TODAY?

    In this episode of Head to Head at the Oxford Union, Mehdi Hasan challenges controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji, writer of The Trouble with Islam Today, and also Allah, Liberty and Love, on the need to reform Islam, the notion of Ijtihad, the problem of Islamophobia and what Muslims need to own up to.

    EXCERPTS

    [13:25] Irshad Manji: The reason I can embrace the Quran is that three times as many verses in the Quran call on Muslims to think and rethink and analyze—as you’ve pointed out—rather than submit blindly. So by that criterion—actually, all of God’s creatures (Muslims especially)—are called upon to keep thinking. It’s not about expertise; it’s about remembering, sir, that you are not God and I am not God, and therefore none of us can claim to have the “right” interpretation.

    [17:14] Mehdi Hasan: Just to be very clear for the viewers, you talk about ijtihad. How do you define ijtihad?

    Irshad: Ijtihad is Islam’s own tradition of independent thinking, of critical reasoning, of debate, dissent, and reinterpretation. And yes, I have heard a thousand times that only certain people are allowed to exercise ijtihad, but even that is up for debate.

    [30:20] Mehdi: How would you define Islam supremacists?

    Irshad: A supremacist is anybody who believes that Islam is the only truth available to humankind. From my point of view that is actually un-Quranic, because again, the Quran calls on us to be humble in our interpretations. Now in calling the behaviour of an Islam supremacist un-Quranic, am I name-calling? Am I being divisive? Am I being dismissive? No! I’m being descriptive. And you have to stand for something, Mehdi. I stand for human rights. That means I have to call out violations of human rights.
    There are plenty of Christians and plenty of Jews and plenty of other people, including atheists, who do not believe that their truth, their particular truth, is the one and only truth that is available to humankind. Anybody who believes that is a supremacist, a dogmatist of some kind, and I make NO apologies for saying so.

    [38:06] Irshad: Surely you would acknowledge that it is far less frightening to speak up in support of the perfect Quran than it is to speak up about contradictions within the Quran?

    Mehdi: Lots of Muslims agree with you, but on the Quran most don’t.

    Irshad: How can you say most don’t when we don’t have a world in which it is safe for people to speak up about their real view of the Quran?

    [44:09] Irshad: Going back to Mehdi’s point about trying to win hearts and minds, I remain a Muslim for a very sincere reason: because I love Allah. End of story. The reality, though, is that when you come from within the fold you can’t say to fellow Muslims, “Look, the Quran itself—we can draw inspiration from it.” People need to hear that there are these verses in the Quran. And it is shocking, and I would say very very sad when madrasas are not teaching these aspirational verses to their children in order to have them really understand that as children of God—not slaves of God—they have the capacity to make a difference within their faith.

    [46:24] Irshad: The central tenet of Islam is belief in one universal god. The central sin in Islam, therefore in my view, is playing God with one another. Beyond that this is your relationship with your creator. Do not impose on other people, do not intimidate other people. Understand that you will have the conversation you need to have on the day of judgement with your creator, and why does it need to be more complicated than that? If you keep it that simple, then I think that part of the contribution one would be making is liberating spirituality from the cage of organized religion.

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  10. CHANGING EDUCATION PARADIGMS by Ken Robinson

    QUOTES

    [6:23] We are getting our children through education by anaesthetising them, and I think we should be doing the exact opposite. We shouldn’t be putting them to sleep—we should be waking them up to what they have inside of themselves.

    [7:48] I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. “Divergent thinking” isn’t a synonym, but it’s an essential capacity for creativity…We all have this capacity and it mostly deteriorates.

    [10:44] Most great learning happens in groups; collaboration is the stuff of growth.

    [Animation by RSA Animate]

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    HOW SCHOOLS KILL CREATIVITY (2006)

    QUOTES

    [2:00] It’s education that’s meant to take us into this future we can’t grasp. If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue—despite all the expertise that’s been on parade for the past four days—what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet we’re meant to be educating them for it. So the unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary.

    [2:52] My contention is, all kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly.

    [5:36] If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.

    [6:00] We’re educating people out of their creative capacities.

    [12:54] We need to radically rethink our view of intelligence. We know three things about intelligence. One, it’s diverse. We think about the world in all the ways that we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement. Secondly, intelligence is dynamic. If you look at the interactions of a human brain, as we heard yesterday from a number of presentations, intelligence is wonderfully interactive. The brain isn’t divided into compartments. In fact, creativity — which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value — more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things…. And the third thing about intelligence is, it’s distinct.

    [17:49] I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology, one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won’t serve us. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children. There was a wonderful quote by Jonas Salk, who said, “If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.” And he’s right.

    What TED celebrates is the gift of the human imagination. We have to be careful now that we use this gift wisely and that we avert some of the scenarios that we’ve talked about. And the only way we’ll do it is by seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are and seeing our children for the hope that they are. And our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this future. By the way — we may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it. Thank you very much.

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    BRING ON THE LEARNING REVOLUTION! (2010)

    QUOTES

    [4:30] Every education system in the world is being reformed at the moment and it’s not enough. Reform is no use anymore, because that’s simply improving a broken model. What we need—and the word’s been used many times during the course of the past few days—is not evolution, but a revolution in education. This has to be transformed into something else.

    [10:48] Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability.

    [13:00] We have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies.

    [14:25] The reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their spirit, it doesn’t feed their energy or their passion.

    So I think we have to change metaphors. We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.

    So when we look at reforming education and transforming it, it isn’t like cloning a system. There are great ones, like KIPP’s; it’s a great system. There are many great models. It’s about customizing to your circumstances and personalizing education to the people you’re actually teaching. And doing that, I think, is the answer to the future because it’s not about scaling a new solution; it’s about creating a movement in education in which people develop their own solutions, but with external support based on a personalized curriculum.

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    Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will

    REVIEW

    "Hacking your Education" is about taking the concept of home schooling, or unschooling, to the University level. Although Stephens does not say so, his book is most appropriate for people in the upper ranges of the ability distribution, the people who lose the most when their abilities and interests are stifled by the educational bureaucracy. Though it is not his thesis, I add that these are the instances in which society damages itself the most by forcing bright kids into the straitjacket of conventional systems.

    BIO

    At 20, Dale Stephens founded UnCollege because we’re paying too much for college and learning too little. It’s no secret that college doesn’t prepare students for the real world. Student loan debt recently eclipsed credit card debt for the first time in history and now tops 1 trillion dollars. And the throngs of unemployed graduates chasing the same jobs makes us wonder whether there’s a better way to “make it” in today’s marketplace.

    Stephens is a sought-after education expert appearing on major news networks including CNN, ABC, NPR, CBS, Fox, and TechCrunch. His work has been covered by the New York Times and New York Magazine to Fast Company and Forbes.

    Stephens’ interest in education comes from his background in unschooling, the self-directed form of homeschooling with which he was raised. He left school at age eleven and self-educated instead of going to middle and high school.

    He has spoken around the world at high-profile events, from debating Vivek Wadhwa onstage at TED 2012 to lecturing at the New York Times to speaking to C-level executives at NBC Universal. He works frequently with universities who realize their model of education must change to survive in the 21st century.

    In May 2011 Stephens was selected out of hundreds of individuals around the world as a Thiel Fellow, a program recognizing the top twenty-four entrepreneurs around the world under the age of twenty. In addition to leading UnCollege, Stephens advises education and technology companies. [Amazon.com]

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