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Archive for the 'AP Introductory Materials' Category

The end of capitalism has begun

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian.

I’ve raised this question–albeit with much less clarity–in class. Read Paul Mason’s take in The Guardian. 

Mexico City tries to squat off the fat for free subway rides

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

In an effort to fight obesity, the government of Mexico City will begin offering free subway rides in exchange for 10 squats in front of a ticket-dispensing motion sensor. 


They did a similar thing in Russia…

The Global Geography of Internet Addiction

Friday, December 12th, 2014

How People Spend Their Time on the Internet

Happiness and Development

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014


A survey of 43 countries published on October 30th by the Pew Research Centre of Washington, DC, shows that people in emerging markets are within a whisker of expressing the same level of satisfaction with their lot as people in rich countries. The Pew poll asks respondents to measure, on a scale from zero to ten, how good their lives are. (Those who say between seven and ten are counted as happy.)
In 2007, 57% of respondents in rich countries put themselves in the top four tiers; in emerging markets the share was 33%; in poor countries only 16%—a classic expression of the standard view that richer people are more likely to be happy.
But in 2014, 54% of rich-country respondents counted themselves as happy, whereas in emerging markets the percentage jumped to 51%.

What Europe Would Look Like If All the Separatist Movements Got Their Way

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

What Europe Would Look Like If All the Separatist Movements Got Their Way

Stop Multitasking: You’re not good at it

Friday, July 25th, 2014

“Evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that when students multitask while doing schoolwork, their learning is far spottier and shallower than if the work had their full attention. They understand and remember less, and they have greater difficulty transferring their learning to new contexts.”

“I don’t care if a kid wants to tweet while she’s watching American Idol, or have music on while he plays a video game. But when students are doing serious work with their minds, they have to have focus.”

“Under most conditions, the brain simply cannot do two complex tasks at the same time. It can happen only when the two tasks are both very simple and when they don’t compete with each other for the same mental resources. An example would be folding laundry and listening to the weather report on the radio. That’s fine. But listening to a lecture while texting, or doing homework and being on Facebook—each of these tasks is very demanding, and each of them uses the same area of the brain, the prefrontal cortex.”

Read the evidence from the Slate. AND STOP IT!


The Left-Right Political Spectrum Is Bogus

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The arrangement of positions along the left-right axis—progressive to reactionary, or conservative to liberal, communist to fascist, socialist to capitalist, or Democrat to Republican—is conceptually confused, ideologically tendentious, and historically contingent. And any position anywhere along it is infested by contradictions.

Causation vs. Correlation

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Here are some friendly reminders that causation does not equal correlation.

What’s gone wrong with democracy?

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Faith in democracy flares up in moments of triumph, such as the overthrow of unpopular regimes in Cairo or Kiev, only to sputter out once again. Outside the West, democracy often advances only to collapse. And within the West, democracy has too often become associated with debt and dysfunction at home and overreach abroad. Democracy has always had its critics, but now old doubts are being treated with renewed respect as the weaknesses of democracy in its Western strongholds, and the fragility of its influence elsewhere, have become increasingly apparent. 

Why has democracy lost its forward momentum?

(original with gorgeous layout here)

Cool interactive map

The Comparative Constitutions Project

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

You can now read, search, and compare 160 constitutions from around the world thanks to Constitute, a website launched by Google on Monday.

The site, developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project, with seed funding by Google Ideas, has digitized the constitutions of 160 countries, making them fully searchable. A user can browse the constitutions using nearly 350 curated tagged topics like religion, political parties, or civil and political rights; or simply search by year or country.