Listened to The Dead Consensus from On the Media | WNYC Studios

The latest on Trump's impeachment, its parallels to the Andrew Johnson trial, and the rise of the "illiberal" right.

As House leaders begin drafting articles of impeachment, examples from the Nixon and Clinton eras abound. This week, On the Media rewinds to the 19th century — and the turbulent impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Plus, what a debate between two right-wing intellectuals means for the future of conservatism.

1. Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers, on the acrimonious trial of Andrew Johnson. Listen.

2. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], co-host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, on the rise of illiberalism among the conservative intelligentsia. Listen

Listened to The "Pentagon Papers" Of Our Time by Bob Garfield from On the Media | WNYC Studios

A monumental report from the Washington Post reveals years of lies, futility and corruption.

On Monday, the Washington Post released the fruits of a three-year investigative effort: the "Afghanistan Papers," a once-secret internal government history of a deadly, costly, and ultimately futile entanglement. The hundreds of frank, explosive interviews — along with a new tranche of memos written by the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — revealed the extent to which American leaders misled the public on their efforts to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, rout the Taliban, expel Al Qaeda, install democracy, and undo corruption. In this podcast extra, investigative reporter Craig Whitlock tells Bob about the monumental story that the Post uncovered — and the extraordinary effort it took to report it out. 

Listened to Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics from On the Media | WNYC Studios

An extended conversation with Lilliana Mason about tribalism, anger and the state of our politics.

If solidarity and the recognition of mutual self-interest are the keys to moving past our fractious moment, it can be hard to see how we'll get there. Anger and tribalism appear to be at an all-time high, creating political and societal rifts that seem unbridgeable. Indeed, it is hard to believe that only 70 years ago, the country was deemed by political scientists to be not polarized enough. In 1950, the American Political Science Association put out a report that suggested that the parties were not distinct enough and that it was making people's political decision making too difficult.

Over the next few decades, they became distinct alright. Lilliana Mason is a political psychologist at the University of Maryland. When we spoke to her last fall, she told us that most people think they know exactly what each party stands for — leaving us with two camps that both seek to destroy the other. 

Listened to We Need To Talk About Poland from On the Media | WNYC Studios

A special hour with lessons on truth, conspiracy, history & the battle over the future.

With the US deep in questions of impeachment, what lessons can we learn from divided societies abroad? This week, On the Media travels to Poland, where conspiracy, xenophobia and the rise of illiberalism have the country in an existential fight for its future. On the Media producer Leah Feder reports.

1. Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] on the conspiracy theories around a 2010 plane crash that redrew lines in Polish politics. Listen.

2. Pawel Machcewicz on the Law & Justice party's takeover of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk. Also featuring Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum], Janine Holc and Angieszka Syroka. Listen.

3. An exploration of left and right strategies in contemporary Poland, with Igor Stokfiszewski of [@krytyka], Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] and Jaroslaw Kuisz of [@kultliberalna]. Listen.

Listened to The Disagreement Is The Point from On the Media | WNYC Studios

The media's "epistemic crisis," algorithmic biases, and the radio's inherent, historical misogyny.

In hearings this week, House Democrats sought to highlight an emerging set of facts concerning the President’s conduct. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why muddying the waters remains a viable strategy for Trump’s defenders. Plus, even the technology we trust for its clarity isn’t entirely objective, especially the algorithms that drive decisions in public and private institutions. And, how early radio engineers designed broadcast equipment to favor male voices and make women sound "shrill."

1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer covering energy for Vox, on the "epistemic crisis" at the heart of our bifurcated information ecosystem. Listen.

2. Cathy O'Neil [@mathbabedotorg], mathematician and author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, on the biases baked into our algorithms. Listen.

3. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], musician and professor, on how biases built into radio technology have shaped how we hear women speak. Listen.

Some great discussion on the idea of women being “shrill” and ad hominem attacks instead of attacks on ideas.

Cathy O’Neil has a great interview on her book Weapons of Math Distraction. I highly recommend everyone read it, but if for some reason you can’t do it this month, this interview is a good starting place for repairing that deficiency.

In section three, I’ll note that I’ve studied the areas of signal processing and information theory in great depth, but never run across the fascinating history of how we physically and consciously engineered women out of radio and broadcast in quite the way discussed here. I recall the image of “Lena” being nudged out of image processing recently, but the engineering wrongs here are far more serious and pernicious.

Read a thread on Twitter by John BullJohn Bull (Twitter)

The full thread also available on ThreadReader App.

An interesting and heart-warming story.

Read a post by Bix Bix (bix.blog)
Dying to hear what indieweb folks think of the new Jack Dorsey plan to “develop an open and decentralized standard for social media” with “Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard”. Dorsey claims the effort intends “not only to develop a decentralized standard for social media, but to also build open community around it, inclusive of companies & organizations, researchers, civil society leaders”. Is this Twitter embracing the indieweb, or coopting, or something else?
Read Opening Nouns & Verbs by Nate AngellNate Angell (xolotl.org)
The open education community I run with is filled with the kind of people who think words really matter. For a while now we’ve been debating what to call the things we care about and do: open practices, open resources, open pedagogy, open licensing, open this, open that. Our debate is hot enough to make some people turn away and others dig in. But when words matter this much it signals real tensions in beliefs, priorities, territories and relationships.
Read Mothering Digital by Nate AngellNate Angell (xolotl.org)
Today folks are gathered at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mother of All Demos (“MOAD”), a notorious event held in 1968 in San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium, where SRI’s Douglas Engelbart and others demonstrated computer systems they were developing and which many folks point to as one of the most important events to presage and shape our digital technology environment today.
Read Opinion | How Professors Help Rip Off Students by Tim Wu (New York Times)
Textbooks are too expensive.

OER is a nice way to go, but I’ve also mentioned before how to restructure the textbook business so the economic balance is righted.

tl;dr: Professors aren’t doing the learning, so at most they should recommend one or more textbooks, but never require them. The students should choose their own textbooks or otherwise fend for themselves (many are already doing this anyway, so why disadvantage them further with the economic burdens) and direct market forces will very quickly fix the problem of run-away book prices.

Professors should not be middle-people in the purchase decisions of textbooks.

Liked a tweet by Jeffrey B. PaulJeffrey B. Paul (Twitter)

I’m living this same story…