🔖 How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr

Bookmarked How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel ImmerwahrDaniel Immerwahr (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A pathbreaking history of the United States’ overseas possessions and the true meaning of its empire

We are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is an “empire,” exercising power around the world. But what about the actual territories―the islands, atolls, and archipelagos―this country has governed and inhabited?

In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr tells the fascinating story of the United States outside the United States. In crackling, fast-paced prose, he reveals forgotten episodes that cast American history in a new light. We travel to the Guano Islands, where prospectors collected one of the nineteenth century’s most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on U.S. soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr shows how U.S. doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the U.S. Congress.

In the years after World War II, Immerwahr notes, the United States moved away from colonialism. Instead, it put innovations in electronics, transportation, and culture to use, devising a new sort of influence that did not require the control of colonies. Rich with absorbing vignettes, full of surprises, and driven by an original conception of what empire and globalization mean today, How to Hide an Empire is a major and compulsively readable work of history.

hat tip: On the Media: Empire State of Mind

👓 Universities should be working for the greater good | Kathleen Fitzpatrick | Times Higher Education

Read Universities should be working for the greater good by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Times Higher Education (THE))
Friendly competition can push us all to do better. But when the competitiveness that fuels excellence and prestige becomes based in the logic of the market, universities lose sight of their true purpose, writes Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Kudos Kathleen! This! This is the type of university I would want to be a part of.

This article reminds me a lot of the thesis in Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson’s book American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper. There they indicate that America’s economy isn’t one of pure capitalism and competition, but that we’ve gotten here by a healthy dose of having a mixed economy. Higher education needs a lot of that same mixed economy perspective to fix the wrongs of decades of to much direct competition which is having far too many unexpected consequences and emergent behaviors which we didn’t expect, anticipate, and now have trouble attempting to fix.

This article is so important, just this once, I’ll recommend that those who hit the website’s paywall and don’t want to register, use a read it later service like Pocket or Instapaper which should give you the full text or you can use your browser’s functionality for “viewing source” to get a marked up version.

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
The idea was to reward video stars shorted by the system, such as those making sex education and music videos, which marquee advertisers found too risqué to endorse.  

This is an interesting concept. Too often, too many people are “shorted by the system”.

A brief reflection on Kate Bowles’ keynote at OER 19

Kate Bowles gave a great Keynote at the Open Education Resources 2019 (OER19) conference in Galway last night. In it she indicates how politicians, economists and even universities themselves measure their growth at the level of imports/exports and even compare it with mining in a cynical way to describe the movement of their educational resources and students.

Slide from Bowle's talk with an image of a heavily mined and damaged site. The slide is entitled "This is how the expanded university talks" and contains the quote:'What do iron ore, coal and Australia'sinternational education sector have in common? They're the top three exports for Australia, with recent international trade data showing that the international education sector contributed AUS$32.2 billion (US$24.7 billion) dollars to the economy in 2017' --ICEF Monitor, 2018

Slide from Bowle's talk with an image of a heavily mined and damaged site. The slide is entitled "This is how the expanded university talks" and contains the quote: '81 per cent of Australians grasp that international education makes a major contribution to national prosperity. This overwhelming public support rises again--to 85 per cent--when Australians learn exactly how much income this sector brings into the Australian economy each year.'--Universities Australia, March 2019
A slide from

“What a chilling thing to say about young people crossing the world to learn.” –Kate Bowles (in response to the slide immediately above)

The fact that businesses, governments, and even universities themselves would take such an ugly standpoint on teaching and learning is painful. It reminds me that one of the things that I think the open IndieWeb movement gets right is that it is people-centric first and foremost. If you can take care of people at the most base level, then hopefully what gets built upon that base–while still watching it carefully–will be much more ethical.

The IndieWeb is a people-focused alternative to the “corporate web”.

As a result of this people-centric vision, I’m seeing a lot less of the sort of ills, unintended consequences, and poor emergent behaviors caused by the drive toward surveillance capitalism within the giant social media silos like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al.

I’m reminded of a part of the thesis that Cesar Hidalgo presents in Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order from Atoms to Economies of the idea of the personbyte and what that looks like at a group level, then a corporate level, and I wonder how it may grow to the next level above that. Without ultimately focusing on the person at the bottom of the pyramid however, we may be ethically losing sight of where we’re going and why. We may even be building an edifice that is far more likely to crumble with even worse unintended consequences.

Here’s her talk in full. I highly recommend it.

👓 College Grads Sell Stakes in Themselves to Wall Street | Bloomberg

Read College Grads Sell Stakes in Themselves to Wall Street by Claire Boston (Bloomberg)
Instead of taking out loans, students can agree to hand over part of their future earnings in return for investment.

👓 This simple tipping trick could save you over $400 a year | CNBC

Read One tipping trick could save you over $400 a year by Zack Guzman (CNBC)
Changing this one thing about the way you pay can save you money without being unfair to servers.

Clickbait for cheap people. I’m surprised he didn’t suggest not tipping at all in the states where employers provide minimum wage to cover missed tips…

👓 The Death of an Adjunct | The Atlantic

Read The Death of an Adjunct (The Atlantic)
Thea Hunter was a promising, brilliant scholar. And then she got trapped in academia’s permanent underclass.

👓 Attorneys General Sue Trump Administration Over School Nutrition Rollbacks | The Salt | NPR

Read Attorneys General Sue Trump Administration Over School Nutrition Rollbacks by Allison AubreyAllison Aubrey (The Salt | NPR )

A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.

"Over a million children in New York — especially those in low-income communities and communities of color — depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Joining James in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont.

🎧 Economic Ripples: Hospital Closure Hurts A Town’s Ability To Attract Retirees | NPR

Listened to Economic Ripples: Hospital Closure Hurts A Town's Ability To Attract Retirees by Blake Farmer from NPR | Nashville Public Radio

When a rural community loses its hospital, health care becomes harder to come by in an instant. But a hospital closure also shocks a small town's economy. It shuts down one of its largest employers. It scares off heavy industry that needs an emergency room nearby. And in one Tennessee town, a lost hospital means lost hope of attracting more retirees.

Here’s a great example of why pure capitalist competition doesn’t work in areas like health care and education in large swathes of America. Small communities like this one often have only one option of a hospital to go to, and often they don’t even have that. And many health care issues don’t allow for direct competition and choice because they are emergent and one can only go to the closest provider with their fingers crossed.

📺 Fyre Fraud (2019) | Hulu

Watched Fyre Fraud (2019) from Hulu
Directed by Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason. With Bella Hadid, Ja Rule, Billy McFarland, Cameron Davison. Concert promoters and rapper Ja Rule advertise a high-end festival experience that fails spectacularly when they don't plan for the infrastructure to support the venue, artists and guests.

When the two competing documentaries came out, I don’t think I ever really heard a reason why there were two other than the fact that the story was so over-the-top, blatant, and salacious. I’m glad I saw this one first as it indicates that the other documentary was made by Jerry Media, an entity that was involved in promoting and profiting from the Fyre Festival. Of course I want to dig into the background of the producers of this one now too to see what their ties may be. Always vet your sources, even for documentaries that present themselves as detached from the story.

This does a great job of showing cultural excess. At least the founder was put into jail before he had a chance to run for president…

It’s not exactly an implementation of Webmention, but I was interested to find that there’s a tool from Hypothes.is that will show you (all?) the annotations (and replies) on your website.

Just visit https://jonudell.info/h/facet/ and then enter the appropriate domain name followed by /* as a wildcard to search.

Examples for:

Now wouldn’t it be cool if this were available in the main UI? Perhaps if there were a button for “Site notes” or highlights? This may be unwieldy for the New York Times, but could be reasonable and very useful for smaller personal and/or academic based websites.

The user interface for the side bar of Hypothesis with a "Site Notes" element added in red next to "Annotations" and "Page Notes"

👓 Alan B. Krueger, Economic Aide to Clinton and Obama, Is Dead at 58 | New York Times

Read Alan B. Krueger, Economic Aide to Clinton and Obama, Is Dead at 58 (nytimes.com)
A labor economist, Princeton scholar, Treasury official and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. The police said the cause was suicide.

👓 Alan Krueger, prominent Princeton economist, passes away | Princeton

Read Alan Krueger, prominent Princeton economist, passes away (Princeton University)
Princeton University is saddened to share that Alan Krueger, James Madison Professor of Political Economy, passed away over the weekend.  Alan was recognized as a true leader in his field, known and admired for both his research and teaching.  

👓 Defining the DNA of collaboration | The Open Co-op

Read Defining the DNA of collaboration (The Open Co-op)
As a species, human beings are barely more intelligent than kindergarten kids. We revel at our place at the top of the food chain, and praise our technological ingenuity but, let’s face it, we’ve barely begun to work life out. We’ve created one directional extractive systems that undermine our own life support systems, like kindergarten …

There’s some interesting philosophy here. It dances around the idea of fitness landscapes, but doesn’t mention them directly, though this is essentially what the article is exploring from the perspective of businesses.