Jerry Z. Muller, a history professor at Catholic University, on the Tyranny of Metrics, on how colleges and universities lean on simple black-and-white statistics to determine important grey-area decisions like faculty hiring, retention and tenure.
From the introduction to the Intellectual Origins of the  Global Financial Crisis, Roger Berkowitz explains how he uses the example of Hannah Arendt's study of totalitarianism to better understand why our economic system melted down a decade ago.
Arendt didn't want to understand or explain totalitarianism from a historical point of view, which would have not only made it seem natural and premeditated, but also would have normalized it. (In a way you can normalize or justify any action from the past.) You have to look at the issue in a new light, and (he quotes Arendt) “the unpremeditated, attentive facing up to,
and resisting of, reality— whatever it may be.” We need to Berkowitz quotes again "think about what we are doing."
To look at the 2008 financial straight in the eye, Berkowitz found it was born not from easy money, nor the allure of easy money or the lack of regulations, although each of them played a part. Rather, Berkowitz took the problem and made it larger: The 2008 global financial meltdown was caused by capitalism taking over our lives.
Michael Stipe, former singer of former band REM, spoke to The Guardian about the favorite songs he wrote and sang. During a conversation about the band’s World Leader Pretend, Stipe had this to say about REM’s early days:
By official estimates, the population of Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates is 80 percent expatriate and 20 percent Emirati. How do you create a common identity -- a common culture -- in a nation of hyperpolyglots.
In New Statesman, Sukriti Yadava explores:
During the environmental scan, librarians should also be on the lookout for programmatic partners interested in supporting open licensing and/or finding ways to reduce student costs. This could be as simple as reaching out to the university bookstore to working with specific departments or even student-facing entities like academic computing. You never know how these organizations may already be supporting OER or affordable content programs.
The paper Open Pathways to Student Success: Academic Library Partnerships for Open Educational Resource and Affordable Course Content Creation and Adoption
is found in the The Journal of Academic Librarianship
Finding suitable open license educational resources is difficult for teachers, according to a survey conducted by the OER Hub (with funding by the Hewlett Foundation).
These results were reported in the chapter "What Can OER Do for Me? Evaluating the Claims for OER" from the book Open: e Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science.
It was late last year I finished Joris Luyenddijk's People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East. It's the story of a Dutch speaker who moves to Egypt to learn Arabic and then stumbles his way into becoming a Middle East correspondent for Dutch media. The first part of the book deals with his wrestles over the fact that just because he knows Arabic doesn't make him an expert on Egypt, much less the Middle East.
He gives readers the inside scoop on how reporters fake expertise, mostly by standing firmly behind a set of (mostly made up) statistics and each correspondent interviewing the same 'experts' in each country. He also wrestles with the fact that covering newsy items in the Middle East doesn't give his readers any insight on how people are there, how people live there, etc.
One issue that makes it very hard to explain how people live and think is that (at that time) most of the people living where he covered lived under the thumb of dictatorships. No one living in Syria, Saddam-era Iraq and Egypt were going to tell him the truth -- about anything. At least on the record. And most certainly didn't want to be seen speaking with a reporter.
The last 40 percent of the book covers his burnout from working and living in Egypt and moving to a different country (Lebanon) and finally to the West Bank. This latter move was the biggest of all. Professionally he went from a mostly anonymous Middle East correspondent into reporting on the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, where every word he wrote was filtered through these two hyper critical lenses. In the early years, he was lucky to receive any feedback through letters to the editor. In those later years, he was lucky if a single story didn't create an avalanche of nasty letters. He spends a bit of time explaining why Israel is winning this ever-so-important media war.
From his early years:
I am a former journalist, and it's been a long time since I read a good, honest account of the sometimes debilitating worries reporters have of being found out as fraudsters. I was told by the person who recommended the book that it wasn't going to change my thinking in any way. It didn't. But his reminisces and arguments feel so close to what I experienced -- just in another part of the world.
"The financial burden that students must bear for textbooks and course materials — and its impact on their academic choices and success — is a mounting concern for Florida’s higher education community," write the authors of the 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey from the University of Florida Office of distance Learning & Student Services.
The survey, conducted in March and April 2016, counted results from more than 22,000 students.
Three of the findings include:
From the United States, more context regarding drunk driving.
A 2014 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration updated statistics on the level of drunk driving recidivism by investigating data from 12 states and calculating the chance of being a repeat drunk driving offender depending on the type of charge: arrests, convictions and license suspensions.
In 1995, researchers found that one-third of all drivers convicted of DWI were repeat offenders. This study looked to re-explore and update repeat offender tallies.
In the United States, the amount of DWI arrests has dropped 25 percent since 1995, but drunk driving remains more common than other offenses, such as property crime, drug abuse violations, larceny-theft and assaults.
The researchers found, “although DWI arrests have decreased, DWI repeat offenders are still believed to make up a sizeable proportion of DWI arrests.”
Looking at data from 12 states, researchers calculated the amount of repeat offenders and compared them against other states. Each group was weighted against the type of drunk driving charges.
As we move into the holiday season, which for many people means the travel season, or the why-the-hell-am-I-putting-myself-through-this season, here is some context on the industry that moves millions of people around the world. Much of this comes from the book The Global Airline Industry.
Don’t cry for airlines:
- Air travel industry around the world has averaged 5 percent growth during the previous three decades, posting twice as much growth as global gross domestic product (GDP).
- Yet the biggest driver for air travel is a growing global economy, and passenger traffic has grown for the past three decades, outside of three periods: 1991, after the Gulf War; immediately after the 2001 attacks in the United States; 2009 during the global financial crisis.
- Experts predict global airline growth continuing at 4-5 percent over the next 15 years. This estimate is partly due to a predicted 2-3 percent annual GDP growth.
The US airlines and their international counterparts
- In 2013 US airlines operated 10 million flights and carried 743 million passengers, making up nearly a quarter of the world’s total air passengers. In the mid-1980s, the percentage of passengers flying US carriers was 40 percent.
- US airlines (including passenger and cargo) employed more than 580,000 people, operated 6,700 aircraft and flew over 25,000 flights per day. These airlines reported $200 billion in total operating revenues. Commercial aviation contributes 5 percent of the US GDP.
- Delta Airlines, American and United have the highest revenue per passenger of all airlines. However, in the last decade, Emirates Airlines, Qatar, Etihad and Turkish Airlines have posted faster growth than the three large US-based carriers.
- Since the start of US airline deregulation in 1978, which spurred loosening of rules around the world, airlines outside the US have seen a variation of profits.
How do you measure ‘profits’
- Load factor is an important airline industry metric that measures “the percentage of available seats that are filled with paying passengers, or of freight capacity that is utilized.”
- Higher load factor generally translates into higher profits
- By 2013, the average load factor for US airlines reached 83 percent, more than 10 percentage points higher than the beginning of the century.
- During that period, world airlines as a group increased load factors to nearly 80 percent.
- Many older, legacy airlines reported higher load factors, but had problems sustaining high profitability because a high proportion of seats are sold at discount prices.
Global growth of low-cost carriers
- The growth of low-cost carriers help contribute to poor financial outlooks for traditional airlines
- Traditional carriers generally utilize a hub-and-spoke model for moving passengers. This system “entails the use of a strategically located airport (the hub) as a passenger exchange point for flights to and from outlying towns and cities (the spokes).
- Low-cost carriers tend to operate in a “point-to-point” system, which connects two cities with non-stop fights. This allows the airlines to minimize the amount of time the airplane is on the ground, hopefully resulting in higher aircraft
- Debate on hub-and-spoke v. point-to-point systems