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Tim Sproule
‘Don’t ask what the technology can do for you, rather what the pedagogy needs.’
‘Don’t ask what the technology can do for you, rather what the pedagogy needs.’

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+Private Internet Access​ are you ever going to make an Android app for Android TVs? I can side load the normal Android app but for some reason when I turn off the TV it really turns it off. Instead of the soft off that happens when the app isn't enabled. Thoughts?

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On Twitter, a debate has emerged in the past few days about punching Nazis. But much to my relief, it hasn't been much of a debate; pretty much everyone agrees that punching Nazis is only effective if you swing from the hip, not the arm, and follow through.

As I was writing essays on the limits of tolerance just a few weeks ago, it makes me glad not to have to give that explanation every ten minutes. (It's at, if you want to see it)

But several people have more detailed questions about Nazi-punching, and for them, I can heartily recommend this FAQ I encountered:

I'd say it answers pretty much any question you might potentially have about the propriety of punching Nazis.

If you want to hear about some other interesting Nazi-punching–related stories, I recommend this little tidbit from the life of Joseph Greenstein, aka "The Mighty Atom," famed circus strongman:

Or just go over to Twitter and search for "Nazis." The subject has been trending for the past day or so, and there are quite a lot of excellent things to be said on the subject.

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Rounded corners for sketch up

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Whilst The Prom always has lots of other hikers, you just can't beat the beauty!

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Single protein may hold secret to treating Parkinson's disease and more

New details learned about a key cellular protein could lead to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's, Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). At their root, these disorders are triggered by misbehaving proteins in the brain. The proteins misfold and accumulate in neurons, inflicting damage and eventually killing the cells. In a new study, researchers in the laboratory of Steven Finkbeiner, MD, PhD, at the Gladstone Institutes used a different protein, Nrf2, to restore levels of the disease-causing proteins to a normal, healthy range, thereby preventing cell death. The researchers tested Nrf2 in two models of Parkinson's disease: cells with mutations in the proteins LRRK2 and α-synuclein. By activating Nrf2, the researchers turned on several "house-cleaning" mechanisms in the cell to remove excess LRRK2 and α-synuclein. "Nrf2 coordinates a whole program of gene expression, but we didn't know how important it was for regulating protein levels until now," explained first author Gaia Skibinski, PhD, a staff research scientist at Gladstone. "Overexpressing Nrf2 in cellular models of Parkinson's disease resulted in a huge effect. In fact, it protects cells against the disease better than anything else we've found."

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See the rip?: Why Time’s Trump Cover Is a Subversive Work of Political Art

More than "the M makes horns" and a Jewish photographer.

More: "Nadav Kander was born in Tel Aviv. He's a shatteringly intelligent, savvy photographer. They look like Nazis for a reason."

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Lately, I've heard a lot of people talking about the "fake news" problem and about the need for better fact-checking. I suspect that this entire conversation may be looking at the wrong problem -- a conversation which would make perfect sense in a different time and place, but not here.

During the 2016 election, we heard a lot of brazen, blatant lies. These typically were fact-checked by the media; the result would be stories like "Data: Immigrants don't actually cause hemorrhoids," which nobody who wasn't already perfectly aware of that fact would read. Instead, these would just give more publicity to the original quote, and people who were enthused by it would be just as excited to see it again.

The fact is that fact-checking simply didn't make a difference -- it's not that people thought that these statements were true, but that they didn't care if they were true. In Gingrich's formulation, they speak to a "deeper truth" which is more important than simple facts.

This is far from an original idea; the discussion below is about Hannah Arendt's discussion of it back in 1951. This "deeper truth" that Gingrich likes to talk about is "what must be true in order for something else to be true" -- in this case, that a sufficiently strong leader could "Make America great again" by sheer force of will, by pushing out all of those dirty immigrants, Muslims, and so on. Or in other cases, that all this talk about people's lives mattering or people having a right to use public restrooms -- talk which suggests that maybe you're going to have to make some real changes for other people's sake -- doesn't really matter, and you're actually OK and can be proud of how your life has been.

That is, the truth of these statements doesn't matter in their own right; it's that these are statements which, if you believe them, let you do something. It's the wish to do something, or to believe that doing those things will make your life better, that's really at issue here.

I think that whenever someone raises the idea of more fact-checking, we should take a serious look at whether that actually addresses the underlying problem at all. My very strong sense is that we've misidentified the question, following the traditional instincts of journalism in a democracy ("and the truth shall make you free") at a time when those instincts are simply dead wrong.

h/t +J Stone for the link.

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