St. Louis’ Success, a Writer’s Failure, the Silicon Valley Backlash

St. Louis as Great as Ever at Game 1,000Tampa Bay Times
“He wasn’t drafted. His first team gave up on him. He’s listed at 5 feet 8, but he must have been wearing skates when they measured him. He’s a decent skater, but not a burner. His shot is good, but not wicked. There is only one thing that makes St. Louis special. He simply knows how to play the game.”

What It’s Like to FailPriconomics
“I was neither a drug addict nor an alcoholic, nor was I a criminal. But I had committed one of the more basic of American sins: I had failed. In eight years, my career had vanished, then my savings, and then our home. My family broke apart. I was alone, hungry, and defeated.”

The Coming Tech-LashThe Economist
“Geeks have turned out to be some of the most ruthless capitalists around. A few years ago the new economy was a wide-open frontier. Today it is dominated by a handful of tightly held oligopolies. Google and Apple provide over 90% of the operating systems for smartphones. Facebook counts more than half of North Americans and Europeans as its customers. The lords of cyberspace have done everything possible to reduce their earthly costs. They employ remarkably few people: with a market cap of $290 billion Google is about six times bigger than GM but employs only around a fifth as many workers.”

Is It Right to Waste Helium on Party Balloons?BBC
“’We’re going to be looking back and thinking, I can’t believe people just used to fill up their balloons with it, when it’s so precious and unique,’ says Cambridge University chemist Peter Wothers, who has called for an end to helium-filled party balloons.”

Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI FileMother Jones
“According to the Justice Department, this tattooed activist-turned-academic is the FBI’s “most prolific” Freedom of Information Act requester—filing, during one period in 2011, upward of two documents requests a day. In the course of his doctoral work, which examines how the FBI monitors and investigates protesters, Shapiro has developed a novel, legal, and highly effective approach to mining the agency’s records. Which is why the government is petitioning the United States District Court in Washington, DC, to prevent the release of 350,000 pages of documents he’s after.”

Death of a ProfessorSlate
Adjuncts are the second-class citizens of academe: They are contract workers hired and paid on a per-course basis, with no possibility of tenure. They now make up about two-thirds of the academic workforce nationwide, and their numbers have been increasing steadily since the 1970s, as part of a larger trend in which universities, both private and public, are run more like businesses. While it’s hard to say exactly what Duquesne should have done for Vojtko in the months before she died, her case highlights the devil’s bargain universities have made by exploiting adjuncts—who, at Duquesne and elsewhere, are finally fighting back.

Buncombethe Baffler
“In their heyday, the tabloids had a devoted following among college students. The students, like those who click on the web-enabled stories today, picked them up largely for the pleasure of scoffing at their imagined readership, which they assumed to consist of ignorant working-class housewives who believed the stories.”

Photo courtesy of Howard Ignatius

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