Summary of “Inside the OED: can the world’s biggest dictionary survive the internet?”

At one level, few things are simpler than a dictionary: a list of the words people use or have used, with an explanation of what those words mean, or have meant.
In the case of a dictionary such as the OED – which claims to provide a “Definitive” record of every single word in the language from 1000AD to the present day – the question is even larger: can a living language be comprehensively mapped, surveyed and described? Speaking to lexicographers makes one wary of using the word “Literally”, but a definitive dictionary is, literally, impossible.
In 1747, in his “Plan” for the English dictionary that he was about to commence, Samuel Johnson declared he would create nothing less than “a dictionary by which the pronunciation of our language may be fixed, and its attainment facilitated; by which its purity may be preserved, its use ascertained, and its duration lengthened”.
Ninety years after the first edition appeared, the OED – a distant, far bulkier descendant of Johnson’s Dictionary – is currently embarked on a third edition, a goliath project that involves overhauling every entry and adding at least some of those 30,000 missing words, as well as making the dictionary into a fully digital resource.
If OED lexicographers are right that around 7,000 new English words surface annually – a mixture of brand-new coinages and words the dictionary has missed – then in the time you’ve been reading this, perhaps two more words have come into being.
Most people, of course, now never go near a dictionary, but simply type phrases into Wikipedia or rely on Google, which – through a deal with Oxford Dictionaries – offers thumbnail definitions, audio recordings of pronunciations, etymology, a graph of usage over time and translation facilities.
One is a computer professor at the Sapienza University of Rome called Roberto Navigli, who in 2013 soft-launched a site called Babelnet, which aims to be the dictionary to beat all dictionaries – in part by not really being a dictionary at all.
When you’re making a historical dictionary and are required to check each and every resource, then recheck those resources when, say, a corpus of handwritten 17th-century letters comes on stream, the problem of keeping the dictionary up to date expands to even more nightmarish proportions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Afterlife of Pablo Escobar”

Known as El Osito, or Little Bear, he was the older brother of the narcotrafficker Pablo Escobar, who was then among the richest men in the world, responsible for a drug-smuggling empire that extended from Colombia to a dozen other countries.
Along with the narcotours that operate out of Medellín, there are souvenir venders selling Escobar baseball caps, ashtrays, mugs, and key rings; Escobar T-shirts are displayed next to soccer jerseys and Pope Francis memorabilia.
The Semana story had spoken of his “Desire to be the country’s number one benefactor.” Old comrades told me that they were attracted by his professed commitment to building a “Medellín without slums.” Popeye insisted that Escobar “Was really a socialist-he just had a different kind of socialism in mind, where everyone would have his own little car, his own little house.” He had paid for the construction of a neighborhood that became known as Barrio Pablo Escobar: five hundred houses and several soccer fields.
On December 2, 1993, police traced a phone call between Escobar and his son, Juan Pablo, to a safe house in the Los Pinos neighborhood of Medellín.
In 2001, after several years of interviews with Escobar’s relatives, friends, and enemies, he published “The Pablo Parable.” Where García Márquez had suggested that Escobar had subjected Colombia to a kind of national hypnosis, Salazar suggested that he had merely been a conduit for the country’s bigotry and violent impulses.
At a panel discussion in 2013, Uribe recalled, “A woman once asked me, ‘Why did you portray Pablo Escobar as loving with his children?’ And I told her, ‘Because that’s how psychopaths are: loving with their kids-and murderers.’ And we need to understand that, if we’re going to stop falling in love with psychopaths.” She insisted that she had not wanted to make Escobar a hero.
Juan Pablo, who was sixteen years old when Escobar was killed, is now forty-one, a brooding, heavyset man with an unmistakable resemblance to his father; the image on the jacket of “In Flagrante” seamlessly melds their faces.
“The country likes to say that it has forgotten Pablo Escobar, but it’s not true,” he told me.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Reckoning”

“Joe’s mentors were the white, colonial Australians,” Bob says.
Though Robin never took to Joe, Bob liked him well enough.
In 1985, Bob and Robin returned to the highlands to make a new film about Joe Leahy.
Joe’s son Jim Leahy is there, and he’s the last to speak, not to Bob but to the highlanders.
It’s striking how much the scene resembles so many from Bob’s films, when Joe would lecture the highlanders about investing, about bisnis and responsibility.
One afternoon, Bob and Joe hike down the long drive from Joe’s house to the field where Joe used to dry his coffee.
Bob is intrigued by this-Joe certainly did not seem like a religious man 25 years ago-and he takes the opportunity to ask Joe why he turned to Christianity.
Bob pushes again, and Joe digresses into a meandering analogy about Moses wandering the desert.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco”

Esposito then shares this information over his headset, prompting head stage manager Gary Natoli, crouched beside Kimmel, to instruct another stage manager to have PwC’s Ruiz open the second best picture envelope and confirm which film won.
JUSTIN HURWITZ, Composer/songwriter, La La Land A stage manager came up onstage and grabbed the envelope out of my hand – I was holding the envelope for the score award.
HOROWITZ I remember looking over at Warren and he’s holding another envelope, and he says, “This is the [actual] envelope!” And then the stage manager goes over to him, and I follow behind, and he opens it and sees it’s the best picture card.
TODD Glenn came with an iPad and showed us a photo of the wrong envelope in Warren’s hand.
In the interview room, Stone pushes back against Beatty’s claim that he had been handed the best actress envelope, not realizing there were two.
TABACK Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who had Oscars, and Justin Hurwitz, who had two, said something like, “Is it OK if we’re happy?” Emma Stone was there, and she said, “I have my envelope!” Everyone was very concerned with having their envelopes.
HUDSON Brian kept saying, “I couldn’t have given him the wrong envelope.”
The PwC statement, posted to the Academy’s website at 12:30 a.m. on Monday morning, reads: “We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation. – PwC”. HUDSON I went home and we all kept talking all night.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Race, Barriers and Battling Nerves: A Candid Conversation With Oscar’s Only 4 African-American Directing Nominees in 90 Years”

If this elite group were expanded to include all black directors, it would add only Britain’s Steve McQueen, who earned his nomination in 2014 for helming 12 Years a Slave.
With the March 4 ceremony looming and the racial makeup of the Academy and the industry at large under increased scrutiny, THR gathered the quartet for a candid conversation about how success can feel like failure, the doors Black Panther has opened and why not one of these guys was able to enjoy his big night.
PEELE Part of the cultural learning curve with this, too, is tied up with this thing that every time a black achievement happens, it’s a black achievement.
Jordan’s film is not a full black cast, but it’s a black movie and it’s also not a black movie.
Lee, a few years ago, you said as part of a THR Roundtable that you hated when white people wrote for black people.
“SINGLETON There are two sides of this coin. The Last Emperor was a huge hit when it came out, and Bernardo Bertolucci is Italian, not Chinese. But he did his homework. Steven Spielberg did The Color Purple. Black people assailed against that when it came out, but it’s a classic among African-Americans now. But for every one of those films that was made by someone who was from another culture exploring something that they were interested in, there are these stacks of where black people have had to say,”OK, at least they tried.
One of my favorites is Glory, where the Matthew Broderick character is in a lot of ways [director] Edward Zwick saying, “I don’t know the black experience, but I see through the eyes of this character who is empathizing with the black experience.” With Get Out, I wanted to make a movie that ripped the rug out of this idea of the one good white character evil and see what that would do.
Do you have a black superhero movie in your back pocket?

The orginal article.

Summary of “Where the ‘Crisis Actor’ Conspiracy Theory Comes From”

The term ‘crisis actor’ has been in the news a lot lately, because conspiracy theorists have accused survivors of the Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, of being actors-people paid to pretend they witnessed a horrible tragedy that actually never happened and was instead staged by the government in order to garner the political will necessary to ban guns.
The resurgence of this conspiracy theory led me to attempt to track down the origins of the term “Crisis actor.” I spoke to an emergency response trainer who has used “Role players” to simulate crises for 40 years and went down the rabbit hole to find its origins as a completely unfounded conspiracy theory.
Though the term “Crisis actor” wasn’t coined by conspiracy theorists, it was almost instantly co-opted by them.
In his first post about Newtown, Tracy does not specifically suggest that Newtown victims were “Actors,” but a commenter on that post does: “To broadcast gunshots and mayhem over the intercom system would be a very effective and easy way of pulling off a false flag operation where there actually was no shooter, it adds a bit of zing to what is essentially a drill and allows the actors and children to actually relate what they heard and did with a bit more reality.”
The group-and its “Crisis Actors” have become patient zero for the larger crisis acting conspiracy.
Fort Lauderdale’s Sun Sentinel was the first mainstream outlet to cover Tracy’s posts, forever enshrining “Crisis actors” in our mainstream national lexicon; Tracy’s posts ultimately became a national controversy that was discussed by Anderson Cooper on CNN. Before Newtown and Tracy’s blog posts, conspiracy theorists had often said that events like the 9/11 attacks were inside government jobs or false flag operations, but I can find little evidence of anyone suggesting that national tragedies were outright faked.
Anytime there is a shooting, terrorist event, or other mass casualty event, conspiracy theorists suggest that crisis actors are part of a government false flag operation, which more or less brings us to today, where YouTubers, InfoWars, and many on the far right doubting whether or not the Douglas High School shooting actually happened.
What Crisis Actors Actually Do. Like any conspiracy theory, this all started with at least a shred of truth that was stretched way too far.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Misguided Drive to Measure ‘Learning Outcomes'”

Some schools use lengthy surveys like the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, which claims to test for qualities like “Truthseeking” and “Analyticity.” The Global Perspective Inventory, administered and sold by Iowa State University, asks students to rate their agreement with statements like “I do not feel threatened emotionally when presented with multiple perspectives” and scores them on metrics like the “Intrapersonal affect scale.”
So universities assemble committees of faculty members, arm them with rubrics and assign them piles of student essays culled from across the school.
Even its proponents have struggled to produce much evidence – beyond occasional anecdotes – that it improves student learning.
Pat Hutchings, a senior scholar at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, told me: “Good assessment begins with real, genuine questions that educators have about their students, and right now for many educators those are questions about equity. We’re doing pretty well with 18- to 22-year-olds from upper-middle-class families, but what about – well, fill in the blank.”
Learning outcomes assessment has become one way to answer the question, “If you get unprepared students in your class and they don’t do well, how does that get explained?” Mr. Eubanks at Furman University told me.
Mr. Gilbert became an outspoken assessment skeptic after years of watching the process fail to capture what happens in his classes – and seeing it miss the real reasons students struggle.
“Maybe all your students have full-time jobs, but that’s something you can’t fix, even though that’s really the core problem,” he said.
We end up using the language of the capitalist marketplace and speak to our students as customers rather than fellow thinkers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I thought my bully deserved an awful life. But then he had one.”

Now, as an adult, looking at the fate that befell my bully – a perverse fulfillment of a childhood prophesy, one that left him dead at 25 – I realize how problematic and how ingrained that thinking is.
Dan Savage, the journalist and gay rights activist, launched the It Gets Better Project in 2010 after a rash of suicides by teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers thought they were.
A large number of bullies are also bullying victims, meaning they face some of the same pathologies that they induce in others.
At the time, I’d never seen my mother’s boyfriend hit her, but my bully, who lived nearby, had witnessed it.
Even though it was the last year that my bully and I would share a class – he was held back, I moved on to the sixth grade, I gave up softball for soccer, and my last ties to him were severed – I continued to hate him.
In 2010, after years of finding nothing, I learned from a friend that my bully had been murdered in his home not far from where we grew up.
Look at every bully and their victim, and you’ll often find two kids who need help, not just one.
My bully ridiculed me for having a mother who was a victim of domestic violence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Baseball’s Economics Aren’t As Skewed As They Seem”

While MLB players have resisted a salary cap that might make it simpler to establish what the players’ share “Should” be, a 50-50 split sounds fairer - and much more sympathy-inducing, from a PR perspective - than a 60-40 split.
In December 2015, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told the L.A. Times that the players’ share of revenue was “As close to 50 percent as it has been in a long time.” A year later, upon negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that took effect in 2017, Clark said his expectation was that the split would “Stay right in that general area,” remarking that the union “Wouldn’t have agreed to the deal otherwise.” A 50-50 split seems to be the target that the Players Association has set for itself.
Add in the earnings of baseball’s chronically underpaid, nonunionized minor leaguers - the sport’s only true paupers - and the players’ share of revenue rises to more than 56 percent.
Stephen Walters, a professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland who consults on player evaluation for the Orioles, elaborates via email: “Clubs sign a lot of guys to deals that involve bonuses, a lot of teams pay well to store players in inventory as insurance, and clubs also spend a good amount insuring contracts. Those issues can reconcile the ‘estimates’ from outsiders like Forbes/Cot’s with MLB’s accounting.” Insurance, of course, is a cost to teams but not a boon to players’ bank accounts.
“Based on the publicly available data, the players’ share has definitely declined from what it was 15 years ago.” Just before the strike started in 1994, major leaguers were raking in 58 percent of revenue.
“Total player costs were in the range of 60 percent of revenues in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but fell gradually to the 56-57 percent range by 2010, where they have remained,” Noll says.
“Most likely tougher luxury-tax rules and more extensive revenue sharing that were instituted in the 2002 and 2006 collective bargaining agreements reduced the share of revenues going to players, but that had been completed by 2010.” Zimbalist says he doesn’t disagree with Noll’s analysis.
Compared with their predecessors from the Players Association’s early-2000s share-of-revenue heyday today’s players may have cause to be bitter, even if they have only their own negotiators to blame.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In an Era of ‘Smart’ Things, Sometimes Dumb Stuff Is Better”

While riding a bicycle, for example, you often have to let go of the handle bar and lift the watch toward your face to check the time.
Until the Apple Watch manages to constantly display the time without sapping the battery, a normal wristwatch is better for telling the time in all those scenarios.
A kitchen timer vs. Amazon EchoOne of the most common uses of Amazon’s Echo is to set a kitchen timer.
Just say “Alexa, set a timer for 80 minutes” while you’re busy chopping vegetables.
There are reasons a cheap kitchen timer can be superior.
So if you have to check your food for doneness and change the kitchen timer, an old-school timer – either the analog variety or the type with a digital time display and two or three physical buttons – can be easier.
You can also constantly see how much time is left on the timer, whereas with the Echo, you have to open a smartphone app to see the remaining time or ask Alexa to tell you how much time is left.
Over the long term, using a smart speaker as a timer gets tedious.

The orginal article.