News and Notes, Friday the 13th Edition

The past two weeks of school have absolutely consumed me. Two major projects, two professional book reviews, and writing the last ten pages of my third and final master’s thesis chapter have left little time for blogging and, quite frankly, I’m temporarily burnt out on writing. I have a lot of new ideas rolling in my head and over the next month there will hopefully be a lot of content worth sharing, but for the time being I’ll share some noteworthy articles worth reading:

  • The median grade at Harvard University is an A-, prompting claims that Harvard faculty are engaging in grade inflation.
  • Andrew Hartman on the curious avoidance of Noam Chomsky by historians.
  • The eminent American historian Michael Kammen passed away on November 29. A major loss to the entire discipline.
  • Michael Piotrowski muses on the dangers of creating a definition of “digital humanities” that is too rigid and exclusionary.
  • Philip Bump argues that while learning to code can help to develop important and marketable skills, “every American should know basic math. Every American should understand the logical underpinnings to coding, the way conditional clauses work and the cyclical way in which systems are constructed. Americans should know that the way a website works isn’t the way a video game works which isn’t the way a bank’s database works, but they don’t need to learn to “code” all of those things. Just as every American doesn’t need to get certified as a mechanic, but should know how to change a tire, every American should know how computer systems work in the abstract but doesn’t need to code.”
  • Google launches Open Gallery to help any museum or gallery create online exhibits.
  • A Pew Study finds that while public library usage is down in America, 94 percent of Americans still believe that libraries postively contribute to the quality of life in a community.
  • Rachel Laudan on the relationship between history and the historical sciences: “What’s So Special About the Past?”
  • Alexis Madrigal on Stream-based information delivery services. More thoughts from me on this excellent piece in a future post.