Are students pre-programmed to live with inequality? | Education | The Guardian

After showing the films it struck me just how different are the worlds of these young people. How, for most of them, in their groups, they are likely to be near the average, not the wealthiest in their class, nor the poorest. But how, as our education system has become more divided, as people further segregate by area and hence by school, divide further still where selective entrance is allowed and further still where school fees are soaring, it becomes harder for students to know what is normal, and easier to feel aggrieved, rather than realising that they are all walking into the same society, into the same mess which, like their school and university choice, was largely not of their making.

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The Tyranny of Stuctureless

Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved. The very fact that we are individuals, with different talents, predispositions, and backgrounds makes this inevitable…


Structurelessness becomes a way of masking power, and … is usually most strongly advocated by those who are the most powerful … As long as the structure of the group is informal, the rules of how decisions are made are known only to a few and awareness of power is limited to those who know the rules.

Source: here

Goodbye to a not-so-good scientist | Sue Blackmore

I feel sorry for my old friend and colleague, but I can only conclude that she is, in both her successes and her failures, the architect of her own fate. In her determination to get to the top, she may be an example of a woman having to fight even harder than a man to achieve such goals. So she has proved not only that you can be both a woman in chic suits and a scientist, but also that a female scientist can be just as competitive and ambitious as any man.

But what bothers me, and other scientists, is that she does not seem much to value science itself. The absolute heart of what it means to care about science is that you care about the evidence – that your opinions are based not on what you would like to be true but on what is found by research to be true.

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Official Google Blog: A new approach to China

We [google] have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech.

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

Source: here

This is not class war | Ed Balls

That's why debates that set out the choices will be so important. And, while the leaders' TV debates will inevitably draw the attention, I hope we will see the cabinet and shadow cabinet debating too. This week I will ask my opposite numbers to agree dates, and will propose that we invite parents, teachers, governors and pupils – the people who will be affected directly by the election choice – to ask the questions.

Because there are big choices on education policy. Do we guarantee one-to-one tuition for children falling behind, and education and training up to 18 for all young people? Do we stop treating vocational qualifications as second class? Do we give parents more information on how local schools are performing by introducing new school report cards? The Tories say no to all these reforms.

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How Robber Barons hijacked the “Victorian Internet”

In many ways this story is far field from our contemporary debates about network management, file sharing, and the perils of protocol discrimination. But the main questions seem to remain the same—to what degree will we let Western Union then and ISPs now pick winners and losers on our communications backbone? And when do government regulations grow so onerous that they discourage network investment and innovation?

These are tough questions, but the horrific problems of the "Victorian Internet" suggest that government overreach isn't the only thing to fear. In 1876, laissez-faire "freedom for all" meant (in practice) the freedom for Henry Nash Smith to read your telegrams if he didn't like who you supported for President. It meant freedom for Associated Press to block criticism of Western Union, and even to put potential critics and competitors out of business. And it meant freedom for a scoundrel to hijack the system at his leisure.

Source: here

How Robber Barons hijacked the "Victorian Internet"

In many ways this story is far field from our contemporary debates about network management, file sharing, and the perils of protocol discrimination. But the main questions seem to remain the same—to what degree will we let Western Union then and ISPs now pick winners and losers on our communications backbone? And when do government regulations grow so onerous that they discourage network investment and innovation?

These are tough questions, but the horrific problems of the "Victorian Internet" suggest that government overreach isn't the only thing to fear. In 1876, laissez-faire "freedom for all" meant (in practice) the freedom for Henry Nash Smith to read your telegrams if he didn't like who you supported for President. It meant freedom for Associated Press to block criticism of Western Union, and even to put potential critics and competitors out of business. And it meant freedom for a scoundrel to hijack the system at his leisure.

Source: here

How Robber Barons hijacked the "Victorian Internet"

In many ways this story is far field from our contemporary debates about network management, file sharing, and the perils of protocol discrimination. But the main questions seem to remain the same—to what degree will we let Western Union then and ISPs now pick winners and losers on our communications backbone? And when do government regulations grow so onerous that they discourage network investment and innovation?

These are tough questions, but the horrific problems of the "Victorian Internet" suggest that government overreach isn't the only thing to fear. In 1876, laissez-faire "freedom for all" meant (in practice) the freedom for Henry Nash Smith to read your telegrams if he didn't like who you supported for President. It meant freedom for Associated Press to block criticism of Western Union, and even to put potential critics and competitors out of business. And it meant freedom for a scoundrel to hijack the system at his leisure.

Source: here