Northern Ireland, Saakashvili, Visigoths, Coding, Schools

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Policing The Troubles

Simon Gardner | New Inquiry | 16th October 2015

The British state and the IRA in Northern Ireland. "Contradiction is at the heart of the Troubles: the idea that in order to fight a brutal state, you need to create a brutal state within the state. The result is that the people effectively live in two or three or four brutal states at once, multiplying injustice" This "often left the community with nowhere to go, with even less recourse than they had to start with" (2,120 words)

Profile of Mikheil Saakashvili

Natalia Antelava | Guardian | 27th October 2015

“There is one thing that you need to understand about me,” says former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (now, improbably, governor of Ukraine's Odessa region): “I hate Vladimir Putin... This is my war... We need to stop him." A heavily westernised but still interesting view of Saakashvili. "I feel lucky. Not many people have a chance to build a country from scratch. Hardly anyone has had a chance to do it twice" (5,540 words)

Raiders Of Alaric’s Lost Tomb

livius | The History Blog | 26th October 2015

A search for the tomb of a Visigoth King (with a €1 billion stash of gold) is a tourist gimmick. The gold won't be there but it's a good excuse to learn about an interesting character. "Alaric’s army spent three days sacking Rome, but it was quite respectful, as sacks go. They didn’t set it on fire — only a few public buildings were burned down for strategic reasons — and they spared the churches of Saint Peter and Paul” (1,230 words)

Against Coding Academies

Stephen Nichols | Tech Crunch | 23rd October 2015

Silicon Valley's boom has spawned a cottage industry of coding "boot camps", promising that students can go from zero to pro in a few weeks. Such claims elide some basic truths: most people simply aren't right for a job that requires daily typing and editing of thousands of lines of a non-human language, and any basic coding literacy has a high obsolescence rate. In most cases, these academies enrich only their operators (1,190 words)

Educational Reform, Social Reform

Fredrik deBoer | Fredrick deBoer | 26th October 2015

An uncomplicated assumption that poor schools are solely responsible for poor educational performance underlies much current policy debate. This ignores the roles of parents and children to affect their own outcomes. More importantly, it ignores the existence of real variance in ability. Acknowledging academic inequality, and structuring expectations around it, is more helpful than renewed attacks on beleaguered public schools (1,720 words)

Video of the day: When natural phenomenon meets man-made systems:

What to expect: Programming living organisms (4'46")

Thought for the day

I don't necessarily agree with everything I say
Marshall McLuhan

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