Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive

Friday Linkdump shoots lasers out of dog skulls

Taking pride of place this week, The best video I've seen in a while, brought here thanks to my friend Art, who felt like it was the sort of thing I really ought to see.

He was right. I mean, this is often what it's like inside of my skull.

And now, links:

- The Texas Republican Party Platform. Of special interest is page 12, in the Knowledge-Based Education plank, where the TRP comes out against "Higher Order Thinking Skills...critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education...which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." While the wording has been attributed to an error, the TRP's Communications Director's response doesn't do a whole lot to disabuse me of the notion that whoever devised this plank really does value rote learning and obedience over teaching kids how things work, to ask questions, and how to actively engage the material. Memorization is not the same thing as learning.

- From the exact opposite of the spectrum in terms of intellectual curiosity: 'Fairy Circles' In Namibia Grasslands Remain A Mystery To Scientists. "Fairy Circles" are spontaneously occurring bare patches around which the grass seems to thrive. They last 30-60 years, and scientists don't know what causes them. A current theory: a form of plant organization. How cool is that?

- If you don't hear the strains of a certain Violent Femmes song when you click the link to The Permanent Record Project blog, I cry tiny tears for you. Still, even if you don't, that's no reason not to check this thing out. Basically, in 1996, a guy named Paul found a file cabinet from a defunct Depression-era girls' school. He gathered up as many records as he could, then eventually started trying to find out what he could about the people in them. Gorgeous stuff.

- The ‘Busy’ Trap
Why this opinion piece about why "busy culture" is bad for actual productivity, especially among the creative set, caught my attention: I recently started a medication that's improved my life in about a billion ways, but has also altered my sleep patterns. It coincided, awkwardly, with a seasonal change in schedule that leaves me enervated and tense. Over the last couple of months, I've been working to figure out what sort of routine to cultivate, which has meant a certain degree of what looks like idleness. What's startling, though, is how productive a lot of it feels. And, moreover, how much better some of my work actually is. Given time for reflection and curiosity, interesting things are happening with my creativity. I hereby endorse play and gentleness.

- Unusual Words Rendered in Bold Graphics
If this doesn't make somebody feel more than a little bit scripturient, I don't know what will.

- NOAA: “Mermaids Do Not Exist”
Offered without comment.

- Disappearing space dust belt baffles boffins
It is probably with the mermaids!

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