Inhumane Humanities

Humanities education in America is facing a crisis at the highest levels, writes The New Republic, as job prospects dwindle and graduate researchers multiply.

Humanities education in America is facing a crisis at the highest levels, writes The New Republic, as job prospects dwindle and graduate researchers multiply. "Efforts to create new forms of general education foundered because general education was aimed at preparing students for the world outside the academic walls. Nestled in their disciplinary armor, the professors--the descendants of those late-nineteenth-century reformers who created the university in the first place--distrusted, and resisted, the idea of training people for practical affairs. Interdisciplinarity hit its natural limits fairly soon. Administrators often liked interdisciplinary programs, since they sounded exciting, and staff could sometimes be appointed without deferring to departmental power, and they were cheap--but for the most part, though, the disciplines remained intact and in charge, and interdisciplinarity actually reinforced their authority. In theory, as Menand shows in a fine bit of academic comedy, interdisciplinary courses meant enabling two people from different disciplines to teach together: this would lead to productive collisions, which would in turn show faculty and students the limits of their perspectives. But in practice the faculty tended to go awry with highly idiosyncratic versions of their colleagues’ disciplines, while their students sank into paralytic bewilderment."

Trusting your instincts is lazy: Poker pro Liv Boeree on Big Think Edge

International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
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Are you an overbuyer or an underbuyer?

One way to limit clutter is by being mindful of your spending.

  • Overbuyers are people who love to buy — they stockpile things as a result. These are individuals who are prone to run out of space in trying to store their stuff and they may even lose track of what — and how much of what — they have.
  • One way overbuyers can limit their waste, both money and space wise, is by storing items at the store, and then buy them when they really need them.
  • Underbuyers tend to go to extraordinary lengths to not buy things. They save money and do fewer errands, however, they often make do with shabby personal items. They may also, when they finally decide to go out to buy a product, go without entirely because the item may no longer be available.

Here's when machines will take your job, as predicted by A.I. gurus

An MIT study predicts when artificial intelligence will take over for humans in different occupations.

Photo credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / AFP / Getty Images
Surprising Science

While technology develops at exponential speed, transforming how we go about our everyday tasks and extending our lives, it also offers much to worry about. In particular, many top minds think that automation will cost humans their employment, with up to 47% of all jobs gone in the next 25 years. And chances are, this number could be even higher and the massive job loss will come earlier.

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A new study has investigated who watched the ISIS beheading videos, why, and what effect it had on them

This is the first study to explore not only what percentage of people in the general population choose to watch videos of graphic real-life violence, but also why.

Mind & Brain

In the summer of 2014, two videos were released that shocked the world. They showed the beheadings, by ISIS, of two American journalists – first, James Foley and then Steven Sotloff. Though the videos were widely discussed on TV, print and online news, most outlets did not show the full footage. However, it was not difficult to find links to the videos online.

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