Not a charity

The U.S. public education system is not a charity. It is a civic institution, the most important, many argue, in the country, and it educates the vast majority of America’s children — the well-off ones and middle-class ones and those who are so poor that they turn up in class with flea collars around their ankles (as one superintendent told me). It is in some areas of the country a brilliant success and in other places a crushing failure, differences that reflect embedded inequality in the U.S. society and economy.
— From Why a live, star-studded TV show on school reform is a problem, by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, Sept 8, 2017.

On the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans…

Here is the essential truth. We are better together than we are apart.

Indivisibility is our essence. Isn’t this the gift that the people of New Orleans have given to the world? We radiate beauty and grace in our food, in our music, in our architecture, in our joy of life, in our celebration of death; in everything that we do. We gave the world this funky thing called jazz, the most uniquely American art form that is developed across the ages from different cultures. Think about second lines, think about Mardi Gras, think about muffaletta, think about the Saints, gumbo, red beans and rice. By God, just think.

All we hold dear is created by throwing everything in the pot; creating, producing something better; everything a product of our historic diversity.

Remarks delivered May, 2017 by the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, upon the removal of the last of the city’s several Confederate monuments. Transcript (NY Times)

A president read a book

After 1945, every subsequent president knew what nuclear holocaust looked like and thus to avoid it. How they did so can be instructive. For example: President John F. Kennedy’s thoughtful if lucky handling of the Cuban missile crisis, warding off nuclear war by ignoring his more trigger-happy military advisers. Having just read Barbara Tuchman’s book “The Guns of August,” about the madcap rush into World War I, Kennedy said, “I am not going to follow a course which will allow anyone to write a comparable book about this time, ‘The Missiles of October.’
Sarah Vowell, The Dangers of an Incurious President,

Seven thousand years in 90 minutes

A few hundred thousand years ago in early human (or hominid) prehistory, growth was so slow that it took on the order of one million years for human productive capacity to increase sufficiently to sustain an additional one million individuals living at subsistence level. By 5000 bc, following the Agricultural Revolution,  the rate of growth had increased to the point where the same amount of growth took just two centuries. Today, following the Industrial Revolution, the world economy grows on average by that amount every ninety minutes.
… It is impressive that an amount of economic growth that took 200 years seven thousand years ago takes just ninety minutes now, and that the world population growth that took two centuries then takes one and a half weeks now.
From Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom

Facts, precedents, and the courts

Listening to senators and an appellate judge extol the virtue of adhering to precedent, one would reasonably conclude that most fact patterns are identical, and finding applicable precedent a simple matter of reading the law. If that were true, we could indeed rely on algorithms to mine case law and apply the law.

In reality, however, the facts of a case rarely fit nicely into precedent. In fact, no two cases are exactly alike, and when the facts of a case fit into a particular precedent, there’s not much for lawyers to dispute or judges to decide. Reading any given case gives a clear understanding that a controversy may require a judge to wade through dozens of precedents in making a decision. Not surprisingly, judges applying the same precedents come to conflicting conclusions in the circuit courts; that’s how disputes get to the Supreme Court.
— From Robert Honig’s letter to the Washington Post, regarding the judicial concept of originalism and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch. Published March 25, 2017

A number this large

Mathematically, IPv4 can only support about 232 or 4.3 billion connections. IPv6, on the other hand, can handle 2128 or 34O,282,366,92O,938,463,463,374,6O7,431,768,211,456, connections.

The implications of a number this large are mind-boggling. There are only 1019 grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. That means IPv6 would allow each grain of sand to have a trillion IP addresses. In fact, there are so many possible with IPv6 that every single atom on our planet could receive a unique address and we would ‘still have enough addresses left to do another 100+ earths.’
Future Crimes, Mark Goodman, page 286. Interior quote is from Steve Liebson, “IPV6: How Many IP Addresses Can Dance on the Head of a Pin,” EDN Network, March 28, 2008; “The Internet of Things”.

Everything else is optional

…All PCs are niche devices: for most people, particularly outside the U.S., a smartphone is all they need or care to buy. The world today is the exact opposite of the world a mere decade ago, where we bought dedicated devices to plug into our digital hub PCs; the smartphone (and cloud) is the hub, and everything else is optional.
Ben Thompson, Surface Studio, Nintendo Switch, and Niche Strategies. 
October 27, 2016. 
There are questions that we can answer here that we can’t answer anywhere else.
Joseph Levy, Geologist, University of Texas-Austin
Mars, episode 4, at 44:01

Levy continues: “When the wind is howling. When it is -20° or -30° it's enough to start me thinking about having frostbite or hypothermia. Despite being dangerous and extremely cold and having hazards all around you there are questions that we can answer here that we can't answer anywhere else.”

17 examples of museum-ish social media for Alexandra Korey

Alexandra - -  here are some thoughts re: your question about examples of museum social media. (Posted here for easier sharing/linking and in case someone else was interested.)

Not a comprehensive list and not exclusively 2016, but perhaps useful/provocative. Note that I’m mostly interested in (and focusing on) examples that come from outside museums themselves.

1. Re: participation at scale, across the whole sector - - #askacurator@museumselfieday, #ilovemuseums - - via @mardixon (and see museumselfie info/paper here by Alli Burness

2. Re: giving control of the brand/trust relationship to users. @sweden - -

3. Re: Civics/Governance in public institutions (demonstrating what is possible), “The Spanish Town That Runs On Twitter”

4. Re: opening up to public interest in science, process, inquiry - - How to Tweet Like a Robot on Mars - -

5. Re: the relationship between global/local and not taking oneself too seriously, Orkney Library - - [Note: Tumblr thinks the link is spam or evil, but it’s not, and it’s a good article. Copy/paste the URL into your browser.]

6. Re: cross-sector movement by museum staff - - #museumsRespondToFerguson.

7. Re: unusual and engaging telling of history - - @ReliveApollo11, real-time tweeting of ground/mission communication transcripts from original Apollo moon mission, from National Air and Space Museum (and in particular the numerous and poignant replies from the public)

8. Re: beautiful and surprising concepts, though not *exactly* social media, “Birdwatching” at the Rijksmuseum - - a meetup of birdwatching enthusiasts to tag/catalog images of birds in the Rijks collections. and

9. Re: working with communities - - the beautiful way that Dr Meghan Ferriter supports and encourages the Smithsonian Transcription Center community.

10. Re: museum collections speaking for themselves: Museum Bots - -

11. Re: initiatives supported by users/fans on their own - - #bookstagram on Instagram. and

12. And Instagram in general…

13. And YouTube in general…

14: Re: Collecting/curating *outside* of official channels. Pinterest - -

15. Re: soliciting stories/content from the public, The Museum of Broken Relationships.

16. Re: artists speaking for themselves - - @aiww - - the artist on Twitter. “Twitter is the people’s tool, the tool of the ordinary people, people who have no other resources.” (A little more on

17. …And an enormous shoutout/kudos to all the museums out there who are just being good - - good to their audiences and communities - - on social media. It’s not a sexy story, but it’s a great one, and maybe the one that matters the most. 

The Hubble volume

The Hubble volume is the sphere of space visible to the Hubble telescope—i.e. everything that’s not receding from us at a rate greater than the speed of light due to the expansion of the universe. The Hubble volume is an unfathomably large 1031 cubic light years.
That’s 846,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cubic kilometers.