Worth Reading - 1/26

1. Peter Leithart reflects on the importance of paper books and the advantages they have over e-readers:

Naomi Baron’s Reading Onscreen argues that the value of digital reading depends on the kind of reading you’re doing: “digital reading is fine for many short pieces or for light content we don’t intend to analyze or reread.” But “eReading is less well suited for many longer works or even for short ones requiring serious thought.”

In part, Baron’s point is simply empirical. She cites many studies that indicate how people distinguish reading onscreen from reading a book. For instance, “Ziming Liu at San Jose State University compared reading behavior onscreen versus in hardcopy. Study participants (graduate students and working professionals) devoted more time to browsing and scanning, and to reading selectively, when working onscreen than when reading print. Subjects also reported that their onscreen reading was less in-depth than with hardcopy.”

2. Some tips on studying, based on a study that indicates simple re-reading is insufficient:

The majority of students study by re-reading notes and textbooks — but the psychologists’ research, both in lab experiments and of actual students in classes, shows this is a terrible way to learn material. Using active learning strategies — like flashcards, diagramming, and quizzing yourself — is much more effective, as is spacing out studying over time and mixing different topics together.

3. Bit by bit, monks are working to preserve Iraq's Christian history. This post is from NPR:

There have been Dominican monks in the city of Mosul since about 1750. They amassed a library of thousands of ancient manuscripts and say they brought the printing press to Iraq in the early 1800s. Rattling around in a box, Michaeel brings out Aramaic typeset.

As an Islamist insurgency roiled Mosul in 2008, monks smuggled their library out, bit by bit, to the Christian village of Qaraqosh. Last summer, when ISIS was inching closer, Michaeel took action. He prepared everything and put the collection in a big truck at 5 a.m.

4. An interesting history of the crock-pot and gender roles, from the Washington Post:

Seventy-five years ago today, an inventor named Irving Nachumsohn received a patent for the first commercially successful electric slow cooker. A few decades later, his device was more than just a beloved accessory in millions of American kitchens. The Crock-Pot was also seen as evidence that consumer goods could no longer be sold just to housewives but also would need to serve the needs of working women as well. Some credit the Crock-Pot and other home appliances with helping increase the number of women in the workforce.

The history of the slow cooker, whose sales have been booming recently, reflects a still-raging debate about how consumer appliances have changed — and failed to change — the gender balance at home as well as at work.
We often talk about the specific nature calling, and it’s helpful to recall here that each individual is gifted in and inspired by different things. No two students will follow exactly the same path, and it would be a mistake to assume that a single policy can address needs as different as the individuals receiving the education.

Instead of trying to solve the dilemma of education with charity, let’s look at it as an investment in the students and hold them – and ourselves – to a higher standard.