links for 2011-05-08

  • What do we teach our kids and how is this learning relevant to a rapidly changing and unpredictable future? Is it necessary to be able to recite the kings and queens of England since 1066, to complete a quadratic equation before breakfast? In recent years concerns have been raised over the value of the content of the education delivered to our young people. According to figures from the OECD, secondary pupils in United Kingdom are slipping behind their international counter parts
  • In the late 1990s while studying at the Royal College of Art in the Design Products department, I came across a box of hangers discarded on the street in South London. Some were familiar but others were quite unusual, with strange crooked shapes, extraordinarily long hooks or company names embossed into their wooden surfaces. Struck by the variety of characters expressed by this one type of product I appealed to friends to bring more into college, however strange or ordinary, so that I could make a record of them.
  • We should not forget that the term of “esthetics” was introduced into English for the first time by Thomas De Quincey to translate the German terms used by Kant and Schiller. This was in "Murder considered as one of the fine arts," the essay that established De Quincey’s name among British humorists. It begins by stating that murder has two handles. It can be seized by the moral handle, which can be left to priests and judges, or by the esthetic handle, which is used by everyone else. That esthetic handle turns death into spectacle since it allows us to treat it purely "esthetically." 

    For instance, let's imagine that a victim has been killed: we should only consider whether it makes a good or a bad show. He writes: "A sad thing it was, no doubt, very sad

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