The Hidden Danger of Adding the French Flag Filter to your Facebook Profile Picture

Captura de pantalla 2015-11-14 a les 18.58.49

After Friday’s attacks in Paris, Facebook has launched an optional filter for all users. This Facebook filter calls for solidarity with last Friday’s attacks by giving the option to customize profile pictures superimposing the French Tricoloure on them. Of course, more and more Facebook users are using this tool, shocked by terror in the French capital. First-class and second-class, inclusive third and fourth class casualties exist, it’s self-evident although not desirable.

To a certain extent, it’s understandable than an European citizen feels more upset for an attack in Paris than in Beirut. In fact, after analyzing the media coverage of both attacks, it would be odd if a person from, for example, Spain was more moved about a terrorist attack in Lebanon than in France. 

It’s evident that the biggest mass media are manipulating collective consciousness. The silence that reigns or the coldness while exposing the death tolls from attacks in the so-called Arab World, contrasts with the dramatism when informing the number of killed and wounded after an attack in Europe or the U.S. territory. This communication strategy is a model of success for creating first and second-class citizens and societies. More and more Europeans realize that they are being manipulated and try to ignore the influence of the mass media that end up building insurmountable walls between societies through action and inaction. However, this is a new strategy for social communication;the Facebook filter represents a danger that finds most users with lowered defenses.

See also: Can Science Solve Terrorism? Q&A with Psychologist John Horgan

Using this Facebook filter as a gesture with Paris attacks victims is supporting a view of the world where only occidental casualties matter and building another border wall surrounding this 21st Century European Fortress, inhabited by terrified vassals that give away their critical awareness to private companies and public institutions in exchange for a little calmness. When a bomb explodes or a missile falls in Lebanon, Irak, Iran or anywhere in the world, siblings suffer and parents lose their heart when knowing that their relatives are dead; friends desperately look for clues that may lead to their colleagues. It’s understandable (although not desirable) that an European citizen feels more upset after an attack in Paris than in Beirut. Most of us have friends in Paris or have visited this city on several occasions. But Facebook is a global company and with these kind gestures, the only success comes from establishing an imposed hegemonic point of view under which occidental casualties are important and a reason to get mobilized while, for example, the casualties after Thursday’s attacks in Beirut, don’t really count at all. We didn’t have the option to customize our Facebook profile pictures superimposing the flag of Lebanon, did we? From my point of view, accepting and supporting this attitude is extremely dangerous, even more if we support it without noticing at all.

Èric Lluent, journalist (Barcelona, 1986)

Translated by Ainhoa Rebolledo (Read it here in Spanish)

Citations Aren’t Enough: Academic Promotion and Scholar’s Presence in Popular Media

Scholars all around the world are almost solely judged upon their publications in (prestigious) peer-reviewed journals. Asit Biswas and Julian Kirchherr argue that publications in the popular media must count as well. After all, these publications are crucial in informing practitioners’ decision-making.

Many of the world’s most talented thinkers may be university professors, but sadly most of them do not shape today’s public debates or influence policies. Indeed, scholars often frown upon publishing in the popular media. “Running an opinion editorial to share my views with the public? Sounds like activism to me”, a professor recently noted at a conference, hosted by the University of Oxford. The absence of professors from shaping public debates and policies seems to have exacerbated in recent years, particularly in the social sciences. Even debates among scholars do not seem to function properly.

Up to 1.5 million peer-reviewed articles are published annually. However, many are ignored even within the scientific community: 82 percent of articles published in humanities are not even cited once. Rarely do scholars refer to 32 percent of the peer-reviewed articles in the social and 27 percent in the natural sciences.

If a paper is cited, though, this does not imply it has actually been read. According to one estimate, only 20 percent of papers citedhave actually been read. We suspect that an average paper in a peer-reviewed journal is read completely at most by no more than 10 people. Hence, impacts of most peer-reviewed publications even within the scientific community are miniscule.

knowledge policyImage credit: oscar cesare (Wikimedia, Public Domain)

Many scholars aspire to contribute to their discipline’s knowledge and to influence practitioner’s decision-making. However, it is widely acknowledged practitioners rarely read articles published in peer-reviewed journals. We know of no senior policy-maker, or senior business leader who ever reads any peer-reviewed papers, even in recognized journals like Nature, Science or The Lancet. No wonder: First of all, most journals are prohibitively expensive to access for anyone outside of academia. Even if the current open-access-movement becomes more successful, the incomprehensible jargon and the sheer volume and lengths of papers (mostly unnecessary!) would still prevent practitioners (including journalists) from reading them. Original Source (LSE Impact of Social Sciences)

Secrets of the Most Successful College Students

An article on TIME Magazine provides a useful list of 8 traits that a researcher found were common in highly successful college students.

According to Mr. Bain, the first thing students should do is “Think beyond the transcript. The creative, successful people profiled in this book—college graduates who went on to change the world we live in—aimed higher than straight A’s. They used their four years to cultivate habits of thought that would enable them to grow and adapt throughout their lives.”

Another important point is that the most successful students have a “Growth Mindset”, so these students do not believe intelligence is a fixed attribute and rather believe that intelligence can be developed over time, based upon experience and additional learning, opening students up to a much wider range of educational experiences.

  • Full list of traits:
    Pursue passion, not A’s
    Get comfortable with failure
    Make a personal connection to your studies
    Read and think actively
    Ask big questions
    Cultivate empathy for others
    Set goals and make them real
    Find a way to contribute

Best regards,
Pedro Calado


College-admission letters go out this month, and most recipients (and their parents) will place great importance on which universities said yes and which said no. A growing body of evidence, however, suggests that the most significant thing about college is not where you go, but what you do once you get there. Historian and educator Ken Bain has written a book on this subject, What the Best College Students Do, that draws a road map for how students can get the most out of college, no matter where they go.

(MORE:Does College Put Kids on a Party Pathway?)

As Bain details, there are three types of learners: surface, who do as little as possible to get by; strategic, who aim for top grades rather than true understanding; and deep learners, who leave college with a real, rich education. Bain then introduces us to a host of…

View original post 691 more words

In Defense of Academic Writing

judgmental observer

Academic writing has taken quite a bashing since, well, forever, and that’s not entirely undeserved. Academic writing can be pedantic, jargon-y, solipsistic and self-important. There are endless think pieces, editorials and New Yorker cartoons about the impenetrability of academese. In one of those said pieces, “Why Academics Can’t Write,” Michael Billig explains:

Throughout the social sciences, we can find academics parading their big nouns and their noun-stuffed noun-phrases. By giving something an official name, especially a multi-noun name which can be shortened to an acronym, you can present yourself as having discovered something real—something to impress the inspectors from the Research Excellence Framework.

Yes, the implication here is that academics are always trying to make things — a movie, a poem, themselves and their writing — appear more important than they actually are. These pieces also argue that academics dress simple concepts up in big words in order to exclude those…

View original post 1,995 more words

Why is Sociology Valuable?

Steve Rose PhD

3ATY4m1Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has made several public comments suggesting that sociology is irrelevant to matters of crime. Last year he used the humorous phrase, “now is not the time to commit sociology.” This year, his anti-sociological sentiment was revealed once again in his comment stating that crime against aboriginal women is not a sociological phenomenon.

The Prime Minister suggests that the police and the criminal justice system are the appropriate response, rather than investigating crime sociologically. His reason is that these are individual criminal acts, not symptoms of problematic social structures.

Harpers comments are not necessarily anti-intellectual. Rather, they are just anti-sociological, As suggested by Jakeet Singh in The Star, his comments are the result of a neo-liberal ideology of individualism:

Harper received a degree in economics and supports the merits of a global free-market, giving him a valid reason why he holds an anti-sociological…

View original post 339 more words

How and Why Academics Really Use Twitter

Many academics view Twitter with serious skepticism. At best, it seems difficult to communicate anything of complexity within 140 characters. However, university professors in many disciplines are increasingly using Twitter to share links to articles and ideas, to reach out to colleagues in other parts of the world, and to reflect on papers presented at conferences.  Twitter helps researchers to foster interdisciplinary connections, to spread the word about research fellowships and opportunities, and to share information quickly (and at scale). – Alisa Gross

How Academics Use Twitter

As the use of Twitter amongst academics has become more widespread, researchers have become interested in considering academic patterns of use and perspectives on its professional and research utility.
Articles published over the past five years have covered the following topics:
1) General statistics and observations about academics on Twitter
2) How Twitter is used as a mechanism for both discussing and publicizing research
3) Differences between Twitter scholarly communication amongst disciplines
4) How Twitter is used within academic conferences
5) Perspectives on Twitter’s utility for making professional connections and for networking. – Alisa Gross

Original Source: The Acclaim Blog

The 10 Best Careers Right Now For Recent College Graduates

Some career paths are going to be more beneficial, paying well, with solid career prospects and open to a recent grad. According with Business Insider, these are the 10 Best Careers Right Now For Recent College Graduates:

Best College Grad Career#1 Software Developer – Systems Software
#2 Software Developers – Applications
#3 Market Research Analyst/Marketing Specialist
#4 Accountant/Auditor
#5 Network/Computer Systems Administrator
#6 Elementary School Teacher
#7 Computer Systems Analyst
#8 Management Analyst
#9 Public Relations Specialist
#10 Insurance Sales Agent

See also: Hot Careers for College Graduates

There’s No App for Good Teaching

See all articles in the series

8 ways to think about tech in ways that actually improve the classroom.

Bringing technology into the classroom often winds up an awkward mash-up between the laws of Murphy and Moore: What can go wrong, will — only faster.

It’s a multi-headed challenge: Teachers need to connect with classrooms filled with distinct individuals. We all want learning to be intrinsically motivated and mindful, yet we want kids to test well and respond to bribes (er, extrinsic rewards). Meanwhile, there’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, in the US alone, hoping to sell apps and tech tools to school boards.

There’s no app for that.

But there are touchstones for bringing technology into the classroom. With educational goals as the starting point, not an afterthought, teachers can help students use — and then transcend — technology as they learn.

Children as early as Pre-Kindergarten at Love T. Nolan Elementary School in College Park, Georgia have access to the iPad to reinforce techniques taught in the classroom. Starting in pre-kindergarten, children at Love T. Nolan Elementary School in College Park, Georgia, have access to an iPad to reinforce techniques taught in the classroom. Photo by Amanda…

View original post 1,587 more words

The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors

See also:


Search engine optimization — SEO — may seem like alchemy to the uninitiated. But there is a science to it. Search engines reward pages with the right combination of ranking factors, or “signals.” SEO is about ensuring your content generates the right type of signals.


View original post

What The Best Education Systems Are Doing Right

In South Korea and Finland, it’s not about finding the “right” school.

Fifty years ago, both South Korea and Finland had terrible education systems. Finland was at risk of becoming the economic stepchild of Europe. South Korea was ravaged by civil war. Yet over the past half century, both South Korea and Finland have turned their schools around — and now both countries are hailed internationally for their extremely high educational outcomes. What can other countries learn from these two successful, but diametrically opposed, educational models? Here’s an overview of what South Korea and Finland are doing right.

The Korean model: Grit and hard, hard, hard work.

For millennia, in some parts of Asia, the only way to climb the socioeconomic ladder and find secure work was to take an examination — in which the proctor was a proxy for the emperor, says Marc Tucker, president and CEO of the National Center on…

View original post 1,389 more words