What We’re Reading: May 9, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features the latest on the Niall Ferguson controversy, a comparative look at dissertation lengths across disciplines, a vigilante copy editor, and more!

The Niall Ferguson Controversy
Niall Ferguson’s Comments: An Open Letter to the Harvard Community
The Harvard professor apologizes for suggesting that “[John Maynard] Keynes was perhaps indifferent to the long run because he had no children and that he had no children because he was gay.

The Economic Homophobia of Niall Ferguson
Media Matters claims that this is “nothing new” for Ferguson.

Niall Ferguson, Ted Cruz, and the Politics of Masculinity
Garance Franek-Ruta at the Atlantic asks “What happens when our most vexing policy debates turn on the question of quien es mas macho.

Niall Ferguson’s Real Mistake
Jonah Goldberg, at the National Review, would “like some clarity about what the rules are now. Because I could swear that spelunking into the hidden caves of peoples’ personal lives to shed light—or cast aspersions—on their public personas and preferred policies is the height of scholarship and wisdom these days. ‘The personal is political’ is what my feminist professors taught me in college.”

History in the News
Sequester Impacts Tourism in Washington, DC
Budget issues affect the Mall, museums, and parks in the nation’s capital.

The Nine Cs of Historical Thinking
Tim Lacy adds four Cs and one S to Thomas Andrews and Flannery Burke’s “Five Cs of Historical Thinking,” first published in Perspectives in January 2007, and still one of the most popular articles in the Perspectives online archive.

Glowing Landscape Shows River History
Changes in the course of the Willamette River over time make for a stunning visualization.

Teaching and Learning
Length of the Average Dissertation
A terrific data visualization shows that, out of the top 50 majors, history, anthropology, and political science have the highest median page lengths. Contributed by AHA Today reader Phil Katz at the American Alliance of Museums.

Does Blanket “Don’t Go to Graduate School!” Advice Ignore Race and Reality?
Tressie McMillan Cottom for the Chronicle analyzes whether advising students against graduate school reflects a class consciousness, or takes into account the advantages grad school may hold for black students.

You’ll Never Learn!
A look at how our dependence on our mobile phones can be severely undercutting our ability to retain information.

Colleges and Their Priorities
At the American Conservative, Alan Jacobs looks at the rapid and lavish development of campus amenities, and wonders if “a bold college president” will try to distinguish his or her college not by its buildings, but “By the quality of our teaching.”

Wikipedia, Authority and the Free Rider Problem
Confessions of a “selfish Wikipedian” at Peter Webster’s blog.

Fun and Off-beat
American English Dialects
A group of linguists are crowdsourcing data on North American English dialects, via a web-based survey.

Tumbling with the Druids
Jeremy Deller’s giant inflatable Stonehenge at Art Basel Hong Kong is half bounce-house, half monument.

Vigilante Copy Editor
One concerned citizen’s plight to correct punctuation mistakes on the informational placards at the Pratt Institute’s sculpture garden.

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