What we’re reading

In the Internet age, it’s often difficult to filter through the inordinate amount of content to find the best there is. Between the barrage of clickbait present on your Facebook newsfeed (can ANYONE tell me why Answers.com exists?) and the sheer massive amount of reporting available online, sometimes it’s easier to read no news than to find the news you want. 

Fear no more! Introducing: “What we’re reading,” a weekly column designed to streamline the sifting process by providing you with some of Blog’s favorite web content of the week. 

First off, “Rising the Juggernaut,” a piece in the Economist asking (and attempting to answer!) the question: “Has the Islamic State baited America into a campaign to wipe it out?”

Politico’s “Is It Time to Ditch the Star-Spangled Banner?” is not only pretty self-explanatory but also fascinating!

Quartz’s “Here’s how ‘disruptive innovation’ works in nature: a killing-machine fish has colonized reefs from Venezuela to Rhode Island,” is also extremely self-explanatory, given the Upworthy-length title.

ESPN anchor Hannah Storm said what everyone was thinking following the Ray Rice scandal.

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Stop killing trees

On Quizlet, you can design your own flashcards or use pre-made study material

Tired of making hundreds of flashcards when midterm season comes ‘round?  Fearless studier, drop your environmental qualms and head on over to one of the various electronic study aids available on the interwebz.  No, we don’t mean sporcle.  Sites like StudyBlue and Quizlet let you make online flashcards and interact with other people who are studying the same subjects.  Over at StudyBlue, you and your classmates can actually register for specific courses at Brown and share review material with one another.


Call more friends with Facebook-Skype pairing

Courtesy of Shuttervoice

BBC News reports that Internet behemoths Facebook and Skype are about to strike a massive deal that will integrate the two, making it easier to make Skype calls via your Facebook friends list.

The partnership will mean Skype users can update their statuses and interact with News Feed via the Skype platform. You’ll also be able to use Facebook as a contact directory for your Skype account, make free Skype-to-Skype phone calls with Facebook friends who use Skype, and “call and text Facebook friends directly on their mobile phones and landlines.”

Hmm…isn’t that last one already the function of a regular phone? Regardless, this partnership will be one to keep an eye on in the days to come, even if it ultimately is just a glorified address book adaptation. Rumor has it that Facebook’s using the deal to pave the way for plans of a Facebook phone, which hopefully won’t end up following the same trajectory as the unfortunately short-lived Microsoft Kin…


There’s a map for that

© Copyright SASI Group (University of Sheffield) and Mark Newman (University of Michigan)

If you’ve seen a bill from Brown, it won’t surprise you that the US spends a ton of money on higher education. But what about other countries? Check out the map above, which presents countries’ size as a function of their spending on tertiary education (college, law schools, etc.)

At Worldmapper, visual leaners and dataheads alike can find this and over 700 other maps addressing issues from vegetable consumption to condom use.


BEHIND THE HEADLINE: Heraldsphere

On February 14, 1995, The Brown Daily Herald gave the University a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day gift: itself.

It’s been 15 years since we graced the Internet with our presence, first appearing as a long-shot dream called “Heraldsphere.” On that fateful day in February, we received 15 site visits at www.theherald.org — and a legend was born.

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