Hi there, Mark here. Thank you for opening today’s edition of The Highlighter. Before anything else, why don’t you hit reply and say hi? You’ll feel great, plus I’ll write you back something kind. This week’s issue includes yet another outstanding video from a loyal reader. (Keep them coming!) Also
Hi there, Mark here. Thank you for opening today’s edition of The Highlighter. Before anything else, why don’t you hit reply and say hi? You’ll feel great, plus I’ll write you back something kind.
This week’s issue includes yet another outstanding video from a loyal reader. (Keep them coming!) Also you’ll read great articles on good and evil (and naiveté), higher education, Black women journalists, and calculator market monopolies. Please enjoy!
+ HHH is tonight! It would be great to see you. Please swing by. If you do, you’ll meet other great people, chat about the articles, build your empathy, and have a chance to win two crowd-pleasing grand prizes. We’re meeting at Room 389 beginning at 5:30 pm.
+ Looking to read more (and more closely) in the new year? Article Club is for you. A dedicated group of readers will focus on one article per month. If you want to have a deeper Highlighter experience, and to connect with other thoughtful readers, please sign up. (It’s free.) We’ll start up in January.
A Bike Ride Through the Garden of Good and Evil
“Evil is a make-believe concept,” 28-year-old Jay Austin wrote in his blog, on the 273rd day of an around-the-world bike ride with his girlfriend, Lauren Geoghegan, after a stranger saved their lives in the icy, blizzardy mountains of southern Spain. “By and large, humans are kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.” Three months later, the couple was murdered by terrorists in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan.
This is the story of two young Americans who quit their jobs and got on their bikes to see the world. They wanted to reduce their carbon footprint, seek adventure, and trust the universe. Their mission statement made things clear: “[We want] to be given hope, confirmation that the oft-maligned batch of humans that occupy this planet are largely good and kind.” (23 min)
+ This article reminded me of “The American Missionary And The Uncontacted Tribe,” (#207), which I highly recommend.
California Higher Education Reforms Are Tackling The Biggest Challenges
Here’s an uplifting article about the state of higher education in California! Who knew that could be true? It turns out that the Golden State has raised four-year graduation rates (19% to 28%), increased community college transfers, eliminated remedial classes (saving $1.3 billion a year), hired more advisers, built food pantries, and moved textbooks online. How? It’s simple: California is one of just four states that has increased its higher education budget since 2008. (17 min)
The Heroines of America’s Black Press
Esteemed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led The 1619 Project (#205) at The New York Times, credits the work of Ida B. Wells as instrumental in shaping the arc of her career. This article emphasizes that Ms. Wells did not act alone and profiles six lesser-known Black women journalists whose search for truth — amid the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the height of Jim Crow, and the terror of lynching — paved the way for advances in racial justice, gender equality, and political reform. (23 min)
Big Calculator: How Texas Instruments Monopolized Math Class
Most advanced Math classes and the AP Calculus exam require the use of graphing calculators, which run $100-plus a pop, and which present equity challenges for teachers who work in low-income schools. This article explains how Texas Instruments hoards huge profits (each calculator costs $15 to produce) and has maintained a monopoly on the market. One way is by preventing Desmos, a free online alternative, from gaining traction. (14 min)
+ Reader Annotations: Loyal reader Matt appreciated last week’s lead article but disagreed with the author’s interpretation of Catholicism’s conception of happiness.
Thank you, Matt, for sharing your thoughts and doing additional reading. You’re a good candidate for Article Club!
That’s it for this week! I hope you’re not (too) angry that today’s edition has ended. Did you like this week’s issue? Please vote using the thumbs below. Also, please welcome our reading community’s six new members: Zaretta, Jamilah, Luis, Newsletters Squad, Emily, and Shay. I hope that you find the newsletter a welcome addition to your Thursday email inbox.
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