The Sandman [...]

"The Sandman" is a short story (Der Sandmann in German) written by E. T. A. Hoffmann in 1816 that draws on the folklore character of the same name who throws sand in children's eyes to make them fall asleep.

Themes in "The Sandman" include eyes, laughter, automatons, and childhood fears.

It is the inspiration for Sigmund Freud's essay "The Uncanny" (PDF) -- "Das Unheimlich." It's also the inspiration for Neil Gaiman's series of graphic novels,  Sandman.

Full text of Hoffmann's story

 

 

Monograms and Personalization [...]

When my dad died a few years ago and we were going through all his stuff, neither my little brother nor I wanted to keep any of his silver. My parents had a cabinet in the dining room where they displayed a collection of plates and mugs and the like. I think most of it had been wedding gifts. But we didn't want it. Silver requires so much maintenance -- polishing and so on. It's not like we'd use it. So we put all of it -- heirlooms and all -- in a pile for an estate sale. But there were a couple of pieces that had "ALW" and "FDW" engraved on them. Our initials. I imagine these were gifts when we were either born or christened. And we felt obligated to keep these. The monograms meant they were somehow "personalized."

Monograms date back thousands of years. Some of the earliest ones can be found on coins (from around 350 BC). From "Monograms -- A Brief History":

From the days of Charlemagne through the late 1600s, a monogram was a symbol of the powerful. Royalty and military leaders used their initials to form a personal brand to remind others of their position and influence in society. Monograms were used to authenticate official documents, mark government buildings, and to identify objects belonging to the ruler in power. In the 18th and 19th centuries, economic growth and the aesthetic trends of the Victorian Era, combined with the development of America, created new groups of prosperous people who had social aspirations to adorn their personal and household possessions. Monogramming came in and out of popular culture throughout the 20th century. The popularity of personalization often reflected the global political and economic climate. Before World War II, monograms were popular and harmonious with many homemaking and personal style trends. It was essential to have your clothing and accessories monogrammed, especially in the early 1900s and again in the 1920s, a time of great prosperity. After World War II, monogramming reemerged as an important symbol of the 1950s and 1960s, representing a woman’s performance as both housewife and mother.

Monograms remain popular, but they are much more accessible today. (Digital content doesn't require engraving or sewing or the like. And one needn't sew or engrave initials on something yourself. You can readily buy objects with names and initials already on them.)

"Pre-personalized" or perhaps more accurately "mass personalized." It's the latter, perhaps, that one can link to personalization and the Internet.

The History of “Personalized Learning” [...]

What is the history of "personalized learning"? (When did it change from being "individualized learning," for example?)

According to Wikipedia, the term dates from the 1960s. But Google's Ngram Viewer shows it was in use prior to that.

Was the bump in the 1970s due to the commercialization of early teaching machines? And similarly, was the increase in the late 1990s onward a result of computer-based instruction? Or was this the influence of the Gates Foundation? (Or both?)

“Personalization” versus “Individualization” [...]

What is the history of the term "personalization" particularly as it relates to education (and education technology)?

See Google's Ngram Viewer:

The OED dates the word "personalization" in print to the 1860s, but the particular definition that's used today -- "The action of making something personal, or focused on or concerned with a certain individual or individuals; emphasis on or attention to individual persons or personal details" -- dates to 1903. "Individualization," according to the OED, is much older; its first appearance in print was in 1746.

Something happened in the 1960s, according to the Ngram data at least. We see a peak of "individualization." "Personalization" took off dramatically a few decades later, circa 1995 and 1996. Was this related to the Web?

 

Illusory Truth Effect [...]

From the Wikipedia article: "The illusory truth effect (also known as the truth effect or the illusion-of-truth effect) is the tendency to believe information to be correct after repeated exposure."

This is one explanation of how Facebook's "fake news" functions to change people's minds, not simply confirm their pre-existing biases.

The Myth of Codependency [...]

From a Vice article:

Indeed, there is no reliable research support for codependence and related concepts. Although there have been a few attempts to measure it, they fizzled out as it proved as slippery as a horoscope—and a search of PubMed reveals little further research interest in it since the turn of the century. "There is no disease of codependence," adds Wilkens. "It's not in the DSM [psychiatry's diagnostic manual], you can't diagnose and get reimbursed for it. It doesn't exist." She adds, "If you line up ten people who some treatment provider has given the disease of codependence, all ten have something profoundly different going on in terms of how they work, how they see the world, where they are in terms of what's going on with their loved ones, and their compensatory strategies to deal with what is happening in the home."

Not Even Wrong [...]

From the Wikipedia entry:

The phrase is generally attributed to theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was known for his colorful objections to incorrect or sloppy thinking. Rudolf Peierls documents an instance in which "a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli's views. Pauli remarked sadly, 'It is not even wrong'." This is also often quoted as "That is not only not right, it is not even wrong."

See also Scientific American's article "Wronger than Wrong."

This is not the Crusades [...]

David Perry, a medievalist, writing on CNN:

The idea that contemporary military and terrorist activities in the Middle East embody a new Crusade isn't exactly new. What's startling is that today both supporters of ISIS and radical Christian terrorists have adopted the same language. Both sides are using medieval history to justify their violent intentions. ...But one thing from the history is very clear to me. The modern use of the Crusades to justify violence by either Muslims or Christians is, in fact, modern. The claim that there's an inexorable conflict between Islam and "The West" is not based on history, but rhetoric used by extremists to promote their causes.

The People Derek Black Knew [...]

Derek Black, rising white nationalist star, came around to realizing the error of his beliefs not through argumentation with the enemy, but through dinners with diverse friends.

On the rare occasions when Derek directed conversation during those dinners, it was about the particulars of Arabic grammar, or marine aquatics, or the roots of Christianity in medieval times. He came across as smart and curious, and mostly he listened. He heard a Peruvian immigrant tell stories about attending a high school that was 90 percent Hispanic. He asked Matthew about his opinions on Israel and Palestine. They were both still wary of each other: Derek wondered whether Matthew was trying to get him drunk so he would say offensive things that would appear on the forum; Matthew wondered whether Derek was trying to cultivate a Jewish friend to protect himself against charges of anti-Semitism. But they also liked each other, and they started playing pool at a bar near campus. Some members of the Shabbat group gradually began to ask Derek about his views, and he occasionally clarified them in conversations and emails throughout 2011 and 2012. He said he was pro-choice on abortion. He said he was against the death penalty. He said he didn’t believe in violence or the KKK or Nazism or even white supremacy, which he insisted was different from white nationalism. He wrote in an email that his only concern was that “massive immigration and forced integration” was going to result in a white genocide. He said he believed in the rights of all races but thought each was better off in its own homeland, living separately. “You have never clarified, Derek,” one of his Shabbat friends wrote to him. “You’ve never said, ‘Hey all, this is what I do believe and this is what I don’t.’ It’s not the job of someone who’s potentially scared/intimidated by someone else to approach that person to see if they are in fact scary/intimidating.” “I guess I only value the opinions of people I know,” Derek wrote back, and now he was beginning to count his Shabbat friends among those he knew and respected. “You’re naturally right that I deemphasize my own role,” he wrote to them.

(Source)


Find out Why Shame Doesn't Work

Face-to-Face Social Exposure is how people change opinions.

What truth "is" is a bit of a puzzle itself. See Life As It Feels To Them

Robot Professionals [...]

We believe these are but a few early indicators of a fundamental shift in professional service. Within professional organizations (firms, schools, hospitals), we are seeing a move away from tailored, unique solutions for each client or patient towards the standardization of service. Increasingly, doctors are using checklists, lawyers rely on precedents, and consultants work with methodologies. More recently, there has been a shift to systematization, the use of technology to automate and sometimes transform the way that professional work is done — from workflow systems through to AI-based problem-solving. More fundamentally, once professional knowledge and expertise is systematized, it will then be made available online, often as a chargeable service, sometimes at no cost, and occasionally but increasingly on a commons basis, in the spirit of the open source movement. There are already many examples of online professional service.

(Source)