The Linkblog

Disney prepares to lay off 300 ABC employees →

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Mr. Sherwood has told staffers the unit has to “transform into a 21st century broadcaster” and learn to do more with less, according to an executive.

This attitude should be a tad worrying for those working in that industry. In this day and age, it seems one has to make his or herself very invaluable very fast or face minimum wage/unemployment.

It's also curious that channels owned and ran by the Walt Disney Co. such as The Disney Channel, ABC, and Freeform have lost a considerable amount of viewership from their target demographics as of late. Sure, this can be credited to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, but it also seems that Disney has been struggling for a while now with generating original shows that grab the attention of the masses. There's a chance I might be biased considering I grew up in an era with amazing creations like Kim Possible and Phil of the Future, but either way, new content from ABC and Disney Channel in the last several years has been subpar to say the least and ratings are reflecting that.

Perhaps Disney's newly announced plan for their own streaming platform will be a rousing success and help regain some of their lost revenue.

The truth about the 'typical college student' →

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Of the country’s nearly 18 million undergraduates, more than 40 percent go to community college, and of those, only 62 percent can afford to go to college full-time. By contrast, a mere 0.4 percent of students in the United States attend one of the Ivies.

The typical student is not the one burnishing a fancy résumé with numerous unpaid internships. It’s just the opposite: Over half of all undergraduates live at home to make their degrees more affordable, and a shocking 40 percent of students work at least 30 hours a week. About 25 percent work full-time and go to school full-time.

The typical college student is also not fresh out of high school. A quarter of undergraduates are older than 25, and about the same number are single parents.

Many have an image in their head of what the average American undergraduate student is, but often they're very wrong. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be attending a private, four-year university on scholarship and how truly rare my situation is. I admire all those who return to get a degree later on in life as well as those who work multiple jobs in order to afford an education. You are heroes.

Paul Offit's "Pandora's Lab" - a critique of nonobjective science →

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Sometimes scientists get it so right. But not always. Sometimes science goes wrong, and with terrible consequences.

Offit's book Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong documents several horrifying results of "bad science", such as pseudo-scientific race theorists condemning interracial procreation, ice-pick lobotomies, and the anti-vaxxers who still exist today despite widespread evidence that there is no connection between autism and shots given to protect babies from life-threatening illnesses.

The book has been called "anti-science" by critics, but I actually think it's quite the opposite. It's clear that Offit places a high value on science and understands that many others do as well. This is why he stresses the importance of not letting your humanity cloud your objectivity, because that's how things like eugenics and misplaced hatred towards saturated fats get started.

This is a much needed book — especially now. These days, science is politicized by critics on both sides of the spectrum who worry that scientific finding sometimes provides cover to hidden social policy agendas, on the one side, or the profit motive, on the other. Offit's book reminds us that we do need to be cautious and that claims to the status of science need to be decided on the merits.

Popular blog Humans of New York releases trailer for Facebook docuseries →

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Humans of New York, a blog that features photos and short as-told-to biographies of everyday people, is getting its own TV show on Facebook's Watch platform.

As someone who has adored Humans of New York for quite some time, this change of pace from creator Brandon Stanton is both exciting and worrying.

The charm of the Humans project lies in its simplicity. The recurring formula is as follows: a picture of an individual followed by a succinct caption-- usually an anecdote from his or her life, a current struggle or a profound nugget of advice. By introducing the components of audio and cinematography into the wonderfully constructed dynamic of his blog, Stanton risks compromising the essence of his venture. The entire point of the project is to get a tiny, flitting glimpse into the existence of someone you will most likely never encounter, minus judgements and distractions. This TV show (although admittingly enticing) may very well complicate and even swallow the power of the original methodology.

Regardless, the prospect of this series has caught the attention of millions. I'm hoping the filming will add a deeper level to the message of Humans of New York and not detract from it.