A meditation on the rise of the internet

The intellectual culture journal “n+1” has a thoughtful and long discussion of the cultural implications of the rise of the internet. [via] They argue that the internet is a transformative technology, altering the directionality and economics of information and culture. They cite the “post-60s” culture of participation, but don’t mention the cassette tape and photocopier. Can’t get everything right, I guess.

Final Exam Distribution: Columbus v. Natives ; Locke v. Hobbes

I haven’t graded the finals yet, obviously, but I did sort them out to see which questions were most popular (and make sure that I got a final from everyone). Wow.

Compare and contrast the liberation of Latin America in the early 19th century and the decolonization of Africa in the late 20th century. 5
Describe the effects of the world slave trade on sub-Saharan Africa. (Don’t spend time talking about slavery in the Americas or elsewhere; focus on Africa). 10
Describe the world economy around 1700. Include trade, flows of silver and gold, the role of agriculture, major exporters and the state of technology. How are things changing? 7
Did the Columbian Exchange benefit Native American populations in any way, or was it entirely disastrous? 38
How did the Industrial Revolution affect Asia? How do Asian nations respond to the economic and military power of the West after industrialization? 10
Locke and Hobbes had very different ideas about the role of government and the rights of the individual. Describe their ideas, especially their differences. How have those ideas influenced political history over the last 300 years, and which of these thinkers is closest to our present-day ideas about rights and government? (globally, not just the United States) 26

Cookie Experiment

The Z cookies were straight-up, old-fashioned Toll House cookies. The X cookies were exactly the same (as close as we could make them, anyway) but without the teaspoon of salt that the recipe calls for.

Thanks again for participating. Now I have to teach my son how to tabulate survey results and make pie charts. Or perhaps we should call them “cookie charts.”

End of Semester Survey

The extra credit survey on your quizzes gave me some interesting feedback. The clearest answer to the “what should we have spent less time on” question was “Asia,” with military/warfare history also getting a few more dings than the rest of the topics. The question of what I should have spent more time on is more complicated: Africa, Europe/US, Latin America, Middle East, politics/warfare and religion/philosophy all got large numbers of votes (about a quarter of the class), with family/social and literature/culture coming in the second tier. Definitely something to think about for next semester, though it would be easier if the number of “more” answers wasn’t so much greater than the number of “less” answers; I don’t know where I’m going to find the time! I’m not likely to pull back the Asia material much, but I do think I can do a better job of making it clear how it’s integrated with the rest of the textbook material, and there are definitely areas that I could do a bit more in. Thanks!

You got a half point for each question, and a point for the explanation: two points possible. I was not grading on whether I agree with you or not, obviously.