The “Gamification” of Education?

A few years ago, the Freakonomics blog interviewed Joel Rose, the founder of School of One, a specialized education program which attempts to educate students according to their learning curve and personal style, engaging with their preferred learning styles as the technology sees fit.  Joel Rose, also an employee of the New York Department of Education, described the idea of his educational start-up: The basic idea is that live, teacher-led instruction (the type we all think about when we t … [Read more...]

Stephen Hawking and Becoming More Than a Machine

In a recent Wired column, writer Helene Miamat asked a simple question: Is Stephen Hawking most celebrated as a man, a mind, or the machines?  Hawking, the brilliant theoretical physicist of the 20th/21st century, was immobilized early in his career via motor neuron disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- a condition that has progressed over the years. This disease continues to incapacitate Hawking, and he employs digital and physical technology that has caused his very public p … [Read more...]

How did Science Fiction Become Science Fact in 2012?

Longtime readers of Christ and Pop Culture have probably realized by now that one of my pet themes concerns the ways in which science can impact our lives, especially in ways that seem more like science fiction than science fact. I find it fascinating when things that used to be conceptual, or even fictional, actually manifest themselves in reality in ways that you and I can see, touch, and use. Sometimes this can lead to moral conundrums and ethical dilemmas, but sometimes, it can also be … [Read more...]

The Untimely Death of Aaron Swartz and the Neutrality of Hackers

Over the weekend, a man of great talent, great skill, and great misunderstanding gave up his life. Aaron Swartz, known for his media commentary, his co-founding of RSS, Infogami and Reddit, as well as his leadership in the anti-SOPA/PIPA movement, hanged himself at the age of 26.Swartz was well known in the hacker community as a man out to free information: he wanted to make the sharing of information as easy as possible. In late 2010/2011, Swartz downloaded over 4 million articles files fr … [Read more...]

Men Like to Look At Naked Girls On The Internet. Here’s Why They Should Stop That.

I had a bit of a personal crisis when I saw this link from The Huffington Post titled, "Research Suggests that All Men Watch Pornography." My first thought was that they could not have possibly talked to all men. I know this, because I do not watch pornography. This made me suspicious that the link was tied to a pornographic Web site designed to trick me, the last man standing, into accidentally seeing pornography in order to validate their research. (Or, more disturbingly, it could be that I am … [Read more...]

Science Can Both Solve and Add to Our Moral Conundrums

Ah, good ol' science... With it, we make incredible advances that aid and benefit our lives immeasurably even as we wander into one moral quagmire after another. We increase our understanding of the world around us even as we are tempted to play God in ways that ought to make us shudder. Two recent articles serve as a perfect showcase for that particular dichotomy.First, the good: 2013 could be the year that the stem cell controversy goes away. Though stem cell research has been touted by m … [Read more...]

Slowly but Surely, Positive Changes are Coming to Chinese Factories

Earlier this year, I wrote about the strange story of Mike Daisey, an author and speaker who released a riveting account of his trips to Foxconn, the Chinese factory that produces Apple's iPhone and iPad (along with many other electronic devices). He reported seeing poor working conditions, health risks, and other disturbing things, and his report garnered much acclaim and attention.And then it was revealed that Daisey's claims were riddled with lies and half-truths.However, it was true … [Read more...]

What am I cheering for when Anonymous takes on Westboro Baptist Church?

Westboro Baptist Church -- the infamous "Christian" group known for their virulently anti-gay agenda and for protesting soldiers' funerals -- further cemented their status as one of America's most hated groups when they announced that they would protest a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to "sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment." The reactions came swiftly: Counter-protests were called for and a White House petition to have W … [Read more...]

Does Technology Prevent Us From Being More Thoughtful About Technology?

You've probably noticed that one of the recurring themes in my articles here on CAPC concerns the ever-increasing presence of technology in our lives, and its potential ramifications. (If you have any doubt that this is occurring, consider this recent Pew Internet poll concerning mobile phone users which found that 44% of mobile phone users sleep next to their phones at night, and 29% described their phones as "something they can’t imagine living without.")This ubiquity is aided greatly by te … [Read more...]

Tracking Devices: Satan In Our Schools?

Wired’s David Kravets reports that a student in San Antonio, Texas named Andrea Hernandez has been suspended from high school until she agrees to wear a tracking device that monitors her whereabouts on campus throughout the day. Apparently, Hernandez and her family object to the devices on the basis of privacy rights and religion. As Kravets writes, “The Hernandez family, which is Christian, told InfoWars that the sophomore is declining to wear the badge because it signifies Satan, or the Mark of … [Read more...]