Google’s Failed Book Scanning Project

This piece by The Atlantic’s James Somers on Google’s failed book-scanning project is excellent. It’s decently long-form, so my short summary won’t do it justice. But Google spent $400 million and an incredible amount of time and resources scanning 25 million books from libraries across the world. The result of that work is a database at Google HQ that no one, save a handful of engineers who maintain its storage, can access.

Josephine Baker

Last year, Vogue profiled Josephine Baker for her 110th birthday. It’s an excellent short primer. Aside from her incredible story that took her from a poor girl in the slums of St. Louis to global cultural icon in 1920s Paris, there’s this:

During World War II, Baker aided the French Resistance by smuggling secret messages in invisible ink on her musical sheets. She hid Jewish refugees and weapons in her château that Bakerskin had helped pay for…She received the Croix de Guerre, the Médaille de la Résistance, and Légion d’Honneur. After she died on April 12, 1975, more than 20,000 people crowded the streets of Paris to watch the funeral procession on its way to L’Église de la Madeleine. The French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Josephine Baker the first American woman buried in France with full military honors.

DoE Declares Multi-Year, Multi-Billion Dollar Initiative a Failure

From the Washington Post:

One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.

Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.

The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.

What’s abundantly clear, and what should long have been so, is that America’s public education system is in dire need of significant, structural reform. Continuing this multi-generational, bipartisan failure of our nation’s youth is both unfair and indefensible.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. 

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Source)