Things That Matter

Things That Matter
Digitally Lit #251 – 6/20/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #251 of Digitally Literate. Each week in this newsletter, I synthesize the news of the week in education, technology, & literacy. If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think of this work at

I was involved in two pieces this week:


Facial Recognition: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver


John Oliver takes a look at facial recognition technology, how it’s used by private companies and law enforcement, and why it can be dangerous.

IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon all announced pauses on their facial recognition tech last week. Part of the reason is the racial bias inherently built into these systems and the impact on Black lives.


Trump Can’t Immediately End DACA, Supreme Court Rules

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), protects people brought to the United States as children by shielding them from deportation and letting them work.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.

This ruling has important implications for educational settings, and has been shown to ease transition into adulthood for these youth.

What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently

They view the success of black students as central to the success of their own teaching.

To fight against systemic racism means to buck norms. Educators at every level must be willing to be uncomfortable in their struggle for black students, recognizing students’ power and feeding it by honoring their many contributions to our schools.

Pride Month goes digital: Why spirit of Pride will still prevail

LGBTQ communities in the US and around the world celebrate Pride in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots and pride in being who they are. This year, Pride celebrations have moved online and many have focused on supporting racial justice.

Without in-person Pride events this year, there are questions about how to support the LGBTQ community, specifically the people who don’t have supportive families.

The FBI used a Philly protester’s Etsy profile, LinkedIn, and other internet history to charge her with setting police cars ablaze

I write and teach about privacy, security, and the digital breadcrumbs we leave behind as we live online and off. In this, I’ve asked the question about the groups that collect this data, and the algorithms that make sense of it all. Who is doing the collecting…and who is buying, or using this info?

This story details the the intricate trail of breadcrumbs Philadelphia police used to track a protester through her social media history and online shopping patterns.

The path took agents from Instagram, where amateur photographers also captured shots of the masked arsonist, to an Etsy shop that sold the distinctive T-shirt the woman was wearing in the video. It led investigators to her LinkedIn page, to her profile on the fashion website Poshmark, and eventually to her doorstep in Germantown.

Why Do People Avoid Facts That Could Help Them?

As COVID-19 rages across the U.S., I’m often enraged when I see people choosing not to wear masks in public. This post shares information on why some people choose to remain ignorant about information that would benefit them when it’s painful—and sometimes when it’s pleasurable.

Much of this guidance comes from a scale to measure people’s relative aversion to potentially unpleasant but also potentially useful information developed by Emily Ho and colleagues.


Perk Up Your Iced Coffee With Cocktail Bitters

In this newsletter, we regularly examine opportunities to make things in the kitchen. This is especially true when it comes to ways to caffeinate.

This post examines the many uses of cocktail bitters.

If that doesn’t totally turn you off…perhaps you’d also like to examine fat-washing your whisky. 😉



Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Digitally Literate is a weekly review of the news, notes, tips, and tricks from the week that resonated with me.

This week I need this opportunity to laugh at myself.

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