Honest Signals of Intelligence


Welcome back all!

As a reminder, our chapter, Co-constructing Digital Futures, is available for #OpenReview as part of the @mitpress Works in Progress program. Katie Paciga, Elizabeth Stevens, Kristen Turner and I worked with our children to understand privacy, security, and algorithms.

This is published through MIT Press using an open peer review process. You can create an account and give us feedback unit October 5. Please read and comment!

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 say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals Winning Moment

Zaila Avant-garde Is The First Black American To Win The Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“I can’t even put into words how I feel right now,” she told NPR. “I’d like to say thank you to Bill Murray because the reason I knew that word ‘murraya’ was because of the movie Lost in Translation, which when I was a little kid I used to listen to the soundtrack and so that’s how that word was stuck in my head because it was spelled like Bill Murray’s name.”

She currently holds three Guinness world records for her basketball skills, including a record for most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs.


Luxury Surveillance

One of the most troubling features of the digital revolution is that some people pay to subject themselves to surveillance that others are forced to endure and would, if anything, pay to be free of.

Chris Gilliard and David Golumbia with some pointed questions about why some consumers see themselves as powerful and immune from unwelcome monitoring and control.

Is Critical Race Theory Taught in K-12 Schools? The NEA Says Yes, and That It Should Be.

The public debate over critical race theory (CRT) is in large part a semantics argument, with the anti-CRT faction attempting to include “all of the various cultural insanities” people hear about in the media under the banner of CRT while the other side protests that it’s technically a much more limited concept confined to elite education.

The National Education Association (NEA) appears to have accepted the conservative framing of CRT: namely, that it’s not merely confined to academia but is in fact also being taught in K-12 schools. And the NEA thinks this is a good thing that should be defended.

The very act of learning history in a free and multi-ethnic society is inescapably fraught. Any accurate teaching of any country’s history could make some of its citizens feel uncomfortable (or even guilty) about the past.

It’s not just bad behavior – why social media design makes it hard to have constructive disagreements online

Amanda Baughan and colleagues research how the design of social media affects online disagreements and how to design for constructive arguments.

They found that people often avoid discussing challenging topics online for fear of harming their relationships, and when it comes to disagreements, not all social media are the same.


Supreme Court Rules on Snapchat and Free Speech: What This Means for Schools

In May 2017, Brandy Levy, a Pennsylvania high school sophomore, used Snapchat to vent her frustrations over not making the varsity cheerleading squad at her school. She posted, “F— school f— softball f— cheer f— everything,” and included a picture of herself and a friend holding up their middle fingers.

The post lived on via a screenshot someone took of the post that was eventually seen by the cheerleading coach who suspended Levy from the squad.

Upset that her First Amendment right to free speech had been violated, Levy and her parents took the issue to court and ultimately to the US Supreme Court who, in an 8-1 decision, ruled this week that the school did not have the right to punish Levy for off-campus speech.

All of this makes it even harder for schools to find that fine line where off-campus speech crosses over into the territory of “some occasions” when schools can regulate it.

The Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee is good for you…for the most part.

Jane Brody reviews a series of studies showing that drinking coffee reduces risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, melanoma, prostate cancer, even suicide.


If you’re like me, you live half of your life in a Google Doc.

Smart chips are one of the latest updates in Google Workspace meant to boost workflow and enhance users productivity by interconnecting various Google services. You are now able to easily add smart chips to Google Docs in order to communicate information about other users, files, events, and dates.

To use the smart chip service you simple enter the symbol @ and select from the list of suggestions (e.g., people, files, or dates). To mention an individual add his/her name after the symbol @, the same with events and dates (e.g., @today, @tomorrow, @yesterday).



Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is. And you must bend to its power or live a lie.

Miyamoto Musashi

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Your ability to BS your way through life may be a sign of intelligence, according to a recent study.

Come BS with me at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

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