The Right Word

Taken from The New Oxford American Dictionary, this is my favorite entry at the moment. I actually wrote it out and carried it around with me for a while, but sadly I lost that scrap of paper.

concise, laconic, pithy, succinct, terse

If you don’t like to mice words, you’ll make every effort to be concise in both your writing and speaking, which means to remove all superfluous details (a concise summary of everything that happened).

Succinct is very close in meaning to concise, although it emphasizes compression and compactness in addition to brevity (succinct instructions for what to do in an emergency)

If you’re laconic, you are brief to the point of being curt, brusque, or even uncommunicative (his laconic reply left many questions unanswered).

Terse can also mean clipped or abrupt (a terse command), but it usually connotes something that is both concise and polished (a terse style of writing that was much admired).

A pithy statement is not only succinct but full of substance and meaning (a pithy argument that no one could counter).


This is not actually about the band; it’s the 20th proper post, but this is a brilliant song-  headphones highly recommended.

Below the fold: The secret committee that decides how much you pay for healthcare; how Harper Lee is suing to get the copyright to her masterpiece back, a brilliant essay on class in America, and the best summary/explanation of PRISM so far.

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Bulk-Downloading Documents off Moodle

Edit: Some links for backing up your email are at the bottom

If you are like me, there are many readings you did during college that you want to hang on to, or at least the syllabi of your classes. I’ve been meaning to make a nice and tidy backup of my readings for a while but never got around to it. Now seems like a good time to do it. Our email access ends tomorrow. And while there’s a chance we get to keep our Moodle access, I don’t want to place any bets. Unfortunately, Moodle doesn’t have a “download all” button. I tried various approaches, and the one that worked best for me is the following.It still requires you to repeat the step for each class, but then at least it downloads all the files for a course at once. Click on an image if you need a bigger version.

Walkthrough below the fold.

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Long Reads for the Weekend

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I thought I should compile some longer readings that take a bit more time, but are also worth it. The first set of articles deals with physical violence: we have the Rolling Stone profile of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the “Boston Bomber.” Then there’s a compelling and fascinating article about the Jurors and lawyers in the Emmett Till case, and what they had to say about it fifty years later. Finally, Ross Gay delivers a powerful and poignant narrative of being a black man in the U.S. Continue reading

Afternoon News Roundup

Because the stories aren't exactly uplifting, a picture of desert

Because the stories aren’t exactly uplifting, a picture of desert

Prominent Democrats Are Now Comfortable with Racial and Ethnic Profiling

Conor Friedensdorf writes about how the NYPD police commissioner has been brought up as a potential Secretary of Homeland Security, and how Obama has praised him. This is a problem:

Under Ray Kelly, the NYPD infiltrated Muslim communities and spied onhundreds or perhaps thousands of totally innocent Americans at mosques, colleges, and elsewhere. Officers “put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity,” AP reported, citing NYPD documents. Informants were paid to bait Muslims into making inflammatory statements. The NYPD even conducted surveillance on Muslim Americansoutside its jurisdiction, drawing a rebuke from an FBI field office, where a top official charged that “the department’s surveillance of Muslims in the state has hindered investigations and created ‘additional risks’ in counterterrorism.”

Friedensdorf highlights the hypocrisy of liberal elites, who denounce some profilers (like Sheriff Arpaio) but is at the very least implicitly endorsing racial profiling when it comes from other whom they like a bit better.

Racial and ethnic profiling isn’t a dealbreaker for Democratic elites anymore. A few Democratic congressmen are speaking up. But the Democratic establishment is largely fine with Kelly, just like they’re mostly willing to extol the leadership of his boss, Mayor Michael Bloomberg…So long as you have the right persona, come from the northeast, and refrain from attacking prominent Democrats, racial and ethnic profiling is tolerated.

Even rewarded.

Shameful stuff.

Below the fold: The overlooked Supreme Court decision that could make it really difficult to file harassment charges at work, and Jelani Cobb’s take on the Riot paranoia surrounding the Zimmerman trial.

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