7 Stories to read this weekend

Google cars, new attitudes towards mass transit, crazy future we live in, David Byrne, Zulily IPO, Malcom Gladwell, TED Talks and why bags made from crocodile skins so expensive — these are some of the stories on menu this weekend.

Jonah Lehrer, self-borrowing and the problem with “big ideas”

Newly appointed New Yorker staff writer Jonah Lehrer — author of the bestselling books “Imagine,” “How We Decide” and “Proust Was a Neuroscientist” and a former editor at Wired — has been discovered recycling his own material for different publications. It isn’t that surprising.

Memo to Gladwell: Social media helps activism, and here’s how

Author and social-media critic Malcolm Gladwell has argued that Twitter and Facebook haven’t played any kind of important role in “real world” revolutions like those seen recently in Egypt and Tunisia. But sociologist Zeynep Tufekci makes a strong case for why Gladwell is wrong.

Why the Internet is America’s greatest weapon

Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko is the latest dictator to try and quash unrest by banning social networking sites. But whether or not his fears are accurate, the truth is simple: many countries now think the success of the Internet is indistinguishable from America’s political ambitions.

Malcolm Gladwell: Social Media Still Not a Big Deal

After the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, many wondered whether author Malcolm Gladwell would alter his skeptical stance on social media — but he made it clear in a CNN interview that he still doesn’t think tools like Twitter or Facebook make much of a difference.

Memo to Malcolm Gladwell: Nice Hair, But You Are Wrong

Author Malcolm Gladwell argued in a recent piece for New Yorker magazine that the influence of Twitter and other social-media tools on social activism has been over-stated, but as Twitter co-founder Biz Stone notes in an essay of his own, this argument has some serious flaws.

Twitter Founders: Gladwell Got It Wrong

“Laughable,” “absurd,” “ludicrous” and “pointless” were words Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone used Monday night to describe a recent Malcolm Gladwell story in the New Yorker about the futility of social media to create real social change.

P2Peer Education: Bringing Elite Education to the Masses

blackboardAbout a year ago, a friend posed to me the following question:  “Why do students plunk down $150,000 for a 4-year education at MIT when virtually all of the courseware is available free of charge online?” Not only was it a great question, but answering it is critical to bringing elite levels of higher education to the online masses.
Like so many other industries, early attempts at delivering online education have generally consisted of making available the same content that’s found offline. While this is a good start, the key to online education is amplifying the way in which we learn when we’re at school — from our peers. Read More about P2Peer Education: Bringing Elite Education to the Masses