HEWN, No. 327

The sad thing is, Mark Zuckerberg actually wants his hair to look like Augustus Caesar's...

This week’s Columbidae is the pink pigeon. The bird, which is native to Mauritius, very nearly went extinct in the early 1990s when there were only ten left. Conservation efforts have managed to save the pink pigeon, although it is still listed as “vulnerable.” (Image credits)

But these days, aren’t we all?

And aren’t we all a little more vulnerable, thanks to (ed-)tech? (Heckuva job, everyone.) See this piece by Lois Beckett in The Guardian: “Under digital surveillance: how American schools spy on millions of kids.” And now there’s proposed legislation to require schools monitor and track students this way, even though there is zero evidence that this software does anything to prevent school shootings. (Related: this story, which went viral thanks, in part, to the ubiquity of school surveillance. I know it’s supposed to be a feel-good story, but I don’t read it that way. Viral surveillance camera footage should always make you feel bad. And in this case, there are a million ways in which the interaction could have gone very wrong, in no small part because Coach Lowe is Black and we know that, far too often, cops roll up guns blazing.)

Elsewhere in student surveillance news: I never thought I would see opposition to ClassDojo be a specific piece of messaging in a Presidential campaign. But I am here for it.

Nevertheless, we still have folks out here insisting that we cheer for this stuff. “Tik Tok is the next big thing in schools!” The New York Times says. A few days later, The Wall Street Journal cautions that “Tik Tok is used to recruit people to extremist groups.” And a few days later: “Congress concerned teenagers’ favorite app is national security threat.” Security threats from tech prompt more surveillance which prompts more threats which prompt more surveillance which prompts more threats…

Thank goodness Very Smart, Blue-Checkmarked Men have their own plans for the future of education:

Ever notice how there are, like, zero consequences for grifters in education?

Speaking of which, remember how Sarah Lacy helped fuel Peter Thiel’s narrative that there was a higher ed bubble and it’d be cool to pay young people (young men, mostly) to drop out of college? Anyway, I guess she’s sold her tech publication Pando to a company called BuySellAds.

The moral arc of the software universe is not that long, and it bends towards adtech.

Yours in struggle,