Links: Humanities papers, recycling, teachers, death, housing, sexuality and society, and more!

* 82% of humanities papers are never cited by another paper (pdf), which is another datum of evidence about the importance of what most humanities professors are doing.

* Inside the English Prose Factory. It is… not very pleasant.

* “Is it time to rethink recycling? If our current approach to recycling isn’t the best for the economy or the environment, why do we do it?” The short answer is, “signalling.” Recycling small items, like carrying re-usable bags to grocery stories, is a low-cost way of appearing to be environmentally conscious without having to do anything significant. I’ve had innumerable conversations with superficial environmentalists who are determined that every bottle go in the right bin, even as they discuss their last trip to South America and their next trip from one coast to the next. Flying is really, spectacularly bad for the environment, but most putative environmentalists are also in love with the idea of “travel” and “broadening horizons.” Still, to point out this dichotomy is to signal something negative about the person making the observation, so you should probably keep this to yourself, unless you are an anti-social person.

* Stop humiliating teachers.

* “How Yahoo killed Flickr and lost the Internet,” a story I didn’t know, or didn’t know at this level of detail.

* “The poor are better off when we build more housing for the rich,” an underappreciated point—but when most people talk about affordable housing, they’re actually trying to signal how much they care, rather than actually understanding and then solving the problem.

* William Gibson: How I Wrote Neuromancer.

* “The Sexual Misery of the Arab World,” an underappreciated point.

* “Should you learn to program? Yes,” by Derek Sivers.

* The dubious effectiveness of D.A.R.E. and problems in nonprofits.

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