Google is helping to drive a philosophical change in public education — prioritizing training children in skills like teamwork and problem-solving while de-emphasizing the teaching of traditional academic knowledge, like math formulas. It puts Google, and the tech economy, at the center of one of the great debates that has raged in American education for more than a century: whether the purpose of public schools is to turn out knowledgeable citizens or skilled workers.

Today, more than half the nation’s primary- and secondary-school students — more than 30 million children — use Google education apps like Gmail and Docs, the company said. And Chromebooks, Google-powered laptops that initially struggled to find a purpose, are now a powerhouse in America’s schools. Today they account for more than half the mobile devices shipped to schools.

One of the great disadvantages of living in the age we do is that we cannot see these buildings with the eyes that they were intended to be seen with.

NatGeo – Origins: The Journey of Humankind – “Building the Future”

It’s influencer inception: Models with niche name recognition spreading word about a more widespread announcement for a high-end festival that itself spreads the word about Ja Rule’s startup.

Juicero deserved all of the attention it got and more — it was so pure, so impossibly telling about the pre-apocalyptic American wasteland. It was also just one of a whole constellation of companies that now operate under an ingenious model: take some banal product that has been sold forever at low margins, attach the disposable part to a proprietary system that pretends to improve it but really just locks pepole into a particular vendor, add a touch screen manufactured by Chinese tweens, call it “Smart,” and sell it to schlubby dads too indebted to buy a midlife crisis car and too unattractive to have an affair.

The “island” of Big Sur — for that’s what this iconic stretch of coastline has become — is entering its ninth week of nearly total isolation, thanks to punishing winter storms, landslides and a failed bridge. The rain ended California’s five-year drought, but it left 45 miles of Highway 1 cut off from the rest of California, with few services for the 450 men, women and children who live here. … Even the resident monks have been forced to pass around the modern-day collection plate known as GoFundMe to help repair the road leading to their monastery.

I happened to stop by Macy’s Herald Square flagship last night. I’d been in once, but never thought about it beyond the ground floor. As I wandered up and up trying to find what I needed (pillows), I discovered wooden escalators! I’ve never seen anything like them. 

Of course I had to look into the history…. 

The Otis Elevator Co first installed the wooden escalators in Macy’s in 1901. They were the first commercial escalators in the world. The flat steps were replaced by wooden cleated treads in 1920 and most of the fleet was replaced by modern machines in the 20th century. The remaining wooden escalator were supposed to be removed completely in the last decade (due to quite a few lost fingers and whatnot). I saw only two sets, both in the top floors of the 10.5 story building. 

Macy’s has been in Herald Square for 115 years. When they moved there from 14th Street, it was considered so “far north” that they provided a steam wagonette to transport customers the 20 blocks uptown. 

A “friend” of top competitor Siegel-Cooper bought the last remaining building on the block to prevent Macy’s from becoming the largest store in the world; Macy’s responded by just building around it. They soon bought the 5-story building – aka “Million Dollar Corner.” (pictured below)

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Love NYC history stories like that! 

With Macy’s starting the year by closing 68 stores, it’s no surprise they may be acquired. But the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade owned by Canadians?! How odd. I had no idea Hudson’s Bay already owns Lord & Taylor, Saks, and Gilt. 

More: NYT – Latest Miracle on 34th Street: Macy’s Keeps Wooden Escalators / Wikipedia – Macy’s Herald Square / Wikipedia – Million Dollar Corner

The response is symptomatic of a deeply entrenched desire to use a communal form of punishment against those who are perceived as straying from established ideological positions. It’s practically a reflexive response at this point to find somebody to attack. Why do headlines like “Can Taylor Swift call herself a feminist after skipping Women’s March?” even exist (and there are other versions of this kind of story)? These kind of responses do not reflect a desire or a willingness to “live and let live.” Even in an environment where the left is struggling to maintain influence, they’re calling out allies for not showing up for marches or for employing poor people, minorities, and immigrants in a way that doesn’t match the progressive playbook.