are we sterilizing student minds?

Do you know these terms: microaggressions, trigger warnings, emotional reasoning, fortune-telling, catastrophization, mental filtering? Read The Coddling of the American Mind.It is an essay in the Atlantic written by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, September 2015 Issue. It is about the sterilization of the student mind before leaving college in favor of an absurd level of political correctness that even affects how and what you teach. I cannot imagine it in teaching literature for example – or the humanities in general [political science, anthropology, sociology, history.]

The essay tackles the following questions: What exactly are the effects of this new protectiveness on the students themselves? Does it benefit the people it is supposed to help?

Of course in the Trump-winning world where political correctness is derided, the essay might seem like yet another attack on PC. However the authors are quick to note the difference between PC on the one hand and VP or vindictive protectiveness on the other: Read More …

MIT’s open access research and other open scholarly resources

MIT has done it again. After the MIT courseware and open source courses online, now it has created a space for researchers on Dspace which was “built to save, share, and search MIT’s digital research materials”. It even has theses collections. That is a fantastic resource.

Here are some more resources:

Publishing venues and open online journals:

yamli:a new Arabic search engine with a twist

I found this fascinating because it is finally an attempt at using proper Arabic content. Yamli is a new Arabic search engine. When I typed my name in English, it actually immediately translated it into Arabic as I was writing. I then tried to type a whole English transliterated sentence and Yamli immediately changed the lettering from English to Arabic as I was typing. This is what Yamli calls the ‘smart keyboard‘, and I must say it is quite smart. I am impressed.


The search engine itself has a very unique and different interface that I also found quite interesting.

Yamli was created by two Lebanese men, Habib Haddad and  Imad Jureidini, and the idea came during the most recent war on Lebanon in 2006. Yamli’s definition of itself is that it “is a search engine focused on providing more relevant search results for an Arabic query by expanding it to its most frequently used Latin representations.”

The word Yamli itself comes from the Arabic to dictate – or, as Yamli itself says “The word Yamli is inspired by the Arabic verb “?????” which comes from the noun “?????” referring to dictation or transcription of spoken text.” One can even embed Yamli in their website through the Yamli API.

Job well done and I look forward to how this will develop further.


worst places to be bloggers

Worst countries to be a blogger in: CPJ announced its worst ten countries for bloggers… and guess how many are in the Middle East?

Relying on a mix of detentions, regulations, and intimidation, authorities in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Egypt have emerged as the leading online oppressors in the Middle East and North Africa. link

Nice. Congrats Middle East, you broke a record. Again.