Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) newsletter #92

Welcome to TL;DR Newsletter #92. TL;DR is a weekly synthesis of things you need to know about the intersection between education, technology, and literacy. Feel free to share this with someone that you believe would benefit. Please subscribe to this newsletter if you haven’t already.

In this week’s episode we connect with the silence within us.

This week I spent some time meeting with groups interested in the intersection between blockchain derivatives and health literacy. I revised the following posts and presented the materials during these meetings:

Send me feedback or questions at You can review archives of the newsletter here or on Medium. I also share the quotes at the bottom of the newsletter on Instagram.


Encrypt your family: Sending safer, smarter messages

This video from Phil Nickinson and his new venture (ModernDad) is an easy to understand primer on how to encrypt your messages and email. Nickinson explains some challenging content while explaining how and why to make this happen with family members.

I currently use Signal for messaging, and will investigate WhatsApp and ProtonMail over the coming weeks.


Trump completes repeal of online privacy protections from the Obama era

Alas, the deed is done.

This week President Trump signed a congressional resolution to complete the overturning of internet privacy protections created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during the Obama administration.

I’ve discussed this topic over the past month here on TL;DR. I recommend readingthis piece by Tom Wheeler (the former chairman of the FCC), and this piece by Ajit Pai (the current chairman of the FCC) for varying perspectives on the debate.

Most Americans unwilling to give up privacy to thwart attacks

One of the interesting results of the recent news about privacy, security, & online hacks is that citizens attitudes about these elements are changing.

In a recent IPSOS/Reuters poll, 75% of participants surveyed by IPSOS/Reuters said, “they would not let investigators tap into their Internet activity to help the U.S. combat domestic terrorism.” This is up from 67% in 2013.

Participants are less unanimous about whether the US government is spying on them too much already. According to the March 11–20 survey, 32 percent said intelligence agencies such as the FBI and National Security Agency are conducting “as much surveillance as is necessary” and 7 percent said they wanted more surveillance. Another 37 percent of adults said agencies are “conducting too much surveillance on American citizens.” The remaining 24 percent said they did not know.

Trump & Co. picked the wrong fight with Twitter

If you’re not on Twitter recently, it’s been a fascinating source of U.S. political intrigue. Depending on your political leanings, you can find a ton of interesting discussions to follow.

One of the fascinating developments is the proliferation of many so-called “Alt Twitter” accounts that have sprung up since the Trump administration took office. These Alt Twitter accounts are what Twitter refers to as “a new and innovative class of American speakers” who claim to be members of federal agencies who are opposed to current policy.

This week, Twitter filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol, alleging that it’s illegal for the government to compel the social media company to divulge the real name of the person running the anti-Trump Twitter account @ALT_USCIS. Read the filing here.

Twitter has been referred to as the free speech wing of the free speech party. It’s interesting to see how anonymity can be used for different purposes.

Openness as social praxis

First of all, I love First Monday, one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals solely devoted to research about the Internet. You can always find compelling research and theory about these digital spaces in the issues. And…you can always find it because it’s open and accessible. :)

This piece is especially important (IMHO) as it discusses the history, and multiple interpretations, and misunderstandings in “open.” The authors use this literature review as a starting point to conceptualize openness as social praxis.

Open is a powerful component as we understand teaching, learning, and technology. It’s important to have a more granular understanding of this construct.

How a browser extension could shake up academic publishing

When considering the effects of “open” as it relates to online information, open educational resources (OERs) are often valued online. Sadly, access to research and publications is often stifled (if not completely blocked) by publishers.

Open access advocates have a new tool, a Chrome & Firefox extension specifically called Unpaywall that scours the Internet to find an accessible copy of a publication when you encounter a paywall. Definitely a great resource to have as you research online.


The busier you are, the more you need quiet time

Meditation is a habit that I started about two years ago. It took some time to get into the process, but I value the time to start my day by resetting my brain before I get into the hustle of the day.

For some people, meditation may seem a bit weird. In that case, you might want to examine these simple hacks to cultivate silence in your day:

  • Punctuate meetings with five minutes of quiet time
  • Take a silent afternoon in nature
  • Go on a media fast
  • Take the plunge and try a meditation retreat


Silence is better than unmeaning words.

- Pythagoras

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) #92

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