Excerpt: Silicon Valley’s rise is well-documented, but the backlash against its distinctive culture and unscrupulous corporations hints at an imminent twist in its fate. As historians of technology and industry, we find it helpful to step back from the breathless champions and critics of Silicon Valley and think about the long term. The rise and fall of another American economic powerhouse — Detroit — can help explain how regional reputations change over time.
Excerpt: There was a time when California’s Santa Clara Valley, bucolic home to orchards and vineyards, was known as “the valley of heart’s delight.” The same area was later dubbed “Silicon Valley,” shorthand for the high-tech combination of creativity, capital and California cool. However, a backlash is now well underway – even from the loyal gadget-reviewing press. Silicon Valley increasingly conjures something very different: exploitation, excess, and elitist detachment.
Excerpt: [J.E.B. Stuart] developed a reputation for leading Confederate troops on raids and fruitful intelligence-gathering missions, helping cement Stuart’s legacy as a legendary figure in the minds of white Southerners after the Civil War, according to Paul Quigley, director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. But he also became a scapegoat for the Confederate’s most critical loss.
“He was held up as a classic Southern military hero — very dashing, good looking and had this reputation for bravery as well as a little bit of cheekiness,” Quigley said.
….But his record, in the eyes of some in the Confederacy, was blemished, Quigley said, after Stuart fell out of touch with Confederate forces during the Battle of Gettysburg — the bloodiest and one of the most decisive Civil War battles. His cavalry was late to the conflict, Quigley said, and the delay has lingered as one of the “what-ifs of Civil War history.”
Excerpt: It is too soon to tell whether policies enacted in the last few months to protect users’ news feeds have succeeded, but Mike Horning, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech University and a faculty affiliate with the Center for Human Computer Interaction, said the company clearly has invested in improving the experience.
“Whether it’s improved or not, the proof will be somewhere in the pudding as we get closer to an election…I think they’ve made good faith efforts to do better with the process,” he said.
Excerpt: Yelp is becoming a surprising weapon in the online war between liberal activists and those on the right.
Both sides are increasingly using the website to score points in a number of political and cultural controversies.
The most recent incident came after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was denied service at The Red Hen, a restaurant in Lexington, Va., because of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
Appalled conservatives quickly flocked to Yelp, a website that allows the public to comment and rate businesses, and overwhelmed the restaurant’s page with negative reviews. Some online trolls even posted swastikas and pornography to deface the page.
The restaurant’s rating took a serious hit, dropping from just under five stars all the way down to its current one-star rating.
Professor Roger Ekirch at Virginia Tech, having studied historical documents―including diaries, medical manuscripts, court documents and literature―relating to sleep, came to the conclusion that humans naturally had always divided their sleep into two periods, often waking up in the middle for a couple of hours. Historically, they even referred to these sleep periods as “first sleep” and “second sleep.” In between these two sleeping periods, people might read, write, pray, have a walk-about (or in Canada, a walk-aboot) or perhaps engage in canoodling with their proper-and-lawful spouse. In fact, a 16th-century French physician’s manual recommended couples eager to conceive had the best chance of doing so between the two “sleeps.”
Excerpt: There’s been debate about the Federal Reserve since it was established in 1913, and some have called for abolishing it. But not everyone shares that ideology, says Daniel Breslau, who teaches Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He doesn’t buy “this idea, that the technology comes along and transforms the world. That’s really not how it happens. It’s really technology plus changing practices, people finding something they can do with it. If they want to change the world, they find technology is a tool.”
The historian A. Roger Ekirch’s 2005 book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past elucidates how nearly every civilization throughout history has associated darkness with evil. This attitude persists, although the majority of violent crimes are committed during the day, even in cities experiencing historically low crime rates.