SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

The rise of the MOOCs, that is, massive open online courses, so labeled by the Times, gives us a clear picture of the future of American education and, consequently, of America. Thus, we should be asking ourselves serious questions about the desirable and undesirable forms soon to found in online education. To evaluate these courses and programs, we should understand both: (1) how MOOCs can be a distinct improvement over traditional classroom courses; and (2) how they can be devastatingly inferior to traditional classroom programs.

NEW DELHI - The Indian rupee touched a lifetime low of 68.85 against the US dollar on August 28, 2013. The rupee plunged by 3.7 percent on the day in its biggest single-day percentage fall in more than two decades. Since January 2013, the rupee has lost more than 20 percent of its value, the biggest loser among the Asian currencies.

fund the legislators then legislate their poverty then legislate their debt. 

steal their money then steal their elections. 

destroy their tribes (neighborhoods) then gut their economy. 

reignite colonial sentiments.

Sep 19

Five Years Later

By James Kwak, The Baseline Scenario | Op-Ed

Five years ago, Lehman brothers went bankrupt, AIG was nationalized, Ben Bernanke stared into an abyss, and Mohamed El-Erian asked his wife to take out as much cash from the ATM as she could. And Simon and I started blogging.

I already wrote my anniversary reflections on the financial crisis for The Atlantic. Here I wanted to talk a bit about how this blog started.

On the second anniversary of the day the Occupy Wall Street movement began, a group of activists, including the political comic Lee Camp, staged a piece of Guerilla theater in Times Square linking the Star Wars meme with the upcoming fight to stop the TPP (Transpacific partnership).

Sep 19

Black Innocence?

By Jasiri X, YouTube | Video

I originally wrote this as an introduction to a photojournalism project called "Black Innocence". The editors decided not to use it. After hearing about the death of former FAMU football player Jonathan Ferrell, who was killed by a Charlotte police officer, even though he was unarmed and running to the officers for help, I decided to record it and put it out. Is there such a thing as "Black Innocence" in this society? Take a listen and you be the judge.

Sep 19

Can a VPN Protect You From PRISM?

By Nick Pearson, Truthout | Op-Ed

Following Edward Snowden's PRISM revelations, the issue of online privacy has been thrust into the spotlight like never before. This media coverage appears to have led to more people signing-up to Virtual Private Networks. But will VPNs protect you from PRISM and do they offer any real privacy protections for their users?

Sep 18

The Myth of American Exceptionalism

By Harrison Samphir, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The horrific events at the DC Navy Yard on September 16 are still metastasizing within the shellshocked American psyche.

Faced with gratuitous images of a killer who should remain nameless – to be projected unceasingly across news media for weeks to come – the public will react as they should to yet another mass murder committed by a disgruntled and mentally disturbed public employee: with an apathetic quietism borne of a disturbing acclimatization to gun murder, violence and the prevailing myth of American exceptionalism.

The apparent employment of chemical weapons in Syria should remind us that, while weapons of mass destruction exist, there is a serious danger that they will be used.

That danger is highlighted by an article in the September/October 2013 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Written by two leading nuclear weapons specialists, Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Federation of American Scientists, the article provides important information about nuclear weapons that should alarm everyone concerned about the future of the planet.

The hyper-focused obsession with dominance and control is, according to many psychoanalysts, symptomatic of a deep-rooted fear of spontaneous self-expression (notably of repressed emotions), in short, of psychological “freedom” in its most general sense.  Conflicted human relations, however ambivalent and nuanced, are reduced to technically-solvable “problems.”  Rigidly willful, inflexible, detailed-obsessed, the techno-scientific “control freak” — as we say colloquially — may ultimately fear “the impulses and emotions within…himself.  Unconsciously he fears that if they should get out of control, terrible things might happen, murder perhaps.  So on the one hand he keeps himself under tight control, and on the other hand he projects this intrapsychic drama on the world and tries to control it.”