Standardized opacity: The nonprofit behind the SAT announced this week a new algorithm to evaluate students called the Environmental Context Dashboard. This “adversity score,” as some are calling it, could help college admissions officers put test scores in context, but students won’t be able to see their own scores and the organization won’t say how the number is computed. “It’s unsettling that a student’s fate could be determined by an opaque algorithm,” writes Jane C. Hu.
Straw women: The myth of the “welfare queen” started with Linda Taylor, but it didn’t end with her. While the notorious con artist was convicted of welfare fraud in 1977, the press and prosecutors kept looking for women to scapegoat and shame for receiving public aid. Learn more about the devastating legacy of Taylor’s crimes in an excerpt from Josh Levin’s new book, The Queen, and subscribe to the companion podcast miniseries.
It’s not Taylor Swift: The latest Source Notes from Stephen Harrison delves into why China recently blocked Wikipedia in its entirety (years after blocking the Mandarin version). It may or may not rhyme with She-mannequin Bear. But the absence of the world’s most populous country only portends bad tidings for our collective knowledge.
Wheel of Thrones: The much derided but probably OK Game of Thrones finale happened. And yeah, we’ll have takes and spoilers for a while yet, but Isaac Butler points out that all Westeros really did was trade one kind of monarchy for another: “In its finale, Game of Thrones gives us the aristocratic view of the ungovernable continent. The new government must use myth-making to bolster its legitimacy, and it must rebuild existing, familiar institutions.”
For fun: Welcome back, New Coke.
More of a Coke Zero person (don’t @ me),