reading

Sunday, 10 May 2015 - 6:18pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 10/05/2015 - 6:18pm in

Things have been more grim than ever (and that's saying something) in our little Colorbond-clad corner of sunny Sawtell. Fortunately, I can always escape reality via the Internet. This week, I have been mostly reading:

  • Lesser-Known Trolley Problem Variations - Kyle York at McSweeney's Internet Tendency: "The Time Traveller: There’s an out of control trolley speeding towards a worker. You have the ability to pull a lever and change the trolley’s path so it hits a different worker. The different worker is actually the first worker ten minutes from now."
  • Do you ever really own a computerized device? - Toronto Globe and Mail interviews Cory Doctorow: "So this creates this really weird regime where effectively you get to make up your own laws: You put a lock on, you prevent something from happening and suddenly it becomes illegal to do that. Even if Parliament or Congress never sat down to do that. Can that law really pass constitutional muster?"
  • The History of the Future of the Push-Button School - Audrey Watters: "'The high school becomes partially transformed into a center run by administrators and clerks, with a minimum of the routine assigned to the teaching staff. […] The creation of educational material moves partially out into industry, which goes into the education business in partnership with educators.'"
  • ‘They,’ the Singular Pronoun, Gets Popular - Ben Zimmer, WSJ: People like me have strong feelings about issues like this.
  • Government inquiry takes aim at green charities that ‘get political’ - Peter Burdon on the Conversation: "While conceding that the Hawke review may be interpreted as an “attack on [environmental organisations'] efforts to protect the environment”, [Gary] Johns also argued that governments “should be reticent” about supporting organisations that “promote viewpoints on issues where there is reasonable disagreement in the electorate”. It is difficult to see what organisations would satisfy such a test. Certainly not the Institute of Public Affairs, the Chifley Research Centre or Menzies House, which also enjoy tax deductibility but seem unlikely to face the same scrutiny advocated by Hawke."
  • The triple crisis of sociology -  Ivan Szelenyi at Contexts: "Sociology is indeed in a triple crisis. It responds the wrong way to “scientific” challenge coming from neo-classical economics and rational choice political science. It either imitates them or moves into trendy interdisciplinary fields just to regain its lost constituency." Also check out Ivan's Foundations of Modern Social Theory lectures. I didn't know he taught at Flinders University in the 70s. My, that Hungarian accent seems hard to shake off.
  • Shorter - Cory Doctorow at Locus Online: "My experience contrasts with the moral panic over the decline in writ­ing standards due to the Internet. Those who wring their hands at the informality and vernacular of instant messaging and social media prose have missed the point: when we practice writing short, for an audience, as a kind of performance, it makes us better writers"

Sunday, 3 May 2015 - 6:49pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 03/05/2015 - 6:49pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 26 April 2015 - 6:38pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 26/04/2015 - 6:38pm in

This week, I have been mostly sick as a dog. I might have read the following, though it could all have been a delusion brought on by fever and lack of sleep:

Sunday, 19 April 2015 - 10:12pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 19/04/2015 - 10:12pm in

This week (and last), I have been mostly too busy to log—or even do—much extra-curricular reading. Here are some exceptions:

  • Why is so much of the discussion of higher ed driven by elite institutions? - Corey Robin at CT: "[…] the way that elite institutions dominate our media discussions really skews how the public, particularly that portion of the public that is not in college right now, sees higher education. There is a war being fought on college campuses, but it’s not about trigger warnings or safe spaces; it’s about whether most students will be able to get any kind of liberal arts education at all—forget Shakespeare v. Morrison; I’m talking essays versus multiple choice tests, philosophy versus accounting—from mostly precarious professors who are themselves struggling to make ends meet."
  • Lecture by David Graeber: Resistance In A Time Of Total Bureaucratization / Maagdenhuis Amsterdam (video): "Twenty or thirty years ago, when you said 'the university', people meant the faculty, the staff. Now when you say 'the university' you mean the administrition. We are no longer a community of scholars, we're a business. […] Creating knowledge, learning things, studying things, understanding the world, is no longer the point of a university."
  • Joe Biden’s Israel stunner: American Jews should let Israel protect them - Corey Robin, Salon: What the…? I don't even… A country's vice president warns its Jewish population to keep a bag packed, just in case. Then receives "applause, and then photos, and then kosher canapés".
  • Academia’s 1 Percent - Sarah Kendzior, Vitae: "The fate of aspiring professors is sealed not with job applications but with graduate-school applications. Institutional affiliation has come to function like inherited wealth."
  • Letter from Amsterdam: Humanities, Rally! - George Blaustein at n+1: "David Graeber noted in passing that the demands of humanities students are, in a sense, actually quite conservative. It is the students who speak up for pure knowledge, for the value of study for its own sake, for the cultural or human heritage, for some of the things teachers aren’t always good at voicing anymore."
  • Edutopia - Megan Erikson at Jacobin: "The great irony is that the very Silicon Valley reformers promoting and funding techno-utopian models for American schoolchildren refuse to submit their own children to anything like it, choosing innovative pedagogical models instead of newer touch screens."

Sunday, 5 April 2015 - 7:15pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 05/04/2015 - 7:15pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 29 March 2015 - 8:13am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 29/03/2015 - 8:13am in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 22 March 2015 - 7:42pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 22/03/2015 - 7:42pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 15 March 2015 - 1:50pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 15/03/2015 - 1:50pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

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