Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sabbath Birds

This makes me want to cry:

My hero, Madeleine L???Engle, once wrote, ???I???ve long since stopped feeling guilty about taking being time; it???s something we all need for our spiritual health, and often we don???t take enough of it . . . When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being, there is no time for listening. I will never understand the silent dying of the green pie-apple tree if I do not slow down and listen to what the Spirit is telling me, telling me of the death of trees, the death of planets, of people, and what all these deaths mean in the light of love of the Creator who brought them all into being; who brought me into being; and you.???

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Now of course we are all suffering from the same affliction. Our technology whizzes along at the velocity of a speeding electron, and our poor overtaxed neurons struggle to keep up. Everything has become a split-second decision. Find something you like. Share it. Have a half-baked thought. Tweet it. Don???t wait. Don???t hesitate. Seize the moment. Keep up. There will be plenty of time to repent later. Oh, and just to cover your ass, don???t forget to stick a smiley??:)??on the end just in case you???ve overstepped the mark.

A Day in the Life of a Digital Humanities Postdoc

I am both a faculty member, because I teach a freshman writing seminar, and an administrator, because I assist faculty. This dual role can be challenging, both for me and for my colleagues. Am I someone that faculty come to for technology help, like IT support, or am I a peer, like a junior faculty member? So, for example, when I help faculty members develop new and innovative assignments, do they see me as ???tech help??? or as someone who can help them rethink their pedagogy? How are these separated when you are teaching someone a new technology? Also, since I am not in a department, how do I work both within my own discipline and relate to my colleagues here in that discipline and how do I work across the disciplines, something highly valued at a liberal arts college? Finally, how do I prioritize this kind of broad, interdisciplinary work when I know that I will have to go out on the job market again, a job market that often values highly specialized work?

The Moral Hazard of Drones

First, we might remember Marx???s comment that ???the windmill gives you a society with the feudal lord; the steam engine gives you one with the industrial capitalist.??? And precision guided munitions and drones give you a society with perpetual asymmetric wars.

The creation of technology is a value-laden enterprise.?? It creates the material conditions of culture and society and therefore its creation should be regarded as always already moral and political in nature.?? However, technology itself (the physical stuff of robotic warfare) is neither smart nor dumb, moral nor immoral.?? It can be used more or less precisely, but precision and efficiency are not inherently morally good.?? Imagine a very skilled dentist who painlessly removes the wrong tooth.?? Imagine a drone equipped with a precision guided munition that kills a completely innocent person, but spares the people who live in his or her neighborhood.?? The use of impressive technologies does not grant one impressive moral insight.?? Indeed, as Gyges demonstrates, the opposite can be the case.

Second, assassination and targeted killings have always been in the repertoires of military planners, but never in the history of warfare have they been so cheap and easy.???? The relatively low number of troop casualties for a military that has turned to drones means that there is relatively little domestic blowback against these wars. The United States and its allies have created the material conditions whereby these wars can carry on indefinitely. The non-combatant casualty rates in populations that are attacked by drones are slow and steady, but they add up.?? That the casualty rates are relatively low by historical standards ??? this is no Dresden ??? is undoubtedly a good thing, but it may allow the international media to overlook pesky little facts like the slow accretion of foreign casualties.

Article: Online Universities: Why They Still Don’t Measure Up

When I men??tioned that even Har??vard was already offer??ing??blend??ed learn??ing degrees, the recruiter was quick to point out that those degrees were lim??it??ed to Har??vard's Exten??sion School, and the Uni??ver??si??ty's most pres??ti??gious schools go out of their way to??under??score the power of com??mu??nal, face-to-face learn??ing.

"I hate to sound like a snob, but call me back when Har??vard Busi??ness School offers an online MBA."

Online Universities: Why They Still Don't Measure Up
http://readwrite.com/2012/11/09/online-universities-why-they-still-dont-measure-up

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Article: Online Universities: Why They Still Don’t Measure Up

Acad??e??mia is not like the busi??ness world, in which an online start??up can trounce an estab??lished busi??ness by build??ing in the cloud and deliv??er??ing com??mod??i??ty goods with less over??head. Rep??u??ta??tion and con??sis??ten??cy mat??ter when build??ing trust in hard-to-quantify-results. Iron??i??cal??ly, inno??va??tion, lower costs, inclu??sion and reduced bar??ri??ers to entry can actu??al??lyhurt??the pres??tige of online schools. One of the key func??tions of a selec??tive col??lege is to do some pre-sorting of appli??cants: "if you got into Yale you must be smart." Giant online schools that accept pret??ty much every??one may be democ??ra??tiz??ing edu??ca??tion, but they're not help??ing employ??ers or any??one else sep??a??rate out the best and the brightest.??
Online Universities: Why They Still Don't Measure Up
http://readwrite.com/2012/11/09/online-universities-why-they-still-dont-measure-up

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