Review: Like One: Poems for Boston

Like One: Poems for Boston Like One: Poems for Boston by Deborah Finkelstein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not a big fan of poetry, which is why I find it amusing that two of my big picks for this month have a strong poetry component (the other being Ensler's book). Like One: Poems for Boston is a great anthology filled with contemporary and classic poets (e.g. Walt Whitman and Robert Frost) that celebrates togetherness. Editor, Deborah Finkelstein was inspired to edit this anthology in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings--not to put the focus on the tragedy, but to capture the unity that emerged in its aftermath. The collection's proceeds go to help victims of the bombing.

Overall, I surprisingly liked this collection. That's not because I expected less from it but mostly because I'm not usually as captured by poetry as other forms of writing. I appreciate it, but am just not driven to read it. However, Finkelstein not only selected a great and accessible collection of poems, she also did a great job of organizing the poems as they often flow from one to another in a way that's hard to fully explain but feels natural. As one reads through the poems, it's easy to understand why the order fit; each one seems in part born of the previous poem and preparing to birth the next. In that, there is a harmony to this collection that beautifully captures the purpose in celebrating the unity of Bostonians.

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Review: Hyde

Hyde Hyde by Daniel Levine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've always been fascinated by the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic and since reading the original novella several years ago, I am increasingly fascinated by all things related. I loved the BBC version of Jekyll with James Nesbitt and enjoyed both the movie and novel by Valerie Martin of Mary Reilly. I've seen lots of versions of Jekyll and Hyde and my favorite still remains to be the 1932 version with Frederic March. Hyde now gets added to that list of favorite renderings of Jekyll and Hyde that I've read or viewed over the years. It's a well-told tale that provides some fascinating layers to the Jekyll and Hyde dynamic while offering the point of view of Hyde which is so often neglected or rarely humanized in the ways that Levine does. Levine raises some fascinating questions about Jekyll that I appreciate since they are ones I often raised when I have taught the text within a class. Additionally, Levine has clearly studied Stevenson's tale to make sure everything fits and there are no cracks. He aligns everything with the novella's events which allow for a seamless narrative that even the biggest fanboy would have trouble finding fault with.

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Article Summary #13: The "Digital Divide": Hispanic college students' views of educational uses of the Internet

Citation: Slate, J. R., Manuel, M., & Brinson Jr, K. H. (2002). The "Digital Divide": Hispanic college students' views of educational uses of the Internet. Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 27(1), 75-93.
Word cloud of the article: The Digital Divide-Hispanic college students' views of educational uses of the Internet

Summary: The author identified a digital divide specifically for Latina/os populations in high school and explored how this divide impacts beginning Hispanic college students in terms of their computer and internet skillset and techno-disposition, with particular attention to gender, first generation college student status, and primary language at home.  They surveyed 226 Hispanic students at Southwestern university on topics including attitudes towards the Internet and its educational use, personal computer and Internet access and usage, personal learning experiences on the internet, frequency of Internet use, and demographic content.  The analysis revealed gender differences in terms of disposition, usage, value of information on the Internet, and educational benefits of the Internet.  The primary home language also correlated with techno-disposition, with a more positive view of technology if English was the primary language.  Additionally, students whose home language was Spanish were more likely to learn techno-skills outside of the home. Using a closed-question survey, the authors’ research is limited in understanding why these correlations exist and prevent from understanding how just differences are experienced by students.  


Keywords: Hispanics, Latina/os, digital divide, digital access, high school, college, techno-disposition, survey, college students, gender




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Short Story #378: Beyond the Wall of Sleep by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:  Beyond the Wall of Sleep

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
The narrator first explains that he has always wondered and at times, believed that the far reaches of the world of sleep and dream may actually be the "real" world and that physical world is just a distraction.  To reinforce this point, he tells the story of Joe Slater.  Joe Slater grew up in a removed village in the Catskills Mountains by people who lived an entirely rural life and impoverished life.  Joe was never educated and was assumed to be lacking in any and all intelligence.  He was known to go into deep sleeps and have fits upon waking.  During one of his fits, he beats another man to pulp and for this ultimately finds himself in an asylum where the narrator works.  The narrator repeatedly witnesses these episodes but is unable to attain more information about what happens because Joe is so ignorant, he can barely communicate--it also appears he has no recollection of what goes on in these fitful dreams.  The narrator decides to return to an experiment of his younger years when he believed he could network two minds together through a machine of his making.  He decides to do this with Joe one night when it is clear his body is giving out and he is close to death.  He hooks up the machine and is mentally transported into the world that Joe's mind exists.  In this vision,the narrator witnesses beautiful images and landscapes and learns about an adversarial opponent that the being he is with (he is uncertain if it is Joe Slater himself or some other being connected to Joe) is trying to pursue.  Eventually, it's clear that the dream-state is ending.  When the narrator is awoken, he looks to Joe who appears to be almost dead.  However, the narrator tries one last time to connect mentally with Joe and receives a voice that comes from Joe but isn't Joe.  The voice explains that he is indeed a separate being--a being that connects to a living body and exists when that body falls to sleep.  He explains that Joe is all but dead and that the spirit will go on exploring the universe in pursuit of the adversary.  His explains that the adversary can bee seen as a certain star in the sky and that it is the spirit's intention to get him.  The narrator is released from this connection and though no one believes his story, he notes that there was a report of that star disappearing shortly after this event--just prior to the appearance of a newly reported star showing up near it.  


Reflection

It's another great Lovecraft tale that plays around with the real and unreal, the sane and insane.  For this, it seems interesting that though Lovecraft wrote so much of his fantastic mythology, he still invokes the Christian view that the world we live in is not the ""real world."  I also found this tale fascinating because he does mention the term "white trash"--to refer to Slater and his clan.  I never realized how old this derogative term is. 

Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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Image of the Week #13: Start Your Christmas on October 1

The Wellesley News (09-26-1918)

What Is It

An advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It Interesting

We get frustrated when we see ads for Christmas before Halloween.  Consider that this ad was published in September and that is likely to stun you.  What's more is how the ad tries to capitalize not just on Christmas but also seems to be trying to profit from the war as well but connecting their store with being patriotic.  Apparently, George Bush was not the first to make such dubious connections.

This submission is part of the Image of the Week series.  For access to all photos, which are open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

So You Wanna Blog? Part 2

In my first blog post in this series, we took a look as some of the ways you might approach blogging.  In this post, we're going to look at some of the more technical features and some things you should do with your post.  Now, I say should and all I really mean by that is if you want to maximize your viewership, there are definitely some things I recommend. 


Blogging Platform

But first, let's talk about platforms.  There are a bajillion blogging platforms out there.  This blog runs on Blogger.  But there's also WordPress and Tumblr and many others.  Platforms matter and while I chose Blogger because I am a heavy Google-product user, if I had a time machine, I would go back and choose WordPress.  Largely I recommend WordPress because it has better SEO (what is "SEO"--search engine optimization, which basically means, it gets better positioning in search results.  You would think Blogger does but apparently, it's WordPress.  I would imagine with its popularity, this is also potentially true of Tumblr.  Still, I did appreciate in the earlier days, the simplicity and ease of Blogger.  I'm a bit bummed that it seems like they are no longer doing much in terms of upgrades to the platform, but it still does the trick for now.  If I were to rank the easy and usability for neophytes, it would be Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress in order of easiest to hardest.  


What Goes Into a Blog Post?

What I'm going to talk about here is certain content to include in your blog posts that will likely improve its visibility on the internet.  Now, I mentioned before that you should blog largely for yourself and not worry about building a readership per se.  That's still true, but figure it this way:  it shouldn't stop you from at least making sure you've created a pathway to your door, just in case people want to stop by your house.  


Titles

You should make sure to include titles for each of yours.  Interesting, titles that include numbers get more readership (e.g. 7 Things You Should Know About Blogging, 99 Problems But My Internet Connection Ain't 1).  Titles should be relevant, indicate if it is part of a series, and be playful.  
Word cloud in the shape of a cat of this blog post.
Add cats, whenever possible!


Images

Including images is a must for your blog if you want to attract attention.  The images bring in people for two reasons.  The first is that it increases search visibility for general searches, but it also increases traffic to your site when people do image searches; your image may show up.  However, the best way to secure or increase image-related traffic is to make sure you do two things.
  1. Be sure to name the file relevant to what it is.  
  2. Be sure to use alt-image tags.
For the first one, by naming the image file something relevant "bookshelf.jpg" if it is a bookshelf is that this can be used as some of the information used to produce the search results.  That is, the file name helps the search engine classify it for when someone searches for it.  Alt-image tags work along the same line but there is another great reason to use alt-image labels: they help people who have visual limitations.  The alt-image text is a description of the image.  Often, folks with visual limitations use screen-readers to read text on the screen.  When the screen-reader encounters an image, it will read the alt-image text.  
In acquiring images, I have two recommendations.  The first is to use Creative Commons to find images that you can legally include on your blog and not potentially violate copyright.  I also recommend using Tagxedo to create a word cloud for your post, which as you can see on this blog, I am a big fan of!

Design

The blog design including the side bar, heading, and text should have a consistent and clear design.  I tend to prefer sans-serif fonts and a strong contrast between font color and background.  Otherwise, even I have trouble reading what I wrote.  Additionally, a consistent design of fonts, spacing, layout makes it easier for readers to determine where to focus attention.  


Headings and Subheadings

Along the lines of consistent and clear design, I encourage using headings and subheadings within the blog.  Besides providing good navigation for the reader, headings also serve another purpose with regards to SEO in that they also become ways of improving rankings of blog posts in search engines. Of course, like so much else within blogging, these should be used but not abused.   


Links


Linking is often the lifeblood of blogs and also contributes to improving a blog's SEO.  Any given post should link to other content such as points of reference, material being discussed, alternative points of view, or even funny asides.  It's also useful to encourage exchanging blog-links with other blogs or responding to and linking to other blog posts.  While some of this is used to create traffic, the other half is equally important:  providing elaboration, details, or supplemental material for your particular post, so that you can focus on your content, and use other resources to reinforce it.  
  

Tags/Labels

Tags and labels are merely a way of classifying your blog posts.  As you can see to the left of this blog post, there is a word-cloud of labels based upon popularity of given tags or labels.  I find this is a useful means to communicate to readers about the content of the blog as well as myself to consider just where my energies are largely focused.  

Ok, so those are some of the basic things to consider with your blog to maximize readership but most of these recommendations also speak to creating a well-designed and well-thought out blog.  

I don't know that I have a third in this series, but if I do, I will let you know!  Thanks for reading!



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Review: Who Owns the Future?

Who Owns the Future? Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is not as emotionally charging as Ensler's but it is equally important for the world today. As a well-known technologist of the 1980s and 1990s, Lanier has much to say about the modern interconnected world and his concerns about it. Continuing on from his last book, You Are Not a Gadget, he explores the world of mega-servers, their powers to influence the world and the impact that can have on human affairs, particularly the world of economics and trade. His biggest concern is that the information individuals are willing to give companies, as he claims, "for free" is setting up a system that will inevitably come back to bite us in our collective asses. He offers up a new approach to the exchange of information that takes place every time an individual sits at a computer and accesses the internet. His idea would be to create a system of micropayments so that everyone is given something for every piece of information that another person, company, entity uses.

Some people might not fully understand but every time they interact with a computer, there are numerous note-takers recording much of what you do in terms of what you click, what you look at, how long you look at it, etc. Many have argued that Google and the like do much more in terms of surveillance than NSA ever could. Lanier believes individuals should be paid for such information, even if it is micropayments (with the belief that it will amount to some small streams of revenue given the amount of information that is actually collected on us). I do like the idea but I find Lanier still fails to prove his point. His most basic argument is that companies are taking information from us without our consent and without due compensation. Yet, that's not entirely true. In many cases, we are exchanging services. I provide information about me and in return, I get use and access to tools that I would not have had otherwise. He never substantially addresses this. Otherwise, it's a fantastic and thought-provoking book.

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Review: Doctor Who: A History

Doctor Who: A History Doctor Who: A History by Alan Kistler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not get into Doctor Who while growing up and even with the series reboot in the early 2000s, I largely avoided it. However, a friend got me to try Torchwood and I really enjoyed that towards the end. So I started to flirt with Doctor Who and was slowly making my way through the show. David Tennant was growing on me but I still wasn't sold on the show--it was something to have on in the background while playing games and such. Then, I listened to Alan Kistler's book and that changed pretty quick. Kistler provides a keen history of Doctor Who from inception to it's forthcoming new doctor (the 12th) and strikes a great balance between the background of the show such as the actors, the writers, the politics of it all and explaining the ongoing character development of the doctor from season to season and from doctor to doctor. It's a complete joyride for fans and for those who are interested in fully understanding Doctor Who without having to watch (or re-watch) all the older episodes (though I will likely do that at some point). It's clearly a work of passion and one that readers will definitely enjoy if you're looking to know more about Doctor Who.

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Article Summary #12: The influence of techno-capital and techno-disposition on the college-going processes of Latina/o college students in Central Texas

Citation: Lu, C., & Straubhaar, J. D. (2014). The influence of techno-capital and techno-disposition on the college-going processes of Latina/o college students in Central Texas. Learning, Media and Technology, 39(2), 184-198.
Word cloud of the article: The influence of techno-capital and techno-disposition on the college-going

Summary: The authors pointed out that current research shows Latina/os have less access than whites and focused this qualitative study (20 semi-structured in-depth interviews with Latina/o students) on a predominantly white institution in Texas to understand how techno-capital and techno-disposition influence the daily lives and college-going process for Latina/o (particularly along class and gender lines).  The authors used the Bourdieu inspired term, techno-capital to capture the essence of access and knowledge to technology.  Techno-disposition refers to how one’s attitude towards technology. The interviews produced two major themes: complex dynamics between techno-capital and techno-disposition and differences in approaches and use of technology via gender.  Those without personal techno-capital were well aware of their digital divide and the digital expectations of their instructors.  Low techno-capital in high school resulted in further struggling in college.  Students’ techno-disposition along gender lines revealed women using technology more to connect, learn, and get help for their learning while men used it more for financial or business purposes. The study emphasized that those who have sufficient techno-capital were often oblivious to the struggles of those without it. It reinforced the role that parents, peers, and schools play in developing techno-capital in a student and highlighted the technology-skills assumptions colleges have about students despite their potential lack of techno-capital.


Keywords: Latina/o, techno-capital, digital divide, Bourdieu, techno-disposition, college, Texas, qualitative research, interviews, techno-assumptions




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Short Story #377: Azathoth by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:  Azathoth

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
The story begins by talking about a time when the world no longer wondered or had much of an imagination.  Cities arose everywhere with little life or excitement and destroying the world of art and expression.  One man dares to defy the dullness of this world. Nightly, he travels to the city's walls in order to peer out beyond and up into the sky.  This dreamer spends long hours tracking the celestial sky and naming them.  One night, violet rays from the sky came down and envelop the man.  In this light, he sees a great many beautiful and foreign things.  These rays ultimately transport him to Azathoth and away from his mundane world.




Reflection

It's not quite a story but more like an experience is the best way I can describe this "story."  Lovecraft is telling us of a place of magnificent beauty that stands in stark relief to the world he lives in.  Or at least, he sees the world becoming so (of which I have a significantly different view on--I'm sure there's much Lovecraft and I would disagree about).  The story seems to say that the man's dedication to beauty allowed him to be transported to this world of beauty.  Of course, one wonders--given other themes of Lovecraft--if Azathoth is indeed "real" in his fictional world--or a more deserving madness bestowed upon his kinder characters.   

Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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Image of the Week #12: The Call To Women

The Wellesley News (10-03-1918)

What Is It

An article from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It Interesting

This article in the Wellesley News comes as the U.S. has entered into World War I.  What I find fascinating about it though is the openness of paying women the same rate as men.  That it is accepted in this instance, nearly 100 years ago, and yet, we still see discrepancies shows that not all victories are long-lasting.  It makes me wonder what were the background discussions that made this possible.  I'm also curious if the last paragraph is meant to be serious or snarky.


This submission is part of the Image of the Week series.  For access to all photos, which are open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

My Most Recent Reads - February 2016

A very slow month for reading for me.  I only read 10 books this month, which as we know is very unusual for me.  Much of that has to do with just limited time but also a few of the audiobooks I listened to this month were longer than usual.  And like January, I didn't find the lot entirely exciting, though there were two that I can speak to.  I had a lot of titles to review for magazines, which also keeps me from reviewing them here (something about a conflict of interest, right?).  
Jean Paul Satre - No Exit Page 1


No Exit by Jean-Paul Satre

Confession time--I haven't read much of Satre's philosophical work; though I would guess that's many people.  However, after reading No Exit, I am much more intrigued.  No Exit is a one-act play in which three people find themselves in a room without (wait for it...) an exit.  They have been placed in here as their essential version of hell to wait out eternity.  The surprise is the method in which hell is enacted.  It's not filled with traditional sadists who want to throw these characters on the rack and watch them writhe in pain, but rather a balance of or rather an imbalance of the three characters is what makes it the quintessential hell.  Each character seeds the anger and frustration as they each reveal their secrets and then their true selves, illustrating why they make the perfect threesome for eternal damnation.  I found Satre dialogue engaging and that the characters were easy to formulate through their lines.  It's a quick but fascinating read.  


The Horror of It All: One Moviegoer’s Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead... by Adam Rockoff

I tend to be a fan of film critic memoirs mostly because they provide me with insight into the mind of the critic about key moments in their cinematic-taste development.  I always appreciate when a film critic can crystallize their viewing experience and that's what Rockoff does a lot of in this book, mixing his life with a great deal of horror films--some good, some bad, and some we should probably not talk about.  Sprinkled among his films and reflections are sometimes political or theoretical views that I personally disagree with but can see how and why he has inserted them.  But the main reason I enjoyed this book is to see the great many horror films that I may know nothing about and wish to learn.  Indeed, a book like this makes me go and add a bajillion (yes, that's an accurate count) new titles to my Netflix que.  Horror fans may not agree with every choice or film that Rockoff brings up, but there is plenty of great content to sift through here.  

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)

BOOKS
  • No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Plotted: A Literary Atlas by Andrew DeGraff

AUDIOBOOKS
  • United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good by Cory Booker
  • Gamelife: A Memoir by Michael Clune
  • The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick
  • The Brain Electric: The Dramatic High-Tech Race to Merge Minds and Machines by Malcolm Gay
  • Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence by Lee Siegel
  • Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable by Richard Demillo
  • Aftermath (Star Wars: Aftermath, #1) by Chuck Wendig
  • The Horror of It All: One Moviegoer’s Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead... by Adam Rockoff
GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Invincible, Vol. 22: Reboot by Robert Kirkman

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?


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Review: In the Body of the World

In the Body of the World In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In two words, this book is "brutally beautiful." I've enjoyed Ensler's work--not just the now-famous Vagina Monologues but her other work (e.g. The Good Body) and her overall activism. She has her share of critics about how she presents her message but the amount of good work and its impact on the world is palpable. She has certainly been an inspiration to me on how to be a feminist. This memoir meshes the world of her childhood violence with the continued violence of women around the world; all of which is superimposed on her battle with cancer. In the Body of the World jumps from topic to topic at an almost frantic pace, mixing poetry, essays, and reflections. Each piece conveys various facets of her experience and how the violence experienced by her body is connected to much of the violence throughout the world.

I listened to this as an audiobook and Ensler reads it in her typical dramatic flair. This adds greatly to the experience and it's clear from her pace, emphasis and tone when she is ready poetry or an essay. The various emotions from her writing boil over into her voice and it is extremely hard not to be moved by this book.

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Review: Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government

Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government by Aneesh Chopra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aneesh Chopra is among several books out in the last several years that highlights how technology, when leveled appropriately could overwhelmingly transform our government and make it work smarter while simultaneously making it significantly less expensive. Throughout his book, he offers ample examples that he has encountered in the writing of this book as well as many that he was involved with personally. He identifies reasons and strategies for improving government service with a variety of tools that are proving successful on the local, state, and national level. In the end, the book proves inspiring and insightful about a better and more useful path for citizenry and government that is less dominated by the simplistic politics of political parties and more successful with doing and getting results.

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Article Summary #11: The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides

Citation: Lane, A. (2009). The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(5)

Word cloud of the article: The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides
Summary: This essay juxtaposed the potential of open educational resources (OER) with the limitations of the digital divide. The author explained the types of open (access, licensed, format, and software) and their inherent barriers that exist to actually appropriate them for learning. He addressed the numerous types of divides beyond digital (geographical, cultural, social, income, and physical. Lane posited that the digital divide is multi-layered, going beyond the access to computers and including access to the right networks, and technical skills divide.  Technical skills are not merely a simple set, but break down into basic, structural and strategic skills of operating in the digital world.  These digital literacies are in constant flux against a changing landscape of technology, making investing in technology and the learning even more challenging.  Lane then shifted into discussing the issue of OER being made available without necessarily a structured environment (e.g. classroom, real or virtual) to help navigate and articulate achieved learning.  Lane ended by highlighting that openness alone will not achieve its mission to enhance education for those who already have trouble accessing it.

Keywords: open educational resources, digital divide, open access, limitations of OER





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Short Story #376: The Beast in the Cave by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:  The Beast in the Cave

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
The narrator explains that he went on a tour of the Mammoth Cave with a group of others and a guide.  Deciding that he was above the others in his resolve, interest, and resilience to being in the dark, he broke off with the group to go down forbidden caves.  However, he got lost and could not find his way back as his light began to fade.  He explains that he took this all with a calmness that others wouldn't have.  However, he does call for the guide, knowing it is unlikely to help.  But he does begin to hear a noise and realizes quickly that it is not the guide but something else entirely--something that at times walks on two legs and other times walks on four.  He knows his chances are limited and picks up a rock.  He throws it in the direction of the approaching beast but misses.  He throws again and manages to hit the beast, who falls to the ground and is breathing heavily.  With the beast wounded but not dead, the narrator determines what to do next but it's at this point when the guide comes along much to the narrator's relief.  After showing immense relief about the guide finding him, he then turns back to the beast and with the light from the guide, they look at the beast.  The narrator slowly reveals that the beast is bipedal and eventually realizes that this beast was or is a human of some kind or other.


Reflection

A standard "things that go bump in the dark" tale, it still has a good atmosphere and momentum to it.  Lovecraft wrote this at age fourteen and it's pretty decent for a fourteen.  It reminds me of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Terror of Blue Gap John" to some degree.  It is interesting to see that Lovecraft from so very early on in his writing went with the first-person narrative.  It's what drives much of his stories (and not surprisingly, many of Poe's classics).  

Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Image of the Week #11: Bachelor of Atrocities

The Wellesley News (10-10-1918)

What Is It

An advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It Interesting

This ad for buying liberty bonds is rather striking in its message of fear.  "Are you going to let the Prussian python strike at your Alma Matter as it struck the University of Louvain?"  It asks as it proclaims that a B.A. is a "Bachelor of Atrocities."  Many other ads for Liberty Bonds typically invoke patriotism, doing one's part, and lending a helping hand, but this message seems so strongly aggressive and hateful that it makes me wonder how successful it was or how others perceived it in relation to the more benign messages. 

This submission is part of the Image of the Week series.  For access to all photos, which are open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

CFP: Teaching Popular Culture

The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association is seeking papers on popular and American culture, broadly construed, for its annual fall conference to be held on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Keene, New Hampshire from October 21-22.  NEPCA prides itself on holding conferences that emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment.  We welcome proposals from graduate students, junior faculty, and senior scholars.  NEPCA conferences offer intimate and nurturing sessions in which new ideas and works-in-progress can be aired, as well as completed projects.

CFP:  TEACHING POPULAR CULTURE



The Making of Harry Potter 29-05-2012

In particular, I am the chair of the Teaching  Popular Culture area and I'm really interested in hearing about and seeing the different ways instructors use popular culture in their courses--be it their core curriculum or even courses on popular culture.  If you have some ideas about a panel as a whole or individual papers that you would like to present on regarding this area, please be sure to submit.  A larger goal of this area is to create a place to foster ideas and approaches to teaching popular culture, regardless of the discipline.


Some particular ideas you might consider with regards to a paper in this area may include sharing unique approaches to:
  • Teaching courses focused specifically on “popular culture”
  • Teaching courses on an area within popular culture (e.g. courses that focus on the content and cultural aspects–not necessarily the “how-to” aspects of comics, video games, horror, Harry Potter, baseball, The Beatles, etc).
  • Teaching mainstream courses using popular culture (e.g. baseball statistics for explaining, statistics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer for explaining political theory, Star Trek for exploring biology).
This particular area is focused more on sharing successful and interesting teaching practices for other scholars and educators to learn or borrow from.

Presentations should be 15-20 minutes in length and lively in nature! The deadline for the submission of a 200-word abstract is May 1, 2016. Individual and full panel proposals are considered. Submission information is available at the Northeast Popular Culture Association conference page. 

NEPCA Fall Conference information, including the paper proposal form, can be found here.  Please submit the form, including a brief CV and abstract, located on the site.  Both proposals for individual papers and complete panels will be considered.  Please direct any questions to either 20165 Program Chair Karen Honeycutt (khoneycutt@keene.edu) and/or to the appropriate Area Chair.  For a complete list of Area Chairs, please visit the NEPCA website.   The deadline for proposals is June 15, 2016.

If you have specific questions about submitting to the Teaching Popular Culture area, please let me know!


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Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

King returns to the world of one of his most famous and classic books with Doctor Sleep and it's a great trip. King manages to deliver another story in the world without it being a sequel per se but rather, a continuation of the journey started in The Shining. He loads it with his typical features (supernatual, characters devoid of morals, cross-country treks, and good folks with power never quite sure of what they are supposed to do). I continue to enjoy King for his dedication to the story and writing style; he tells great stories that are always worth listening to.

View all my reviews


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Review: Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blake Harris takes readers on an engaging journey into the history of video games as he explores the history of Sega Genesis from its meteoric rise to its slow unraveling. Harris provides a detailed account of actions, conversations, and key events. His narrative focus is centered on Tom Kalinske, the CEO of Sega America who took up the charge against Nintendo, the juggernaut of video game consoles in the 1980s. For the most part, Harris does a solid job of presenting Kalinske as the protagonist in this drama of RPG proportions but manages to do so without entirely demonizing Nintendo. He brings up the overall criticisms and specific actions of Nintendo and yet avoids painting individuals as simplistic villains. For a gamer like myself who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was fascinating to hear and learning about the gaming wars that went on from the corporate point of view as opposed to my own experience. If there was but one flaw in the book, it would only be that Harris' stopped with the Kalinske's exit. It makes perfect sense for the book, but it would be fascinating to get such an in depth history of the gaming industry up through the present.

View all my reviews


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Article Summary #10: Insisting on Digital Equity: Reframing the Dominant Discourse on Multicultural Education and Technology

Citation: Gorski, P. C. (2009). Insisting on Digital Equity: Reframing the Dominant Discourse on Multicultural Education and Technology. Urban Education, 44(3), 348-364.

Word cloud for the article: Insisting on Digital Equity
Summary:  Gorski argues for equity and social justice at the center of discussions with multicultural education and computer technologies in this essay. Using a multicultural education framework coupled with critical analysis, he illustrates the need for systematic and equitable education and resources for instructional technology. Gorski challenges the idea of computers and internet as equalizers, identifies ways in which computers and technology reinforce inequities, and shifts the dialogue from physical access to social, cultural and political access and what that would mean for those previously with limited or no access.  He examines different practices and biases in teachers and education that reinforce the different divides (racial, gender, linguistic, ability). He highlights specific actions for people committed to addressing multicultural education and substantive access.  These include regularly acknowledging digital inequities in dialogues about multicultural education and technology, advocating for computers and Internet access in education until there is equal access, recognizing digital inequalities as systematic issues, pushing for cost improvements for educational technology and training, requesting instructional technologists in every school, refusing to endorse popular websites until they are more equitable, remaining critical of arguments claiming technological process will create social, cultural, and human progress, and continually asking how the technologies can better secure equity and social justice in education.

Keywords: digital divide, digital equity, digital access, multicultural, social justice, instructional technology



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Short Story #375: The Hound by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:  The Hound

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
The narrator explains that the tale he is about to discuss is one of possible madness, but that he must explain it before he blows his brains out.  His good friend, St. John has been torn to shreds and the narrator would rather not face that end.  He explains that hee and St. John after growing tired of all the worldly adventures and pursuits, took up grave-robbing and began to collect a vast collection of corpses and buried artifacts a removed home.  They delight in taking body parts, stuffing corpses, and other such dark pleasures for quite a while, when they hear about a potential grave robber's grave from hundreds of years ago.  They decide to rob it and find a curious and hypnotic amulet in the tomb.  However, from the day that they take it, stranger things begin to occur.  They continue to hear a howl in the background (or howling wind).  Knocking at odd hours and other noises begin to haunt their home.  One day, St. Johns is slaughtered on his way home.  His dying words direct the narrator to the amulet as the cause.  Growing increasingly scared and questioning the sanity of it all, the narrator burns down the house with all of their collected items.  He takes the amulet and goes to the Netherlands to find the grave where he had taken it from.  Upon the way though, he is robbed.  Later on, he discovers that the robbers had been reported as being slaughtered by some unknown beast.  At this point, he stops hearing the hound in the background.  The narrator rushes to the grave and digs up the corpse again.  Instead of finding the mere bones of a centuries-old corpse, he finds a mangled and indescribable body with blood, hair, and the amulet.  The man runs from this and begins to hear the hound in the background again.  He finishes his tale by asserting that he will terminate his life shortly rather than face the hound.


Reflection

Lovecraft does well with this story.  One thinks that it is about to end when St. John is killed, but the horror delves even deep in his aftermath.  It's clear that this is a more well--written tale by Lovecraft in that he never shows us the monster directly but continually hints about what is there, thus we are able to imagine something rather horrific.  I also learned or at least now I suspect that a ghoul can be used to refer to someone who robs graves (I will look it up later), which I never realized but the more I think about the different references I've seen for it, it makes sense.  

Rating:  4 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.