Posts

Showing posts from February, 2016

Short Story #374: The Tomb by H. P. Lovecraft

Image
Title:  The TombAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: The narrator, Jervas begins by explaining that he knows the reader is not likely to believe him since he has been confined to a room in what appears to be an asylum, but he goes forward with his tale regardless.  He explains that he grew up on the grounds of an ancient house that was owned by the Hydes who had largely died out, though his family had a loose connection and the house had been burnt to the ground years ago in a fire caused by a thunderstorm.  He always enjoyed exploring the words on their property and eventually stumbled upon a vault of tombs that was all but forgotten and covered in woodlands.  Throughout his youth, he spends much time here staring at the door with hopes of gaining entrance.  He is intrigued by the place and hints that much in the woods spoke to him in curious ways.  One evening when he visits the vault, he seems to be hypnotized by the sound and the sight of it and through this experience, goes to his hou…

Image of the Week #9: The Iceless Box (Not Ice-Box)

Image
What Is ItAn article from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It InterestingI found this small piece to be a curious oddity in the Wellesley News.  It's not the refrigerator that we come to know, but something else entirely.  There's no clarity on what it is--which is interesting because today, I could google the answer and find it (which I did and found this), but how would one be able to find out more information from this simple post.  The piece also makes me wonder what other things were invoked for usage during World War I to help people adapt to the shortages. 

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.


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

This Season's Running Line Up

Image
It's been a few months since I've dedicated any posts on running.  Clearly, there have been other priorities.  But with the spring approaching, I'm revving up to get in some races this year.

Last year was both a struggle and a success.  I struggled with a hip-strain which killed much of the summer.  I floundered a little bit during June when I started the PhD program and during the semester when things got really busy.  Most recently, I had to take at least three weeks off from running to let a cold finally go away that had been lingering around way too much.  Yet, it was also a success.  I ran my first half-marathon in under two hours.  I followed this up with a five-mile race where I ran in under 43 minutes and a 4 mile race on New Years' Day where I ran close to 33 minutes (8:15'ish minute miles!).  Something over the course of the year had changed that helped me find the right pace and approach to running to help me increase my time.  I will never be "fast&…

Review: How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value

Image
How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value by Michael D.C. Drout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I willingly admit that I am a total fanboy of Michael C. Drout's work. He is the author of several lecture series from Recorded Book's Modern Scholar line. His lively voice, amusing asides, and excitement over nerdy things add a level of interest to the lectures that other Modern Scholar lecturers seem to miss. This lecture series is no different as he delves into the history, the values, the importance, and the problems with the Liberal Arts as a major centerpiece of modern education. It's worth a listen for everyone who works in the liberal arts and more so for those who wish to devalue (and ultimately, defund) the liberal arts as it provides a good strong explanation as to their cultural importance.

View all my reviews



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

Review: Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress

Image
Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress by Becky Pettit
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is a fascinating look at the element of incarceration among African Americans (particularly male) and how because of demographics gathering such as the census and polling work, has left a wide gap about the nature of racial progress over the last 60 years. The result is a stark difference in perception between what is reported to have occurred in terms of racial progress and how things really are. Pettit traces connects these changes to the rise of the prison industrial complex and its explosion since the 1970s and 1980s. The disproportionate amount of African Americans in prison has left them unaccounted in a variety of other data for different reasons and thus, hide the actual disparities. The result is political action and choices that do not necessarily make up for the continued problems created through historically institutional racism.

View all my reviews



Article Summary #8: The Digital Divide and First-Year Students

Image
Citation:  Goodfellow, M., & Wade, B. (2007). The Digital Divide and First-Year Students. Journal Of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 8(4), 425-438.

Summary: The authors explored the digital divide along lines of income, racial, and household type and its impact on first year college students.  888 students over three years at Penn State Schuylkill Campus filled out surveys  requesting demographics, technology access, and skill levels in the following domains: word processing, e-mail, Internet searching, library searching, computer-enhanced presentations, creating Web pages, and game playing.  The results highlighted differences that occurred over the three years.  Students surveyed in the third year reported increased access, improved word processing skills, and Internet-searching skills compared to students in the first year.  The authors noted that the improvement in skill accounts for potential changes in K-12 education to enhance technological exposu…

Short Story #373: The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft

Image
Title:   The Thing on the DoorstepAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: The narrator is writing a confession of sorts explaining why he killed Edward Pickman Derby.  He claims that it was not his fault and that his tale will explain everything in this strange case.  He starts by explaining Edward's childhood and their meeting.  The narrator, Dan, explains that he first came to know Edward when he was eight and Dan was sixteen.  The boy wrote deep and dark poems that intrigued Dan and so he became mentor and friend to Edward who was a very reclusive boy from a reclusive family in the town of Arkham.  Their friendship continues for decades and Edward regularly visits Dan to engage in deeper philosophical discussions.  Years later, Edward returns to Mistakonic University and begins to toil in darker and darker exploits.  It's at this time that he also meets Asenath, a woman fifteen years his senior who eventually becomes his wife.  She is from Innsmouth and from an archaic and mysterio…

Image of the Week #8: General Electric Campaign

Image
What Is ItAn advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It InterestingSeveral of the ads that I'll be exploring in this series are from General Electric and their advertisements.  They are interesting in that they usually have some powerful or intriguing imagery such as this one wherein you see a drawing of the U.S.S. Constitution and the U.S.S. New Mexico next to each other--one a hallmark of the Revolutionary War and the other, a representative of World War I.  Beyond the image is usually a story like this one that connects the work of General Electric in war and at home, giving the reader a sense of power about General Electric and their products.  These were typically 3/4 or 4/5 page ads meant to draw attention and even pass as part of the newspaper.


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 fu…

So You Wanna Blog? Part 1

Image
I’ve been blogging here for about six years (here's my very first blog post).  I’ve come to really enjoy it and find it a useful means of exploring different ideas, sharing interesting things, and engaging in occasional dialogue.  I’ve had a variety of ideas about why I blog over the years but have largely settled into blogging as a practice of writing and reflecting for myself and if others join me—hey, that’s great!
In fact, it's taken years to figure what my blog is about and how to best use it.  It’s largely about coming up with prompts for myself—which to the general reader is probably a bit eclectic:  what I'm reading, things I'm seeing (wow--now that I think about it, that's pretty boring--oh well, I still enjoy the act of blogging).  
Getting Started...or NotThe hardest part of any blog has been keeping it going.  Most blogs die quick, lonely deaths in the first months of their creation. I stumbled a lot with my blog in the first few years.  I’d post a few th…

Review: Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years

Image
Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a fan of Tom Standage's work. He captures history in some rather fascinating ways and connects it to the everyday life of people in unexpected ways. Writing On the Wall is no different and of course, more dear to my heart as he meticulously traces the history of the characteristics of social media far back to ancient times. He identifies the various ways in which humans use and engage with social media today (along with the how the mainstream culture questions, values, and devalues these exchanges) and finds their historical analogues. We find Circero telling his informers to write him letters even when there is nothing new to write as well as the graffiti-laden walls of ancient cities, not just filled with irrelevant messages but advertisements, lovers' exchanges, and other content that holds meaning. It is an argument that I greatly appreciate since I also see that though …

Review: A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas

Image
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's not about knowing the answers, it's about being able to ask questions. That's the message of Berger's text and he provides a great range of ideas about how to get to asking great questions. I appreciate this book a lot, especially since I have as a tag line on my emails, "I wish I had all the answers; better yet, I wish I knew all the questions to ask." This book helped with thinking about questions to ask but also about ways of encouraging questions in teaching and learning that could produce solid outcomes for students. It's a versatile book that provides a lot of different ways to think about asking questions for learning, for working, and for living.

View all my reviews



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

Article Summary #7: Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access

Image
Citation: Goode, J. (2010). Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access. Journal Of Higher Education, 81(5), 583-618.

Summary:  Goode examined the relationship of a student's personal history computer access and skills development with how such knowledge impacts their educational pursuits. Her goal was to understand how lack of access and skillset can impede performance of low-income students in higher education.  She provided a technology identity framework which she used in her mix-methods research that includes surveying (512 respondents) and hour-long semi-structured interviews (3 respondents) at UCLA. The survey focused on home technology access, technology integration and access in high school, technological social/cultural capital, ability level on specific computer activities, UCLA's access and technology integration, and attitude towards technology.  Goode developed a technology proficiency index (TPI) to rate students answers.  Goode finds that though race i…

Short Story #372: The Terrible Old Man by H. P. Lovecraft

Image
Title:   The Terrible Old ManAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: Within the town of Kingsport, there lives a "terrible old man" of which so much lore has developed by the people in the town.  They have their suspicions about his background given that he pays in gold and silver from centuries past and has been old and recluse for more years than anyone can remember.  However, when three strangers arrive in town, they decide he is the perfect target to steal from, assuming he must have a vast sum of money.  They set up a plan so that two men will go in and the third will wait in a car in the backstreet to the house.  The man waits in the car while his accomplices head in.  He hears screams and assumes it is the old man and continues to wait.  An hour passes by and he assumes that they have killed the man without him revealing where his treasure is so they must search the house.  Finally, the back entrance opens but it is the terrible old man.  The story jumps from there to tell th…

Image of the Week #7: The Greatest Mother...

Image
What Is ItAn advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It InterestingSome of the ads in the Wellesley News during the 1918-1920 period make direct and indirect reference to World War I and its aftermath.  This is one such case and an interesting one at that.  Here is the call by the Red Cross to get involved.  I'd be curious to see what other publications this advertisement ran in.  In fact, I would like to have seen all of the ads that they used and where they were published.  This one, with it's young maternal figure holding a wounded soldier and the first line of the text saying "The Great Mother in the World is counting her children."  It certainly plays to the feminine ideal.  What would a male-version of this look like, I wonder.  


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…

January's Gratitude

Image
I set out this year to be more grateful.  So how's that going?  Simply put, I feel I'm off to a good start.  I begin my day with a gratitude acknowledgement.  I usually do at least three; more if I so feel moved.  I type out what I am grateful for using terms like, "I am grateful for..."  "I am thankful for..." or "I appreciate that.."  

I find this a wonderfully reflective and rewarding practice.  My January was a bit rough--I had a cold that wouldn't go away and I couldn't run for several weeks.  My running is my go-to for working out stuff, so having it inaccessible was a challenge during a month where lots is going on.  Awaking every morning chockful of phlegm and coughing also proved challenging.  Yet every morning, I was able to find many things to be thankful and grateful for.  This helped me find a center and a place to sit with and acknowledge the many things that I don't always see or pay attention to in my life.  

As I have mo…

Review: Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

Image
Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In many ways, it is a valuable read that provides some insight into the blogosphere and modern news media. However, it's also at times feels more like bravado than confessional and there is definitely elements of trustworthiness when it comes to Holiday's self-proclaimed feats. But all that being said, he does emphasize the superficiality of an online media system that relies on page-clicks and ad-views, and not reliable content. In fact, I think his argument that getting the news wrong is almost as valuable as getting it right because it means a site gets more stories and thus more page-clicks (and therefore more revenue) is probably not far off the mark at times.

View all my reviews



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

Review: It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

Image
It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last month, I talked about iRules as an essential text for any parent or anyone who works with youth and looks to mentor them with social media. Well, Boyd's book is a counterpart iRules. Where iRules provides a first-hand account that explores how a parent can navigate challenging conversations with youth, Boyd's text provides a much wider and research-oriented context from teens' points of view about what they are doing and why. Boyd does well in swimming through the misinformation, the fear-speak, and the generational differences to help understand what is really going on. It's a solid read for anyone who wants to better understand that our youth are not lost and destined fro disaster.

View all my reviews



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

Article Summary #6: Being Multiracial in a Wired Society: Using the Internet to Define Identity and Community on Campus

Image
Citation: Gasser, H. S. (2008). Being Multiracial in a Wired Society: Using the Internet to Define Identity and Community on Campus. New Directions For Student Services, (123), 63-71.

Summary:  Gasser explored how multiracial students choose to develop and express their identities as well as form communities in the digital world through Web 2.0 resources, specifically social networking sites, wikis, and blogs.  In each case, Gasser explained how multiracial students might use the tool for further self-definition and dialogue.  Her research was largely preliminary, recognizing pockets of users that engage in identity dialogue and she drew simple conclusions from each without substantive examination.  She explained that given these spaces, monoracial and multiracial people are likely to seek out these places to find community.  She encouraged student affairs practitioners to actively use the online environments as another space for outreach and inclusiveness.  Additionally, she emphasize…

Short Story #371: From Beyond by H. P. Lovecraft

Image
Title:   From BeyondAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: The narrator explains that he hasn't seen Crawford Tillinghast for some ten weeks and that when they last departed, Crawford was mad at the narrator and also in decent health.  But time has passed and Crawford is requesting his attention.  The narrator notes how skinny and sickly looking the man has become and recalls the night weeks ago when he told Crawford that his ideas were mad.  However, Crawford was insistent that the machine he had created could empower someone to experience things beyond the typical senses.  When the narrator arrives, the house is in total darkness and Crawford brings him to the attic where the machine is.  He explains that the staff had left and that it was necessary to leave all electricity off except the machine.  As Crawford turns it on, the narrator notes that his senses are indeed increasing and can see ultraviolet.  However, Crawford becomes increasingly erratic.  He warns the narrator to stand st…

Image of the Week #6: Would You Like Some "Applju"?

Image
What Is ItAn advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It InterestingI'm amused by this ad.  It comes on the heels of Prohibition, so in that regard, it seems like it's trying to capitalize on it.  I love that the bottle reads "Champagne Type"--whatever that means.  The name of the apple juice, "Applju" seems like a strange name.  It hints at the exotic, but to actually say it, reminds me of a child asking for his "applju!".  Under the label, we see "Pure Apple Juice."  This must have been the precursor to the "Natural" descriptor.  I also am amused by the drawing within the ad of the butler serving a glass of "Applju" to someone relcining in a chair as if to try to make this drink more classier than it actually is.

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…

My Most Recent Reads - January 2016

Image
January was another good month of reading.  Not great, but still I got through some good stuff.  I'm not totally in love with the readings this month.  Even the ones I selected, while I enjoyed, I found myself not as excited about these books as I have been with other titles of the previous few months.  

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
I really enjoyed reading this book.  It's a nice coffee-table book or just something to revisit.  Though I also feel like this could easily be a "word a day" calendar or a "word a day/week" app.  The illustrations were often cool and fun and the range of words offered were fascinating.  I had some issue sometimes with the font and script they used for definitions, but I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you are fascinated by language or art.  

Singers and Tales: Oral Tradition and the Roots of Literature by Michael Drout
I'm a h…