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Showing posts from March, 2016

Review: Like One: Poems for Boston

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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 …

Review: Hyde

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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 Steve…

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

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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.

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 edu…

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

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Title:  Beyond the Wall of SleepAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: 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 dream…

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

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


Why I Find It InterestingWe 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.


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

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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 PlatformBut 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, …

Review: Who Owns the Future?

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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 …

Review: Doctor Who: A History

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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 underst…

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

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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.

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 gende…

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

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Title:  AzathothAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: 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.




ReflectionIt'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 significan…

Image of the Week #12: The Call To Women

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


Why I Find It InterestingThis 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.


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

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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?).  

No Exit by Jean-Paul SatreConfession 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…

Review: In the Body of the World

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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 add…

Review: Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government

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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.

View all my reviews



By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed un…

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

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

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 lea…

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

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Title:  The Beast in the CaveAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: 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 …

Image of the Week #11: Bachelor of Atrocities

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


Why I Find It InterestingThis 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.


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

CFP: Teaching Popular Culture

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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


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 o…

Review: Doctor Sleep

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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



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

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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 vi…

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

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

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…

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

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Title:  The HoundAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: 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 …