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Showing posts from June, 2016

Review: My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture

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My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture by Susan D. Blum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This should be required reading for any college-level instructor. Blum's accessible yet complex discussion sheds light on the slippery slope of what academic dishonesty consists of, how and why students are likely to commit it, and the challenges in addressing it. But more than anything, Blum vividly depicts the complexity of college culture that plays a central role in the development of cheating.

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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: The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

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The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is likely a book that will be exciting to the survivalist in all of us. But rather than a traditional book on how to survive in the wild, Dartnell provides a great guide to understanding our past civilization with all of its amazing breakthroughs by guiding readers through what one would need to recreate the modern world if there were every an end-of-civilization event. Beyond how to find food, Dartnell delves into chemistry, medicine, physics, agriculture, and other sciences and branches of knowledge to capture the most salient ideas needed for recreating the modern world.

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

Short Story #391: Ex-Oblivion by H. P. Lovecraft

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Title: Ex-OblivionAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: The narrator explains that he is completely bored and disinterested with the common life and has pursued the world of dreams by taking opium to keep him in the fascinating worlds of dream longer and longer.  While exploring, he comes across a barrier--a wall that he cannot cross.  He keeps looking for ways to surpass it but doesn't seem to know how to get into it.  Finally, in a dream city, he stumbles upon the information needed to know how to enter the world beyond the wall, where he believes there is an even richer world of dreams.  The answer lies in taking a strong drug, which upon waking he finds and consumes.  This time, he approaches the gate in the wall and it is open and he steps through.  He enters a pure empty oblivion and feels he has finally come home.


ReflectionA  curious tale by Lovecraft where tragedy or horror appear to not be the end goal but rather moving into a type of nirvana.  I kept expecting the end to come …

Image of the Week #26: Women's "Choice"?

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What Is ItA joke from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It InterestingI'm curious with this short piece from the Wellesley Newspaper.  In a patriarchal culture, the final line, "Marry them" might seem to assume that the women would return to their roles as caretakers, but in fact, the real meaning seems to be that men coming back from the war need to be married and homemakers since women are now the ones with the education and jobs.  This is a powerfully subversive message for this time and speaks to the growing shift in views about men and women on the precipice of the 19th Amendment.  Granted, it is offered as a joke, but it offers a lot of promise about shifting attitudes and possibilities for women.  


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…

Review: Red Diaper Baby: Three Comic Monologues

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Red Diaper Baby: Three Comic Monologues by Josh Kornbluth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Josh Kornbluth is awesome. If you have not seen Haiku Tunnel yet and are a fan of office comedies, go see it now! This collection of monologues, performed by Kornbluth (I listened to it) is a fun and quirky trip through his childhood and second childhood (or what some might call adulthood).

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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: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities

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Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities by Craig Steven Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wilder takes on the historical and economic connections between slavery and many of the founding higher educational institutes in the United States from the 1600s to the 1800s. Within it, he traces the direct and indirect ways that such institutions participated, promoted, and benefited from slavery. It is a dry read at times, but a very telling one indeed. When we have discussions about race and racism and the long-lasting effects, we often look directly to the African American community, but we rarely recognize that beyond the negative effects on this population, it's clear that white institutions such as higher education flourished and became richer as a direct result of participating in slavery in various ways. Wilder paints this in vivid detail leaving no doubt that the Ivy Walls were held together in part with blood from slaves. It's a challen…

Short Story #390: The Thing in the Moonlight by H. P. Lovecraft

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Title: The Thing in the MoonlightAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: The story introduces Morgan, who is described as someone without much literary skill and challenged with English but the narrator explains that he has written a very strange manuscript in perfect English.  The manuscript tells of a man named Howard Phillips who finds himself trapped in a dream that he cannot escape.  In the dream, he finds himself in a marsh and eventually makes his way to a town that has a trolley cart.  He gets onto the cart when he finally sees two beings in the distance.  As they get closer, he believes they are the conductor and engineer, but one leaps to all fours and begins to chase after him while the other has a disfigured face.  He runs away and keeps running, eventually exhausted.  When he reawakens within the dream, he wanders about and finds himself back in the same place with the figures howling.  It continues to happen and he worries when he will go mad.  The story ends by the narrator say…

The PhD Chronicles: First 2 Courses Completed

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Three weeks and we have completed the first two courses of the program.  Granted, we've completed the physical presence aspect, we still have much more to do in the ensuing month.  Many pages still need to be written, but we have made it through the first half of the process: attending and engaging in deep intellectual discussions based upon hundreds of pages of academic work.  Go us!  

At the end of these three weeks, I can only say that I am even more happy about entering this program than I could have imagined.  The faculty were strongly supportive, insightful, and critical throughout our time.  They pushed as often as they held back and let the cohort figure things out.  I am again impressed with the ways in which they help to great a sense of cohesion and progress with everything they do with us.  From the orientation to the check-ins over the few weeks to the regular congratulations to students about making it through.  

The three weeks culminated in a celebration at the end o…

Image of the Week #25: Don't Ask, Don't Tell in World War I

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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 InterestingGiven that colleges of the last fifty years have been seen as homes of resistance towards war movements, it's interesting to see this college newspaper advocate towards silence with regards to those who hold pacifist leanings.  The line that sticks out "If a person is, by absolutely sincere conviction, a pacifist, she out to be permitted to remain in college just so long as she is silent and inactive in her belief."  Much like the later Red Scares, McCarthyism, and the Post-9/11 PATRIOT Act seeing the press join in on the silence of freedom of expression is always scary and disheartening within the United States. 

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 …

May's Gratitude

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We round the corner on five months of acknowledging gratitude and taking the time to give thanks to people.   It continues to be a rewarding experience that grounds me daily in the big and the small things of my life.  This past month, I have taken to my gratitude letters that I have also been doing for several months to a new level.  I'm actually writing them out and mailing them.  Ok, I'm typing them up first and then writing them out (The goal in that is to minimize the number of scribbles and mistakes--which is about 2-3 per card, even when I type it out first).  I do like the process of writing out the gratitude notes, even if I fear that the recipients will not be less able to actually read my words.  I'll risk it.  It also makes me wonder if I should at some point trying handwriting out my daily gratitude (make an actual gratitude journal).  

I liked how the word-cloud played out this month with each letter of the word "love" having a significantly large wo…

Review: The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever

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The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever by Alan Sepinwall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sepinwall's book reminded me to some degree of Steven Johnson's Everything Bad for You Is Good in that he creates a strong and coherent argument about the amazing complexity of modern television--one that destroys the idea that the television is an idiotbox. In his exploration, Sepinwall shows the depth and power of storytelling provided by some of the best shows of the last 15 years including Oz, Sopranos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men, and The Shield.

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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: Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

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Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Doctorow lays out a very good discussion and exploration into the realm of copyright and the problems it presents in the modern age. Doctorow's approach is philosophically interested in that he explains that the systems created by publishers, record producers and others have made it extreme hard for people to actually own things to the degree that they can do anything they want with them. He calls for reform of copyright law, emphasizing that the failure to do so is likely to increase theft and resistance since companies often are limiting the individual's ability to do things with their supposedly own property. All of this has significant implications as we move into a future of driverless cars, embedded wearable tech, and increased automation

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

Short Story #389: The Doom that Came to Sarnath by H. P. Lovecraft

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Title: The Doom that Came to SarnathAuthor:  H. P. LovecraftSummary: The story explains that Sarnath sits upon a large lake that has no streams or rivers attached to it.  Near Sarnath, there once stood a city called Ib, which was inhabited by strange alien creatures said to have come from the moon worshiped the great water-lizard god, Bokrug.  In the early days of man, men eventually came to the lake and established Sarnath and after some time, feeling hatred for the strange creatures of Ib, they slaughtered them wholesale, dumped their bodies in the lake, and destroyed the city, only keeping a strange statue of Bokgrug.  The night after the assault the statue disappears that the high priest guarding it is found dead, having scratched out "doom" before dying.  Centuries pass and Sarnath becomes a the center of a great empire and trading routes.  On the 1000th anniversary of the sacking of Ib--something celebrated annually--they have a great festival, inviting nobility from al…

Image of the Week #24: "Recital of Negro Songs"

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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 InterestingAny time an educational institution that caters to middle and upper-class white people begins to speak of African Americans, it's always worth listening to. Throw in that the article is from the 1910s, a racially-tense period of history (ok, that's not saying much in truth--all of our history in the United States is racially tense), and it's for sure to be curious.  The characterization of the young African-American women who had visited has all sorts of interesting tells.  Their "unusual effect of their harmony" and the "miserable little cabin" certain reveal their judgment.  I'm left wondering how or why did the boys' building burn down.  Was this an accident or something done by others less interested in the education of African American youth?  And overall, as an article about the recital, it's curious h…

Tales of Running: The Post-Run Run Victory Lap Edition

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For the last few years of running, I have been trying to improve my time on the longer runs.  Particularly, I wanted to hit under two hours for my half-marathon time and four hours (or at one point, just anything better than what I had done) for the marathons.   Last fall, I broke the two-hour mark with my half marathon at the Half-Marathon by the Sea from YuKanRun, coming in at 1:55:08.  It was an exciting day to break the time and realize that the kid who couldn't do one mile in twelve minutes for much of his life, was now averaging 8:45-minute miles for over thirteen miles.  

As accomplished as it felt, the Doubt Demon in my head still continued to tell me it was a fluke.  It was a one-off.  It must have been a mistake.  I'm guessing some of you have had this experience if not this particular anecdote.  So present was this idea that I made it a goal this year to do it again (and maybe somewhere along the line improve upon it, but actually doing it again ranked higher).  

When…