Showing posts from March, 2022

Review: Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home

Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home by Charlie Warzel My rating: 4 of 5 stars Do you work to live or live to work? Do you have some other way of concieving your relationship to work in a society that centers work as a central identity? Warzel and Peterson delve into work culture, its history, the assumptions of the present paradigm, and the possibilities that await us in the post-pandemic world. They posit that after pandemic, we have what feels like a once in a lifetime (or century even) opportunity to thoughtfully and intentional reconsider what work can and will be and that individuals and companies should seize this moment to shift to a more sustainable means of employing people if they actually care about their staff, care about a more productive company, and worry about losing to competition. On that final point, it's unclear if their book is likely going to change or influence businesses and their decisio

Letter to the Editor - Inside Higher Edu

Estimated Reading Time: minutes  It happened again. Someone wrote something and I had some thoughts that I decided to respond with; we know the deal!  In this case, it happened at Inside Higher Ed, a news site that focuses on higher education.    " In a recent blog post,  Matt Reed raises concerns about gas prices and their impact on the majority of students on physical campuses (that is, commuter students).  This is a real concern and one that I was thinking about back in the early part of the 2010s when I first started developing and teaching hybrid flexible courses. Before the pandemic made it obvious to all, my concerns focused on the fact that there are real barriers to getting to campus that will continue to multiply. Students who have been marginalized will also feel the effects the most.  Gas prices, natural and unnatural disasters, and pandemics are some of the ways that disruption will continue to occur." Read the rest here . This was one of those posts that just s

Review: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk My rating: 4 of 5 stars It's cliche to say everyone should read "this" book. I know--and yet, I can't help think that van der Kolk's work needs to be in front of all of us.  So maybe not this book, but the TED Talk of this book or something.  His work is both a partial history of his work as a psychiatrist over the last 50 years exploring and extending our understanding of what trauma is, how it manifests in people and the current scientific understanding of the different ways to treat trauma.  On all of these levels, van der Kolk's writing is informative, accessible, and insightful for readers. He provides a range of examples from the culture's more traditional examples of trauma to lesser-known and understood forms. His most powerful contribution is embedded in the title--how the body keeps score of trauma.  That is,

Review: Speaking of Race: Why We Need to Talk About Race-and How to Do It Effectively

Speaking of Race: Why We Need to Talk About Race-and How to Do It Effectively by Celeste Headlee My rating: 5 of 5 stars A great deal of people know that racism--individual, cultural, and structural--exist in numerous ways within the United States and have known this for a long while. But having effective conversations about racism to build understanding, empathy, and even action, rarely occur. There are many reasons for this from current politics and political discourse, to mediums of communication, to conceptions about how the world works and history.  But a big inhibitor to genuine conversations and possible change resides in how we have those conversations and Headlee lays down the different elements that we need if we plan to have conversations about racism rather than talk about racism.  Throughout her book, she points to research-based approaches that enhance the ability for people to engage in complex conversations around controversial

Review: How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism. by Cory Doctorow My rating: 4 of 5 stars Doctorow delivers another great exploration and distillation of the challenges, problems, and issues that are embedded in technological and economic systems in our world today. In particular, he looks at the complexities and misunderstandings about how surveillance capitalism thrives in the 21st century but not as a new threat but as an extension of corporate attempts at monopolies that have long been a threat to democracy and any meaningful and reasonable forms of capitalism.  Doctorow's at his best when breaking down these relationships and offering an insightful critique of those who think surveillance capitalism is acceptable or inevitable. It's clear he's drawing on both his own experience, as an author who has made a living writing and not being as restrictive about intellectual property as many of the software companies are (and the problems wit

Review: Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin My rating: 5 of 5 stars At the center of Benjamin's book is a very simple premise: technology is not neutral and when we pretend otherwise, it will amplify the biases and inequities of the society that produces the technology. Benjamin then shows through a variety of spaces and contexts how this proves to be true time and again.  In particular, she examines how racism creeps into technological structures both as a result of unquestioned bias in creators and programmers (e.g. the fair of facial recognition to recognize darker-skinned faces) but also as a direct result of historical racism that becomes culturally encoded in the physical world and unquestioningly transformed in the digital world (the overabundance of using facial-recognition programs on brown and black faces). A particular approach she uses regularly throughout the book is to show readers how the