Showing posts from April, 2023

Review: The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist

The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist by Marcus Rediker My rating: 4 of 5 stars Lay was a man who lived in the late 1600s and 1700s. Born in England, he was a small person who also dealt with kyphosis, an illness that curves the back. He lived as a shepherd for a while and eventually lived as a sailor for about a decade before returning to England. Upon returning, he joins with his local Quaker community and he starts to call out the Quaker leadership for their hypocrisies. He spends much of the rest of his life, getting kicked out of Quaker communities for speaking his mind and increasingly, calling out Quaker leadership for owning and profiting from slavery both in England and in Pennsylvania. He even publishes a book through Benjamin Franklin's press, All slave-keepers that keep the innocent in bondage (yes, you can even read it today). He was a vegetarian and performed guerilla theatre st

The Cool Art of Cold Showers

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes Ok, this is definitely a departure from recent posts and also, definitely feels like something that I would write about on this blog.  After all, I've previously written blog posts about the effects of life on the body including  chasing food tastes , losing my steps per day record , a year of using standing desks , and the gross things that happen to your body in long-distance running . It's a post I've had in my head for at least a year and was reminded recently when I read an article about cold showers. Recently, I turned on our outdoor shower (it was the feature that came with the house that I did not realize I would value so much) and felt that it was time to write this piece.   So for just over two years, I've been taking cold showers and it's come to the point that I rarely take a heated shower.  Rather, the cold shower has not only become my preferred shower method but one that feels most comforting and refreshing.  Cold sh

Review: Broken

Broken by Paul LeBlanc My rating: 2 of 5 stars As the man who led Southern New Hampshire University from a small unmemorable college in New England to one of the largest and most recognizable accessible institutions, Leblanc builds upon that achievement by looking at the broader societal challenges to consider what can be fixed.  In some ways this feels like a victory lap--having supposedly succeeded in one area, it's time to show others how it's done in areas that he seems to have a paltry understanding. The book goes through a mixture of biography, all the things SNHU is doing right through his leadership, occasional dips into times he just didn't get it right and maybe a place or two where he could get better, as well as occasionally dives into areas of K-12 education, criminal justice, healthcare, and the like to point out what he deems examples of systems that are putting humans first--just as he supposedly is.  Yet LeBlanc

Deliberative Thoughts Part 2: The Fallacy of Common People in the Jury Box

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes So while I have written one piece for the Providence Journal on my experience of grand jury duty , it was but one piece of my experience and there was much more to reflect upon.  So this if the first of a few reflective essays about that.   The concept of jury duty is an interesting one and reminds me of libraries in some ways;  if they were not created in the past, would there actually be collective interest and ability to create them today? I have my doubts that it would and I have my doubts, after serving on the grand jury for 6 weeks, that it would or is the ideal mechanism for justice.   Image from Me2 At its essence, the jury is a collection of peers who help to determine whether a person is legally responsible for a crime or in the case of the grand jury, to stand trial as accused of a crime. They hear all the evidence presented (though not necessarily all the evidence) and then vote on whether the person should be convicted (or charged).  It fe

Unpublished Letter to Inside Higher Ed

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes I wrote the following Letter to the Editor about a month ago when Inside Higher Ed decided to publish a piece by Paul LeBlanc , the president of Southern New Hampshire University.  Clearly, I had thoughts about him coming into a conversation that he demonstrated very little understand and felt largely like another opportunity to pimp his book.  Not entirely surprised that IHE didn't publish it but figured I would still put it out there.   Image from  randychiu I really wish Paul Leblanc had done the minimum we ask of college students (sufficiently explore the topic before you start writing about it) when he decided to chastise the rest of academia for not having his forward-thinking approach to using generative artificial intelligence . (Granted, I wish I was a betting man as he also proved my prediction from last month that SNHU or other behemoth institutions would be the first to employ generative AI tools in the process of course creation.) He

The Updates #30

Estimated Reading Time:  14 minutes Week 30 of the updates and I'm so late, I'm combining a month's worth! Dissertation Ok--progress (Ever so slowly) is being made). I've gotten a few more interviews reviewed and coded.  I'll take it and can feel the momentum.  I've also found out there may need to be some changes made to my committee and my timeline may once again be pushed back a little. No longer counting days until July 1 cause my timeline is IDK until I check in with my chair. The Garden: Stage 1 Work I found my pacing at work over the last few weeks and am turning the corner on feeling like I can get things moving to where I need them to be so I can start working on the big-picture projects.  We'll see if this holds.   However, this past week was the week that I needed.  This past week was the NERCOMP annual conference.  NERCOMP is a regional entity of EDUCAUSE and does lots of different things at the intersection of technology and education. Every y