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May 27, 2009 - 8:06pm
I thought I was done with commencements for about a year, when someone sent me a link to the address Paul Hawken gave at the University of Portland. Paul's an environmentalist, an entrepreneur, and author and -- apparently -- quite the platform speaker. Think of him as Jim Kirk meets James Hansen, and you won't be far wrong.
Men
May 26, 2009 - 10:13pm
Last week, IHE had a story about a conference dedicated to addressing the relatively low rate of college attendance by men. Apparently, suggestions from the conference included gender identity workshops run by Student Life. And the comments to the article quickly became rants against gender studies, liberal academics, and the dangers of perverting the Timeless Truths.Uh, no.
May 26, 2009 - 8:06pm
Although it's only tangentially related to the topic of sustainability (and even that only if your mind runs in the same twisted circles (Moebius strips?) that mine does), I want to start by recommending to all and sundry the best TV series you (probably) never heard of. Slings & Arrows was produced for Canadian television, and tells of three seasons/productions at a disfunctional Shakespearean theater (theatre) company. Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and the offstage action is also well-written.
May 25, 2009 - 10:10pm
I've had variations on this conversation several times recently.Professor: There's option A and option B, and I guess technically there's option C. This clique wants A and that clique wants B. What do you think we should do?DD: I really don't care, as long as the decision process is valid.Professor: But what if they choose C?DD: Then they choose C.Professor: But C is terrible!DD: Could be. But if they need to discover that for themselves, so be it.
May 22, 2009 - 11:23pm
In my previous post I used a recalcitrant subject in an ethnography study, Widow X, as a symbol of all that waits to trip up researchers. Something there is that doesn’t love easy knowledge.
May 22, 2009 - 4:22pm
Events like commencements tend to connect me to family members I haven't seen in a while. In this case, an older woman, widowed, whose politics I'll describe as "Eisenhower Republican, Reagan Republican, but by no means Sarah Palin Republican".
May 22, 2009 - 4:40am
Both of these stories make sense on their own terms. But taken together, they neatly capture the basic dilemma in my world.
May 21, 2009 - 9:16pm
Recently, our college president spoke to the faculty. In her speech to us, she said that some economists think that the economy may NEVER recover from the current recession. Scary words, even when heard by an economist. I must admit, however, that I am not so pessimistic about our current recession.I look at our current recession, and although I am certainly not a macroeconomist, I recognize in it the “Paradox of Thrift”. This idea says that when people increase their saving, this, while good for individuals, it is bad for the economy.
May 20, 2009 - 8:57pm
I love Suze Orman; I can’t help it. Like her counterpart, Doctor Ruth, Orman speaks frankly about a charged topic and is a mesmerizing speaker. And so I happily devoured Susan Dominus’s intriguing profile of Orman in this week’s NYT magazine (“the money issue”).
May 20, 2009 - 8:48pm
Twice in the last month, I've been in meetings at which somebody suggested that the solution to some ongoing dilemma was to use “the platinum rule.” As it was explained to me, the platinum rule is understood in contrast to the golden rule. The golden rule is to do unto others as you'd have them do unto you; the platinum rule is to do unto others as they'd want done unto them. In other words, reject reciprocity as an ideal, in favor of something like empathy.

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