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June 30, 2011
And to finish off my journal month, a fitting quote copied out from Chekhov's book on Sakhalin: "They keep writing, they keep writing, they keep writing, Oh, Queen of Heaven!"
June 29, 2011
An interesting question came up the other day on COLLIB-L, a discussion list for college librarians. A librarian reported that a student who was abroad discovered he couldn't access videos in a library database. An error message appeared saying access would constitute a "copyright violation." Though the library had licensed the material for its patrons, including that student, he was unable to view it because he happened to have traveled to another region. He wondered whether he might have the same problem with articles in databases.
June 29, 2011
I’ve been a fan of Richard Florida’s for several years now. He’s a student of cities who has famously argued that the key to growth is in the “creative class” which tends to cluster in major urban centers. In contrast to Tom Friedman -- admittedly, that’s sort of like contrasting Sonny Rollins to Kenny G -- Florida argues that the world is “spiky.” Cities with high concentrations of creatives are the economic engines of the future; they stand out on charts like spikes.
June 29, 2011
The Google news this week is all about Google+, the company's next effort to break into social networks. I say this is great, as I'm another one of those outmigrants, or maybe conscientious objectors, to the Facebook nation. The real reason I'm excited about Google+ is not social networking (which I think is sort of tiresome), but because Google+ is an important building block for a killer Google LMS (learning management system). Learning is social. Incumbent LMS tools not so much.
June 29, 2011
The first round of divorces hit our social community this year, prompting questions from our seven-year old daughter: "Will you and Daddy get ever get divorced?" and "Is Sally sad because she misses her mom?" To be honest, I think we adults were more shocked: these were not couples who fought or seemed mismatched in any way; in fact, they seemed to have very amicable partnerships. (I am starting to agree with a friend who once remarked of a particularly acrimonious couple, "Fighting is the glue that keeps them together.").
June 29, 2011
This exchange from The New Inquiry has been wending its way around the intertubes of late. (Thanks to @colinized on twitter for flagging it for me.) It’s a dialogue between “Teach,” an adjunct professor of philosophy, and “Cheat,” a term-paper-writer-for-hire. It’s surprisingly thoughtful in its consideration of the motivations behind plagiarism and the ways that faculty deal with it.
June 29, 2011
Subtract 30 seconds from my 15 minutes of fame: In the Italian deli with family friends. An old woman walks up to where I stand filling a cup at the soda dispenser. She (suspicious): “Did you write a book about this town?”Me: “Yes, ma’am.”She (triumphant): “I knew you did. My grandson said you talked to his class at the high school but didn’t remember your name.”Me: “Yes, that was for the novel. Have you seen my nonfiction book?”She: “No.” She walks away, mission accomplished and no further interest.
June 28, 2011
The University of Venus question of the month: What is the most satisfying part of your job?Afshan Jafar (US) I once asked my undergraduate advisor this same question and he said, "When you're up there in front of the class, teaching, and you see the light bulbs go on in your student's heads . . . there is really nothing like it." I agree.
June 28, 2011
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. by Erik Larson
June 28, 2011
In my spare time, I've been reading "Global Warming Gridlock: Clearer, More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet", by David Victor. Victor teaches at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UCSD.

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