Month: February 2016

“Email, as a technology, is not intrinsically bad. But the unstructured workflow it engenders is disastrous. We need to fix it.”

Source: Harvard Business Review

That didn’t take long

Aletheia: Where is M’s birthday party?

Me: It’s in Beverly Hills.

Aletheia: Is it far away?

Me: Not too far.

Aletheia: There will be traffic?

[Oh dear, Los Angeles has her now.]

The violence of the mob

I am less concerned about the perils of government surveillance than I am with the cruelty we as netizens inflict upon each other. The recent case of Suey Park is a good example. Criticism and dissent are to be expected, but doxxing and death threats are unnecessarily extreme and juvenile.

Somewhat related is Jon Ronson’s Ted talk on out-of-control Twitter shaming. No one should ever have to utter the words “tweet” and “ruined life” in the same breath.

I taught Aletheia that salamanders like wet, dark places. So now she keeps looking for bugs, etc. so she can put them “in the dark place.”

We just taught Aletheia her first syllogism: Prince Hans is bad. Duke is like Prince Hans. Duke is bad. Aletheia also just learned the name “rat face.”

This isn’t a library problem for libraries to solve

The Open Access Network is an ambitious project that plans to create a sustainable business model of OA publishing in the humanities and social sciences through collaboration. Be still my heart. (h/t Barbara Fister)

More on the death of the internet

Again, the internet today isn’t what I hoped it would be 10 year ago. From the always on point Jessamyn West:

“Maybe it really wasn’t us, it was them. Most days it’s hard to remember what we saw in Google. Why did we think we’d make good partners?”

I used to believe that the web contained the response to a promise of access-for-all, but not longer. As Andy Baio noted over a year ago:

“As it turns out, organizing the world’s information isn’t always profitable. Projects that preserve the past for the public good aren’t really a big profit center. Old Google knew that, but didn’t seem to care.”

If you need me, I’ll be wandering the stacks of the Internet Archive.

Pilgrimage to Kalamazoo

Some of my fondest memories from undergrad and graduate school come from my travels to Kalamazoo.

“If you understand this, you understand the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. Medievalists, who lead solitary and difficult lives, with only books for friends, get together and cavort and dance and talk about the things they love the most in the world, surrounded by people who care about the same things they care about. The frame holds together a vast tangle of contradictory stories—a thousand academic papers, a thousand combative Q&As, a thousand awkward wine receptions—with the glue of a ferocious and shared love for the deep, deep past. As with Chaucer, however, that doesn’t mean anybody actually understands what’s going on.”

I miss medieval studies, even the awkward, annual conference disco.

We will spread ourselves across the planet

In my most private moments, I still dream of and hope for an Internet from February 8, 1996:

“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”

Twenty years later, we are in a much different place.

January 30-day challenge: Exercise 3 times/week

fitbit upload 201602

Last month’s 30-day challenge was to exercise for at least 45 minutes, three days a week. I’m happy to say that I accomplished and exceeded that goal. As a result, I’ve lost 10 pounds and have managed to keep my weight at a level consistent with my age, height, and the national recommendations. The plan is to continue this habit as time and workload permits. Not tonight, though: there is too much to do this week. I cannot express how eager I am to see 1pm next Saturday.