Archive for October, 2007

Academia 2.0

October 28, 2007

Appreciating the Digital Information R/evolution

This Kansas State University project playfully and accurately depicts the generational chasm in teaching and learning methods caused by the digital revolution. Information, once held by texts and experts, is now widely accessible and nearly free (after start-up costs). The value of teaching by exposure, retention, and recall is depreciating rapidly for learners and future employers.

How do academic institutions and individuals within respond? Akin to the cognitive response options to any new data, we can observe the twin extremes of denial (willful or passive) or an openness that destroys the original form’s value.



We Own the Night: Honorable Fights for Personal and Global Futures

October 24, 2007

During the cocaine influx of the 1980s, a beleaguered police force develops a motto that serves as the film’s title. In addition to featuring my star crush, Eva Mendes, in a flattering role, We Own the Night offers a study in the transition from self-indulgence to service. The shooting of a family member transforms one character and forces the audience to reevaluate comfortable, early judgments. Similar to the exciting finale of the recently remade 3:10 to Yuma, such changes thrill the spectator and reveal possibilities within each soul, dormant but not lost. While the film drags a tad in the last third, I recommend this film for those seeking the aforementioned arc. Other enjoyable elements: familiar tunes from the 80s and an anachronistic cameo by Ed Koch.

On a deeper level, Rovert Duvall’s character hints at current geo-politics saying, “You’ll have to choose one day whether you’re with us or with the drug dealers.” This echoes the Bush-David Frum world view, a formulation repugnant to liberals who prefer that our age requires of them nothing more than a redoubling of their efforts of tolerance and generosity.


Marching On: Highest Gig Ever

October 23, 2007

Everest Rocks

My hero and friend* (my designation) Mike Peters of The Alarm has successfully pulled off his goal of establishing a musician-led cancer foundation, called The Love Hope Strength Foundation. The triadic phrase recalls both the essence of religious devotion and the chorus of an Alarm song, the title track to 1985’s “Strength” album. Beginning treatment for leukemia 18 months ago and with a newborn son, Peters imagined surviving the cancer and climbing the Himalayans to celebrate. A new song, “Love, Hope & Strength” was released by the band two months ago and recorded in Nepal 10 days ago by the musicians on the journey. (I can’t insert audio links yet. Oh, to be on myspace!) A lovely tribute to life’s unseen forces.


Practical Queer Politics? Reflections on ENDA and Recent Cultural Change

October 22, 2007

The recent challenge of ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) in Congress elaborates the challenges of “social change.” Some progressive activists wish the bill to be held up until Transgender protections are included. Here a gay rights activist explores the limitations of this “demand the ultimate goal” strategy and draws noteworthy comparisons to conservatives slow, piecemeal 30 year anti-Roe v. Wade effort.


Ignornance or Innocence? Scholars and the National Interest Abroad

October 5, 2007

Can academics ethically and practically embed in military?

Today’s NY Times has a piece about anthropologists embedding with army units in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some scholars are petitioning for voluntary refusal of scholars to join military efforts, citing the loss of credibility their professions faced after scholars joined US military counter-insurgency efforts in Southeast Asia. Always considered CIA in drag, economic development teams

Why and for how long have scholars been enmeshed in military options? Is their independence, like that of journalists, diminishing since the first Persian Gulf War?



October 5, 2007

I don’t yet know what this will become. Welcome to the journey.