Belton, you may remember, was the Indiana University professor who was found stabbed to death in his home on Christmas day. He was the gay Indiana University professor; his killer, ex-Marine Michael Griffin, has not only confessed but has explained his motive for stabbing Belton:
The former military man told police that Belton, who was openly gay, sexually assaulted him in front of his girlfriend, while they were both intoxicated on Christmas Day.
Best known, I suppose, for his A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn was a relentless force for change. He fought for the poor, the underclass, the underprivileged, and the underheard.
In his 2002 book, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times, Zinn describes his own awakening into an awareness of the deep inequities built into American society. He writes:
As I began to realize, no pitifully small picket line, no
Despite what you may have heard, I’m not really all that into new technologies.
Typically, I find out about new technologies long after they’re already old news. This is a constant source of shame for me. (‘Hey,’ I said in late 2009, ‘this cloud computing thing sounds interesting. What is it?‘) As much as I would like to join the ranks of early adopters, I simply lack the constitution. (‘Now, what’s this DROID thing I’ve been hearing so much … Read more
I believe campaign finance reform is the most important issue in contemporary American politics. The unfettered ability of corporate and interest-based groups to maintain or remove politicians is the reason behind every evil, bigoted, and short-sighted law our legislative bodies pass. It’s the reason behind the slow pace of the political machine. It’s the reason so many Americans feel there’s no point in voting since they don’t really have much of a say in who wins anyway. (And they’re right … Read more
Academics, and especially academics who think about culture (which is to say, more or less, all academics), seem to really like metaphors and similes. Here’s one that made me mad this week.
Jim Greeno: Learning how to participate is like being in a kitchen. Situativity theorist Jim Greeno, in “Number Sense as Situated Knowing in a Conceptual Domain,” considers how people develop conceptual models for participating in disciplinary communities (what he calls “conceptual environments”). He explains that
You may have read Clay Shirky’s recent post, “a rant about women.” You may also have read, heard, or participated in the chaos and conversation that sprung up around it. And rightly so, given this representative chunk of Shirky’s post:
Remember David Hampton, the con artist immortalized in “Six Degrees of Separation”, who pretended he was Sydney Poitier’s son? He lied his way into restaurants and clubs, managed to borrow money, and crashed in celebrity guest rooms. He didn’t miss
Earlier today I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR and heard an interview with Keli Goff from the Huffington Post. The interview started with an explanation that linked Reid’s embarassing words (about Obama’s race) to his age. She went out on a limb, way too far, although later in the interview she walked it back a bit.
Normally, I wouldn’t take on such a revered, well credentialed authority as Jaron Lanier,* but his recent Wall Street Journal piece on why the movement toward collectivism, collaboration, and openness is doomed to failure leaves him cruising for a bruising.
“Most people know me as the ‘father of Virtual Reality technology’,” Lanier announces. (This boast is repeated in his presumably self-crafted or at least author-approved bio at the bottom of the article.) He was also, however, … Read more
are Skinner boxes designed to condition us to undervalue our privacy and to disclose personal information. They have opaque governance structures. They are walled gardens that violate the innovative spirit of the internet. But to deride them for being