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I like monkeys!

Happy Birthday, Althea

This little one is 28 today. I can’t quite wrap my head around that. Happy birthday, Althea!

Lil Althea

Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator

I’ve found some Facebook groups irreplaceable, but the rest of Facebook I can do without. Enter the Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator plugin (for Chrome and Firefox), which replaces one’s Facebook newsfeed with a quote, preserving a small bit of social media sanity:

Facebook newsfeed eradicator

Digital Citizenship, Again, Always

Summer is here and, with it, I again have the privilege of teaching a grad class with the (mouthful of) a title “Digital Citizenship, Intellectual Property, and Internet Legal Issues” AKA “Nousion” because…shorter titles FTW. It’s a small class (12-weeks, a half-dozen students) about big ideas. Any one of the clauses in the title could be a semester-long class, a PhD dissertation, or a book!

But we start with digital citizenship because, as problematic as the concept is, I think it works to have everything else in the course be part, or a function of, it. And the questions there are perennial:

  • What does the word “digital” mean and do here?
  • What is citizenship?
  • How do we live and work online, individually and together?
  • Where does digital literacy fit?
  • What about identity?
  • What about privacy?
  • Whose data?

You get the idea. I love exploring this topic every summer with a cohort of engaged students even if by the end of each term the most important lesson I’ve learned is just how much more I don’t know and if the only answers to those questions are more questions.

10 Things That Scare Me

One of my favorite new podcasts is WNYC’s 10 Things That Scare Me, a “tiny podcast about our biggest fears.” The premise is simple: someone (the guests, sometimes famous, often anonymous, are unidentified until the end of the show) shares—directly into the mic—ten things that scare them, each with little bit of narrative.

Sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing, mostly brutally honest…there’s just something beautiful in the simplicity of this direct sharing of fears. To get a taste, here’s a random sample of fears from recent episodes:

  • climate change
  • the marionette in my mom’s bedroom
  • my Google search history being made public
  • becoming irrelevant
  • hospitals
  • breathing tubes
  • being shot by law enforcement.

Also, the relatively lo-fi (but very much intentionally so) format and editing fit the idea perfectly.

Best listened to without looking at the title of the show which, unfortunately, gives away the guest’s identity.

This is not the Comma You are Looking For

This tweet has been making the rounds as an illustration of why the Oxford (serial) comma is necessary, including a few gloating notes from friends (because those are the kinds of friends I have):

But, while Stephen Harper isn’t in my top 5—or 5000—politicians, this example doesn’t mean what my friends think it means. Adding a comma just creates a different ambiguity. Who in the “fixed” sentence, “Special mention to @LaureenHarper, my mother, and daughter,” is Laureen? Harper’s mother or someone else?

As with many such examples here, the problem isn’t a missing serial comma (for the record, I am 100% pro-Oxford comma where needed to prevent ambiguity), but a sentence that needs to be rewritten.

Noah Rasheta: Six Tips for Mindful Communication

Photo by Gradikaa on Unsplash
  1. Listen deeply. Try to understand where the speaker is coming from and why they are saying what they are saying.
  2. Be present. Give the speaker your undivided attention. Put down your phone, turn away from the screen, put away other thoughts. Your attention is a gift.
  3. Make an effort to understand. Communication is bi-directional. Try restating what you heard.
  4. Be non-judgmental (skillful). Dispense with assessing if you or they are right or wrong.
  5. Don’t make it personal. It’s not about you. It’s not about your identity. It’s about what you are each trying to accomplish.
  6. Exercise non-attachment. Recognize neither of you are what you say; there is no permanent self attached.

From Secular Buddhism with Noah Rasheta (#72 – Yanny or Laurel? A Lesson in Mindful Communication)

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