Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

A beautiful defense of idealism: “Idealism is the only mindset which produces change. Without the determination to achieve a higher goal, and the courage to affirm that goal in the face of what exists, no one has ever achieved anything of value. The wet noodle mindset of “good enough” has never produced any value for anyone except exploiters and rulers. The willful acceptance and tolerance of evil generates more evil, and has never generated anything but more evil.” People keep accusing me of being an idealist as if it were something bad. This is a great response to them.

The modern way of placing a woman’s honor in her vagina: “Here in the US we have undoubtedly made progress in divorcing a woman’s virtue from her vagina. That’s why it is very disturbing to find a group of women who continue to insist that women’s honor resides in her vagina, specifically what comes through it. Natural childbirth advocates have located women’s fulfillment and authenticity in her ability to push a baby out through her vagina.”

A great post charting out a blogger’s feminist timeline that I want to write, too.

Is academic freedom slowly slipping away from us?

For my fellow parsnip lovers here is a great recipe of lentil, sausage and parsnip soup.

A boy separated from his sister because of international adoption goes to enormous lengths to be reunited with her. Poland must have gone nuts if it allows to separate siblings through adoption.

A horrible tragedy: “Aaron Swartz, who was a leading and controversial figure in the hacking movement and the push to make journal articles free, committed suicide Friday at the age of 26.”

Good thing we didn’t elect these woman-haters: “Rep. Paul Ryan is once again co-sponsoring the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would recognize fertilized eggs as people. The personhood movement is extremely unpopular and has yet to garner a single victory in any of the states where it has appeared on a ballot, but that didn’t stop House Republicans, including Ryan, from supporting it, and now they’re going to try again.

One of the great political shifts in the past decade has been the move of scientists toward the Democratic Party, a casualty of the Republican Party’s war on reality. It’s not about politics for scientists, it’s about the fact that only one party accepts scientific findings on everything from global warming to evolutionary theory to what does and doesn’t prevent pregnancy. Only 6 percent of scientists identify as Republican, whereas 55 percent identify as Democratic. In October of 2012, 68 Nobel-winning scientists co-signed a strong endorsement of Obama, saying the President “has delivered on his promise to renew our faith in science-based decision making.” Yes, this is true. I still remember the time when every scientist I met voted Republican. And then George W. got elected.

A photo of en extremely polite baby. Some kids have beautiful manners even before they are fully born, it seems!

“Chris Spence, director of education for Toronto’s public school board, has admitted to and apologized for plagiarizing several passages in an article he wrote for the Star about the importance of extracurricular activities.” You have really got to be a massive loser.

Yet another GOP Representative is making insulting remarks about rape. I guess losing the presidential election was not enough to make them legitimately just shut that whole blabbing thing down.

I don’t have an anti-videotaping policy on my syllabi but now I’m wondering if I should. What do you think?

Academics of my acquaintance often mirror this historical tendency by thinking of themselves as just getting by in the system, when in fact they’re doing much better than a great many of their colleagues elsewhere.”

61 comments on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

  1. If the Republican Party was really conservative, they would respect scientific tradition and precedence. In fact, if you look up Georges Lemaître, one of the first people to propose the big bang theory, you will find that he was actually a Catholic priest! If I was one of those Republican candidates, I would drive the point home that scientific advancements and achievements need to respected regardless of what religious beliefs I may have and emphasize that there have been many religious or theist scientists throughout history that have contributed a lot to science and have a prudent attitude towards these things, which is what conservatism is really supposed to be about in my opinion. There’s no real reason for the party to be acting like this to please idiotic Evangelical voters and to buy their votes. Don’t confuse angry, radical populism, neoconservatism and rejection of scientific precedence with conservatism in any way. If we use the definition of the Sanctity of Human Life Act as applied to human fetuses, are we murdering people when we cut our own nails, hair or have an operation to remove cancerous tumors? Obviously not.

    People like David Hume, Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, and Barry Goldwater would be turning over their graves if they saw what these monstrous politicians are trying to propose.

    • Nice to see you again Rob. I wrote on your blog that Clarissa would love that post. Defending corporate welfare and getting caught up over the rights of certain corporations at the expense of the rights of children is despicable.

  2. “Don’t confuse angry, radical populism, neoconservatism and rejection of scientific precedence with conservatism in any way.”

    In any way?? They are pretty much the same thing as far as I can tell.

    • I respect your opinion. I was just making the point that the terminology and words have been changed overtime. As I said in the prior comment, the party basically says all this stuff to get votes from those super social conservatives. They have also been making a big deal out of nothing with the Chuck Hagel nomination. That was what I was trying to get at and I apologize for being too vague with the comment. In a lot of ways, you can definitely say that Obama’s actions as a president have been far more conservative in contrast to what we would have seen with a Michele Bachmann presidency.

  3. Re: videotaping policies, did you read the comment section of that post? Turns out that there are profs that ban the use (or even the presence) of all electronics. That even includes laptops!

    What do you think the reason is, old age & inability to embrace technology, or yet another search for excuses by profs that simply fail to capture their students’ attention?

    PS: I was laughing out loud when reading people’s discussion on the implementation of ‘technology rows’ where they can effectively police what their students are doing. LOL (can’t stop)

    • “What do you think the reason is, old age & inability to embrace technology, or yet another search for excuses by profs that simply fail to capture their students’ attention?

      – You named it. :-) I will consider it a very sad day for me when I have to force students to listen to me by using these prohibitive methods.

  4. RE: the video-taping policy, I’d advice against banning it, it could lead to you having troubles with your campus disability services and accommodation policy. Students with learning disabilities which prevent them from being able to take notes by hand or type them often rely on recording (since there’s only a finite number of scribes who volunteer through disability services who could take notes for them) and a blanket ban on recording could be seen as a violation of those students’ rights.

      • Did you go to college before or after the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed? There’s a lot that’s changed in American education in the last ten-to-twenty years since it became a higher priority to include and accommodate disabled students, AND to respect their privacy and their right to not have to disclose their disability and still be granted their rights.

    • Disability services get in contact with the instructor and we always figure these things out. We have very good disability services.

      I know students tape the lectures, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I also don;t mind professional video recording. But what bothers me is the idea that people will make videos with their cell phones that will be very low-quality and will make the entire class look amateurish.

      I’m expected to get written permissions to tape students in class. I think I should get the same courtesy extended to me.

  5. “It went to college here in Canada. AFAIK any analogue to the AFA would be a provincial responsibility.”
    The only province to have any specific protections for the rights of people with disabilities is Ontario. Canada is about 20+ years behind the U.S when it comes to protecting the rights and freedoms of people with disabilities, unfortunately. Having lived as a disabled person in both countries, the only area Canada’s improved over the U.S in disability rights is healthcare access. At the university level, Canadian universities are vastly inferior at respecting the rights of students’ right to be accommodated and included. It’s tragic.

    • “At the university level, Canadian universities are vastly inferior at respecting the rights of students’ right to be accommodated and included. ”

      – This is true. I was very pleasantly surprised to see how many more accommodations exist at my current university compared to what I’m used to seeing in Canada. Consequently, disabled people have a much greater presence on campus. It surprises me that Canada doesn’t catch up.

      • I have actually spoken to candidates for the Liberal and New Democratic Party Leaderships about inclusion of students with disabilities. The current NDP leader (Thomas Mulcair) was rather rude to me, he said that the fact that Canada had signed the UN Declaration of the Rights of People With Disabilities should be satisfactory. It’s not, if Canada does nothing to enforce it. The Liberal candidate (Justin Trudeau) gave a much better answer, and even pledged to implement ways to help alleviate debt for students with disabilities (Who tend to have more student loan debt because of limited opportunities to be employed while in university and needing to take longer to finish a standard degree due to health reasons) and help them find work after graduation. Peggy Nash gave a similar excellent answer.
        I’d say the problem is more ignorance and not realizing that there is a problem AND a solution, rather than any active malice towards people with disabilities.

  6. Another big reason why scientists lean Democratic is because the Republican party would like to aggressively cut funding for scientific research. As any scientist would tell you these days, getting research funding is already extremely competitive, so naturally this rhetoric does not win the Republicans any friends in scientific circles.

      • So I believe. I once read an article on how the GOP’s attitude towards science has evolved with the interests of big corporations but I can’t find the link to it right now. Essentially, in the 50s and 60s, big corporations wanted more investment in science so that they could market the technology developed. Then emerged scientific findings on ill-effects of tobacco and global warming. It was now in the interest of big corporations to disparage science, and this led to a change in the GOP’s attitude.

        • “Essentially, in the 50s and 60s, big corporations wanted more investment in science so that they could market the technology developed. Then emerged scientific findings on ill-effects of tobacco and global warming. It was now in the interest of big corporations to disparage science, and this led to a change in the GOP’s attitude.”

          – Very interesting. It seems like there is just that much science that some people can get. But I’m sure nobody expected even 10 years ago to see how far the anti-science stand would go. I hear what some of these public figures say and my hair stands on end.

  7. Seems like Chris Spence has been a bad boy for a while according to allegations in the Toronto Star.

    “The University of Toronto is now investigating allegations that former Toronto District School Board director Chris Spence plagiarized several lengthy passages of his doctoral dissertation — which, if proved, could lead him to lose his degree.

    Further allegations have also emerged that passages in books he authored also contain plagiarized material, over and above the questionable material found in a number of newspaper articles, online postings, his blog and speeches that appear to have originated from sources as varied as the New York Times and a user review on Amazon.ca.”

    http://www.thestar.com/living/parent/article/1313707–u-of-t-reviewing-chris-spence-s-dissertation-for-plagiarism

    And he likes his subordinates and students to call him doctor.

  8. “I also think that people’s desires are often influenced by (and even dictated by) an intersectionality of cultural messages which include transphobia, transmisogyny, racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and xenophobia, among many other factors. This is a topic that many within the feminist movements and womanist movements have discussed in terms of racism, shade-ism, classim, and ableism, and is also being discussed now in reference to transphobia and transmisogyny. I believe that many cis queer women do not see queer trans women as viable sexual partners in large part due to the cultural messages that exist, both within queer culture and mainstream/straight culture, that tell us that trans women’s bodies are inherently undesirable except as a fetish for cis straight men. I also think that it is rooted in the belief that trans women are not women, which is transphobic and transmisogynist.”

    With this is so complicated to state that many lesbian women do not want to fuck with transwomen simply because they are not attracted to them?

    • Yeah, see, I don’t see how any of that can be read as a suggestion that any transwoman is entitled to sleep with any lesbian. It seems pretty obvious (at least to me) that what the author is suggesting that the cultural influences on sexual preferences are legitimate thing to question, and I would tend to agree. The cissexual lesbian with whom she is having the dialogue (and, by extension, the blogger herself) are being deliberately obtuse in not getting this.
      Just as RadFems are *always* obtuse.

        • “You said that RadFems are always (not sometimes, which I could agree) obtuse, so you do the same thing that you criticize.”

          – Not at all, since both obtuseness and radical feminism are categories that can be accessed by anybody. What I criticize here is people’s attempts to judge categories of being to which they do not have access.

  9. Follow up on Aaron Swartz:

    U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz who lead the prosecution of him is in big trouble due to her handling off the case.

    http://harpers.org/blog/2013/01/carmen-ortiz-strikes-out/

    Most important quote in story:

    “The flaw in Ortiz’s posture has been laid bare by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In United States v. Nosal, he dismissed the theory Ortiz used to go after Swartz, saying it would potentially criminalize “everyone who uses a computer in violation of computer use restrictions — which may well include everyone who uses a computer.”

    • Because of this recipe, I drooled a little over my report and will now have to print another copy. :-) It looks phenomenal.

      Do post recipes! It will be a great addition to your blog.

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