The following is another item that I am re-posting from Futility Closet (www.futilitycloset.com). It is re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates delivered to your e-mail each morning.
Titles of actual publications collected by librarian Eric v.d. Luft:
How to Abandon Ship (1942)
How to Abduct a Highland Lord (2007)
How to Attract the Wombat (1949)
How to Avoid Intercourse With Your Unfriendly Car Mechanic (1977)
How to Be an Ocean Scientist in Your Own Home (1988) Continue reading
Over the last four to five weeks, several fascinating examples of photo-journalism and photo-essays, graphic representations of scholarly research, and richly illustrated book reviews have been published online.
The Atlantic publishes daily photo-essays in its In Focus feature. A recent addition to the series is “Welcome Back to Earth, Commander Hadfield,” which includes photos taken of and by the Canadian astronaut who recently spent five months aboard the International Space Station, who chronicled his experiences through Internet and social media sites maintained by his sons, and who came to international notice by performing a skillful and enthused rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that was broadcast from the space station as his mission was coming to a close. The 40 photos in the series include somewhat standard photographs of the launch pad, of the exterior and interior of the spacecraft and of the space station. But the series also includes some relatively close-up and therefore, especially for Americans used to launches at Cape Canaveral and touchdowns in the ocean, unusually dramatic shots of the launch and touch down against the backdrop of the arid, largely barren, and sometimes starkly beautiful landscape of remote Kazakhstan. In addition to some photographs of the astronauts working on the space station, there are also whimsical shots—for instance, a photograph of Hadfield peeling an orange in the zero-gravity environment of the Space Station. And, in addition to the usual upper-atmosphere shots of the continents and oceans, there are some remarkable night shots of the lights of cities such as London and Dubai, of singular geographic features such as the Cape Cod and Crimean peninsulas, and of major but less frequently photographed features such as the St. Larwence estuary and the remarkably hued, deep deserts of the Arabian peninsula. Continue reading
The following item is another one from Futility Closet (http://www.futilitycloset.com/). It is re-posted here with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates delivered to your e-mail each morning.
When PLAFSEP magazine asked its readers to nominate the silliest library subject heading, the hands-down winner was “Buttocks (In Religion, Folk-Lore, Etc.).”
Other highlights, gathered by columnist John R. Likins:
That’s from Likins’ article “Subject Headings, Silly, American–20th Century–Complications and Sequelae–Addresses, Essays, Lectures,” in Technical Services Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 1/2, Fall/Winter 1984, using data from the Library of Congress and Cataloging in Publication.
American Giant Checkered Rabbit
Catastrophical, The, See Also Comic, The
Child Abuse–Study And Teaching
Contango and Backwardation
Dentists In Art
Fantastic Television Programs
God–Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Hemorrhoids–Popular Works Continue reading
Full text of “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block’,” by Dennis Upper, from the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Fall 1974:
The following item has appeared in Futility Closet [http://www.futilitycloset.com/2013/05/17/in-brief/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FutilityCloset+%28Futility+Closet%29]
In 1962, botanist Reid Moran published an article in the journal Madroño recounting his collection of a bush rue on a mountaintop in Baja California.
The paper’s title was “Cneoridium dumosum (Nuttall) Hooker f. Collected March 26, 1960, at an Elevation of About 1450 Meters on Cerro Quemazón, 15 Miles South of Bahía de Los Angeles, Baja California, México, Apparently for a Southeastward Range Extension of Some 140 Miles.”
The text read, “I got it there then.”
This was followed by a 28-line acknowledgment section in which Moran thanked the person who had reviewed the text, his college professors, and the person who had mailed the manuscript.
Reviews of Recent Books Concerning Current Issues in Higher Ed: No. 6
Donoghue, Frank. The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities. New York: Fordham U P, 2008.
In this seminal work of the corporatization of American universities, Frank Donoghue offers a much longer historical view than most other authors focusing on the topic. Some have started in the mid-1970s, when economic recession and the “Rust Belt” decline of American manufacturing and working-class economic security, along with post-Baby Boom demographics, created new fiscal pressures on our universities. Others have looked back to the late 1940s, when the G. I. Bill eliminated many previous socio-economic obstacles to a earning a college degree and drove the very rapid expansion of our universities–the public university systems, in particular. But Donoghue starts in the post-Civil War era, when the establishment of most of our land-grant universities marked the beginnings of the modern university in America. He not only historically delineates the tension between the proponents of utilitarian education and the proponents of “liberal arts” education, but he emphasizes that, from the beginnings of the modern American university, this tension has been inherent in our shifting conception of the core mission of our universities. The Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties marked previous high points for the proponents of utilitarian education, and it is hardly surprising that at the turn of this century, as the nation seems to have settled into a second Gilded Age, the proponents of utilitarian education have once more moved into the foreground. Unlike most critics of the increasing corporatization of our universities, Donoghue does not, however, view this as a cyclic phenomenon. Instead, he believes that most colleges and universities have already passed a tipping point and are moving inexorably toward an increasingly corporatized state in which the humanities and social sciences are being reduced from major disciplines within the curriculum to basic skill sets and diversions for dilettantes and subversives. Continue reading
The AAUP released several important reports this week that deserve a close reading.
The AAUP Statement on the Affordable Care Act and Part-Time Faculty Positions criticizes colleges that seek to deny coverage to adjunct faculty who work 30 hours a week under the Obamacare law, by cutting classes or failing to recognize the actual hours of work undertaken by adjunct faculty.
The AAUP Statement on the Defunding of Political Science Research at the National Science Foundation expresses deep concern about the efforts in Congress to ban NSF funding for political science research, largely for political reasons.
The AAUP also this week released its report on Southern University, Baton Rouge, which used an assertion of financial exigency to fire tenure faculty under dubious circumstances.
In past blogs, I’ve chronicled the development of Writing Commons, the Open Education Home for Writers, with hopes that my experiences developing an Open Education Resource (OER) might be of interest to faculty across the disciplines. I’ve argued that faculty might want to consider contributing to Writing Commons or other OERs that are peer-reviewed, that faculty might want to develop their own OERs and try to grow communities around their projects. And I’ve argued that CC 3.0 NC ND is a viable copyright license for faculty who are re-purposing a textbook.
Although I’ve been working on Writing Commons for over a decade, I assumed I’d need another ten or twenty years before the project became widely used. Instead, I feel like a NASA engineer whose rocket is going to blast off from Cape Canaveral. Why? This past week I learned that Duke University has adopted Writing Commons for its upcoming MOOC, which is funded by the Gates Foundation. By 3/18, we can expect an additional 50,000 to 75,000 students to come banging on our door. Now it may be true some of these students may not stick around for the full MOOC but we certainly want to make them feel as welcome as possible.
Progress of Writing Commons Monthly Visitors from February 2012 to February 2013.
I’m getting rather tired of finding myself agreeing with Stanley Fish–but it has happened again. Though I have admired Fish’s intellect and verbal ability for some thirty years now, only recently have I found myself nodding in agreement with things he writes. What bothers me is that I suspect either 1) I wasn’t reading him carefully in the past or 2) my own views have changed. I don’t like either possibility.
Just about a year ago, I presented a paper (via Skype) at the Modern Language Association annual meeting in Seattle. In it, I said, “Blind peer review is dead. It just doesn’t know it yet.” That got picked up by Inside Higher Ed‘s Scott Jaschik and created a minor stir. That surprised me, for what I was saying wasn’t really new–I just felt it needed saying once more.
Michael Gartner has an excellent op-ed in the Des Moines Register today about the serious threat to academic freedom posed by Iowa State president Steve Leath, who has banned the Harkin Institute from conducting research on agriculture without getting the approval of another research institute on campus, the Center for Agricultural Research and Development (CARD). It’s a story of the disturbing influence of agribusiness on the study of agriculture on campus, one with a long history of violating academic freedom at Iowa State.