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September 5, 2013
Consumption and Naturalism in Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing's Strange, Unresolved Conflict. Excerpted from Persuasive Games.
June 22, 2013
Sympathy without sympathy
June 14, 2013
MOOCs and the Future of the Humanities (Part One)
A roundtable at the LA Review of Books
May 26, 2013
Fortunate People Say No
The circular logic of creative success
Creative People Say No is an article has been making the rounds this week, about how creativity demands focus and time and suffers when it's interrupted by extraneous jobs and tasks requested by others. The overall message works as a pique to get you to realize that you don't have ...
April 14, 2013
Well, what's your solution then?
David Graeber on thinking about ideas
Lately, it's common to see critique—even smart, detailed critique—answered with a crass dismissal: "Well, what's your solution then?" As if the very idea of raising a concern is invalid on its own. Among boosters, no critique is deemed valid without a complete alternative program. This David Graeber article is about ...
March 13, 2013
A Lesson in Offloading
The logic of California higher education funding
Today California announced the introduction of legislation to require schools to accept credit for certain online courses, including those offered by MOOC providers like Udacity and Coursera. Let's review the logic of this process. Massively cut funding to California public education. Simultaneously, reduce public receipts, in part by offering massive ...
January 27, 2013
Two Billionaires on the University
Two conveniently juxtaposable views on universities today, from two billionaires. First, Michael Bloomberg made a $350 million commitment to his alma mater Johns Hopkins, which he credits with establishing his future as a leader. The contribution brings his total philanthropy to Johns Hopkins to $1.1 billion. In addition to funding ...
January 26, 2013
The Cost of Fees
Would I be doing what I do now had I been subject to today's University of California graduate tuition and fees? Probably not.
My graduate school experience was unusual, at least for someone pursuing a humanities PhD. While I did teach some, for much of the time I was in grad school I was also working in the technology and entertainment industries. In part this is because I was an immovable ass who ...
January 16, 2013
Inequality in American Education Will Not Be Solved Online
With funding tight, the state of California has turned to Udacity to provide MOOCs for students enrolled in remedial courses. But what is lost when public education is privatized?
January 11, 2013
How the Video-Game Industry Already Lost Out in the Gun-Control Debate
Firearms, not entertainment, lead to mass shootings, and yet gamers have irrevocably become implicated in the conversation over violence in America.
January 5, 2013
Educational Hucksterism
Or, MOOCs are not an Educational Technology
My colleague Mark Guzdial argues that MOOCs are a fundamental misperception of how learning works. In the post, Mark argues that MOOCs misconstrue educational practice, mistaking lectures and rote-exercises for the central activities of classes in higher education. Reading Mark's post I found myself reflecting on a seemingly unrelated article ...
December 10, 2012
On Human Dangers
Prosperity and austerity in contemporary philosophy
I've had the pleasure of visiting with a number of classes recently after they've read Alien Phenomenology. Very different groups as well, from freshmen to graduate students. A common question that arose in many of these conversations relates to the consequences of object-oriented ontology. This question usually takes a form ...
November 24, 2012
Senior Associate Vice Provost of Something
On the top-heaviness of universities
An article in Business Week has been making the rounds this holiday weekend, The Troubling Dean-to-Professor Ratio. It's about the top-heaviness of universities and the growth of senior and executive administration. The "money quote," so to speak, is this: At universities nationwide, employment of administrators jumped 60 percent from 1993 ...
October 1, 2012
Pretty Hate Machines
A Review of Patrick Crogan's Gameplay Mode in Game Studies 12:1
September 24, 2012
On MLA Job Leaks
Today the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on MLA Job Leaks, an unauthorized, "rogue" website that is republishing the Modern Language Association (MLA) Job Information List (JIL). Currently university departments have to pay to list jobs, and job seekers have to be members of the MLA or the related Association ...
September 19, 2012
A brief note on Chick-fil-A
After weeks of protests, counter-protests, public outcry, kiss-ins, and other assorted drama surrounding Chick-fil-A's beliefs about and contributions against gay marriage, news today claims that the company has agreed to various concessions, including ceasing donations to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights. Watching people post this story ...
September 16, 2012
I Know! Let's Talk about Politics and Ontology Again!
Some responses to some responses to some responses
All right, this one of those posts that responds to conversations taking place on multiple blogs and on Facebook, so it's going to be confusing if you haven't read everything. Let me try to give you the backstory: First, Levi wrote On Ontology, another account of the difference between ontology ...
September 12, 2012
Ritual and Fashion
Žižek on "radical" academics
This excerpt from a 2008 article by Slavoj Žižek has been sitting in my notebook for a while, and I thought I'd post it. My personal experience is that practically all of the "radical" academics silently count on the long-term stability of the American capitalist model, with the secure tenured ...
September 11, 2012
Real Networks Don't Have Leaders
September 11 and Distributed Networks
On September 11, 2001 I was supposed to meet with Rick Harshman, an Akamai account executive, in my Los Angeles office. I only remember Rick's name eleven years later because it kept staring at me from my Outlook calendar that morning suggesting an alternate timeline. I can't remember why we ...
June 30, 2012
Obamacare: the Videogame
On failures to communicate
There's a great article by Monroe Anderson at The Root titled 'Obamacare,' the Video Game?. Anderson recalls asking Obama strategist David Axelrod "why so many voters were so clueless as to how President Obama had spent the first two years of his first term." Axelrod's response: "information gridlock." Essentially, the ...