Weekend Reading: What Do You Mean, “Late Summer”? Edition

ProfHacker 2018-08-02

landscape photo with stunning sky

The World Cup is over. Transfer season is well and truly upon us . . . it can only mean that there’s about six weeks left until Labor Day and the traditional start of the fall semester. Hmm. You know what? Let’s just try to get through the weekend–have a good one!

  • Donna Laclos gave a keynote talk last month called “Who Gets to Use ILL?”, and it’s an interesting look at the assumptions any library makes about its users and resources: Who is the “user?”–there are internal and external systems, and scholars usually only see the latter. But the ways the former works have an impact on the work that’s done. The limits of the internal systems can be passed on in the form of policies, even if those limits are not inherent to the practices of scholarship per se. . . . I continue to hear in library and edtech circles about the value of “seamlessness”–But the “seamless” delivery of material, regardless of how you get it, has its own cost, of invisibility and–devalued labor.
  • Ute Kreplin casts a discerning eye over the scientific evidence for meditation’s benefits: The utilisation of meditation techniques by large corporations such as Google or Nike has created growing tensions within the wider community of individuals who practise and endorse its benefits. Those of a more traditional bent argue that meditation without the ethical teachings can lead into the wrong kind of meditation . . . . But what if meditation doesn’t work for you? Or worse, what if it makes you feel depressed, anxious or psychotic?
  • Automators 2 is a great new podcast by David Sparks and Rose Orchid about automating digital tasks. The show notes from the second episode, about automating email, give a good flavor of the kind of support and detail they provide.
  • Reading Dr. Rubella’s post about “Post-Doc-ing While Pregnant” gave me a *lot* of flashbacks: I say all of this to say if you have a pregnant student or postdoc or other early career researcher in your lab or building, be kind because its likely they are having similar feelings, thoughts and emotions and a little extra kindness goes a long way.
  • Douglas Rushkoff explains that the rich don’t really have the same concerns as the rest of us: They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time.

“Bruises: The Data We Don’t See” is a compelling work of “data humanism” by Kaki King and Giorgia Lupi. It’s distressing in places, but well worth a listen/watch:

In lieu of a bonus video, a couple of trailers: I’m really looking forward to hosting screenings of two movies this fall: Paywall: The Business of Scholarship” and Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Photo “36273306_1136839243125542_8865018296596955136_n” by Flickr user Keresztényi Péter Photography / Public Domain