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About Spartan Ideas

Spartan Ideas is a collection of thoughts, ideas, and opinions independently written by members of the MSU community and curated by MSU Libraries


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Recent Posts



Spotlight Africa: After the 2014 World Cup

I chatted about the 2014 World Cup with Assumpta Oturu on KPFK Pacifica Radio‘s Spotlight Africa program. We analyzed Brazil’s historic collapse, Germany’s youth development policies, club versus country loyalties, African teams’ performances and what can be done to improve their results in global football. Listen to the entire July 19, 2014, show here. Tweet

The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision

Benjamin I. Sachs, a law professor at Harvard University, notes that while federal law lets union members prevent the use of their dues for political purposes, shareholders do not have similar rights. “If we’re going to say that collectives have speech rights, then we should treat unions and corporations the same,” Sachs told me. Employees …


Weddings and the Dead

I’ve been thinking about weddings a lot recently. It’s not just that I’m planning my own wedding which is less than ten weeks away, I’m also in my little brother’s wedding which is right around the corner. Of course, I can’t resist looking into the darker and death-related aspects of weddings and wedding planning. Weddings …


For Shame America

For Shame America.  More than 57,000 young migrants have been apprehended, coming without parents, mostly from Central America since October.  At great expense, we have thousands of immigration control officers and elaborate fences.  I try to imagine the desperation of parents to send their children north hoping to escape killing and rape by drug gangs.  …


Soccer Development in South Africa: Same Old Story

Radio talk show host, author, and political analyst Eusebius Mckaiser spoke with Robin Petersen, CEO of the South African Football Association’s development agency, about what is going wrong and what needs to be done about the future of Bafana Bafana—the South African men’s national team. Peterson has an unusual background for a South African football …


Citizenship Goes Global

My day was split between talking to a social forum at a local church this morning about sustainability, climate change and divestment; an afternoon around other candidates for office in Michigan from the Green Party; and this evening after dinner I’ve been catching up on some websites that I used to frequent. One is PelicanWeb …


Digital Environments: Design & Consequence

Wrapping up a great visit to San Jose, Costa Rica for the World History Association Conference. I delivered a paper, ‘Digital Environments: Design and Consequence”, and was joined by panelists Trevor Getz and Olivia Guntarik. During my talk I picked and pulled (responsibly, I hope) from Humanities Computing, Digital Humanities, and Library and Information Science …


Shop Rite

Last week we memorialized the loss of a local Lansing area institution, Goodrich’s Shop-Rite. Apologies to those readers who felt that I did not take the closure of a commercial establishment seriously enough. Maybe I can work myself up to something more commensurate with the deep emotional attachment that people felt for Goodrich’s by considering …


Control Your Facebook and Twitter History

As you read this blog post, there may be someone Googling information about you. What do you want them to find? That is why it’s important to clear your browsing history. Molly Wood shares a video and explains how to download and delete activity on Facebook and Twitter. Before you begin to clean your Facebook …


Faker Faire ’til you Maker Faire (part 2)

In my last post, I discussed the “spirit of making” and argued that teachers should try to invite that spirit into their classrooms even if they aren’t read to fully embrace the maker movement. Pulling from the book Invent to Learn, I identified three activities that make up the spirit of making: making, tinkering, and …


Death of the fittest

This is imho an excessively beautiful figure! I keep staring at it getting thrills, and bliss pours over me as I explore its intricacies. This is evolution.   Click to enlarge. (You should enjoy this figure while listening to one or several of these:) What are we looking at? Fitness over time of all individuals …


Higher Ed Behind Close Doors

The Detroit Free Press has sued the University of Michigan over the closed meetings it holds regularly. Our local paper’s coverage of that story indicated that MSU is similarly culpable of this violation, claiming “Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees also regularly meets in what amounts to private sessions.” For democracy to fulfill it’s ideal, …


Faker Faire ’til you Maker Faire (part 1)

My friend, colleague, and fellow Francophone Michelle Schira Hagerman recently wrote a great blog post about the role of “making” in MSU’s edtech master’s program. In short, MAET has pushed forward with including making activities in its curriculum despite a fair amount of pushback from students because we believe that it has some valuable contributions …


How To Make Clients Look Cool

Pat Law of Singapore shares an amazing story with the NY Times in the video below on how she started her own social media agency. She didn’t allow the obstacles that were affecting her family stop her from starting Goodstuph. Goodstuph is now a booming company that focuses on making their clients appear cool on …


GFSI Releases Food Fraud Position Paper — Time to Act!

Earlier tonight the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Board released their position paper on Food Fraud prevention.  The GFSI Food Fraud Think Tank, created in 2012, was identified as a key contributor in the development of their position.  The Think Tank included our MSU Food Fraud initiative, Danone, Royal Ahold, Eurofins, Walmart, and Inscatech. We …


Using the Dead to Understand Access to Water

As humans, we cannot survive without water. In the first world, we are privileged to have consistent access to fresh clean water. In many countries, access to water is based on one’s economic and social status, rather than being viewed as an inalienable human right. Lack of access to clean water kills 3.4 million people …


On the Cheap

Michael Carolan’s Cheaponomics: The High Cost of Low Prices shines some desperately needed sunlight on the current neoliberal hegemony over our economic system. Carolan, who writes with aplomb supported by a lengthy recitation of research unmasks the hidden costs of 21st century capitalism. . Carolan unmasks what he frequently refers to as socialism of the …


Change.org Petition: Don’t Boycott Amazon

Did you know that a large percentage of e-books sold on Amazon are from independent authors? You may have heard about the dispute between Amazon and Hachette, encouraging buyers to boycott amazon in relation to purchasing books or e-books. Self-published author Hugh Howey strikes back. He has just launched a letter of his own: “Change.org …