Turning Concepts into Policy

I’ve pontificated before about the growing income and wealth inequality. At times I have offered approaches to address it including the raising the minimum wage, establishing and enforcing a living wage and establishing a maximum wage ratio. The latter have primarily been adopted by companies or organizations Ben and Jerry’s in it’s heyday when Ben …

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The Direction of Kindness

I was recently reading the script for a commencement speech given by critically-acclaimed author George Saunders to the graduating class of 2013 at Syracuse University. His message serves as a poignant reminder about letting go of the trivial things we so often become enamored with – things like accomplishment and success that seem anything but …

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What’s New Since Montagu?

I wrote this to help a journalist who is trying to understand the current controversy over A Troubled Inheritance, the new book by NYTimes genetics correspondent Nicholas Wade. (Link above goes to earlier discussion on this blog, with additional useful links and figures.) The anthropologist Ashley Montagu advanced the idea that race is a social …

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Storify: Simplified

Storify is a social media platform with the goal of telling stories or narratives through other social media posts. With a layout that’s a hybrid of Facebook and Pinterest, this platform is quickly gaining an audience with social media “storytellers”. Storify is probably most commonly used in articles to report on events that are heavily …

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Imbiza: A Digital Archive of the 2010 World Cup

Recently, I spoke with Liz Timbs, the creator of Imbiza 1.0: A Digital Repository of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Imbiza (http://imbiza.matrix.msu.edu) is an open-access web-based project that uses a highly modified theme on a WordPress framework.  Objects contained in Imbiza were catalogued and preserved using KORA, the digital repository and publishing platform …

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Behance: A Creative Portfolio Site

“Take creative control,” says the About page on Behance.net. There is a disconnect between creative individuals and the employers that seek their talent. Part of the Adobe family, Behance is an innovative site utilized by creative professionals that aims to not only help construct their portfolios, but also to showcase their work for employers. When …

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Writing Boot Camps

Writing can be such an isolating task, whose very isolation may deter us from starting or progressing toward our goals. The other obstacle we often face is a lack of accountability once we leave the classroom for the desert of dissertation writing. Writing boot camps address both challenges by providing a space and time in …

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Power and a Response to It

Indeed the loan [$3billion] was approved by the [Obama} administration just four days before the president delivered his address to the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “As the world’s largest economy and the world’s second largest emitter, America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change,” Obama said then. “That …

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10 Free Infographic Tools

Sometimes, it just isn’t feasible to create a graphic from scratch on Photoshop or InDesign. We simply don’t have enough hours in the day. That’s where easy-to-use infographic websites, such as Creative Bloq’s Ten Free Tools for Creating Infographics come in handy to speed up the process. For the simplest, easy-to-use option, Easel.ly or Venngage …

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Surviving the Black Death

The medieval Black Death, that struck Europe from 1347-1351 CE, has been considered one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. Europe’s populations dwindled as tens of millions of its people died. While early research claimed that the disease had no bias and killed indiscriminately, more recent studies have shown that it targeted the elderly, …

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Sparks of Eternity at FDG

We recently showed the prototype of Sparks of Eternity at the Foundation of Digital Games conference. Sparks of Eternity: Episode 1 – Breakthrough is a custom, collaboratively designed game between the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University and the Frankel Jewish Academy. The goal of the collaboration is to create …

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Thinking Big

If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough. (Wes Jackson) This quote from a recent white paper by Barrett Brown, The Future of Leadership for Conscious Capitalism, resonated deeply as I read it yesterday. Perhaps as a result of my own formal retirement from the pursuit of paychecks …

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Can Grit Be Taught?

A colleague recently sent a link to a very interesting NPR story about a new topic being taught in some K-12 schools – grit. Grit was defined in the story by Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who won a MacArthur “genius grant” for her work on grit, as “this quality …

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Hoarding

Hoard – To keep for one’s self. (Websters Third Collegiate Dictionary) I have been searching for the correct word, and perhaps this isn’t quite it, to describe the attribute of the rich amongst us. Whether it be Bill Gates, the Walton Family, Justin Verlander or George Clooney, those that amass fortunes are essentially hoarding what …

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A Celebratory Weekend

This past weekend marked MSU’s commencement ceremonies, with over 9,000 students across the university receiving degrees (including those graduating both this spring and summer).  There are a number of different ceremonies, and the College of Education was well represented across many of them. The weekend started on Friday morning when we held the college’s Doctoral …

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Soylent is for people

New Yorker: … I was relieved when factory-made Soylent arrived in the mail. It was basically Rhinehart’s formula, which I’d tasted in L.A.: a thick, tan liquid that is yeasty, grainy, and faintly sweet. Compared with the taste of my chocolate version, regular Soylent was pleasant. (Office taste-test results: “Naked protein shakes that are made …

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Software Carpentry trains the trainers

tl;dr? The Software Carpentry train-the-trainers workshop in Toronto this past M-W was just fantastic. I can’t recommend it enough. A bit of background: Software Carpentry is a project to teach scientists to use computing more effectively. Started by Greg Wilson about 16 years ago, the project has progressed through many different moults, including attempts to …

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Why Philosophy Matters

There is a lot of debate these days about the value of the Philosophy. Many people doubt it is relevant. A few years ago Stephen Hawking made headlines by telling the audience at a Google conference that Philosophy is dead.Most of us don’t worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must …

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Ordinary Good vs. Crazy Good

I was down at the Fleetwood Diner eating their turkey dinner this week. It’s not that I’m stuck in off-season mode (like when I was writing about Halloween candy two weeks back). I eat turkey dinner at the Fleetwood every other month or so. I was really enjoying the dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce when …

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Bad Science

“Studies suggest that literally everything causes cancer” “Are bagels killing your kids?” “Brain scans reveal that tiny demons are to blame for ADHD” Everyone wants to write a good headline. A catchy headline drives clicks, ad views, and thus revenue and recognition for the writer. And nothing catches the eye like a well placed scare …

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Vermont bill requiring GMO labeling

The Vermont General Assembly passed a bill that will require most (but not all) foods produced with genetic engineering to be labeled as such. The law, which would go into effect July 1, 2016, is the first in the nation to require labeling products of genetic engineering. GMO labeling laws passed recently in Connecticut and …

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