The Gulf is Deep (Heinlein)

  The novella Gulf predates almost all of Heinlein’s novels. Online version. The book Friday (1982) is a loose sequel. Wikipedia: Gulf is a novella by Robert A. Heinlein, originally published as a serial in the November and December 1949 issues of Astounding Science Fiction and later collected in Assignment in Eternity. It concerns a secret society …

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The Last Key Blog

So for latecomers, the title is a pun on “key log”, which is the log that you have to remove to break up a logjam. I tend to conflate this with something the like the key note, which is the tonic in a scale, the note on which songs frequently (but not always) end. As …

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Look Away, Stay True

Recently a fellow writer, Chelsea Biondolillo, posted on Facebook: “I’m wearying of the push to turn ourselves into clickbait so our writing can go viral and we can get paid.” A number of other writers chimed in along these same lines. I found myself responding: “Look away, stay true.” I mutter these words with some …

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Hemingway’s cafes

WSJ: Hemingway’s Favorite Parisian Cafes, A tour of the literary Parisian cafes Hemingway’s generation made famous. For some reason they don’t mention Les Deux Magots! See also With Pascin at the Dôme: I always wondered who Hemingway had in mind as the dark sister when he wrote the short story With Pascin at the Dôme, which …

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Foo Camp 2016

I was at Foo Camp the last few days. This year they kept the size a bit lower (last year was kind of a zoo) and I thought the vibe was a lot more relaxed and fun. Many thanks to the O’Reilly folks for running this wonderful meeting and for inviting me. My first time …

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Roe’s scientists: original published papers

Gwern has provided scans of the original papers published by Anne Roe on studies of 64 eminent scientists. These papers include details concerning the selection of these individuals and the psychometric testing performed on them. Roe’s scientists — selected in their 40’s and 50’s for outstanding research contributions — scored much higher on a set …

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A Blast from the Past

Sometimes you need a thick skin to be a scientist or scholar. Almost everyone, it seems, has encountered a reviewer who didn’t bother to read what you wrote or badly misunderstood what you said. In other cases, you realize on reflection that a reviewer’s criticisms, although annoying and even painful at first, are justified in …

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Good Stories

March is still roaring a bit, though with Mid-Michigan temperatures eking into the 60s it’s a bit more like a purr. Nevertheless, you have to squint pretty hard to see the crocuses peeking out of the ground or the little spots of green that will be turning into budding leaves in the coming weeks. I …

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Grad school poetry

Punya Mishra recently posted to his blog a digital version of a book that several of us in MSU’s Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program worked on together. It’s not your typical academic book; I think Punya puts it best in his description of it: Graduate school can be a grind. Academia can be dull …

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Research Proposal Season

It is definitely true that proposal writing, editing, and evaluation are skills that can be developed over time. I say that with just a N=1 (me), but I’ve seen it amongst others, too, and several mentors have suggested as much. So how do you advise a student writing their first research proposal, particularly if they’re …

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Engaged Scholarship

This was initially posted on Medium as part of my Writing Along the Way project. Hops Grown by the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment at MSU   To speak of “applied” scholarship is to divorce theory from practice in a way that impoverishes both. This, at least, is the insight that has …

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Catalytic Opportunities

Continuing my experiment in public writing along the way, this post on Medium outlines the contours of what I’ve been thinking about as “catalytic opportunities.” I’ve begun thinking about strategic initiatives as catalytic. In chemistry, a catalyst causes a chemical reaction without itself being affected. But this isn’t exactly what I have in mind, because …

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Enter Title Here

I might as well start out today by just admitting up front that it’s not really proving to be particularly conducive to blogging. I mean, what is this blogging thing, anyway? (Sounds like the start of a Seinfeld monologue, doesn’t it?). There was a particular idea to it back in the stone age years of …

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Perdurance

Is there anything less enduring than a meal? Whether cobbled together from leftovers and scraps in the refrigerator or the result of detailed planning and careful preparation, that last meal you ate, well, it’s gone. And really, folks, is there anything less memorable? I mean sure there are going to be a few exceptions in …

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James Salter, 1925-2015

“Forgive him anything, he writes like an angel.” Remember that the life of this world is but a sport and a pastime.  NYTimes obituary. From a 2011 post: I’ve been a fan of the writer James Salter (see also here) since discovering his masterpiece A Sport and a Pastime. Salter evokes Americans in France as …

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Book Tour

I spent most of last week on a mini book tour to promote my new book From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone. It was fun and pretty well received at all four of the West Coast locations. In Berkeley, CA a skeptical gentleman asked me to talk a bit about the case for …

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Perfecting the Pitch for Research Funding

On Wednesday June 3rd I attended the Michigan State University Academy for Global Engagement Fellowship Program public session (see http://vprgs.msu.edu/event/academy-global-engagement-fellowship-program-0). This public session was open to non-fellows (such as myself), and had two parts. In the first part, panelists discussed “Understanding Federal Funding, Congressional Appropriations, and Agency Priorities”, while in the second part they discussed …

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Our Reseach in Simple Words

I accept Rich Lenski’s challenge to explain our research in the 1,000 most used words of the English language using the Up-Goer Five Text Editor (http://splasho.com/upgoer5/).  Here is the result! “We study how tiny living things move through water or stick together and grow in a group. We also study how these tiny living things talk …

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Essay

  Edge by Marcia Aldrich In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibration of beauty. —Christopher Morley Start with a dead deer at the side of Hamilton Road. A major artery between Okemos and Dobie roads, it is my route to work, to the supermarket, to the post office …

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The Veil of Privacy in an Age of Anxiety

[What follows is my contribution to “Other People’s Privacy: Secondary Characters in Nonfiction,” a panel presentation to the annual meeting of the Associated Writing Programs in Minneapolis earlier this month. I joined Emily Fox Gordon, Debra Monroe (moderator), John T. Price, and Robin Hemley on the panel.] I confess to some anxiety over the task …

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The Free Memoir: A License to Thrill

 Principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask, “What is it in itself? What is its essence?” —The Silence of the Lambs Vivian Gornick says that memoir is “a genre still in need of an informed readership.” I agree. A first step to better reading would be recognition of the different types …

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Short stories

Yesterday I listened to this interview with the fiction editor of the New Yorker: Deborah Treisman, fiction editor at The New Yorker, discusses the magazine’s 90th anniversary and the canon of fiction it published. She didn’t mention Irwin Shaw‘s 1939 classic The Girls in Their Summer Dresses. According to James Salter, Shaw wrote it in …

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The Things We Carry

Rich, Bob Dylan, Cheryl Strayed, Dream of a Common Language, Ezra Pound, Michigan State University, power, teaching, voice, Wild |Leave a comment Class assignment: Take an inventory of your bag, pick three telling items, and let them tell. 1. Pencil In the back pocket, a green Michigan State University pencil, sharpened at a steep angle, …

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GradHacker to the Rescue!

When I found GradHacker, I was living in Chicago, away from my home campus, frantically preparing for my last comprehensive exam, conducting pre-dissertation research, and only sleeping about four hours a night—or day—or whenever I finally collapsed. The honesty of GradHacker authors was refreshing: other people had faced difficult circumstances too! (And lived to write …

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Waiting

On Wednesday I asked the students in my class to describe what they’d been doing earlier in the day, before our afternoon session began. While they scribbled I wrote alongside them, producing a dull summary of actions and toil—until I came to waiting … There is always waiting. It begins in the still-dark morning when …

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