Weekend Reading: Stop Thief! Edition

THIEFThis week I discovered a hidden pitfall of team-teaching: My colleague and I were talking about the next couple of reading assignments, how we see them as fitting together, and the like. Normal class prep, in other words. At the end of it, I offered a one-sentence summary of my goals, since I’m the one nominally leading class right now.

What happened in class? My colleague trotted out my sentence as her own!

The implications are clear: When team-teaching, be sure to squirrel your best stuff away from your colleague.

(I might be kidding. After all, I’m married to the colleague in question, so the habit of stealing one another’s lines is built-in from the start.)

  • Cal Newport has a terrific post decrying the tyranny of the convenience principle when discussing communications technology: Motivating this request from Georgetown HR was convenience. If every employee checked in daily with that department, a lot of the administrative processes required to operate a large university would run more smoothly. This would make peoples’ lives easier, therefore the policy is justified. I argue that this convenience principle is at the core of how knowledge work organizations decide which work habits to keep and which to discard, especially when these habits involve technology.
  • Last week Ryan wrote about “Avoiding Tool Takeover”. In a related post, Brian Lam reflects on recent research suggesting that lots of time spent using technology makes us unhappy: I owe my livelihood to technology and I love the raw capability it offers us as a tool, but I fear it a bit more than most people do. It’s a tool, but it’s not quite a hammer, because a hammer doesn’t seduce you into sitting around lonely in your underwear for 6 hours at a stretch clicking on youtube videos and refreshing twitter. (via The Brooks Review)
  • AstroBetter’s Jane Rigby explains what she “learned about astro outreach from giving a TEDx talk” (link includes the video of her talk–about space telescopes and dark energy!): So, what can we learn from this? Here goes. Don’t assume that the public knows, remembers, or understands the key discoveries of the past 20 years.
  • Michael Kramer considers digital historians as citizens of “Annotation Nation”: It seems to me that annotation and the digital go well together, for the digital is geared toward enabling, representing, and capturing the flow of argument and argumentation. And annotation, at its essence, is just this flow.
  • Kate Clancy explains why female bloggers occasionally need a posse, and rethinks her policy for comments on her blog: Supporting a female blogger under attack in a comment thread is a very risky endeavor. If you are a male ally, you may be afraid of making things worse. If you are a woman, you may be afraid of drawing some of the attack on to you.

In this week’s video, Charles Seife discusses Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception:

Unmissable bonus: C.G.P. Grey’s “10 Misconceptions Rundown”. The top pick will prevent you from ever sleeping again, thus solving your productivity problems.

Have a great weekend!

Photo “THIEF” by Flickr user JohnGoode / Creative Commons licensed

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