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Friday Afternoon Confessional: Reading List

I confess I put my life on hold for the last 12 months chasing a ghost. It took me more than a month just to start to remember how life was. Was it worth it? I confess I have no idea. Am I done chasing ghosts? I confess my best answer is: time will tell.

The piles of books which have amassed to the left and right of me do suggest I kept on reading though. I confess I want to boast about that.

To my left, pile n°1: Kripke, Naming & Necessity; Bolaño, Amberes, El Tercer Reich & Estrella Distante; Zweig, Schachnovelle.

Across older piles lying open on pp. 150-151 for reasons I confess I forgot entirely: Gadamar, Elogio de la teoría. Which brings me to the piles to my right featuring more Gadamer, On Education, Poetry And History as well as Wer bin Ich und wer bist Du. The latter sits on top of Fitch, Saul Kripke and Peinado, Futbolistas de izquierdas. Further down in that pile: Gass, Middle C and the almost most recent one: Piketty, Le capital au XXIe siècle.

To my left, pile n° 2: Jaeger, Paideia: los ideales de la cultura griega & Aristoteles; Grundlegung einer Geschichte seiner Entwicklung.

I confess all this name dropping leaves me feeling I really have something to confess about. I am unsure however whether it is arrogance or lack of reading quality/quantity (certainly as far as fiction goes). In order not to have to dwell on that issue I’ll just mention what I’m reading now (& only talk about that one below the fold): Steven Johnson, Everything Bad is Good for You. As you can tell from the Capital letters in the title I’m turning to vulgarized science from time to time (I blame Dawkins for that) but I’m not addicted to it, yet (I might add now I’m at it that I quit smoking if, I confess, without quitting nicotine given I just have put an “e-” before my cigarettes).

I confess it was not my plan to write that many words before I got to this pink book by (the maybe venerable) Steven Johnson and the Flynn effect.

Continue reading

May 3, 2014 Posted by | bookstores, economics, Friday Afternoon Confessional, shameless self-promotion, teaching | , | Comments Off on Friday Afternoon Confessional: Reading List

Fired Man Working

The unit of human capital writing this blog post is planned to be scrapped. End of June. This is partly because of a basic design error of almost all of the known units of human capital better know as free will. Most capitalists know free will to be a bitch to be kept at bay in production and to be abused only from the point of view of consumption. In my case I couldn’t handle being ‘owned’ anymore to continue something we started, dreaming to improve the world of education, in order to fuel some organization’s desire to make money on pushing more Theon taming (known originally as training).

I won’t put in my LinkedIn profile that my will to consume is as weak as my will to create is strong. I wonder whether there is a maximum of will meaning a stronger will to create weakens the will to consume, and vice versa. If so it might explain why the wealthy are so concerned to ensure our will to consume is stimulated. The wealthy are só smart (how else would they have become wealthy?): they most probably have enough will to create amongst their happy few to count for all of us. Anyway they have the money so we will just have to consume what they create with what little money they leave.

We can take some comfort in the ideas of Thomas Piketty: as the wealthy will appropriate more and more wealth, there will be less and less for us, leading to a system break-down. At that point most of us will either be death or die quickly in the service of one of the factions of the wealthy, but at least the happy few will become unhappier and fewer for the briefest of moments. It’s not much but we’ll take what we get.

I’m just being bitter, of course. On top of not making any sense. Bottom-line is: I didn’t get it my way. Continue reading

April 27, 2014 Posted by | boredom, innovative technologies that shape our lives, shameless self-promotion, teaching, torture, waking up in a cold sweat | 3 Comments

Tuesday Hatred of anti-hoodism

My week didn’t suck but my day sure does. Still, I am not an average youth who by the mere fact of wearing standard youth clothing is classified as a hooded criminal. The fear of the strange has always extended to the young. It’s no coincidence that this particular xenophobia coincides with classical racism. Nevertheless, the mere term ‘hooded criminal’ is so strikingly at odds with the near impossibility of buying a non-hooded sweater that it is clear that the dark force is particularly strong in the grey-haired.

It would seem that the older the average age becomes the more a majority of people is convinced that, given their desire to live endlessly, there is no place for anybody below their own age.

I am taken back to the almost forgotten episode of the London riots (I’m sure Cameron, David conversed in a thoroughly educated fashion with Murdoch, Rupert or associates  to convince the latter that the former would ensure the status quo if one would endeavor to forget said episode at least until such time as the Olympics would have successfully concluded). Oh, shock and horror, these young criminals were hooded! Oh, terror and surprise, the hooded young are criminals! One would almost be nostalgic for the times where their hair was long and stood upright as if their noses were just pierced.

I hate forgotten episodes. Not because we forgot them but because many of them didn’t deserve to have become episodes in the first place. There is something entirely despicable about getting all excited about events before applying a one year grace period.

March 27, 2012 Posted by | teaching, Tuesday Hatred | 1 Comment

Documentation Style

Sometimes when grading papers, I marvel that students seem to lack knowledge of the basic mechanics of citation — for instance, that parenthetical references do not belong within the quotation marks, or that no documentation style calls for things such as “Inc.” or copyright dates (labeled as such). Problems with punctuation are also troublesome, such as some students’ apparent belief that literally every quotation, even one that comes mid-sentence and is thoroughly integrated into the sentence grammatically, must be introduced by a comma (as in “Kant argues that there is a, ‘transcendental unity of apperception’….”). To me, these types of things are second nature, and my first impulse is that they should be second nature to anyone with a college degree.

Then I reflect that not everyone spent three years in college as a TA in the English department with the primary duty of correcting documentation style and punctuation, as I in fact did. Through that process, I thoroughly internalized all the rules and witnessed every possible deviation from them. What’s more, I was actually paid to attain such fine-tuned knowledge. So perhaps I’m being too demanding when I want all students to be at a similar level.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | teaching | 23 Comments