What I’m Reading – 8/3/09

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education
    • An Intellectual Movement for the Masses – Positive psychology fights off New Age approaches that detract from ongoing scholarship.
    • Will Higher Education Ever Change as It Should? – Robert Zemsky proposes methods for bringing about systemic change in higher education.  I’m not certain he does a thorough job of outlining the specific problems he seeks to correct.  Zemsky focuses on the Bologna Process in Europe, which “has resulted in greater integration and cooperation.”  Those are good goals, but I’m not certain they are what Zemsky finds lacking in US higher education.
  • New York Times
    • At Louvre, Many Stop to Snap but Few Stay to Focus – Fine art today is quickly browsed rather than considered.  “So tourists now wander through museums, seeking to fulfill their lifetime’s art history requirement in a day, wondering whether it may now be the quantity of material they pass by rather than the quality of concentration they bring to what few things they choose to focus upon that determines whether they have ‘done’ the Louvre.”
    • Google Chief Resigns as Apple Director – Eric Schmidt steps down from the Apple board in a move that’s been anticipated since Google announced their own operating system.
    • The Puppy Whisperer – A nice article about training a puppy, perfect for sharing with my animal-enthusiast daughter.
  • Slashdot
  • Guyland: Chapter 3
    • Masculinity is largely a “homosocial” experience: performed for, and judged by, other men.
    • Noted playwright David Mamet explains why women don’t even enter the mix. “Women have, in men’s minds, such a low place on the social ladder of this country that it’s useless to define yourself in terms of a woman. What men need is men’s approval.”
  • Ask Us! Boatwright Library Is Ready to Help! – A new video from my friends at Boatwright Library encouraging students to ask a librarian for help.
  • Parabola – Imagination (Spring 2009)
    • “The Heart Eater” – A story from Sierra Leone about a genie who eats the hearts of villagers.  Translated from the Mende and retold by Ishmael Beah.
  • Milton Among the Philosophers – Chapter One – Mechanical Life: Descartes, Hobbes, and the Implications of Mechanism – A much-needed introduction to the philosophical debates that informed Paradise Lost.
    • “Science, or natural philosophy, was only then in the process of separating itself from what we call philosophy.”
    • “To the extent that one accepted Epicurean atoms as a metaphysical first principle, one was brought into conflict with orthodox beliefs in the incorporeality of the rational soul, freedom of the will, and Genesis creation.”
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