Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Random stuff that will not make it into my dissertation

In between reading academic papers, I also indulge in watching videos like this while shaking my head in disbelief. If you love bikes, cyclist, look away! Look away!! :/

In other sad news, Encyclopaedia Brittanica has officially stopped printing those leather-bound books (gasp!) of knowledge. In an age of Google, digitized information served in 0.0425 seconds and at a click of mouse, encyclopedias cannot compete. Cue Carr's now ancient and controversial article on the cognitive effects of the Internet (Is Google Making us Stoopid?) and the recent documentary on the longevity or expectant doom of the New York Times in an age of digital media, can easily make one concerned about the fate of our paper friends.

This little piece, The Sound of Solitude has tuned a few thoughtful buzz notes. I find myself doing this from time to time and know it balloons on NYC subways; we pop in our headphones to retreat and find refuge from the constant outside noise by immersing ourselves in our self-created bubbles of pleasant noise, music. There is beauty in the sounds of silence. And the irony in all this? Yes, I'm refering to a song on silence when writing about the demise of silence. I know... I know... Nonetheless, thanks, S and G.

In other 'hot' education news, the pervasiness of the Kony 2012 video. It's a 30-min. documentary on the LRA and Joseph Kony, rebel leader in Uganda. Great. Expect this video tries to take decade-long political conflict and nicely package it in a trending YouTube video to inspire and mobilize the inner activist in all of us, following, of course, in the footsteps of our favorite celebrity-turned-activists. In this essay, Dinaw Mengestu tackles the festering cuticle on this glowing thumb-- the movie (by way of heart strings, empathy, and good-naturedness) suggests that by making Joseph Kony (in)famous, we (Internetauts, as in the Argonauts) will bring this situation to end. It naively suggests that African conflicts (that were 'invisible' before but are no longer...) can be solved by good-willed college students adding an app or clicking on their toolbars. I'm all about knowledge is power but BALANCED knowledge, not one-side mishmash of simplified issues.

The term is nearing the end but not before a few more assignment submissions. Such is the student life, living through the waves of time and emotions, from deadline to deadline. And remember Oxford students, you may be going on 'vacation' but that is only to vacate the buildings, not your work load; this is not a holiday (Americans: think vacation as in sipping margaritas in the sun).

And just for fun, I bring you the Shakespeare Insult Kit! YESSS! :D
That's right, you tottering, swag-bellied, scut!

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