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Spring Break Shorts

  • I need to pre-order the new book by Siva Vaidhyanathan. Also, now might be the time to buy an iPod.
  • Another article on gender in the blogosphere. Consider this thought:

    If you accept the premise of the blogosphere as a true meritocracy, a place where our intellectual (and emotional) impulses can flourish unchecked, then you're buying into the concept of the blog world as a window into human nature. If that's the case, the blogosphere -- with perhaps just four percent female participation in poliblogs -- shows us that while women are just as interested as men in spouting off, they're fundamentally less interested than men in spouting off about politics.

    Or perhaps people don't recognize what women spout off about as politics proper.

  •   Irish Sushi, via Rebecca Blood. Yum.
  • Ann Wizer, an American artist in Indonesia, is making tote bags out of ephemeral plastic bags (grocery bags, etc.). She did this in an attempt to clean up the environment and create jobs. So guess what happened...

    Not all manufacturing companies appreciate Wizer's efforts. Last year, the German soft drink company Capri-Sonne threatened to sue for trademark infringement. They settled out of court when Wizer agreed to distribute her Capri-Sonne bags -- her most popular design -- through schools only.

    "For the big companies, this is the real issue. When does trademark die? When it's thrown away or when it goes up in toxic flames?" she says. "Frankly, they should be paying me for cleaning up their trash."


  • A friend of mine whom I haven't talked to in years just emailed me. I can't wait to catch up with her. One night she and I attended a Gloria Steinem talk at the University of Tennessee, which a bunch of horrid archconservatives had also attended. She and I hung around and met Steinem afterward and then were so wired that we picked up burgers at Wendy's, went back to her apartment, and talked about feminism until about 1:00 a.m. Good times.

Miscellany on Email

You might have noticed that I added a culturecat.net email address to my sidebar. After much frustration with the University of Minnesota's email client, I have decided to make my hosting company's email program, SquirrelMail, my primary email interface, meaning I arranged for my UMN email to forward there. I was absolutely fed up with the fact that, first off, the UMN Webmail interface has no BCC field, even though if you want to email all your students and they have arranged for total suppression of all their information, FERPA says that you must put the students' email addresses in your BCC field. Well, in order to do that, I have to have a BCC field to put them in, don't I?! Also, it's very annoying that if you put an apostrophe in the subject line of the email, UMN Webmail (don't know about Pine) drops it. Can't becomes cant, don't becomes dont, Clancy's becomes Clancys, etc.

Now I'm overjoyed that I can actually put apostrophes in the subject line and I can BCC people! Woo-hoo! Plus, SquirrelMail allows me to have separate identities, so I can email someone as ratli008 at umn or as clancy at culturecat. Sometimes I feel that I need the credibility that an institutional email address offers, especially if I'm emailing someone I don't know at another university. Funny how that works.

Edited to add: Another reason I love this email client is that they have a lot of different visual display themes, including one called "In the Pink." The name makes me cringe, but I have always wanted to have a pink email interface.

What Peanuts Character Are You?

I must say, I'm thrilled with my result!

You are Woodstock!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Rana, who is Rerun, and Cindy, a.k.a. Pig Pen.

Jane Bast Update

Jane Bast has finished her graduate school applications and written a reflection on writing personal statements and will be writing more Chronicle "First Person" columns on applying to graduate school in the humanities. Those who followed the debate on Invisible Adjunct will find this latest column not all that surprising. Bast says:

I returned to my apartment and looked at my statement. Bill was right. It did seem naïvely idealistic. Too much like Dead Poets Society, and not enough like Discipline and Punish. As I sat down at my desk to begin again, I tried to channel my inner Foucault so that I could think about my work and my abilities with the appropriate critical distance.

Discipline, indeed.

Wouldn't you love to love her?

I find some of the most tripped-out stuff via La Di Da. Thank you Lauren for introducing me to her. So...when Elle linked to this site, I thought it couldn't be for real, but it is:

I will go on record as saying that I think this is brilliant. Are there other celebrities you can get your portrait with?

Reflections on (No) Method

Jill has some good stuff to say about method. It takes me back to when I was working on my master's thesis, and my advisor asked me what my method was. I was frustrated and flummoxed, and thought, "I'm writing a freakin' essay! I guess that's it." Having a method for a critical reading of the ways that composition theorists have used Haraway's cyborg theory seemed utterly counterintuitive to me. Since then, I've learned that in some disciplines, "method" is a mechanical procedure, like "the sample was placed in a centrifuge and left on a petri dish for 5 days," and in others, it's more a basic question of what texts you're going to study, the basis of selection of those particular texts, and the theory and assumptions, the (to use the Burkean term) teministic screen, you're using to interpret the texts. For example, in my M.A. thesis, I went into my reading with the assumption that Haraway's theory is, of course, a way of looking at humans and technology, but indissociable from the theory are its political underpinnings; it is a socialist feminist social theory, and it has implications for activist practice, which Haraway has said in an interview with Gary Olson in JAC. I used my reading of "A Cyborg Manifesto," along with my assumptions/convictions about the argument's meaning to critique the way that composition theorists have used Haraway's theoretical framework (at times focusing too much on the implications for human-computer interaction, collaborative writing, and hypertext at the expense of the rich socialist, feminist, anti-racist aspects of the theory).

Dark Energy, Man.

The scientific breakthrough of the year:

Around 23% of the universe is made up of another substance [besides stars], called "dark matter". Nobody knows what this undetected stuff could be, but it massively outweighs all the atoms in all the stars in all the galaxies across the whole detectable range of space. The remaining 73% is the new discovery: dark energy. This bizarre force seems to be pushing the universe apart at an accelerating rate, when gravitational pull should be making it slow down or contract.

Now we know that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Science Daily has more on the story, with an additional list of significant scientific discoveries of 2003, including this sad and disturbing one: "Climate Change Impacts: Global warming was no longer an abstract concept in 2003. Scientists reported melting ice, droughts, decreased plant productivity, and altered plant and animal behavior."

Friday Five

It's Friday, and here are my five.

1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.


2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.

cerebral, rigorous

3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime.

couchy, funny, delicious

4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.

long, challenging, gratifying, beneficent

5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.

wealthy, sociable, philanthropic, feminist, cognoscente

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