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Writing for the Godless: Flannery O’Connor on Dogma, Belief, and the Difference Between Religion and Faith

I’m not teaching her time period this term, but I usually throw in some Flannery O’Connor whenever I can. One of the most extraordinary meditations on religion and the role of spirituality in society comes from beloved author Flannery O’Connor, whose writing blended her Catholic faith with strong secular themes of ethics and moral philosophy, and nowhere does her singular spirit shine more luminously than in The Habit of Being:…

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Apple Watch is ugly and boring (and Steve Jobs would have agreed)

I am not feeling the love for Apple’s iWristBrick. What do most contemporary smartwatches have in common? They’re mostly squarish, clunky, bulky, flat things with a screen that go on your wrist. They mostly do things your phone does, and they mostly rely heavily on your phone for a good portion of their functionality. They’re fairly expensive, and it’s not really clear that they do anything amazing that your other…

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What Twitter Changes Might Mean for Academics

This is one of the reasons I still consider my blog to be my main presence on the internet. Twitter and Facebook and all the other commercialized social media platforms regularly change their algorithm in oder to suit their business model, without warning and without the consent of their user bases. Even though I am dependent upon WordPress (and my blog host, and several free plugins, and to Google for…

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A Prof Debunks Standardized Testing & Pearson Strikes Back

All this emphasis on standardized testing in the schools sure makes lots of sense to the purveyors of standardized tests. Stroup testified that for $468 million the Legislature had bought a pile of stress and wasted time from Pearson Education, the biggest player in the standardized-testing industry. Lest anyone miss that Stroup’s message threatened Pearson’s hegemony in the accountability industry, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) brought Stroup’s testimony to a…