American Lit Podcast #8 Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Emerson burst onto the American intellectual scene by more or less inventing that American intellectual scene. Emerson collected around him a group of like-minded intellectuals who played out, in their own careers, this same search for American identity. His first publication, Nature, calls for a distinctly American way of looking at the enduring questions of human existence. You might expect from the title “Nature” that Emerson is writing about sunsets and butterflies, but…

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T. S. Eliot and his Jellicle Cats

Like Caryn Thurman, I came to Cats (the musical) late, after studying and teaching the more “serious” works of T.S. Eliot. While Thurman’s interpretation is not necessary for us to understand and appreciate Cats, it’s still an appealing thought. It’s also worth noting that Grizabella is one of the only characters in Cats that does not appear in Old Possum’s Book. This may be too big a stretch (as if…

Google News turns 8

Google News made its debut on September 22, 2002, after several months of experiments with ranking and organizing technology by Krishna Bharat, who was working on Google Product Search at the time of the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. A self-described “news junkie,” Bharat found it difficult in the days after September 11 to find news content from multiple points of view, and decided…

Is the Web heading toward redirect hell?

There’s already plenty of redirect overhead in places where you don’t really think about it. For example: Every time you click on a search result in Google or Bing there’s an intermediate step via Google’s servers (or Bing’s) before you’re redirected to the real target site. Every time you click on a Feedburner RSS headline you’re also redirected before arriving at the real target. Every time you click on an…

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Classroom iPad Programs Get Mixed Response – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Faculty members at Seton Hill University, which gave iPads to all full-time students, are working with the developers of an e-book app called Inkling to come up with new ways to integrate the iPad into classroom instruction. The textbook software–one of many in development–allows students to access interactive graphics and add notes as they read along. Faculty members can access the students’ marginalia to see whether they understand the text.…

Home-Schooling for the Techno-Literate

Part of the take-home message, that applies equally to my own children and the college students I’m teaching right now. Before you can master a device, program or invention, it will be superseded; you will always be a beginner. Get good at it. Be suspicious of any technology that requires walls. If you can fix it, modify it or hack it yourself, that is a good sign. The proper response…

American Lit Podcast #7 Emily Dickinson — Publication History

The first volume edited by Mrs. Todd and Colonel Higginson sold extremely well, with multiple runs selling out and more books being printed out several times in a few months. Within a few years, a second volume of poems, two-volume collection of Emily’s letters (presumably the ones Emily had sent to other people, who dug them out of their own drawers and volunteered them to the editors now that their…

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American Lit Podcast #6 Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (4 of 4)

Hawthorne takes a moment to explain that the Puritans in New England weren’t all drab and bitter; most were native Englishmen, who back in the old country were merry and joyful, and today’s holiday brings back the merriment they must have remembered, even though we don’t see it otherwise.     “Their immediate posterity,” Hawthorne tells us, “the generation next to the early emigrants, wore the blackest shade of Puritanism, and so…

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Digital Egyptian hacksMove Mubarak before Barack.See how awkwardly it's cropped?That's how we know it's Photoshopped.

Hosni Mubarak left red faced over doctored red carpet photo Embarrassment as Egyptian paper alters image to put president at head of procession Al-Ahram’s Photoshopped image of President Hosni Mubarak and other leaders at the Middle East peace talks. Photograph: Al-Ahram There are those who lead and those who follow, and the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram clearly feels that President Hosni Mubarak fits into the former category. When he was pictured…