Narrative, Creativity, and Evolution

My students are finishing up Hayles, My Mother was a Computer. Some years go, I remember seeing a video of a little girl in a martial arts uniform, barking out “Know what you want! Make a plan! Add a role model! Review your progress!” over and over again, while kicking, chopping and spinning. Her philosophy ought to be ours, too! Evolved Virtual Creatures Scratch Implemention of Conway’s Game of Life…

Experts: No right choice for women about work, being at home with kids

JoAnne Boyle says she thinks women should stop worrying about child-rearing choices they make and stop criticizing other women’s choices. Boyle, president of Seton Hill University in Westmoreland County, raised six sons and a daughter — now ages 37 to 50 — while working full-time. She said she “often felt like I wasn’t doing a very good job at anything, but I did the best I could and I made…

Borges, “Garden of Forking Paths” – Media and Culture (EL336)

I’m preparing to teach this foundational work of hypertext theory. On the surface, this short story is a spy thriller, in which a subversive protagonist relies on intellect to match wits with a worthy, authority-wielding foe. Originally published in Spanish in 1941, this story takes the form of a conventional narrative, but its plot features what we would today call a hypertext novel. In My Mother Was a Computer, Hayles…

24 Hours at the Jerz Homeschool (More or Less)

A Twitter friend made a critical comment about homeschooling that I thought warranted a reply. I won’t repeat his comment here — after a brief reflection, he modified his statement, and suggested that people who are doing homeschooling right have a too-low profile. While I don’t pretend my kids are perfect, or that they don’t have gaps in their knowledge, all in all, I think we’re doing this right. So…

‘Plug In Better’: A Manifesto – Alexandra Samuel – Technology – The Atlantic

And it’s easier to avoid what is, to many, a very painful truth: Going offline is no longer a realistic option. Sure, we can unplug for an hour, a day, or even a week, but it’s not like you can permanently shut off the challenges of our online existence. The offline world is now utterly defined by networks, too, from the pace of our work to the flow of our…

Professor is dumpster-diving urban Robin Hood

Ferrell’s wife, Karen, buys groceries and not all her clothes come from the dumpster, and some of their furnishings did not come from the trash. But Ferrell says he never buys clothes for himself. Scrounging is his word for what he does. When he moved to Texas 10 years ago from Arizona, Ferrell decided to live off other people’s discards. –Professor is dumpster-diving urban Robin Hood.

Why “Free Software” is better than “Open Source” – GNU Project – Free Software Foundation (FSF)

For the Open Source movement, the issue of whether software should be open source is a practical question, not an ethical one. As one person put it, “Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement.” For the Open Source movement, non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the Free Software movement, non-free software is a social problem and free software is the solution. –Why “Free Software”…