Imagine what your professor's closet looks like. Tweed. Acres of tweed.
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Why do academics dress so badly? (Answer: they are too happy)

I used to wear a suit and tie when I taught technical writing at my previous job. In part I was sending a message that technical writing is a profession, and in part I was playing dress-up to enjoy the first full-time job I’d ever held (at age 29, after 11 or so years doing various part-time jobs that fit around my schedule as a full-time college student). For just…

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Wearable Tech: Rest in Peace, Google Glass: 2012-2014

I did enjoy the opportunity to play with Google Glass briefly, and can imagine certain instances (for instance, while crawling through the real Colossal Cave in Kentucky) when having a hands-free recording device would have been really handy. The social questions raised by Google Glass won’t go away; in the near future, when this sort of technology can fit in the frame of a conventional pair of glasses or in…

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Measuring Humanities Degrees Misses Much of Their Value

“I don’t see why we are fixated on the single category of income as a measure of success,” James R. Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “If humanities majors tend to become teachers, social workers, clergy, does that mean they are less successful than money managers or engineers? “Instead of assuming these humanities majors are less successful, we ought to be thanking them…

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How To Talk To Babies About Semiotics (and Marxist Theory)

BABY: read dog book again ME: okay fine show me where the yellow doggie is on this page BABY: [points] ME: good now show me where the brown doggie is on this page BABY: [points] ME: now show me where the author is BABY: [stares blankly] ME: that’s right the author is dead via Mallory Ortberg, How To Talk To Babies About Semiotics. BABY: [sleeps] ME: HAVE YOU QUESTIONED ANYTHING…

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What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks

I’ve been following the frustrating slow burn that is #Gamergate for some time. I’m planning to introduce it in my online Video Game Culture and Theory class this January. This ground-level introduction will help add context to the mayhem. Until recently, you might have lived a life blissfully unaware of the online #Gamergate movement. But last week, computing giant Intel pulled its ads from an independent game-development site thanks to…

Chilling Dawn's treatment of the Poe story.
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The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe

So, who else is taking advantage of current events and assigning “The Masque of the Red Death”? Are we thoughtful educators? Shameless opportunists? Both? (The disease Poe describes is more sudden than that caused by the ebola virus.) No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then…