Monthly Archives: March 2010

Beneath the Circuits, the Tree of Life

I am in the process of getting a new tattoo. The image is a “bio-mech” tattoo in which the skin is ripping open to reveal a circuit board beneath it. The skin is tearing because the tree of life, which is growing behind the circuit board, is bursting through. It’s an especially splendid idea. The design reflects a nearly life-long…

Spaghetti Marshmallow Towers

A great team building activity is the spaghetti marshmallow tower. In this activity, students build a tower made out of spaghetti sticks and marshmallows in order to assess their performance and communication skills in a team situation. To build the tower, the students must “buy” their materials (spaghetti = 10 ¢, large marshmallow = 25¢, small marshmallow = 5¢). The…

A Day of Lessons in Stereotypes – Some Examples From Teaching Communication

Today has been an interesting lesson in stereotypes. Lesson one: A guest speaker from Deaf Services in BR come to the Interpersonal Communication class. He was dynamic and interesting, and the students loved him. The capital D is important to people in the Deaf community, by the way. Deaf culture is fascinating, particularly as it illustrates major concepts from communication…

Confessions of a Facebook Slacktivist

While playing on Facebook Facecrack tonight, I noticed all the groups, pages, and causes on my page. The accumulated weight of mouse clicks shocked me, not only because of these groups’ sheer purposelessness (i.e., the various Farmville hate groups), but also because joining typically leads to nothing fruitful even when the groups are actually meaningful (i.e., Southern Poverty Law Center).…

Reality Check on Health Care

See? It just proves it! Everyone’s crazy and the Left is losing it because of ObamaCare. Today, in the wake of the “historic” ObamaCare bill signed by the “historic” black president, the liberal blogosphere has been crowing, there is a lot of Republican post-mortem-ing  on both sides of the aisle (Hey! I verbed that noun!), and everyone’s ranting about the…

Link-o-mania – Collectible Edition

1.  The Orangutan and the Hound — This is a lovely story about the friendship between an Orangutan and a dog, reminiscent of Donna Haraway’s work, since she’s written about primates and dogs and kinship. 3. Five creepy ways video games are trying to get you addicted — A fascinating look at the Skinnerian logic behind video games. 4. Pentagon…

Look! A Link!

Just a Link: Aimee Mullins on TED talk on “Disability”

The Opportunity of Adversity – Aimee Mullins’ presentation at TED.

Mullins is an amputee who’s made a name for herself as a model, athlete, and inspirational speaker. Her talk addresses how the idea that she’s “overcoming adversity” diminishes her. It’s a great illustration of the power of language and our stereotypes about people with “disabilities.” It’s a good video for discussing language.

A comment on the TED site is interesting, though: Mullins wouldn’t be as effective if she weren’t pretty.

Michael Bader on Empathy for Tea Party

The “problem” is that Tea Party activists move from legitimate feelings and normal longings to paranoid political positions that are dangerous and cruel. But because these positions serve an important psychological function, because they resolve an emotional dilemma, they can’t be changed by rational argument.

– Michael Bader, clinical psychologist
Alternet, Why we need to have empathy for Tea Party lunatics

Look! A Link!

Just a Link: Prayer Warriors and Jesus Camp

Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America – This is simultaneously amusing and disturbing. The documentary Jesus Camp, depicts camp leaders wanting to train Christian children for the Army of God, just like Islamic children are trained. Ted Haggard, the disgraced preacher who is a key figure in Jesus Camp, was central to organizing the spiritual warfare movement. It’s amusing to think that this movement is praying to rid battleground cities of their demons. But isn’t so funny after all.

Threes: Embracing the Mundane

Someone pointed out today how important it is to observe and even appreciate the little things around me, like the changing seasons or paint peeling on the wall. My response? Seasons don’t change in BR and really? Paint peeling? Ok, ok. Point taken. So, not so much gratitude as things that I was present for today: 1. Hoarding ink jet…