For me, the medium matters
When I started blogging in August 2006, I was feeling very down about the idea of writing. The range of acceptability of style and form in academic writing is pretty narrow. The belief of my peers that publication in peer-reviewed journals was the only writing that was worthwhile also was very constraining, particularly since the educators that I'm trying to reach don't read those publications. I was struggling to find meaning and value in what I was supposed to be writing.
Blogging cured me of my writing blahs. It provided me with an outlet that fits me like a glove, helped me discover my writing voice, and made me realize that I LOVE to write - indeed, maybe LIVE to write - if given the proper medium. A few months of blogging also gave me the courage to say:
This is who I am. This is what I'm all about. I'm a practitioner-oriented professor trying to facilitate change in schools. I'm a professor who thinks that there is unbelievable power in the 'Social Web' and I am going to try to figure it out, regardless of what others think. If U. Minnesota won't reward that, it's time to find a place that will. And the hell with those who think I'm moving down the institutional pecking order. What matters is job/life satisfaction and I'm going to find it.
So it turns out that I am a writer after all. I just didn't know it because I had been trying to follow someone else's writing paradigm, one that didn't fit me very well. I'm lucky that my new university, Iowa State, finds value in what I do. And I'm lucky to live in a time when these self-publication tools are so readily available. 'Cause I'm going to milk them for all they're worth.
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How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
- Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
- As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
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