We’ve recently expanded by adding a dedicated Industrial Design space as our company increasingly focuses more on custom design while continuing to improve our line of multitouch tables and touch walls. With so much design activity going on, our new Industrial Design Atelier, at 1,200 square feet, is a modest but welcome addition to our 20,000 square foot of studio space. Final design work on our next generation of Colossus 86″ mutltiouch tables and our new Console Touch Desk are our first order of business. Concurrently, we have custom design work underway for a number of clients (some custom work still occurs in our more spacious Usability and Prototyping Lab). Ideum’s Creative Services group is unique in that we can design both custom software and custom hardware for our clients.
Below are photos of the new Industrial Design Atelier:
(i) The holist might say: if I have degree of belief k in AA, then I will have degree of belief k in each conjunct. Problem: that violates the axioms of the probability calculus (unless k=1).
(ii) Alternatively, if the holist wants to obey the axioms of the probability calculus, then the rational degree of belief she will need to have in each conjunct must be VERY high. For example, if the degree of belief in AA is over 0.5, and each conjunct is assigned the same value (per (2)), and there are 100 individual conjuncts, then one’s degree of belief in each conjunct must be over 0.993. And that seems really high to me.
(iii) One alternative to that would be to say that each conjunct of a large conjunction has to be over 0.5. But then you would have to say that the big 100-conjunct conjunction is justified when your rational degree of belief in it is anything above 7.9x10-31. And that doesn’t sound like a justified sentence.
“Our students come first.”
That’s what it says on page five of George Mason University’s Strategic Plan. As one of the authors of that document back in 2014, I’m always happy when this simple sentence is deployed to explain a new policy or rule. And I’m equally unhappy when we, too often in my view, make rules and policies that are grounded in the revenue needs of our various academic units rather than what’s good for our students.
Because the internal contest for revenue that drives so much of our decision making makes me crazy, it’s useful to be reminded, by students, that they come first. They are under such pressure and face so many problems–excessive debt, an unpredictable job market, political disunity at home, a looming climate disaster everywhere. We owe them more than just an excellent course. What we do as educators transcends the syllabus.
And it’s good to be reminded, by students, that it’s not all about me.
Those who know me know that I’m a person of very strong political opinions and that I’m very passionate, and sometimes even a little intolerant (if I’m honest), on certain issues relating to individual rights, climate change, and the twinned issues of equity in access, not just in higher education, but in our society generally.
My students will tell you, I hope, that I also keep all of those opinions to myself in the classroom. This is an issue with lots of strong feelings on both sides — professors shouldn’t be afraid to express their political and social views in class/professors should keep those views to themselves. I get why some of my colleagues bring their views into the classroom and I don’t condemn them for that. I just don’t teach that way. That’s just me.
But I still have those strong opinions and the events of the past 12 months have just made me even more committed to what I believe.
When one of my former students came to see me back in late November to ask for letters of recommendation for graduate school, I asked the obvious question: “What have you been doing since you graduated two years ago?” As it turns out, he had been very engaged in the recent election, working for a congressional candidate who I had really, really hoped would lose (she didn’t). A part of me wanted to scream, “How could you possibly work for someone like her?”
Fortunately, I remembered, it’s not all about me.
So, I wrote him glowing letters — he was, after all, an excellent student and a nice person — and I’m happy to say he was admitted to several excellent graduate programs.
Just today I received a phone call from the executive director of a local NGO seeking a reference on a former student — one of my favorite students of the past several years. She began the call by explaining the mission of her organization and it was clear immediately that their goals and beliefs are antithetical to mine. Really antithetical. A part of me wanted to call my student right away and scream, “How could you possibly work for such an organization?”
Fortunately, I remembered, it’s not all about me.
So, I gave her the excellent recommendation she deserved — she is, after all, a wonderful person and was one of the best students I’ve taught in the past several years. I suspect, given the tenor of the call, that she’s their first choice and I hope she gets the job.
These two students have done exactly what we hope our students will do. Get a good education, and then apply what they’ve learned to launch themselves onto career paths that they’ve chosen for themselves. In short, the system worked. I’m proud of them both, even if I might wish they had political or social views aligned with mine.
As we head into tomorrow’s change of presidential administrations, I’m going to try hard to remember the lessons I’ve learned from these students, namely, that just because I disagree with your position on issues I care passionately about, the odds are really good that you are a fine person, doing the right thing according to your own lights. We just don’t agree.
If we can all remember that it’s about all of us, then maybe, just maybe, it won’t be quite as I fear it will be. And so, on his last day in office, I’ll let President Obama have the last word:
“Sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does, but at my core, I think we’re going to be OK.”
Yesterday I had the good fortune to be the keynote speaker at the Winter Symposium on Digital Literacy in Higher Education at the University of Rhode Island. It was incredibly energizing to spend a day and a half with a diverse group of educators across disciplines, all of them committed to the idea that improving our students’ (and our colleagues’) digital literacy.
Of course, there are few more amorphous topics than digital literacy, which made my task as keynote speaker challenging, to say the least. A quick survey of the literature yields almost as many definitions of the concept as there are authors who write about it.
Do we mean the ability to use digital technologies to accomplish a particular task? Or does it mean just being able to navigate the wilds of the Internet without being taken in by the false information floating around out there? Or does it mean being able to create digital objects, code something useful, or develop visualizations of large corpora of texts?
To help those assembled to try to find a way forward, I drew on my experiences on the Appalachian Trail, America’s oldest and still most iconic long distance hiking trail. Of late I’ve been mesmerized by Robert Moor’s On Trails (2016). Moor writes in ways I can only dream about, and in his first pages I found the quotation that I think helps us make our way through the echoing vastness of the Internet.
“To put it as simply as possible, a path is a way of making sense of the world. There are infinite ways to cross a landscape; the options are overwhelming, and pitfalls abound. The function of a path is to reduce this teeming chaos into an intelligible line.” (14)
If we think about digital literacy more as choosing a path through the mountains and less like trying to sail across the open ocean, then I think we have a chance to find a way forward as educators and as scholars.
Of course, paths impose their own tyranny. Early into their hikes, long distance hikers find themselves less and less willing to leave the path marked out for them by others. Ask anyone who has through hiked the Appalachian Trail and they’ll tell you that “Blue Blazer” is a term of derision, because it connotes that long distance hiker who leaves the white blazes of the AT for side trail short cuts with blue blazes on the trees and rocks.
Despite the risk of being labeled a Blue Blazer, I think we have to admit that there are too many options, too many platforms, too many apps, too many new ways to navigate the Internet. If we accept this premise, then instead of trying to define or to teach something called “digital literacy,” we can instead decide “I’ll just do this,” or, “I’ll just teach my students that.” And not anything else.
Do we do them or ourselves a disservice by ignoring so much? My answer is no. Too often we forget that our students are with us for only a short time in what we (and they) hope are long and productive lives. Instead of teaching them everything they need to know about things digital, it strikes me as more than enough to teach them a few useful skills, a few useful ways of knowing. We need to give them the tools to find their own paths, and we need to model the willingness to reject the notion that to be competent means always being able to do more and more. Sometimes enough is plenty.
Just a little over 100 years ago, Benton MacKaye stood in a fire tower in Vermont and gazed out over the beauty of the Green Mountains. It was there that he first dreamed up a thing he later christened the Appalachian Trail. MacKaye’s mantra for those hiking on the trail he created was “Walk, see, and see what you see.” To put it another way, stop, look around, what can I see/learn here.
Stopping is a risk, because in doing so, the Internet will swoosh past us. But that’s ok. Really.
My very lovely wife just wrote this to Scott Mann, our local MP.
I read it, nodded so much my head nearly fell off and asked her if I could post it on my blog. She said yes.
Dear Mr Mann,
It is a year ago that I contacted you about my concerns about UK military intervention in Syria. At the time there seemed to be no certainty across those who supported UK bombing in the House of Commons about what it would achieve. In your response to me you said that your reason for supporting military action was to “defend our country and our people” (against ISIL). You also said that “we cannot sit on our hands on this issue, and I believe we must extend action to defend our country and protect the long term security of the Syrian population”.
A year on and I see THE worst scenes of horror and human suffering that I have every witnessed in my whole life time. The security of the Syrian population is now so far beyond secure that I am unable to comprehend the level of suffering taking place in Aleppo.
It seems that the UK government were not prepared to sit on their hands a year ago, but have done so for the people of Aleppo. We are standing by while a city is massacred. People like me. People like you. Young. Old. Male. Female. Children. Babies.
I have just looked on your twitter timeline and see nothing about this humanitarian crisis. I have just looked on the PM’s twitter timeline and see nothing about this humanitarian crisis. Really? You have nothing to say about this?
The civilians in Aleppo are being left to the mercy of Assad and other civilians in other cities will also suffer too if we continue to do nothing. We must act now so that other civilians in cities in Syria are spared the fate of the people of Aleppo.
As someone who felt strongly enough to vote FOR military action in Syria last year I hope very much that you attended the emergency debate on Syria in Parliament yesterday. If you did not I hope you can find a way to be involved in future debates and action. We must be looking ahead and trying to prevent such atrocities continuing. Civilians in Syria need our help. UK MPs should be focusing on this, rather than standing by and saying nothing.
I want to register my utter despair with you about the situation in Syria. I urge you to support and push for any humanitarian support the UK government can provide. I urge you to represent the many members of your constituency who feel the despair that I do as they watch the news each evening.
I urge to think about the civilians of Syria and search for ways as a Member of Parliament that you can help them.
Here is the preliminary programme for the workshop “Contemporary biomedical science and medical technology as a challenge to museums” (15th biannual meeting of the European Association of Museums for the History of Medical Sciences), to be held in Copenhagen, 16-18 September, 2010.
The mobile casino presentations below have been selected by the programme committee of themobilecasino.co.uk (Ken Arnold, Wellcome Collection, London; Robert Bud, Science Museum, London; Judy Chelnick, National Museum of American History, Washington DC; Mieneke te Hennepe, Boerhaave Museum, Leiden; and Thomas Söderqvist, Medical Museion, Copenhagen) in dialogue with the secretary of the EAMHMS (James Edmonson, Dittrick Museum, Cleveland).
Sniff Andersen Nexø (Dept of History, University of Copenhagen):
Suzanne Anker (School of Visual Arts , New York):
“Inside/Out: Historical Specimens through a 21st Century Lens”
Kerstin Hulter Åsberg (Dept of Neuroscience, Uppsala University):
“Uppsala Biomedical Center: A Mirror and a Museum of Modern Medical History”
Yin Chung Au (Planning and Coordination Centre for Developing Science Communication Industry, National Science Council, Taiwan):
“Seeing is communicating: Possible roles of med-art in communicating contemporary scientific process with the general public in digital age
Adam Bencard (Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen):
“The molecular body on display”
Caitlin Berrigan (independent artist):
“Improvising Glycoproteins: A case study in artistic virology”
Danny Birchall (Wellcome Collection, London):
“Medical London and the photography of everyday medicine”
Silvia Casini (Observa – Science in Society, Venice):
“Curating the Biomedical Archive-fever”
Judy M. Chelnick (Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History):
“The Challenges of Collecting Contemporary Medical Science and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution”
Roger Cooter (Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL) and Claudia Stein (Dept of History, University of Warwick):’
“Visual Things and Universal Meanings: Aids Posters, the Politics of Globalization, and History”
Nina Czegledy (Senior Fellow, KMDI, University of Toronto):’
“At the Intersection of Art and Medicine”
John Durant (MIT Museum):
“Prospects for International Collaboration in Collecting Contemporary Science and Technology”
Joanna Ebenstein (The Observatory, New York):
“The Private, Curious, and Niche Collection: What They can Teach Us”
Jim Edmonson (Dittrick Museum, Case Western Reserve University):
“Collection plan for endoscopy, documenting the period 1996-2010”
Jim Garretts (Thackray Museum, Leeds):
“Bringing William Astbury into the 21st Century: the Thackray Museum and the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology in partnership”
Victoria Höög (Dept of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Lund):
“The Optic Invasion of the Body. Naturalism as an Interface between Epistemic Standards in Biomedical Images and the Medical Museums”
Karen Ingham (School of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Swansea Metropolitan University):
“Medicine, Materiality and Museology: collaborations between art, medicine and the museum space”
Ramunas Kondratas (independent scholar; formerly Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History):
“The Use of New Media in Medical History Museums”
Lucy Lyons (Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen):
“What am I looking at?”
Robert Martensen (Office of History & Museum, NIH):
“Integrating the Physical and the Virtual in Exhibitions, Archives, and Historical Research at the National Institutes of Health”
Stella Mason (independent scholar):
“Contemporary Medicine in Museums: What do our visitors think of our efforts?”
René Mornex and Wendy Atkinson (Hospices Civils de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1):
“A large health museum in Lyon”
Jan Eric Olsén (Dept of History of Ideas, University of Lund):
“The displaced clinic: healthcare gadgets for home use”
Kim Sawchuk (Dept of Communication Studies, Concordia University):
“Bio-tourism into museums, galleries, and science centres”
Thomas Schnalke (Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum):
“Dissolving matters: the end of all medical museums’ games?”
Morten Skydsgaard (Steno Museum of the History of Science, Aarhus University):
“Boundaries of the Body and the Guest: Art as a facilitator in the exhibition The Incomplete Child”
Sébastien Soubiran (Jardin des Science, Université de Strasbourg):
“Which scientific world would we like to depict in a 21st century university museum?”
Yves Thomas (Polytech Nantes) and Catherine Cuenca (Université de Nantes and Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris):
”Multimedia contributions to contemporary medical museology”
Maie Toomsalu (Medical Collections, University of Tartu):
“Visitor studies at the Medical Collections of University of Tartu”
Henrik Treimo (Norsk Teknisk Museum, Oslo):
”Invisible World: Visualising the invisible parts of the body”
Alex Tyrell (Science Museum, London):
“New voices: involving your audience in content creation”
Nurin Veis (Museum Victoria, Melbourne):
“How do we tell the story of the cochlear implant?”
Final titles will be announced after the revised/extended abstracts have been submitted by Monday, 2 August.
The workshop starts Thursday, 16 September at noon and ends Saturday, 18 September at 5 pm.
Sessions will be held at Medical Museion and in the Danish Museum of Art and Design. The two meeting venues are situated close to each other in central Copenhagen.
The format of the workshop is informal. In order to focus on discussion and intellectual exchange, each accepted abstract will get a maximum of 8 (eight) minutes for oral presentation, followed by a longer discussion. Extended abstracts (2-5 pages) will be distributed to all registered participants in late August.
The workshop is open to registered participants only. Due to space limitations, we have to impose a first register/first serve policy for attendance.
For details about registration, bank transfer, hotel bookings, special needs, etc., see http://www.mm.ku.dk/sker/eamhms.aspx.
The workshop is organized by Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen (www.mm.ku.dk; www.corporeality.net/museion).
Medical Museion is arranging a cross-disciplinary workshop on ‘Biomedicine and Aesthetics in a Museum Context’, Copenhagen, 30 August – 1 September, 2007.
The conjuncture of biomedicine and aesthetics is a rapidly growing field of artistic practice and academic reflection, dealing with an array of issues, from the public engagement with current biomedicine to methodological overlaps between the practices of artists and laboratory researchers. Museums are key institutions for this hybrid field of inquiry.
The aim of this closed workshop is to help forge new strategies of making sense of and presenting recent biomedicine in museums, especially taking into account the unique difficulties of rendering visible material biomedical practices in their social, cultural, political, aesthetic and scientific complexity.
The workshop will bring together key practitioners from a range of methodological approaches, including artists with a firm understanding of biomedical practice, museologists and material culture scholars, historians of science, art historians and aestheticians, biomedical practitioners with a knowledge of contemporary bioart, and visualisation specialists.
The workshop is limited to invited participants. Confirmed participants include: Ken Arnold (Wellcome Trust, London), David Edwards (Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University), Giovanni Frazzetto (BIOS, London School of Economics), Anke te Heesen (Museum of University of Tubingen), Wolfgang Knapp (Institut für Künst im Kontext, Universität der Künste in Berlin), Sharon MacDonald (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester), Natasha S. Myers (MIT), Arthur Olson (Molecular Graphics Laboratory, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla), Paolo Palladino (Dept of History, Lancaster University), Claire Pentecost (School of the Arts Institute Chicago), Paulo Periera (Institute for Biomedical Research in Light and Image, University of Coimbra), Ingeborg Reichle (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities), Hans Jörg Rheinberger (Max Planck Institute für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin), Miriam van Rijsingen (University of Amsterdam), Calum Storrie (London), Herwig Turk (Lisbon), Stephen Wilson (Conceptual / Information Arts Program, San Francisco State University), Richard Wingate (Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College, London), and Susanne Bauer, Martha Fleming, Hanne Jessen, Camilla Mordhorst, Jan Eric Olsén, and Thomas Söderqvist (all Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen).
Organizing Committee: Martha Fleming, Jan Eric Olsén, and Thomas Söderqvist, all Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen.
Program Advisory Group: Ken Arnold (Wellcome Trust, London), Steve Kurtz (State University of New York, Buffalo), Ingeborg Reichle (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin), Miriam van Rijsingen (Centre for Art and Genomics, Universities of Amsterdam and Leiden), Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin), Eugene Thacker (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta), Richard Wingate (King’s College, London).
Couldn’t sleep last night. Giorgio Agamben‘s books use to be the perfect over-the-counter remedy against insomnia, so I began reading his latest collection of essays (Profanations, Zone Books, 2007) and was just about to fall asleep when my eyes fell on this line (on p. 83):
The museification of the world is today an accomplshed fact.
which made me wide-awake again. So here it goes:
The ‘Museum’ in Agamben’s vocabulary is not just a physical place (building) with collections and exhibitions, but “the separate dimension to which what was once — but is no longer — felt as true and decisive has moved” (p. 84). Agamben’s ‘Museum’ thus also includes the hundreds of properties on Unesco’s World Heritage List, national parks and other nature reserves (like Grand Canyon), protected ethnic groups, and so forth.
The ‘Museum’ pace Agamben is “the exhibition of an impossibility of using, of dwelling, of experiencing”, and as such it “occupies exactly the space and function once reserved for the Temple”. Once pilgrims travelled to sacred sites; today tourists “restlessly travel in a world that has been abstracted into a Museum”.
This contemporary mass pilgrimage involves a separation from the world of everyday practice:
the tourists celebrate on themselves a sacrificial act that consists in the anguishing experience of the destruction of all possible use,
Agamben says, and adds (p. 85) that “nothing is so astonishing” as the fact that the 650 million people who visit the ‘Museum’ each year
are able to carry out on their own flesh what is perhaps the most desparate experience that one can have: the irrevocable loss of all use, the absolute impossibility of profaning
Needless to say, Agamben’s analysis of the ‘Museum’ (including museums) is quite different from that of the museum and tourism industry. But this shouldn’t keep us from asking if Agamben is right in suggesting that “the profanation of the unprofanable is the political task of the coming generation” (p. 92)
And if this is the case, what are the implications for museum politics in general? And for Medical Museion in particular? And what would ‘profanation’ imply in the contemporary medical (history) museum field?
The post The museification of the world (reading Agamben’s Profanations) appeared first on Corporeality.net.
Mia Ridge, a database developer for the Museum of London, asks some interesting questions on her blog Open Objects about how museums and cultural heritage institutions relate to the ’participatory web’ (web 2.0, social networking sites, user-generated content etc).
Mia’s (perhaps not very unsurprising) impression from speaking with colleagues is that museums are pretty conservative in this respect. But also that there may be differences depending on what kind of institution we’re talking about. (Maybe art historians are more resistant than social historians?) She also wonders how the resistance to the participatory web is expressed. Is it active or passive? And a lot of other interesting questions: “At this point all I have is a lot of questions”.
Note that the resistance Mia has found doesn’t seem to be against the digitalisation of collections or web-presence as such, but specifically against the participatory web.
These are interesting observations, and I wonder: Can this resistance perhaps be understood in terms of an opposition among curators against a perceived profanation of the sacred character of the museum? In the same way as Wikipedia and other user-generated content websites have been viewed with skepticism from the side of many academics — not just because they may contain errors (which encyclopedia doesn’t?), but also because it is a preceived profanation of Academia. (For earlier posts about profanation of the museum as a sacred institution, see here and here.). Any ideas?
The post How can the resistance of museums to the participatory web be explained? appeared first on Corporeality.net.
Dutch designer Joep Van Lieshout’s website displays quite a few interesting works of interest for medical museum designers, like CasAnus (2007), a house which is (reasonably anatomically accurately) shaped like the human digestive system. It’s made to function as a small hotel, with bed- and bathroom. I thought it would be great to enter it through the inflated anus, but there seems to be a door behind the appendix.
Placed in our museum backyard, CasAnus would be a perfect B&B for our guest curators. Or maybe we could convince the Faculty of Health Sciences to purchase 10 different organ systems and put them together as a faculty hotel for guest researchers. (I doubt the National Hospital would like to use them for patient hotel, its probably too provoking for their core users.)