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This category contains 26 posts

Stupid postmodernism

According to a search on Google Ngram, the term “postmodernism” reached its apogee in the 1990s. Then there was a sharp decline, at least in books up to 2008, which is the extent of the current Ngram database. But what was once a term debated, disputed and exhausted in academic circles in the 1980s and … Continue reading

Rogue fan fiction: the peculiar case of QAnon

QAnon is the alias of an entity (i.e an individual or a group) that claims to be an operative within the US Intelligence Service. The entity works undercover and discloses tantalising facts about how the US military brought Trump into power to overcome the Deep State. The Deep State is that clandestine and pernicious organisation … Continue reading

AI and advertising

Most prominent web publishers such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Reddit and news sites, generate revenue by placing banner, side-bar and in-text adverts on their pages. The ads are tailored for your eyes, and may differ from what others see on the same pages. Programmatic advertising directs what ads you see on web pages and social … Continue reading

Is it ok to cite web pages in academic writing

Yes, but for facts, stats and authoritative accounts I would always turn to refereed sources: journal articles, books, and reports commissioned by publicly accountable organisations. We are more confident about something in print (i.e. on the page) if it has been through a process of review by others who claim also to know about the … Continue reading

Flipped classroom 103: Engagement

What do you do with 100 students for two hours after they’ve watched your lecture as a video before coming to the class? In our case the aims were to reinforce the lecture content, facilitate discussion on the lecture themes, encourage participation and presentation, encourage academic reading and writing, develop critical reading and comprehension skills, and … Continue reading

Flipped classroom 102: What a performance!

What’s it like to deliver lectures online? This year we pre-record 11 one hour lectures. Eight of these were recorded via HD video on a smartphone — roughly one hour in length divided into 10-20 minute segments. These were recorded in a range of locations, some out doors, and with some relevant film excerpts from YouTube and … Continue reading

Eye contact

TheOnion.com published a mockumentary about a “braindead” teenager who only communicates by rolling her eyes. She’ll never recover from the persistent vegetative state. So life termination is the only humane option. Making eye contact is a crucial social skill. There’s even advice online on how to do it. (See wickiHow.) It’s linked biologically to our survival as a … Continue reading

Showing off

As well as valuing their privacy, it seems that some people want to make spectacles of themselves. Include in this category conspicuous whistle blowers exposing secrets — about covert operations that uncover other people’s secrets. Amidst concerns about the interception of text messages, voice, and phone data by GCHQ (Guardian) and ubiquitous video surveillance, spare … Continue reading

How to slow down time

Apple introduced a slo-mo video recording feature on the iPhone 5S (with its 64 bit chip) recording at 120 frames per second. So far there are lots of online slow videos of skateboarders, dogs shaking off after a bath, lips blowing rasberries and objects dropping into water. Here’s another one. The availability and ease of the … Continue reading

Internet as evidence

“The Internet is a petri dish for the growth and spread of misinformation” warns Anne Mintz. People search the Internet for health advice, to refute what they get told at school, to find out what’s “trending,” and to seek out support for their particular point of view. In other words people will use the Internet … Continue reading

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