Archive of Music

A student this summer (Danny N.) did a blog for his writing project. I want to make sure it’s linked to on the class blog: Located here.

Worth looking at for thoughts on music, digital identity, and animal sounds – and his own playlist.



Thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who participated in this class! Each of you made valuable contributions to the community of learners we formed this summer. This blog was an experiment and I’m happy to say I would do class blogs again. There are small things I would change in the class for next time, but, over all, I think everything went quite well. There’s no better way to learn then to teach, especially with all the new material, archives, and affects students brought to each class, so I am grateful to have been given this class to facilitate. I hope there were good seeds planted over this summer that will grow for students (and myself) in the years to come.

This blog will stay up indefinitely as an archive and record of the class. New comments may accumulate, as wonderers on the web find there way here, and conversations can continue.

May all be well,


HeLa Cells

Next class we’ll talk about the case study of the HeLa cell line. Genetically human, this line of cells has grown and spread in a way that makes it seem like a whole new kind of organism. There are also important ethical issues to consider around the use of people’s tissue and body parts with out their consent.

The book that broke this story, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, is worth a read, but this segment from Radio Lab gives a good summery. Take notes as you listen so we can discuss in class.

Henrietta’s Tumor

I’ll also post an interview I have in mind, with the author of the book, if I can find it.

Have a good weekend,


Ghost Hunting

Today we discussed the boarders of science and David Hufford’s article, “Visionary Spiritual Experiences in an Enchanted World.” Hufford argues that the materialist bias of modernity has discounted spirits from the realm of possibility even thought, in his view, a belief in their existence can be quite rational. I was interested to hear a wide range of perspectives in class on the “realness” of spirits – skepticism, agnosticism, and belief. Even within those categories there is probably a lot of diversity.

If you have 17 minutes to listen while you do other things, check out this story from This American Life a few years ago, by Jake Warga. The whole episode is worth listening to, but this story in particular is relevant. It provides a case study of a scientific(?) approach to the study of spirits. Even the ghost hunters say it’s up to you to decide if there is enough evidence here to say the haunting is real. Is this “fake science” or an untapped new territory of study? What do you think?

Spook Science

the Selfie-Syndrome

the Selfie-Syndrome

I recently came across this “infographic” making the connection between social media and the personality disorder, “narcissism.” It’s a creative, graphical way of making an argument against a set of technologies. No doubt, social media has changed our own ways of thinking of ourselves. This may be especially powerful for children growing up with this media, and may have long-term effects on our own human evolution if we continue at it (an example of technogenesis). Has this been a largely pathological change, as this info graphic claims, or is it beneficial in some way? Is its evidence persuasive?

Click on the image for a link to the original page with more info.