Teaching

I know I will feel differently when teaching and research deadlines start to overlap and the stress compounds, but the experience of the last few days makes me think I had so little energy lately because I had too little to do. There is something very different between having a solitary (but supervised) project where […]

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With my dissertation largely done and PhD funds much depleted, I am taking a final TA job in POL106 “Contemporary Challenges to Democracy: Democracy in the Social Media Age” (Professor Ronald Deibert). The subject matter is obviously at an introductory level, and it relates to courses where I have been a TA before: POL211 “Intelligence, […]

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I have seen hundreds of academic presentations, the great majority with slides. Unfortunately, I would say that the most common practice is one of the worst: putting all or nearly all of what you will say on your slides. Since nearly everybody reads faster than you will talk, this gives the whole presentation a dragging […]

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I made a lesson for my brother Sasha’s grade 9 astronomy class: It’s best to watch at 1080p to get the least bad version of what the Zoom recording software does to the image quality.

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A very good blog post on what to expect from a PhD program (and especially what the university itself won’t tell you): So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)? Two paragraphs which are especially informative for people who don’t have recent personal experience in a PhD program: The most important […]

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My friends Patrick and Margot gave me a paperback of Mikhail Lermontov’s 1840 novel A Hero of Our Time, translated by Paul Foote. Reading the introduction, I was struck by the similarity between the idea of the protagonists of Russian novels from this period as “superfluous men” “set apart by their superior talents from the […]

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Even without a pandemic-driven lockdown and absence of in-person social life, grad school involves a lot of psychological and mental health challenges. It’s extremely hard to work on a gigantic solo project for years on end and to structure your time with no day-to-day management or supervision. It’s also hard when most people in your […]

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A big win: Cambridge to divest from fossil fuels with ‘net zero’ plan

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PowerPoint is the scourge of critical thinking. It encourages fragmented logic by the briefer and passivity in the listener. Only a verbal narrative that logically connects a succinct problem statement using rational thinking can develop sound solutions. PowerPoint is excellent for displaying data; but it makes us stupid when applied to critical thinking. Mattis, Jim […]

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Reading is an honor and a gift from a warrior or historian who—a decade or a thousand decades ago—set aside time to write. He distilled a lifetime of campaigning in order to have a “conversation” with you. We have been fighting on this planet for ten thousand years; it would be idiotic and unethical to […]

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