Writing

I find reading about and studying catastrophic accidents to the extremely calming. First, I love the precision of the investigations into them and the determination to get as confident as possible an understanding of what failed. In the case of well-functioning regulatory systems, like the global commercial aviation industry, those findings are immediately applied to […]

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De-anonymization is an important topic for anyone working with sensitive data, whether in the context of academic research, IT system design, or otherwise. I remember a talk during a Massey Grand Rounds panel where a medical researcher explained how she could pick herself out from an ‘anonymous’ database of Ontarians, on the basis that her […]

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These are double spaced Word pages with placeholder footnotes. None of it has been edited yet, but I expect that most of what’s in these six chapter drafts will be usable for the final dissertation.

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One of my main strategies for organizing information is to create databases for subjects of interest. I’m using the term in the broad Wikipedia sense of “an organized collection of data, stored and accessed electronically” here, and it includes everything from a single folder where PDF versions of all the references cited in a particular […]

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I spent much of today’s boot camp doing research online about Canadian university divestment campaigns and trying to contact people who have been involved. Even though all the campaigns have happened since 2012, there’s a lot that has clearly already disappeared from the internet, though some of the websites established by campaigns remain in the […]

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There are some good discussions online about the relative merits of different types of software for writing long scholarly documents like a PhD thesis. For instance, Amrys O. Williams’ “Why you should LaTeX your dissertation; or, why you don’t have to write your dissertation in Word“. I’ve seen the plusses and minuses of using LaTeX […]

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My central aim for this summer was to focus on developing my PhD research project. To that end I didn’t seek a teaching assistant position or other paid work, like commercial photography or the time I helped run the Summer Residence Program at Massey College. Mostly that has gone well. I’ve gone from seeking ethical […]

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From August 21st to 23rd I will be doing an internet-free dissertation boot camp. In some ways it’s a bad match for my project and the current state of my research, since a lot of my research materials are in an encrypted archive on a computer I won’t be able to bring with me, while […]

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The suspension of disbelief has a particular peculiar character within the science fiction genre. While there is certainly sci-fi that rejects all standards of realism rooted in actual science, and which might thus be better seen as a kind of fantasy with technology, most sci-fi seeks to imagine things that could be possible in the […]

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Lately I have been getting a lot of writing done. I have a few thousands words each in my first three thesis chapters, providing context on campus fossil fuel divestment, going through the relevant literature, and discussing the repertoires from which activists draw their tactics. A non-academic book project is also developing, with almost 23,000 […]

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