people say I’m CONDESCENDING

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Museum of Natural History, Washington

Highest priority on my first visit to Washington DC was the Natural History museum.

Age-17 I visited the Deutsches Museum in Munich. And was blown away.

… the world’s largest museum of science and technology, with about 28,000 exhibited objects from 50 fields of science and technology. It receives about 1.5 million visitors per year. …

I recall many references at the Deutsches to the Smithsonian museum, adding the similarly famous American Museum of Natural History to my bucket list.

It was 40+ years but I did finally get to visit. And it is impressive.

It has free admission and is open 364 days a year. In 2016, with 7.1 million visitors, it was the fourth most visited museum in the world and the most visited natural-history museum in the world. …

It is also home to about 185 professional natural-history scientists — the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world. …

One thing that surprised me is that the supposedly evil Republican financier David H. Koch has given the largest donations. He’s sponsored a new Dinosaur Hall. He already paid for the Hall of Human Origins.

Those Republicans who believe the earth is only 6000 years old can’t be happy with that. It covers thoroughly all theories of the 6 million years of evolution.

Another exhibit that surprised me displayed the Shoebill. How can I never have heard of this huge, weird bird?

 

The “Experience Economy”

Let’s say Amazon, Walmart and a few other competitors provide 90% of retail shopping in future.

What’s left for entrepreneurs?

Mike Elgin talked about the “Experience Economy” on TWIG (This Week in Google)

The term Experience Economy was first used in a 1998 article by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore describing the experience economy as the next economy following the agrarian economy, the industrial economy, and the most recent service economy. The concept had been previously researched by many authors. …

An early example is the book of Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, which Pine and Gilmore quote in their work.

In 1971, Toffler criticized how “economists have great difficulty imagining alternatives to communism and capitalism”, and how they could only envision the economy in the terms of scarcity of resources. He talked about the upcoming “experiential industry”, in which people in the “future”, would be willing to allocate high percentages of their salaries to live amazing experiences.

Mike feels selfies are driving the Experience Economy today. Instagram and social media.

ethics in higher education

What is the role of the academic in such an era, or, at the very least, what are the academic’s obligations to his or her profession, campus and government?

rachel-barney-cropped-2011Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto (and a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen), this week proposed what she’s calling the Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct.

Here’s the 10-point code in full:

  • I will not aid in the registering, rounding up or internment of students and colleagues on the basis of their religious beliefs.
  • I will not aid in the marginalization, exclusion or deportation of my undocumented students and colleagues.
  • I will, as my capacities allow, discourage and defend against the bullying and harassment of vulnerable students and colleagues targeted for important aspects of their identity (such as race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.).
  • I will not aid government or law enforcement in activities which violate the U.S. Constitution or other U.S. law.
  • I will not aid in government surveillance. I will not inform.
  • As a teacher and researcher, I will not be bought or intimidated. I will present the state of research in my field accurately, whether or not it is what the government wants to hear. I will challenge others when they lie.
  • I will not be shy about my commitment to academic values: truth, objectivity, free inquiry and rational debate. I will challenge others when they engage in behavior contrary to these values.
  • As an administrator, I will defend my students, faculty and nonacademic staff. I will not allow the expulsion, firing, disciplining, harassment or marginalization of individuals targeted for being members of disfavored groups or for expressing dangerous opinions. I will speak up for academic freedom. I will insist on the autonomy of my institution.
  • I will stand with my colleagues at other institutions, and defend their rights and freedoms.
  • I will be fair and unbiased in the classroom, in grading and in all my dealings with all my students, including those who disagree with me politically.

The proposed code is similar to some of the points made by other academic groups since the election, including a petition advancing the notion of “sanctuary campuses” for undocumented students, and the American Association of University Professors’ condemnation of hate crimes. …

Professor Loraleigh Keashly linked to this on Facebook. I’m pleased she now finally realizes that helping me with my homework back in High School was unethical. 🙂