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Reading

Sunday Reads

Long Reads

Creation in Confinement: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
By Nicole R. Fleetwood

“In popular entertainment, journalism, and documentaries, images of “life behind bars” fascinate, horrify, and titillate. They also offer a familiarity with prison as a cornerstone institution of modern life, but one that the majority of people never enter. The nonincarcerated public comes to recognize prison and the people in prison almost exclusively through a set of rehearsed images created by the state and by nonincarcerated image-makers—images like arrest photos, mug shots, the minimal furnishings of the prison cell, fortress-like walls, barbed wire, bars, metal doors, and the executioner’s chair.”

Russell Craig: Self Portrait, 2016

Russell Craig/Photo by Kisha Bari, provided by the Soze Agency
Russell Craig: Self Portrait, 2016
Russell Craig/Photo by Kisha Bari, provided by the Soze Agency

The datafication of teaching in Higher Education: critical issues and perspectives
By Ben Williamson, Sian Bayne & Suellen Shay

“Although ‘datafication’ – the rendering of social and natural worlds in machine-readable digital format – has most clearly manifested in the commercial domain, such as in online commerce (e.g. Amazon), social media (Facebook, Twitter), and online advertising (Google), it has quickly spread outwards to encompass a much wider range of services and sectors. These include, controversially, the use of facial recognition and predictive analytics in policing, algorithmic forms of welfare allocation, automated medical diagnosis, and – the subject of this special issue – the datafication of education.”

Why climate change is a pandemic in slow motion (and what that can teach us)
By Rob Wijnberg

“If this time is showing us anything, it’s this: we are able to transform society on a global scale in order to protect ourselves from danger. Now is the time to solve not just one crisis, but two at the same time.”

Short Reads

Beyond Rights: COVID—19, Conservatives and the Responsibilities of American Christianity
By David C. McDuffie

“In claiming religious freedom as a justification to act contrary to public health advice, some conservative Christian leaders in the United States are choosing to risk American lives so that their congregations can attend to their spiritual needs. Though most Christian communities have suspended traditional worship in adherence of social distancing guidelines, David C. McDuffie sees the defiant behaviour of the minority as rooted in a common supernatural understanding of Christian duty.”

We’re Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholders’ Republic
By Ibram X. Kendi

“Slaveholders disavowed a state that secured any form of communal freedom—the freedom of the community from slavery, from disenfranchisement, from exploitation, from poverty, from all the demeaning and silencing and killing. The freedom from. The freedom from harm. Which is to say, in coronavirus terms, the freedom from infection.”

How Serbian activists started a nationwide anti-authoritarian protest during COVID-19 lockdown
By Miloš Budimir

What began as a nightly cheer for healthcare workers has inspired thousands of people to bang pots and pans, blow whistles and blast music to protest Serbia’s ruling regime.

The COVID Crisis Is Reinforcing the Hunger Industrial Complex
By Andrew Fisher

“The existence of this unholy alliance poses the fundamental question of: “Why end hunger when anti-hunger work is so profitable to all parties?” Through supporting anti-hunger organizations, corporations reduce their labor costs, garbage disposal fees, and tax bills while building their reputations as socially responsible firms.”

Is Our War With The Environment Leading To Pandemics?
By Fiona Armstrong, Anthony Capon And Ro McFarlane

“It might be clear to readers here that human health depends on healthy ecosystems. But this is rarely considered in policy decisions on projects that affect natural ecosystems – such as land clearing, major energy or transport infrastructure projects and industrial-scale farming.”

BONUS – Videos

Life-Making, Capitalism and the Pandemic: Feminist Ideas about Women’s Work with Susan Ferguson and Tithi Bhattacharya

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Income Inequality and Redistribution of Wealth + James Baldwin

Categories
Reading

Sunday Reads

This week I was tested for COVID-19 because I had a few of the symptoms associated with the virus. It took 3-days to get the results and I’m happy to share it came back negative. Therefore, the first two articles are about COVID.

COVID Test Results

Most of us have received vaccinations at some point in our lives. If we’ve traveled, you may have taken additional vaccinations. No vaccine has been created in less than four years (mumps in 1963-1967). The long read on the front page of today’s New York Times offers insight into the complexity of vaccines. Profits and Pride at Stake, Race to Vaccine Intensifies.

The next article takes a unique deeper look at COVID-19 as it relates to quantum phenomena. The article offers two contrasting future scenarios – Surveillance capitalism and Ecological and social emancipation. We look at the spiritual sphere, social sphere, and political sphere. Searching for the Anti-Virus | Covid-19 as Quantum Phenomenon.

I’ve long known the Amish shun traditional health insurance. And because some Mennonites (my background) also shun insurance, I was very interested in reading this article. If you are remotely curious how The Amish handle healthcare, then this article is for you. One can see the benefits of community-based care that other communities could likewise benefit from. The Amish Health Care System.

This next one is a history essay. As an undergrad, I received my degree in History and typically enjoy reading these types of essays. It is also important for anyone working in social justice as we look at the deportation of native peoples on Turtle Island. It also carries present-day implications, especially in light of the Navajo Nation being among the highest infection rates in North America. Indian Removal.

My last piece is a few years old (2015) and primarily for library nerds. It’s short too! “Databases embody the exclusionary nature of academic discourse. Students are on the outside, in search boxes, using natural language that the database most likely won’t understand. On the inside of the databases are millions of articles written by experts.” Covers gatekeeping, socioeconomic status, and justice within the realm of academic discourse. Smashing the Gates of Academic Discourse.

Categories
Politics Reading Technology

Sunday Reads

Hello friends. We’ve been spending a lot of time in our homes these past weeks. It feels disruptive. Unsettled. I hope you find these articles interesting.

One of my favorite places to read is The Intercept. They focus on investigative journalism. Today I will be spending 5-hours on Zoom calls. And since Zoom has been in the news a great deal lately, this article takes a deep dive into some technical aspects of the tool. Did you know they’ve gone from about 10m users to over 300m users in the last few weeks? Yikes! Read Zoom’s Encryption is “Not Suited for Secrets” and has Surprising Links to China, Researchers Discover.

A short article from Behavioral Scientist on why social distancing can feel so difficult and how we can improve upon it. Increasing Social Connection While “Social Distancing”

Yes, we’re still in the middle of an election for president. This article from Current Affairs takes a long look at both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. It actually has something to say for people in both camps. It’s long. Everything Has Changed Overnight.

For the nerds and librarians: Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet. A fun and interesting read from Wired.

Back in the 80s, the only solution for getting sober was going to Alcoholics Anonymous. Today, there is a plethora of solutions such as Refuge Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, and SMART Recovery. To name a few. But which one really works? This article in the New York Times tries to answer that question in Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Other Approaches: The Evidence Is Now In.

Grab a cup of coffee and happy reading.
Kenley

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Coffee and letter
Categories
Reading

Sunday Reads

Normally this semi-weekly post will include 4-5 long reads to enjoy. This week I offer only one. It’s definitely a long read and even more definitely worth your time. Please read.

The Coronation by Charles Eisenstein. It’s about the coronavirus but so so much more.

Categories
Buddhism Environment Library Reading

Sunday Reads

I often seek inspiration from people or communities that step out and stand for something. Actually doing something meaningful. The Wet’suwet’en Nation is one such community. In the effort to protect the environment, we need communities like this to be heard. No Surrender: Inside the Wet’suwet’en Protest Camp That Refused to Cede Land for a Pipeline, from The Intercept, looks in detail at their efforts.

Speaking of stepping out. My colleague Meredith Farkas did just that by opening writing about mental health within the library community. Check out LISMentalHealth: That time my brain and job tried to kill me from Information Wants To Be Free. I know the feelings expressed here all to well.

As a Buddhist practitioner, I was very much appreciated this next piece by Kritee published in Lions Roar. We too can and should take action. Why Bodhisattvas Need to Disrupt the Status Quo.

Aldous Huxley argued that all religions in the world were underpinned by universal beliefs and experiences. Was he right? What can we learn from Perennial Philosophy? Are we seeing more spiritual convergence?

And now for something completely different, and yet, still right up my alley. This one is a tech piece. Is Apple an illegal monopoly? For those who know me, I’m definitely an Apple guy and strongly situated in their camp. So, I found this article interesting. Apple’s Secret Monopoly.

Happy reading!

Categories
Reading

Sunday Reads

I’ve been suffering from some boredom lately. In some ways it’s a good thing, but it’s definitely not something I’m not very used too. When I came across this article by Neel Burton, I had to give it a read. He writes, “How might we, mere mortals, best cope with boredom?” in Boredom is but a window to a sunny day beyond the gloom.

A close follow up to the boredom, is the benefit of walking. Ferris Jabr explores this idea in Why Walking Helps Is Think. Just today I took a 3-mile walk without headphones and I was surprised at home much creativity arose.

Another topic that I’ve been living with has to do with liminal space. I’m definitely in between. Claudia Smith takes this to driving, parking lots, and hotel hallways. When her narrative takes the reader down Westheimer, I can completely envision the space having spent a few months in Houston last year. Check out In Between.

Some of the finest investigative journalism comes from The Intercept. This piece is a wake up call for the environmental movement, particularly in light of the current administration. Makes me feel some solidarity with those in Oregon struggling to make a difference. Read A Canadian Energy Company Bought an Oregon Sheriff’s Unit by Will Parish and Alleen Brown.

Illustration: Alex Petrowsky for The Intercept

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The last piece today is food for thought. It’s a criticism of the left and how they’ve lost their way. It’s not all to agree with, but certainly enough to turn a head. Umair Haque writes, “When the left gives up on its fundamental values of gentleness, decency, humanity, friendship, expansiveness, curiousity — and replaces them with spite, rage, intimidation, hostility, conformity, and tribalism…in what way is it different from the hard right?” in It Was the Worst Decade for the Left Since the 1930s. How Come Nobody Much Noticed — or Cares?

I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I did.

Kenley

Categories
Reading

Sunday Reads

  1. This is an introductory article to a much longer report. REPORT: Hundreds Killed or Attacked in El Salvador After Being Deported From U.S. You can also read the entire report.
  2. From Yes Magazine, Black Farmers Embrace Practices of Climate Resiliency reveals what we can do in addressing the climate crisis.
  3. It’s Detroit! The Blackest City in the U.S. Is Facing an Environmental Justice Nightmare
  4. From today’s NYT, For Thousands of Years, Egypt Controlled the Nile. A New Dam Threatens That. It’s a good article, I only wish they’d spent more time on the climate aspects. One sentence in particular reached out to me: “Egypt’s population increases by one million people every six months — a soaring rate that the United Nations predicts will lead to water shortages by 2025. Rising sea levels threaten to nibble at Egypt’s low-lying coast and help push saltwater inland, spoiling fertile land. Increasingly volatile weather is another risk.”
Nile River