I haven’t found my groove yet this year with my writing schedule. Since September, I’ve only managed eight posts, including this one. Last year around this time, I was writing at least one post a week, usually on Sundays, with a mid week post happening about twice a month. I don’t know why this is, except to say that I have been less organized about gathering the things I see and learn about, to pass along to you, the readers.
It’s easy enough for me to just float along and absorb tons of information, assuming that everyone is also seeing the same things I’m seeing. But the reality is that the way we consume popular entertainment and information today is very fractured and segmented, when compared to the media landscape of just thirty years ago. When I was in high school, MTV and HBO, for example, were still marginal cable television outlets, and there was no such thing as Discovery, History or the National Geographic channels. Of course, the Internet was not anything like it is today either, though it did exist.
What I am trying to say, is that it seems to me that in the past we could assume that people you knew and came in contact with were watching most of the same things you were watching on television, and hearing mostly the same things you were listening to on radio. Our media selection was much more limited in the past, and we therefore, had more in common with each other because there was only so much difference available.
Nowadays, we have so many more options available for entertaining and educating ourselves, that many people see this as the golden age for the media consumer – free to pick what he/she wants to watch, whenever and wherever he/she wants to watch it. Personally, I only have basic cable and a fast Internet connection at home, which gives me access to about 70 channels and the world wide web. That’s enough variety to make my head spin, and it’s why I haven’t been writing regularly.
There is so much content available, that I can’t keep up with everything that I’m seeing and learning. Furthermore, I pass along so much of this information to my colleagues and students verbally, that I overlook (or procrastinate) writing it down. Still, I have promised myself to become more focused and organized in the future, and I hope to start posting regularly on Sundays again.
Here then, are some of the things that I’ve been watching and/or reading, and that I’d like to pass along:
- Becoming Human: During this month, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and commemorate the 150th year since his publication of On the Origin of Species. How appropriate then, that PBS should launch a series that attempts to tie together the information that we have gathered to tell the story of how we came to be. The whole series is available online (for now), so I highly recommend you check it out.
- The Richard Dawkins Foundation website: Following with the theme of celebrating Darwin and his contribution to human understanding, I highly recommend anything by Richard Dawkins, who is a marvelous writer and possibly the most well known academic scientist since Carl Sagan. Dawkins’ latest work, The Greatest Show on Earth, follows in the tradition of his earlier books, demonstrating in easy to follow language why and how evolution is true. While we have a few of Professsor Dawkins’ books in our collection (the Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion) we don’t yet have his latest contribution in our shelves. The RDF site has many good resources and videos available, but I highly recommend you check out “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne and “From the Heavens or From Nature: the Origins of Morality” by Dr. Andy Thomson.
- The Universe: Most of these short videos are under ten minutes and focus on the top ten biggest blasts in the universe. It makes for cool graphics and Michael Bay like explosions, but there are also some interesting explanations about the science of astronomy.
- Science Daily: Just a great site for all kinds of science news. Among my favorite recent reads are articles about Ancient Penguin DNA and Genetic Dating Techniques, Love and Envy Connected by Same Hormone, Judging a Book’s Age by its Smell and Handwriting Is Problem for Children with Autism. No matter what your interest, you should be able to find something worth reading at this site.
That’s just a bit of what’s kept me busy. I’ll share more next Sunday. I promise. Thank you for stopping by.
Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved