Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Subjects calling me

I understand that I can't know it all, can't read all the books (not even all the ones I'd like), can't stay awake through all the talks and videos and lectures.  I try to be alert to subjects, ideas, innovations, theories, controversies that seem interesting while noting which directions I am moving in.  I am tending a large and growing garden of thoughts, books, images and blog posts.  Once in a while, I add something to my web site that I think I may want to have on hand in a place where I can get to it.

A person can overdo note-taking, blogging and writing in a diary.  I try to use my recent posts and my book buys to see what I have been thinking about lately.  Here are some of the subjects that have been popping up in my attention:

Genetics and related subjects such as epigenetics - When a friend asked for my copy of the May 2 New Yorker, I looked it over to see if there was something in it I should read.  Two articles (they are always long) took my afternoon yesterday, one on twins (how come identical twins aren't identical?) and one on conditions in a Florida mental health facility.  My experiences with Amnesty International, with my own mentally ill daughter and my reading about the Stanford prison experiment makes me suspect that most people tend to lose sight of the humanity of prisoners over time, especially if the imprisoned are perceived to be different in some fundamental way.  Prison conditions for everyone but especially for the mentally ill is a tough subject that I want to stay abreast of.

I mentioned "Algorithms to Live By" by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths in recent posts.  I taught a course called "Computers, Systems and Education" that was related to a major theme of "Algorithms", which is what we can find out about ourselves by watching what we do with computers and their design.  So, that book is getting attention and will continue to.

Before I found out about the Christian book, I was getting new pictures of our lives from "All the Single Ladies", a look at the growing number of US women who are not married or are divorced and who reject the notion that their lives are incomplete outside of marriage.

I got a notice from our local library that two books they borrowed from other places were due back.  While returning them, I looked at the new books display and found "The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker" by Katherine Cramer, a professor of political science at UW-Madison.  Our current governor, Scott Walker, survived a recall election a few years ago and I am very interested in why that happened and how it happened.  I haven't read much political science but I am impressed by the book enough to pay more than double my usual amount for a Kindle version.  While driving, I am currently listening to another book mentioned by a local professor of political science, "Fear Itself" about the Roosevelt and Truman administration and the nature of life in America during those years.

I plan now to give all these valuable writings attention until I get distracted by something else.

Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety

Twitter: @olderkirby

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