- The Naked and the TED
- The TED Takedown Everyone’s Talking About
- Jonah Lehrer, TED, and the narrative dark arts
- The New Republic gets Download-The-Universe-ish!
- I Point To TED Talks and I Point to Kim Kardashian. That Is All.
- The Trouble with TED
- The End of the Twilight of Doom
- What’s right and what’s wrong about Coursera-style MOOCs
- Peter Thiel's College Dropouts: How's That Working Out?
- The Banality of Textbooks
- Digital Deadline and Following the Lead of McGraw-Hill's Brian Kibby
- Why I'm not mad at Amazon
- What do we do and why do we do it? (philosophy of librarianship)
- Cord-cutting is no myth
- An Incomplete Guide to Not Creeping
- The Measure of a Library
- 10 Ways School Reformers Get It Wrong
- OCLC recommends Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-BY) for WorldCat data
- Taking the Measure of Metrics: Interviews with Four ASIS&T Members
- Social media and #highered: Where’s the ROI?
- Occupy Wall Street and the myth of technological death of the library
- It Was Never a Universal Library: Three Years of the Google Book Settlement
- Leading universities adopt Mendeley data to accelerate research analytics by 3 years
Archive for: August, 2012
You all knew I was going to find something on the lighter side of all the Mars Rover/Higgs Boson hype and glory, didn't you?
But I guess you didn't think I would be able to find one that combined both of them! w00t!
GENEVA (The Borowitz Report)—The landing of the Mars science rover Curiosity does not qualify as a significant scientific achievement and should not be getting so much of the public’s attention, says the team of scientists who discovered the Higgs boson last month.
“People see these beautiful pictures from outer space and they’re inclined to think that something amazing has been achieved,” a spokesperson for the Higgs-boson team said. “Let the Mars rover do something of genuine value, like, say, discover how the universe was created. Then I’ll be impressed.”
From the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, response to the Higgs-boson team’s comments was swift and irate, as a NASA spokesman called the remarks “an unacceptable diss.”
“You know the difference between the Mars rover and the Higgs boson?” said a NASA spokesman, his face red with anger. “You can actually see the Mars rover.”
BTW, I'm definitely not done with the Higgs for these Friday Fun post, and probably not Curiosity either!
This is the third and hopefully final summary post on the controversy at the University of Virginia surrounding the forced resignation of President Teresa Sullivan. The previous two are here and here.
- Trouble With Transparency
- A Much Higher Education: UVA has its president back. But the fight to save our universities has only just begun.
- Being the innovation shield
- After Leadership Crisis Fueled by Distance-Ed Debate, UVa Will Put Free Classes Online
- Going Public the UVa Way
- U-Va. parent: Online learning is an oxymoron
- University of Virginia’s peaceful revolution grew strength online
- Most Virginians approve of U-Va.’s decision to reinstate President Sullivan, poll says
- What Can We Learn from University of Virginia?
- Going Public the UVa Way
- Into the Fray
- University governance: From UBC to the University of Virginia and back
- UVa emails verify flaws of the board
- AP Newsbreak: Univ. of Virginia fundraising doubles after president’s reinstatement
- UVa Board of Visitors Spending Lots More Than Other Boards
- UVa provides us with business lessons
- UVa, Dragas, Sullivan.... Part II
- What did Dragas learn -- if anything?
- Sullivan says UVa 'will not skip a beat' as COO Strine resigns
- In Letter, Bill Wulf Explains Why He Hasn’t “Un-Resigned”
- A Settling of Accounts
- Student Council Statement on the Future
- The good of inefficient universities
- Re-Capping The Drama At U-Va… Sullivan Is Back, Jefferson’s School Joins Coursera
- U-Va. deans hatched online plan the day Teresa Sullivan was asked to resign
- After Sullivan's failed ouster, a question: Is UVa's future online?
- University of Virginia alumni seek explanation of failed 'boardroom coup' to oust president
Reading Diary: Deep Water: As Polar Ice Melts, Scientists Debate How High Our Oceans Will Rise by Daniel Grossman
I feel a little weird reviewing this book.
It's a TED book, you see.
What's a TED book, you ask. I'll let TED tell you:
Shorter than a novel, but longer than an magazine article -- a TED Book is a great way to feed your craving for ideas anytime.
TED Books are short original electronic books produced every two weeks by TED Conferences. Like the best TEDTalks, they're personal and provocative, and designed to spread great ideas. TED Books are typically under 20,000 words — long enough to unleash a powerful narrative, but short enough to be read in a single sitting.
TED talks, in other words, but in longer, more in-depth treatment that's possible in a short book rather than a short talk.
On the surface, actually a really great idea. In practice, it can be a bit problematic, just like TED talks. Carl Zimmer and Evgeny Morozov have gone into fairly extensive detail about the dark side of TED talks and TED books. Basically, the format encourages a kind of hip superficiality and fame-mongering. Ideas want to be famous, to paraphrase the famous saying that information wants to be free. Well, just like information also wants to be expensive, ideas also want to be deep and well thought-out. And, you know, even perhaps a little on the valid side too.
Which brings me to this particular TED book: Daniel Grossman's Deep Water: As Polar Ice Melts, Scientists Debate How High Our Oceans Will Rise (TED site, trailer, home page).
As global warming continues, the massive ice caps at Earth’s poles are melting at an increasingly alarming rate. Water once safely anchored in glacial ice is surging into the sea. The flow could become a deluge, and millions of people living near coastlines are in danger. Inundation could impact every nation on earth. But scientists don’t yet know how fast this polar ice will melt, or how high our seas could rise. In an effort to find out, a team of renowned and quirky geologists takes a 4,000-mile road trip across Western Australia. They collect fossils and rocks from ancient shorelines and accumulate new evidence that ancient sea levels were frighteningly high during epochs when average global temperatures were barely higher than today. In Deep Water veteran environmental journalist, radio producer and documentary filmmaker Daniel Grossman explores the new and fascinating science — and scientists — of sea-level rise. His investigation turns up both startling and worrisome evidence that humans are upsetting a delicate natural equilibrium. If knocked off balance, it could hastily melt the planet’s ice and send sea levels soaring.
Contrary to any TED-inspired queasiness I might have had diving into the book, it actually does a pretty good job of what it sets out to do: make the case that what we're doing to our climate is having disastrous effects on sea levels. He explains the details fairly clearly, wrapping it up in an engaging package of fairly typical science writing. In keeping with the pop science writer play book, Grossman does a good job of finding some key scientists and following them around on a bunch of fun adventures, getting them to tell the climate change and sea level story in a very human and accessible way. The spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down, as it were.
If the main message sometimes seems a bit obscured sometimes by cool fun stories and colourful characters, well, that's something I guess I can live with and it is certainly part of the TED ethos of embedding ideas into very personal stories. The real problem I have with the book is that as a book rather than a TED talk it very definitely needs a solid bibliography and accurate citations if it's going to establish and maintain credibility with anyone. I'm not saying I don't believe the claims that Grossman makes about climate change and rising sea levels, because I do, but I still think is important to back up such claims with direct links to the science itself.
At very least, if climate skeptics are reading this they will be more likely to be convinced if they can track back to the research. Or maybe not, which is the sad case with climate skeptics. But I still would like to see actual citations in the text rather than the typical "research says" or "recently it was shown."
Would I recommend this book to people interested in climate science and the state of our oceans? If you already know a lot about these topics, not really. It you would like to get up to speed in a hurray, then actually this book is a pretty decent way to do this.
As for TED books in general, while it might be wise to avoid the more conceptual and pop-cultural examinations of serious topics, at very least this example of the TED beast is quite respectable. Perhaps closer to what TED was initially conceived of rather than what it has evolved into. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more TED books in this vein.
Usually, I would talk about what kinds of libraries should consider purchasing the item under review but since this book is only available as a Kindle Single, through iBooks or via the TED Books app, none of which are really particularly accessible to libraries and their patrons, I'll pass on that, perhaps preferring to break up with ebooks in my librarian capacity.
Grossman, Daniel. Deep Water: As Polar Ice Melts, Scientists Debate How High Our Oceans Will Rise. New York: TED Conferences, 2012. 53pp.
(PDF version of book provided by publisher.)
Update 2012.08.08: Added links to the book trailer and website.
Around the Web: Is algebra necessary, The challenge for scholarly societies and more links than you can shake a stick at
This is some vacation catch-up...
- Is Algebra Necessary?
- Mathematical Illiteracy in the NYT
- There Are Many Ways to Improve High School Education: Dumbing It Down Is NOT One of Them
- Does mathematics have a place in higher education?
- Abandoning Algebra Is Not the Answer
- It’s Not the Algebra, It’s the Arithmetic
- The challenge for scholarly societies
- Concrete Options For A Society Journal To Go OA
- Re-skilling for Research: An investigation into the role and skills of subject and liaison librarians required to effectively support the evolving information needs of researchers
- The future of outsourcing
- A new open-access venture from Cambridge University Press
- Panacea Technology (MOOCs in context)
- The trouble with Khan Academy
- The Importance of Open Access: An Interview with Patient Advocate Graham Steel
- The Original Flipped Classroom
- Supreme Court of Canada Stands Up For Fair Dealing in Stunning Sweep of Cases
- The six business models for copyright infringement
- Pinterest, Tumblr and the Trouble With ‘Curation’
- The Trouble With Online Education
- Ontario universities promise funding guide amid Carleton donor backlash
- Carleton University Donor Deal: Preston Manning Fronted Pact Is Problematic, School Concedes
- Serial Scholarship: Blogging as Traditional Academic Practice
- Declaration of In(ter)dependence
- Buying Friends, Followers And Likes
- Opening Ceremonies (is OA starting to seem inevitable/)
- Parsing the NYTimes Coverage of the Growth of MOOCs
- Women of the Internet on How the Internet Has Changed Them
- Global Warming's Terrifying New Math: Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is
- Jonathan Maberry On The Convergence of Indie and Traditional Publishing
- E-Books in Libraries: A Briefing Document Developed in Preparation for a Workshop on E-Lending in Libraries
- Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be
- The Bookless Library: Don’t deny the change. Direct it wisely.
- Student Textbook Buying Continues Decline, Study Says
- Reality is Broken (is broken)
- Ebooks Choices and the Soul of Librarianship
- Silicon Valley's Disruption Deficit Disorder
- Should Computer Scientists Change How They Publish?
- Ebooks: do we really want our literature to last for ever?
- 5 Reasons For TED To Lower TEDbook Subscription Pricing
- The Austere Academy
- eBooks and bookshops
- Income Inequality Killed The Music Business
- WEATHERING THE TRANSITION...KEEPING THE FAITH (publishing)
- Fair Dealing for Copyright in Canada
- 10 Things in School That Should Be Obsolete
- UK plan for open access to research is a golden opportunity, not a cost
- 9 Reasons Why Running A Science Blog Is Good For You
- Readercon, Harassment, Etc (and more links)
- Horses, motorcars and mergers on the LIS horizon
- Mergers, boundaries, and image
- St. Kate’s MLIS program is going under the business school
- Maker Faire KC 2012 and what it means for libraries
- At Libraries, Quiet Makes a Comeback
- Blogs as Serialized Scholarship
- Why Millennials Don't Want To Buy Stuff
- Concrete options for a society journal to go OA
- I Want It Today: How Amazon’s ambitious new push for same-day delivery will destroy local retail.
- Online Higher Education
- Opening Ceremonies (changes in schol comm starting to seem inevitable)
- Is online learning really cracking open the public post-secondary system?
- A Study of Faculty Data Curation Behaviors and Attitudes at a Teaching-Centered University
- The (mostly true) origins of the scientific journal
- Khan Academy: The hype and the reality & response from Sal Khan
- I Never Owned Any Music To Begin With
- What Filesharing Studies Really Say – Conclusions and Links
- IS STEALING MUSIC REALLY THE PROBLEM?
- Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered.
- What Happened to Silicon Values?
- A call for disruptive innovation in science publishing
- what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
- Two big mistakes in thinking about technology in education
- What's Wrong With Almost Every Old Media-Inspired New Media Startup
- What Is Digital Humanities and What’s it Doing in the Library?
- Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books?
- So Shiny! Lest We Not Forget, iPads Require Purpose
- Interop: Untangling Complex Systems
- Why Louis CK and Amanda Palmer are the future of content
- Re-‐skilling for Research: An investigation into the role and skills of subject and
liaison librarians required to effectively support the
evolving information needs of researchers
- The New Public Ivies: Will online education startups like Coursera end the era of expensive higher education?
- Considering Coursera's Expansion
- On social media the new religion is sharing. Some of that sharing may not be very nice
- Lions and tiger and bears, OA, or, scaring the children, part 1
- Dissertations for sale, or, scaring the children, part 2
- Redefining research (On Canadian copyright laws)
- It’s Time for a Format Fee
- A library always has information
- How to do technology for library conference speakers
- Gold Finch and Green Open Access