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If John Wick can have layers, so can Batman. :)

   Ah, violent males expressing how violent they wish to be toward women who oppose their gender-magic.  The previous link is to the abstract and transcript.  This from the department of Gender Studies at the London School of Economics.  Did you need an example of how far the Humanities in academia has fallen?  Take a gander.

 

 

 

“Let us harness this parasitic imaginary and suck the cis out of feminism. Let us be the endemic. Let us exist as the evil twin to queer theory, and let us 14 bleed it dry for all it can offer us. Chu is wrong: trans* is more than ancillary notion to queer. But do we have to depart from queer entirely? Is trans* even 15 fucking here yet?16 If TERFs think trans* is an endemic threat to feminism, let us be the threat to feminism. We are the endemic, the viral, the toxic onslaught of ideology that attacks the very core of what you hold dear. We go unnoticed, right up until the moment they scream for mercy. Am I a threat to you? Do I send chills down your spine?”

Picture this: I hold a knife to your throat and spit my transness into your ear. Does that turn you on? Are you scared? I sure fucking hope so.

 

 

   Go to sexmatters.org for the full story on what this crank has been saying. 

This is what happens sometimes when you fall down an youtube rabbit hole. You find an amazing person whose expertise and passion floor you, and the only thing you can do is watch more. :)

(Paraphrase) – ‘That is what is remarkable about the film John Wick, it is a story about grieving when you don’t have the time or the ability to do so.’

How not to run an academic institution. My Alma mater is demonstrating some worrisome (read batshit fucking stupid) decisions regarding firing female staff for having the absolute gall of teaching the ‘unorthodox’ view that biological sex is important to women and their struggle against patriarchy.

Her feminist views are apparently causing a small segment of students to feel unsafe and thus because if we are not walking on eggshells around entitled gender deluded males one must be doing the whole academic thing wrong.

Something very wrong has happened at the University of Alberta. A professor has been fired from part of her academic job for views on sex and gender that break with current orthodoxy.

In late March, Kathleen Lowrey, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, was asked to resign from her role as the Department of Anthropology’s associate chair, undergraduate programs, on the basis that one or more students had gone to the University’s Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights and the Dean of Students, André Costopolous, to complain about her without filing formal complaints. All Professor Lowrey has been told is that she is somehow making the learning environment “unsafe” for these students because she is a feminist who holds “gender critical” views. 

Apparently, Lowrey’s very openness about her views is a problem. Should a course have gender or sex as a central theme, on day 1 she offers a summary of her views along with the declaration that no student need agree with her about any of it, as she did this year with her course “Anthropology of Women.” As she cleaves to a feminism that asserts the continuing importance of biological sex and feminist projects of resisting patriarchal oppression, her views put her out of step with much current thinking about the nature of gender, which from the seminal work of Judith Butler forward takes sex to be a social construct. Lowrey also posts statements related to her views on her office door — something she is entitled to do. She contends that in asking her to resign from her service role the University is endorsing ideological conformity. 

Lowrey refused to resign from her service role and insisted that if the University wished to dismiss her from it, it would need to put its reasons for doing so in writing. She subsequently received a letter from the Dean of Arts Lesley Cormack dismissing her from her service role without offering any specifics as to why. The letter simply declares that the Dean believes that “it is not in the best interests of the students or the University” for Lowrey to continue in it.”

This is unbelievable.  Exactly what part of a healthy part of academic debate does this help?

 

“The University of Alberta takes the position that Lowrey had to be dismissed from her service role “for the good of the department” because at least one student claims that for the University to let her continue in the role would be for it to run the risk of the department losing students to another field of study. The argument, in effect, is that Lowrey could not be allowed to let the Department suffer a financial penalty for her views. (In the University of Alberta’s budget model, government funding “follows” students to the departments in which they take their courses.) With its worry that Lowrey’s views will have financial consequences for the Department of Anthropology, the University of Alberta lets an unfortunate development of the academy over the last few decades, in which students have become tuition-paying “customers” upon whom universities rely for more and more of their revenues, come into direct conflict with academic freedom principles. This is a very serious problem. No department at any university in Canada should be taking the position that it has to concern itself with how a professor’s intellectual views may affect a department’s bottom-line. 

Finally, the University of Alberta takes the position that it had to dismiss Lowrey from her service role because if it did not do so students would feel that the University “cared more” about “supporting” the professor than it did about them. This is a terrible line of reasoning, which pits students against a professor when what ought to be of paramount concern to all is the commitment to intellectual engagement and critical scrutiny of ideas as fundamental to the University’s flourishing. Quite simply, at a university, unorthodox or controversial views must be actively debated, and never suppressed, if the university is to meet its societal obligations. 

The University of Alberta needs to restore Professor Lowrey to her role as associate chair, undergraduate programs, in the Department of Anthropology, and university administrators elsewhere need to make sure that they do not fall into the University of Alberta’s mistake. It is essential that our universities never become homes for orthodoxy of any kind. “Dogma is bad for people,” writes UBC professor emeritus William Bruneau elsewhere on this blog. But for universities dogma is much, much worse. It is anathema to the academic mission.”

 

Kathleen Lowrey needs to reinstated yesterday.  This sort of totalitarian anti-academic thinking has to stop.

 

Oh and email the Dean about this travesty – artsdean@ualberta.ca

 

 

Dress rehearsal tonight, been practising like a mad fool.  We have a full line up. Starting with Rheinberger’s lovely Stabat Mater:

Then a Schubert Mass :

Some Mendelssohn:

And some Mozart :

It is going to be a great concert. :)

   I’ve written more than my fair share of five paragraph essays.  Graded a few in my time as well.  It would be nice if we could spend the time and teach people different ways of grappling with thoughts and ideas in their writing.  The online Aeon Magazine has some surprisingly good and thoughtful articles, this one by Sam Dresser is a fine example:

 

“Carrying out this kind of teaching calls for concentrating effort at two levels. One is teaching students how to make meaning at the sentence level, using syntax to organise words to say what you want them to say. Books on writing at the sentence level – my favourites are Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (1981) by Joseph Bizup and Joseph M Williams, now in its 11th edition; and Fish’s How to Write a Sentence – lay out a series of useful rules of thumb: be clear, be concise, be direct, focus on actors and actions, play with language, listen for the music. The other is teaching students how to make meaning across an entire text, using rhetorical moves that help them structure a compelling argument from beginning to end. My favourite book in this genre is Graff and Birkenstein’s They Say, I Say. I use all three in a graduate class I teach on academic writing.

I’ve also developed my own set of questions that writers need to answer when constructing an analytical text:

1. What’s the point? This is the analysis issue: what is your angle?
2. Who says? This is the validity issue: on what (data, literature) are you basing your claims?
3. What’s new? This is the value-added issue: what do you contribute that we don’t already know?
4. Who cares? This is the significance issue, the most important issue of all, the one that subsumes all the others. Is this work worth doing? Is the text worth reading?But, you ask, aren’t these just alternative sets of rules, much like the Rule of Five? I say no. One difference is that these are clearly labelled not as rules but rules of thumb. They are things to keep in mind as you write (and especially as you edit your writing), many of which might be in tension with each other, and which you must draw upon or ignore as needed. Another difference is that they resist the temptation to provide a rigid structure for a text of the kind that I have been discussing here. Deal with issues in the literature where it helps to frame and support your argument rather than confining it to the lit-review ghetto. And don’t make the reader wait until the conclusion to find out what gives the text significance; most people would stop long before this point.

Rules of thumb call for the writer to exercise judgment rather than follow the format. Of course, it takes more time and effort to develop writerly judgment than it does to follow the shortcut of the five-paragraph essay. Form is harder than formalism. But the result is a text that does more than just look like a piece of writing; it makes meaning.”

I like his guidelines and suggestions for writing, although I’m not sure I’m quite ready to give up my 5 paragraphs quite yet.

Hard hitting social commentary to resume soon on DWR. Today, I have a bit of personal fluff that I hope will bring a smile to your day. TL;DR version provided at the end if you’re pressed for time. Just scroll all the way down.

I do not do well with real world objects or processes. My skill with a hammer was once likened to lightning. I never strike the same place twice. With supportive feed back like that (thanks, Dad), it should be no surprise that I do most of my tinkering in the virtual world. In the synthetic land of 1s and 0s, mistakes are a Ctrl-Z away from being completely erased from history.

Recently I’ve had two such interests cross paths: photoshop and web coding. I have spent a great deal of time looking up manuals and tutorials online on these two subjects. In both fields, there are usually a thousand and one ways to get a particular result. The trick is finding a method that is effective, efficient, and caters to your style of doing things. So while I wouldn’t say I’m particularly good at either photoshop or coding, what I have gotten fairly good at is finding the bits and pieces I need on the internet, then combining them to achieve my tinkering goals. My Google-Fu is strong (if I do say so myself).

Throughout my many photoshopping adventures, I have, from time to time, played with geometric shapes, patterns, and psuedo-fractals (check my profile photo). As these shapes are not representing anything, the choice for colours is wide open. This makes things quite difficult for me, as I’m horrible at deriving colour schemes.

“You better marry someone who can dress you, because you don’t know a thing about colour”
-My first web design instructor

While I have many techniques for checking my colour choices, there is one relevant today. I will put a hue adjustment layer on top of my project and slide it slowly around the 360 degrees of the colour wheel until I find a spot I like. On numerous occasions I’ve thought that the shifting colour was more impressive than any one spot on the wheel. I will just play with slider, going back and forth, watching the colours shift into each other. Depending on the project, these colour shifts can be very exciting or quite soothing.

Previously, I played with the idea of taking a number of stills at incremental hue settings and then making an animated GIF out of them. However, GIF files only have 256 colours and the results were less than impressive. On top of that, the process was painfully slow and arduous. After three or four attempts, I gave up on the notion and it disappeared in the lonely wasteland that is the graveyard for broken dreams and abandoned whims. Two recent discoveries brought it back.

First, I learned that it is possible to write scripts for photoshop. While the program comes with a number of actions and the ability to create your own, sometimes a project needs a more custom-fit solution. It turns out that one of the languages you can use for this is javascript, a language I am familiar with because of the web work I’ve done. Further, there is a script reader you can attach to photoshop that will log the script involved in every PS action you take. You can then use that log to inform your scripts. The potential is immense.

Second, I learned about APNGs. I was reading up on reducing web site load times and this article said that you should compress all images, as any file made in photoshop is unnecessarily large. I tested a few online compressors out and indeed, the there was a lot of file shrinking possible. One of these compressors had a new feature. They compressed not just JPGs and PNGs, but also APNGs. Their example blew my mind. It was animated PNG of a panda waving, smoother and clearer than any gif I had ever seen.

It just so happened that these new-to-me things were fresh in my mind when I was using my colour wheel check on a project and it all clicked together. After a little trial and error, I had written a script that would adjust the hue by 5 degrees, save a numbered PNG to a folder on my desktop, then repeat until it went all the way around the colour wheel. I found a couple online APNG assemblers, uploaded my stills, downloaded the animation, and put it through the compressor. Now, I’m not about to pay for the pro service, so I was only able to use one quarter of my stills. This makes the result not nearly as smooth as I’d like, but I’m still pretty happy with it.

So now, after much too much ado, I present a fractal colour morph built on script and Google-Fu, created by yours truly.

For the adventurous among you, I have a second example. With some images, this shifting colour can give the illusion of movement. Warning: The linked animation is big (5MB) and is not recommended for viewers who aren’t comfortable with flashing lights. If you’re cool with that, enjoy some psychedelic splendour.

TL;DR Lookie! Colours!

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