[Book Review] Speed Limits: Where Time Went and Why We Have So Little Left, by Mark Taylor

25867_book-review-speed-limits-by-mark-c-taylorThis looks interesting:

Howard P. Segal on an examination of the accelerating pace of life whose scope extends beyond fast food and computers

In our high-tech culture, speed is all the rage – not necessarily drugs (God forbid) but so much else: communications and transportation in endless forms. We are constantly reminded that our pace of change is unprecedented; that no prior society has ever approached ours in the ability to share instantaneously experiences, feelings, news and thoughts with intimates and strangers alike across the world.

No prior society, moreover, has approached our computer-based ability to analyse almost infinite amounts of data and to extract supposedly accurate conclusions about our varied values, views and behaviours. This in turn provides an allegedly reliable crystal ball with which to make predictions of crucial importance to policymakers in both the public and private sectors.

Read full review.

 

30 Things: Living Life to the Full

Circulating on Facebook

Circulating on Facebook

This year I’ve been particularly working on “living life to the full“, and after hearing about a young man who has died today, this  article came into my inbox – the first is:

  1. Remember you will die. Maybe even today. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget to be thankful for your health. For the ability to walk. For the time you get to spend with the person you love. For your siblings. For whatever it is that you have today. It’s not yours, it can be stolen away at any moment. So while you have it on loan, cherish it.

Read the full post… most of the rest are worth thinking about too.

#BIGRead14: Fullness of Life (including @QuietGardens)

Image Source: Worship Cloud

Image Source: Worship Cloud

As we prepare for ‘Lent proper’ – today’s poem from Stephen Cherry is short, and focused on a life full of positive thoughts and actions – which first made me think of Jesus calling us to ‘live life to the full‘, and then how often I overfill my life, and therefore need reminding of W.H.Auden’s poem:

W. H. Davies: Leisure

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

A search for ‘time to stand and stare’ on Wikipedia led to The Quiet Garden Trust, a “a non-profit organisation which encourages the provision of Quiet Gardens where people can set aside time for contemplation, prayer and renewal”… I think these are the closest to me – but they are all around the world.

I was then reminded of #3goodthings – and that I was recently up in the attic looking for something, and found a diary from a few years ago where I drew at least three things I was thankful for each day… and it really did help my state of mind… whether to do this oneline… I do like the paper/drawing aspect of this, especially as I’m cutting down on screens late at night, and is often the last thing to do…

#Giveanhour asks @stephenfry

This morning, Stephen Fry asked us to #giveanhour to help someone else get online:

Stephen Fry give an hour

Earlier today, bearing in mind that we gain an hour’s sleep tonight, Stephen Fry has asked us to consider giving an hour of our time to help one of the many people’s who not online, help in the first steps. I’ve already been involved in Social Media Surgeries, and these run on a more organised principle, but still  require free space/volunteer provision to help people engage with social media. So, check out http://champions.go-on.co.uk/giveanhour:

Give an Hour

P.S. First post I’ve created using my Mac & Pixelator… getting used to different key combinations.

Research Students as Teachers?

The following is definitely a real issue for students, whatever the reality, the perception affects their behaviour. Even as someone with 11 years of teaching experience, but not full time within the department,  the students felt cheated that they had not got the tutor that they expected, making it far more difficult for me as the replacement tutor…

Universities’ reputations could suffer if undergraduates perceive that the institutions are leaving teaching to “an insufficiently trained, inappropriately paid and poorly motivated workforce of teaching assistants”, according to a new study.

Researchers from Heriot-Watt University’s department of accountancy, economics and finance carried out an online survey of postgraduate student teaching activities. About 1,100 students, mostly researchers, responded.

Of the 500 respondents from Scottish institutions, more than 60 per cent were involved in teaching – 84 per cent of those by choice. Typical duties for postgraduate teaching assistants include tutoring, demonstrating and helping with assessment. Around 13 per cent also lectured.

Most of those surveyed taught for up to four hours a week, but a small number taught for more than eight.

“Considering that preparation and teaching hours appear to require a similar number of hours…this could place some research students at a disadvantage,” the researchers say in a paper on the Scottish results, “The Role, Responsibilities and Remunerations of Graduate Teaching Assistants in Scotland”, currently under review for publication.

 The study found a wide variation in pay rates, from £6 to £72 an hour. The highest salaries were in law, music, and accounting and finance, with the lowest in sport, physics and bioscience. Training was not universally available and was often generic rather than subject specific.