Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ebook of the Week - Technological Slavery : The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. "The Unabomber"

Kaczynski, Ted. Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. "The Unabomber" Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2010.

Theodore J. Kaczynski, the mathematical prodigy and former academic also known as “The Unabomber” (University and Airline Bomber) was convicted in 1998 for illegally transporting, mailing, and using bombs, resulting in the injury of twenty-three people and the deaths of three people. He is now serving a life sentence in the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. This is the first published collection of his writings.

The existence of this text and the prospect of readers taking any parts of it seriously raise interesting issues. On the one hand, Kaczynski’s actions attest that he is a reactionary Luddite and dangerous psychotic. On the other hand, the ideas and views expressed in Technological Slavery raise crucial issues concerning the evolution and future of our society – though they are arguments that others have advanced as well, generally in denser, more academic texts. Kaczynski himself acknowledges that few, if any, of his arguments are original; however, his position is that he is compelled to speak the truth about what he sees as a the human race’s march toward ecological disaster and self-extinction, and that any arguments in service of this cause can only help – especially arguments written for the layperson, as his writings are intended to be. For the first time, the reader will have access to an uncensored personal account of his anti-technology philosophy, which goes far beyond Unabomber pop culture mythology.

Feral House, in a statement, says “the publisher does not support or justify Kaczynski's crimes, nor does the author receive royalties or compensation for this book.” Whether they are best viewed as a historical curiosity or an urgent call to action, readers have the opportunity here to decide for themselves which parts, if any, of Kaczynski’s writings have relevance for our society and the world.

Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Book Clubs: Then and Now" Exhibit

September 23 - October 14

Loyola/Notre Dame Library Gallery

Millions of people worldwide participate in book clubs. Once an enterprise of only the wealthy, book clubs have evolved into an important intellectual and communal pastime for readers of all walks of life. This exhibit pays tribute to this important endeavor and honors two book clubs closely affiliated with Notre Dame of Maryland University.

 On left: "Baltimore Book Club," led by Notre Dame alumna Mary Ellen Gunther '54. Pictured here, from bottom: Cecelia McGrain, Paula Carrol '58, Winifred Wood, Mary Ellen Gunther '54, Ida Mae Ashford, Suzi Molz '52, Mary Lu McNeal '50, and Katherine Hammel.

A complete list of members, past and present, is on display in the exhibit.


Above: Members of Jo Trueschler's book club, clockwise from right of couch: Betty Driscoll '85, MLS '91, Duffie Gray, Jan Guild, Betty Nell Wagner '89, Polly Behrens '98, Pam Wilson '94, AnnaMae Becker, Susan Marshall '88, Carol Manfredi '93, and Jo Trueschler '49. Marianna Russell '94, MLS '99, took the photo in her yard.

A complete list of members, past and present, is on display in the exhibit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ebook of the Week - The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future

Watkins, S. Craig. The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future.  Boston: Beacon Press, 2009.

 In The Young and the Digital, S. Craig Watkins offers an interesting portrait, both celebratory and wary, about the coming of age of the first fully wired generation.  The book draws from more than 500 surveys and 350 in-depth interviews with young people, parents, and educators to understand how a digital lifestyle is affecting the ways youth learn, play, bond, and communicate. Published in 2009, Watkin’s analysis may not cover the very most recent developments in social networking, but it still has relevance vis-à-vis the current state of online social networking and its (mostly) young user base.  In its 208 pages, Watkins debunks popular myths surrounding cyberpredators, Internet addiction, and social isolation, and covers the influence of MySpace and Facebook, the growing appetite for “anytime, anywhere” media and “fast entertainment,” how online “digital gates” reinforce race and class divisions, and how technology is transforming America’s classrooms.

Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ebook of the Week - The Thinking Student’s Guide to College

Roberts, Andrew Lawrence. The Thinking Student's Guide to College : 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education.  University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Andrew Roberts, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote The Thinking Student’s Guide to College to help students take charge of their university experience by providing concrete tips they can follow to achieve their educational goals—whether at public or private schools, large research universities or small liberal arts colleges.  This book offers advice on choosing a college, selecting classes, deciding on a major, interacting with faculty, and applying to graduate school. Roberts discusses what motivates professors, where to find “loopholes” in university bureaucracy, and how to get a personalized education, all in a straightforward style accessible to undergraduates or even high school seniors looking forward to college. Based on the author’s personal experience, interviews with faculty, and educational research, The Thinking Student’s Guide to College is a useful handbook for college students striving to excel academically, creatively, and personally.
Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ebook of the Week - Disaster and the Politics of Intervention.

Andrew Lakoff, ed. Disaster and the Politics of Intervention. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. 

In Disaster and the Politics of Intervention, Andrew Lakoff edits and introduces a collection of five essays that make the collective point that government plays a critical role in mitigating individual and collective vulnerability to disaster, and the essay authors also explore the details of how this role has been and can be implemented.  The recent drive to replace public institutions with market mechanisms has challenged governmental efforts to manage collective risk. The contributors to this volume analyze the roles of the public and private sectors in the management of catastrophic risk, addressing questions such as: How should homeland security officials evaluate the risk posed by terrorist attacks and natural disasters? Are market-based interventions likely to mitigate our vulnerability to the effects of climate change? What is the appropriate relationship between non-governmental organizations and private security firms in responding to humanitarian emergencies? And how can philanthropic efforts to combat the AIDS crisis ensure ongoing access to life-saving drugs in the developing world? More generally, these essays explore the way thoughtful policy intervention can improve our capacity to withstand catastrophic events.
Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book.