The Problem With Meaning – David Brooks

Let me put it this way: If we look at the people in history who achieved great things — like Nelson Mandela or Albert Schweitzer or Abraham Lincoln — it wasn’t because they wanted to bathe luxuriously in their own sense of meaningfulness. They had objective and eternally true standards of justice and injustice. They were indignant when those eternal standards were violated. They subscribed to moral systems — whether secular or religious — that recommended specific ways of being, and had specific structures of what is right and wrong, and had specific disciplines about how you might get better over time.

Meaningfulness tries to replace structures, standards and disciplines with self-regarding emotion. The ultimate authority of meaningful is the warm tingling we get when we feel significant and meaningful. Meaningfulness tries to replace moral systems with the emotional corona that surrounds acts of charity.”

The Evolution of the Digital Writing Environment? | Desk

Changing desk hardware“I found this gif to be quite mesmerizing. It is quite fascinating to think that many of the tools that we have used over the years have become digital in nature and replaced by digital counterparts.”

via The Evolution of the Digital Writing Environment? | Desk.

To double major or not to double major

5 signs double majoring may be right for you | USA TODAY College.

Good for students to think on over the break; some of the most impressive things I’ve seen students do have been in pursuit of a double major.

Theology and BBT

The Big Bang Theory: From Caricature to Complexity (Peter Augustine Lawler): “The Big Bang Theory ultimately points to the limited but real wisdom that comes from understanding two partial truths—that of the personal, judgmental, loving God and also that of the ‘God of nature’ the scientists seek to understand. The show leads us to think about how to put together the two explanations of ‘the Big Bang’—one based on faith in a personal Creator and one based on scientific discovery of the impersonal laws of nature—to account truthfully for both nature and human nature.”

Elixir vitae

“Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world.” And a non-trivial evidence of benevolent Providence!

via How Caffeine Evolved to Help Plants Survive and Help People Wake Up – NYTimes.com.

Laptops in the classroom

resistance is futile, part zillion – Text Patterns – The New Atlantis: “My students are in class with me for two-and-a-half hours, 150 minutes, per week. During those 150 minutes I choose to focus on our using, together, the technology of the codex.”

Alan Jacobs hits the spot on why professors ban laptops (and presumably, tablets) in the classroom. I may be considering this for the future, especially when it’s combined with that research showing that note taking goes better in handwriting.