Your update for a Tuesday evening

So, over the weekend here in Bemidji, this happened:

Institute of Creation Research: Intelligent Design concept presented at Bemidji seminar

I was bummed that Bemidji State got dragged into the story on the original seminar, even in drive-by fashion. But awesomely, a few hours after the Bemidji Pioneer posted that story recapping the festivities, PZ Meyers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota’s campus in Morris, Minn., swooped in and crapped all over it in hilarious fashion. Meyers’ response got retweeted all over the place today; it was fun to see. I’m going to throw Meyers’ blog into my Reeder.

What I’m Working On
Reassembling my new old position as associate director in the Office of Communications and Marketing, primarily. I had a story to write this afternoon on an Honors Council Lecture coming up here on Thursday, and I think the final product turned out relatively well. I spent an hour and a half or so doing some reading on Thomas Bayes so I could write a decent opening paragraph and make some sense of the description of the lecture. I enjoyed this quite a bit; as much fun as I had during my six months as interim director of the office, I didn’t really write anything. Getting a story like this so soon after the transition back to this gig was good for me.

What I’m Studying
Hah –  it’s a trick. I’m studying nothing. 🙂 I had a couple of things due for school last week, plus a quiz, but I haven’t checked in this week yet beyond seeing that one class probably won’t have anything assigned until later in the week. I need to get some more work done on the final projects in both classes; I just don’t have the motivation to do much with this right now. I had been giving pretty strong consideration to summer school in order to try and get as close to being done as possible by the end of spring 2013, but I don’t know if that’s going to fly – I just need a break. None of the work is particularly challenging, and I’m burned out on the busywork grind.

What I’m Reading
I’ve been pretty busy the last few days at work trying to get settled into my new old job, so I kinda feel out of the loop on a lot of things. I read this piece by Mac McClelland at Mother Jones tonight on wage slavery at a packaging and distribution center for an online retailer; it’s a really fascinating story, and it puts all of the recent outrage du jour stories targeted at Apple for their manufacturing efforts in China, primarily at Foxconn, into some incredibly embarrassing context. Apple’s rotten for taking advantage of poor China, et cetera, while for all intents and purposes functionally identical practices are taking place right here in the good ol’ US of A. The problem? The Foxconn stories didn’t make me think twice about ordering a trio of third-generation iPads for work, and that Mother Jones story probably won’t cause me to delete my wish list at Amazon. “Shop local” etc. is awesome, but when that’s the difference between dropping $50 on a book downtown or clicking a button and getting Amazon to send it to me for $24, even that story makes it hard to justify dropping the extra $26 at Book World.

And before you are tempted to respond to that — Yes, I know.

Beyond that, as I say, I’m pretty out of it. There has been a really interesting discussion on Twitter over the last day or so about a decision by Hasbro to crack down hardcore on basically any third-party representation of Transformers on retail products at the upcoming BotCon convention; this started as a crackdown on third parties who were creating entire unlicensed Transformers figures and add-on or modification kits for the official retail toys, and expanded into a ban on any non-licensed representations of the property — including prints of fan art. I really want to catch up on that later this week; it’s an interesting development that could trickle down into a lot of other areas — G.I. Joe, Star Wars, everything.

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