When Life Gets Crazy

How many of you sometimes feel like you are sinking? Surviving on coffee? Your hair has been dry shampooed for the 3rd time this week?

I’m raising my hand right there with you.

When Mark took his new job, we didn’t realize it would take him away from home so much, but with a company just breaking into the US market, his territory has been GIGANTIC. I mean, 4 states worth gigantic. It has been a daily, weekly, and monthly struggle with never knowing if he will be home one night or gone mid-morning for a week-long trip. It has been frustrating, challenging, and frankly, very lonely. It probably hit home the most when Mark wasn’t able to make it back for Easter. There are days where I feel like I’m barely surviving between chores, trying to renovate a house, pay bills for 2 places, take care of selling our other house, and making sure Harper’s needs are met, all while still being a solid employee at work. I am thankful for my boss who has been very understanding as my schedule has flexed to accommodate our crazy schedules.

Our house renovation has been as slow as traffic on 494 during rush hour. There are days where it feels like we will never get anywhere. We made the decision to box up all of our stuff and move to our camper to live until our renovations are complete. Camper living is a game changer that Im not sure I can fully describe unless you have actually done it with a 1 year old. We have all the plumbing fixed thanks to one of Mark’s talented friends, the roof is done, walls are ready for new electrical, and waiting for drywall. Tile has been purchased, a new shower/tub unit is waiting, and the vanity top is ready to go on the cabinet. I have the paint color picked out for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. Still working on paint colors for the rest of the house. Paintable wallpaper by the way, is my saving grace for some of this house. We have “new” to us appliances thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who graciously gave us their set waiting to go in the garage. We do have to do a modification to the ceiling in the kitchen, and are debating if we just try to refinish all the hardwood floors at once and pull up all the vinyl. I also still need to paint all of the kitchen cabinets and get new hardware…it never ends. If you know anyone that likes to paint, we pay in honey!

Speaking of which, we started a really awesome new Pollinators Superhero program with our honey! We  know not everyone is into keeping bees, and frankly, we all shouldn’t be due to lack of forage out there and disease, but we know people like to help pollinators and learn about honeybees, so in 2016, you can actually sponsor a hive. You will receive a photo of your hive, details about it, a 1lb jar of honey, and a chance to come visit us during extraction! There’s even an opportunity to be able to paint a hive the color of your choice and engrave it! What a unique gift idea for that hard to buy for person in your life! You can find out more here.

There have been plenty of days of craziness in our household. I have also realized that it is okay to go to bed at 8pm if you need it. Really. It won’t be the end of the world if the laundry stays on the couch for the week unfolded. I swear it. If you don’t have a chance to shower in the morning because your husband is on a fire call and the baby is up, just use the dry shampoo. No one will notice. If you have to wear boots covered in dirt and plaster dust into a restaurant to have a quick lunch because you forgot to pack sandwiches, just do it. No one minds. Don’t feel bad if you need a Dr. Pepper at 8 at night because you have to stay up late finishing your own homework. Be proud of yourself for continuing your schooling.

When Life Gets Crazy

How many of you sometimes feel like you are sinking? Surviving on coffee? Your hair has been dry shampooed for the 3rd time this week?

I’m raising my hand right there with you.

When Mark took his new job, we didn’t realize it would take him away from home so much, but with a company just breaking into the US market, his territory has been GIGANTIC. I mean, 4 states worth gigantic. It has been a daily, weekly, and monthly struggle with never knowing if he will be home one night or gone mid-morning for a week-long trip. It has been frustrating, challenging, and frankly, very lonely. It probably hit home the most when Mark wasn’t able to make it back for Easter. There are days where I feel like I’m barely surviving between chores, trying to renovate a house, pay bills for 2 places, take care of selling our other house, and making sure Harper’s needs are met, all while still being a solid employee at work. I am thankful for my boss who has been very understanding as my schedule has flexed to accommodate our crazy schedules.

Our house renovation has been as slow as traffic on 494 during rush hour. There are days where it feels like we will never get anywhere. We made the decision to box up all of our stuff and move to our camper to live until our renovations are complete. Camper living is a game changer that Im not sure I can fully describe unless you have actually done it with a 1 year old. We have all the plumbing fixed thanks to one of Mark’s talented friends, the roof is done, walls are ready for new electrical, and waiting for drywall. Tile has been purchased, a new shower/tub unit is waiting, and the vanity top is ready to go on the cabinet. I have the paint color picked out for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. Still working on paint colors for the rest of the house. Paintable wallpaper by the way, is my saving grace for some of this house. We have “new” to us appliances thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who graciously gave us their set waiting to go in the garage. We do have to do a modification to the ceiling in the kitchen, and are debating if we just try to refinish all the hardwood floors at once and pull up all the vinyl. I also still need to paint all of the kitchen cabinets and get new hardware…it never ends. If you know anyone that likes to paint, we pay in honey!

Speaking of which, we started a really awesome new Pollinators Superhero program with our honey! We  know not everyone is into keeping bees, and frankly, we all shouldn’t be due to lack of forage out there and disease, but we know people like to help pollinators and learn about honeybees, so in 2016, you can actually sponsor a hive. You will receive a photo of your hive, details about it, a 1lb jar of honey, and a chance to come visit us during extraction! There’s even an opportunity to be able to paint a hive the color of your choice and engrave it! What a unique gift idea for that hard to buy for person in your life! You can find out more here.

There have been plenty of days of craziness in our household. I have also realized that it is okay to go to bed at 8pm if you need it. Really. It won’t be the end of the world if the laundry stays on the couch for the week unfolded. I swear it. If you don’t have a chance to shower in the morning because your husband is on a fire call and the baby is up, just use the dry shampoo. No one will notice. If you have to wear boots covered in dirt and plaster dust into a restaurant to have a quick lunch because you forgot to pack sandwiches, just do it. No one minds. Don’t feel bad if you need a Dr. Pepper at 8 at night because you have to stay up late finishing your own homework. Be proud of yourself for continuing your schooling.

Admission Offers Yanked: A Social Media Lesson from Harvard University

On June 04, 2017, the Harvard Crimson posted an article about the universitys yanking its offers of admission for at least ten prospective freshmen.

It seems that Harvard officials had an eyeful of some ugly social media postings of these individuals on an official Harvard social media site, to boot and decided that these were not the kind of students Harvard wished to include among its own. An excerpt:

Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.

A handful of admitted students formed the messaging group—titled, at one point, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”—on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.

In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”

Employees in the Admissions Office emailed students who posted offensive memes in mid-April asking them to disclose every picture they sent over the group, according to one member of the chat whose admission offer was revoked. The student spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be publicly identified with the messages.

The anonymous student also said that administrators informed implicated students that their admissions status was under review and instructed them not to come to Visitas, Harvard’s annual weekend of programming for prospective freshmen held at the end of April. Roughly a week later, at least ten members of the group chat received letters informing them that their offers of admission had been withdrawn.

The description for the official Facebook group for the Class of 2021, set up and maintained by the Admissions Office, disclaims all administrative responsibility for “unofficial groups” and warns members their admissions offers can be rescinded under specific circumstances.

“As a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character,” the description reads.

Thus, the nasty content came from a handful of students who were part of a larger Facebook group created by Harvard for the Harvard Class of 2021.

While Harvard officials did not identify the individuals whose admissions offers were rescinded (in mid-April, according to the article), they did clarify that the decision to withdraw these students admission offers is final.

It seems that these young people believed that having the admissions process behind them made them untouchable by any future social media hatefulness.

Not so.

Of course, this incident raises the important issue that there is more to *college readiness* than stellar grades or high standardized test scores.

Self-possession and human decency matter. One could argue that in the age of a prolific social media whose imprint likely can never be permanently erased, self-control and kindness towards others matter more than ever when it comes to an individuals postsecondary and employment futures.

In January 2017, columnist Sarah Young posted this piece on Consumer Affairs. In it, Young wards college applicants of the importance of upstanding behavior on social media. An excerpt:

Good grades and high SAT scores aren’t all you need to get into college. To rise above the competition, you might need to give your social media accounts a good scrubbing.

Nearly 80% of admissions officers rank “quality of character” as an important factor in the decision making process, according to new research by The Social U, a company that analyzes social media data.

While glowing letters of recommendation may vouch for your character to some extent, your social media profile often paints a more honest picture.

“Colleges have their own brands to protect and reputations to build,” The Social U explains on its website. In an effort to ensure that only the highest quality applicants are sent an acceptance letter, 50% of admissions officers admitted to checking applicants’ social media.

Scholarship seekers and applicants with a disciplinary record may be more likely to have their social media accounts checked, says The Social U founder Julie Fisher.

Youngs piece is directed towards those who are hoping to be admitted to college. However, the June 2017 Harvard Crimson article underscores the possibility that students who had been already admitted as incoming freshman could have their offers yanked for post-admission social media maliciousness.

Students already attending college should also beware. Colleges and universities have student discipline policies, and many university policies already include discipline related to inappropriate social media postings, particularly if such postings are considered as cyberbullying or falsifying information/identity.

What is also noteworthy is that social media accounts that are officially associated with a college or university often operate under different usage conditions than do personal accounts.

This is no different than rules governing communications being sent via other university-owned devices, including PCs, tablets, land lines, cell phones, and faxes. In such cases, personal communications cannot be assumed to be private. Therefore, university students who send communications on their own personal social media accounts via university-owned equipment would do well to assume that the university has a right to access such social media communications.

Do not assume that magnificent test scores and impressive GPAs will override offensive social media behavior that can be tied to university property, including university-related social media accounts.

Remember the Harvard Class of 2021.

It is several students smaller now.

____________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both booksDon’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Youth employment in the ‘gig’ economy, isolation and youth loneliness research project

youthloneliness

Ta to youthawesome.com

Apologies Ive only just found our about this project and the first workshop is on Wednesday, May 3 in Manchester. Looks an excellent initiative and co-facilitated by our friends at 42nd Street. A pertinent piece of research to be shared on May Day.

DESCRIPTIONAs part of the @YouthLoneliness project, we are interested to find out more about young people’s working lives, their casual employment, their experience of self-employment and their involvement in the ‘gig economy.Across 3 workshops we will explore, research and discuss the gig economy and youth loneliness. The workshops will be held at the People’s History Museum on May 3rd, May 17th and May 24th, between 1.00 pm to 3 pm.Workshop One: Starting a documentary process. In this session we will learn about doing research using a smartphone. Then we plan and begin our research on young people in the gig economy. This will involve interviewing young people in the gig economy around Manchester.Workshop Two: Exploring the data. This session will explore the data weve collected and ideas we have. Well use this material to produce a multi-media mixed art form (e.g. a collage or mosaic).Workshop Three: Discussion. We will invite a panel of guest speakers to discuss the research and debate isolation, loneliness and young people in the gig economy.Priority booking will be given to people aged between 16 and 25 but the events are open to all. You do not have to work in the gig economy to participate. You do not have to have previous experience of doing research.The event is based at based at the People’s History Museum. We will be looking at archive material in the museum to inspire printmaking, documentary work and photography and ideas for today. We are looking to historical movements like the Co-op Movement and the Trades Union movement that brought people facing harsh conditions together in search of ways of improving lives. We are wondering what networks of connection can we imagine for today?

For more info/to book a place, go to Youth Loneliness Tickets

USAID WAFP, USAID C4CP, AND FEED THE FUTURE GHANA AGRICULTURE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER PROJECTS ORGANIZE REGIONAL FORUM

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 – Lomé, Togo – The West Africa Fertilizer Program (USAID WAFP), the Four-Country Cotton Partnership (USAID C4CP) and the Feed the Future Ghana Agricultural Technology Transfer Project, all implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Feed the Future, the U.S Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, are organizing a regional forum on the theme: “From Soil Analysis to Delivering More Profitable Fertilizers to Farmers” from April 11 to 13, 2017 at Hotel Sarakawa in Lomé, Togo.

The objective of this workshop is to agree on pathways to delivering fertilizer recommendations that will result in sustaining greater yields and returns on fertilizer investments, particularly for smallholder farmers. Important steps in this process include:

Soil analysis and nutrient deficiency mapping on a macro scale to determine the extent and variability of nutrient deficiencies and soil acidity constraintsDeveloping and validating soil- and crop-specific fertilizer and lime recommendationsDeveloping the means to deliver improved fertilizer products to farmers in collaboration with fertilizer producers, blenders and distributorsAddressing regulatory issues and policy constraints that may impede introduction of diverse fertilizer products into the market.

According to Dr Ekwe Jean Dosa, Soil Fertility Specialist and Coordinator of the forum, this collaboration among three (3) projects implemented by IFDC offers many advantages: “the theme of this forum is common to all the projects and we will be able to get the best out of the synergy that this collaboration will generate, the richness of ideas to be shared and the interactions between partners”.

This regional forum brings together more than 160 participants from South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Chad, France, Netherlands, Sweden, USA and the 15 ECOWAS Member-States, representing:

National, regional and international agricultural research centersRegional African-led Organizations (ECOWAS, WAEMU, CILSS, CORAF/WECARD)The Fertilizer Industry (Yara Ltd, Toguna, Senchim, WAFA, Notore, OCP)International Organizations (IFDC, IITA, AGRA)Developing and commercial  Banks (AfDB, The Islamic Bank, Agricultural Development Bank)Private Laboratories (SGS, Cropnuts, Soilcares)Donors ( USAID, DGIS, OCP Foundation)

Many topics will be discussed during the forum, including: Soil testing and mapping, developing and validating fertilizer formulations, scaling up fertilizer recommendations, fertilizer policy and fertilizer regulations.

# # #

IFDC is a public international organization addressing critical issues, such as international food security, the alleviation of global hunger and poverty, environmental protection and the promotion of economic development and self-sufficiency through the use of agricultural technologies including fertilizers and other inputs.  

The West Africa Fertilizer Program (USAID WAFP) is a five-year USAID-funded program implemented by IFDC in ECOWAS Member States and, to some extent, in Chad and Mauritania.  The program’s strategic objective is to increase regional availability and use of appropriate and affordable fertilizer. Four key elements necessary to meet WAFP’s strategic objective are: (i) private sector investment and regional trade, (ii) knowledge and use of improved fertilizer recommendations, (iii) implementation of regionally consistent regulations, and (iv) improvement of subsidy policies.

The Four-Country Cotton Partnership (USAID C4CP) is a four-year (2014-2018) $14.8 million project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) aimed at improving food security in targeted areas of the C-4 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali). The strategic objective of the project is to increase the incomes of male and female producers, as well as cotton processors in targeted areas. USAID C4CP focuses on cotton and rotational crops, mainly cereals and legumes.

The Feed the Future Ghana Agricultural Technology Transfer Project is increasing the availability of appropriate and affordable agriculture-related technologies to sustainably improve the competitiveness of the maize, rice, and soybean value chains in northern Ghana. USAID/Ghana is funding the project for a period of five years through a Cooperative Agreement to the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC).

The Feed the Future Ghana Agricultural Technology Transfer Project is improving Ghana’s agricultural research and extension systems by creating a private sector-led agricultural technology transfer mechanism, linking research, extension systems, and producers in a market driven approach to seed variety development and dissemination.

Contacts: 

Daniel Nana Sei Mensah, Bilingual Communication Specialist, dmensah@ifdc.org (+228) 93890286/ (+233) 26 97 41128

Dr Jean Ekwe Dossa, Soil Fertility Specialist, edossa@ifdc.org  (+228) 91536795

By: Stacey Goguen

Thanks for the really thoughtful post, and I like Schliessers general taxonomy. Heres a collection of thoughts about this:

I feel like Ive witnessed more people recently identifying with (B) over (C), but I feel like this is in part because they can identity someone else who is much more (C) than they are. Also, a lot of us identify (C) with unhealthy aspects of the discipline.I like this taxonomy in part because it allows to me to express moments when Ive felt one or the other attitude towards research. So instead of just being a (B) or (C) person, Ive had (B) and (C) (and (A)!) days.

if I was going to flesh out different interpretations or versions of (C) they would be:(D) its the best, most-rewarding intellectual project a human could possibly engage in, and thus I should do it all the time(E) its the best form of escapism / my favorite hobby, and thus I should do it all the time(F) its the best or only way for me to feel important, or to not feel like a fraud, or to hold off existential dread, and thus I should do it all the time

By: Prof Manners

Conflating philosophy as a profession with philosophical activity is surely a big part of all of this. Its a conflation hard to escape, it strikes me, as even people who regularly take time off from professional philosophy to do purportedly non-philosophical things regularly invoke the way this profits their work, as if cutting loose to exercise or play music has its value because it serves the professional activity to do so. I agree completely that talking about philosophy in terms of its professional aspects is limiting in a number of problematic ways, but I also think those in the profession are not very good at doing otherwise, myself included.

By: Warren

Step 10: searching the literature. This is a VERY big difficulty when one is unemployed and has no formal association with any university or corporation. Moreover, how does one search for a particular identity one might need? How does one enter a mathematical formula into a search engine to see if there exist any counterexamples or proofs of this desired formula? I am dying for library access to mathematical literature!

Contacting paid mathematicians is not sufficient. Often, they do not know the answer and, rightfully so, are not going to do literature searches for me for free.

Man on a ledge: achieving life-work balance

Its been a challenging few months since the last post; I dont want this to be a confessional blog, but suffice to say that my wife Katie has been fairly ill, having been diagnosed in mid-December. And, frankly, its the thing thats on my mind constantly, so what else to write about.

As ever, such things throw everything else into a sharp, instant perspective, which has a direct impact on how you approach work and all its different parts.

For me, theres been a few things Ive noticed:

prioritisation is everything (see previous post on the myth of multitasking); theres a reason why this is the first blog post in three months or so, and the non-urgent and the peripheral drops away rapidly.apologies to those at the periphery, but thats just how its been of late

impatience as a driver: Im hugely driven at the moment to cut through flim-flam, inefficient (or unneeded) meetings, stuff that doesnt deliver change / impact, circular discussions and so forth; and (as the image says), seize opportunities wherever possible; this impatience is something that has to be managed, otherwise it can easily move towards rudeness rather than (more positively) towards greater productivity

support networks: its one of those terms/phrases that you dont really know what it means until you call upon it; thanks to all those whove been kind, supportive + listened (and those who continued to take the piss/make me laugh); especially colleagues + workplace whove demonstrated for real that the organisational values actually mean something outside of the business plan

flexible working has limits: hospital wifi is poor, and multitasking doesnt work with this kind of stuff: attention required at all times; so thank heaven for e-mail on smart phones (without which I would be playing an even larger game of catch-up), but Im also recognising the benefits of an office with flows of information, companionship and co-working [a good reminder of why I left freelancing behind]

theres always someone worse off (and willing to talk): its not a particularly positive thing to hang your hat on, but it is true; people in every network, every sector, every group of friendsare dealing with big, hairy problems all the time; and honesty about your situation begets honesty about theirs

crosswords are therapeutic: Id kind of got out of the habit of doing the crossword on the commute home, but am finding it a thoroughly useful thing: not only occupying the mind, but also doing something that has definite answers and a clear order; a clarity and certainty not available elsewhere

drink plenty of water and get enough sleep: I may well write a self-help / productivity book in future which simply has this as the title, with a load of blank pages inside; certainly guaranteed to achieve more than any amount of positive visualisation and aligned chakras

On that note, back for some water, crosswords, sleep and prioritising the important stuff over this blog :0)