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Week in Review: Tech Tangle

My house is finally getting put back together after the holidays, and between that and the general new year, new start mentality, I’ve been steadily decluttering and reorganizing everything from my desk to the game cupboard to the linen closet. It’s been mostly great, leaving me with more storage space and a better sense of what I have on hand. What hasn’t been great? Electronics. The devices themselves aren’t as much of an issue, but the cords are everywhere. And while my husband probably doesn’t NEED four phone chargers, the cords and chargers do need to be easily accessible. They also create a tangled mess anywhere I put them, despite my best efforts, so if you’ve got any good solutions for a charging station or cord containment, I’m all ears.


And if you’re all ears for the latest in higher ed news, scroll down for more.

What’s new this week:

Professor Charlie Curtsinger of Grinnell College weighs in on this U.S. News & World Report piece on the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules and what that means for the rest of us.

Scripps College professor Stacey Wood offers tips on how to talk to your aging parents about money in an article for U.S. News & World Report.

In an essay for The Conversation, College of the Holy Cross professors Daina Harvey and Ellis Jones explain how craft beer is becoming the wine of New England by redefining terroir.

What we’ve been talking about:

Our very own Teresa Valerio Parrot weighed in for the Call to Action blog this week. She urges colleges and universities to identify, embrace, and prepare for vulnerabilities rather than hope they’ll go away. Check out Cristal’s recap here.

What’s next on our calendars:

On Feb. 9, Erin will present “Finding—and Using—Your Voice: A Communications Toolkit for Advocates,” part of Mount Holyoke College’s Advocacy in the Public Domain event series.

Erin will provide media training for participants in NACUBO’s Mentoring Program on Feb. 16 in Washington, DC.

Teresa will be at the National Conference on Trusteeship for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in San Francisco. She will run the Crisis Management: What is the Role of the Board? Workshop on April 22, as well as facilitate the master class Fake News, Social Media, and Your Institution’s Reputation on April 23.

What we’re recommending:

Teresa Valerio Parrot
I often talk about how much I love living in a small town and one of the many reasons I cite is the Left Hand Valley Courier. It is published once a week and every mother in town anxiously awaits her copy to see if her child has been afforded some LHVC love, which gives them the coming week’s bragging rights. (Side note, I have archived several copies of the edition when my child was featured as student-of-the-week and I take a copy out to reminisce on special occasions. Let me know if you are interested in a link. Or a paper copy.) For that reason, this heartwarming article about a community paper’s rebound and importance to its town warmed my heart. I love that the piece highlights how a community paper builds, well, community and why that is important. If you haven’t read your local paper lately, please do. After all, someone’s child is being highlighted in some form or another.

Cristal Steuer
I was delighted when I turned on my television and saw Riley, a 12-week-old puppy, who will now keep priceless artwork safe at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The Weimaraner will be trained to sniff out bugs and other pests that could ruin the museum’s art. As his trainer said, he can smell an infestation before humans can actually see it. The museum hopes this will become an industry model.

Kylie Lacey
This week I finally finished one of the many books I received for Christmas. I like a good mix of fiction and nonfiction, and Seinfeldia falls in the latter category. It’s a breezy read about the inception and development of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Fans of the show about nothing will appreciate learning on whom certain characters are based, and I loved reading about how the writers came up with ordinary but whacky storylines. I highly recommend enjoying the book on a snowy day (it seems like most of the country will have plenty more of those this winter!) and then watching my favorite episode of the series, “The Marine Biologist.” I guarantee you’ll laugh even harder at it after having read Seinfeldia!

Erin Hennessy
On first read, this story may strike you as gruesome but I found it to be a fascinating intersection of medicine, technology and profound generosity. Technicians at NYU Langone Medical Center create 3D printed replicas of the faces of those who are near death so that their faces can be donated to those with extreme disfigurement or injury. It sounds like something out of a movie, but it’s an important part of helping grieving families make the difficult decision to donate their loved one’s face to “the tiny but desperate pool of candidates for face transplants.”

Ali Lincoln
One of my resolutions this year is to be more cognizant of how my lifestyle choices impact the environment, and by that I mostly mean being aware of my consumption’s chain of effects. I’ve gotten really good with paring down my waste with recycling and composting, and kids art projects are giving me an opportunity to reuse things regularly. But I still have a lot of room for improvement with the reduce part of the three Rs, and I’m always looking for resources to help. This isn’t exactly new, but I’ve been really digging the University of California’s Climate Lab website lately. They have a lot of articles, quizzes, and videos on their site. The videos (made in conjunction with Vox) are short and very interesting, and I like that they discuss how both large-scale and individual green efforts can make a difference with climate change. It makes me feel hopeful that perhaps we can repair some the damage we’ve done or at least limit it moving forward. Plus, check out their interview with the Trash Is for Tossers blogger, who has five years of trash in one jar—and that’s it. I’m not sure that I’ll be that good by the end of 2018, but I have already started making some positive changes.

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