Monday, October 17, 2016

5 Podcasts to Stretch Your Bubble, Gain Some Empathy, and Survive This Election

Me and Grandmom, May 1984. I'm so precocious!
One of the legacies my maternal grandmother left was an incredibly diverse family. I don't mean diverse in the way you're probably thinking; in fact, there are some remarkable physical similarities between us. What I mean is that her five children inhabit the entire political and religious spectrum, from very liberal to very conservative, from born again to atheist. It's truly amazing to me that these siblings all came from the same parents and were raised in the same home.

In this season year era of American divisiveness, my family actually gives me hope that we really can all get along. You see, all of these relatives (and there are a lot) are good people who believe strongly, though differently. While not everyone agrees about, well, most issues this election, and certain topics are understood to be off the table at dinner, there's not the visceral hatred of "the other side" I see online or the assumption that "the other side" is dumb. Wrong, yes; stupid, no.

I was talking to a cousin a little bit about this the other night. We had a conversation where she admitted she's "pretty sure [she's] a liberal" and joked that this isn't always taken well. This got me thinking that one of the best ways to be like my mother, aunts, and uncles, is to have a little empathy and respect for everyone, and perhaps especially for the so-called "other side." Expanding our bubbles to learn more about everyone, and, again, especially about those who are different than ourselves, is truly the way to go.

This is not always possible In Real Life, but it is absolutely possible virtually. So I'd like to recommend five podcasts that I listen to partly because they expose me to diverse voices, and partly because they're just good. Podcast listening is a baby step, I admit, but it can be done virtually anywhere, anytime, and with privacy should you want or need it.

These are all available wherever you find your podcasts; I use the podcast app on my iPhone, though there are plenty of other options out there for both Android and iOS.

  • Call Your Girlfriend, "a podcast for long distance besties everywhere." It's hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, two funny, smart, often irreverent, and relatable friends and they cover a huge range of topics from periods to politics to Black Lives Matter and Kim Kardashian. 1 episode/week
  • Code Switch, from NPR. Conversations about race and identity in America that are definitely worth hearing. They're not always comfortable, but the journalist-hosts are smart, honest, and never condescending. 1 episode/week
  • NPR Politics. These are a breath of fresh air in the current political climate. I can count on this podcast to be fair, balanced, truth-telling, and entertaining. The hosts are a rotating band of NPR journalists who provide both facts and analysis. 2+ episodes/week
  • #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. Taz and Zahra talk about what it's like to be Muslim in America, and for a non-Muslim, this can be eye-opening. Episodes are always funny and serious and happy and sad and make me think. 1 episode/month
  • Working. Slate's Jacob Brogan interviews normal people doing normal jobs and it's fascinating. I've learned about the everyday, working lives of tailors, museum curators, horticulturists, and White House staffers. 1 episode/week
Those are my suggestions. What are yours?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Weekend Reading

A photo posted by Kate Spaulding (@shortandsweets) on

Happy Friday! I hope you all had a good week. I spent a lot of time in what my family calls "house manager" mode this week - phone calls, grocery shopping, bills, etc., along with school and work. So, a pretty tame week I suppose.

Of course, the UK took care of that feeling last night. APW's point has really stuck with me:
now scores of people—including those who graduated college a month ago and thought they were entering into an exciting, open new world—can’t travel or work in 27 countries! When 75 percent of those ages 18-24, 56 percent of those 25-49, 44 percent of those 50-64, and 39 percent of those 65 and older voted to remain, it’s a little hard not to be super pissed that older generations are making decisions that my contemporaries and our children will have to live with for decades

Now, granted, people in the UK will still be able to travel, at least for pleasure, though it will be more complicated than it's been. But I think the point is still a valid one. It's especially upsetting in the face of reporting about how people didn't know what they were voting about

Other things worth clicking on:
An online calculator that determines the cost of being a stay-at-home parent. Whether this applies to your situation or not, Go Look. The dollar amounts are staggering. To me, they add up to a million (more) reasons to institute paid family leave, flexibility, affordable and high-quality childcare, and compassion. 

I haven't gotten through the whole series yet, but a reporter spent four months working as a guard in a private prison and then wrote about it. Journalists aren't welcomed in prisons, so this was his "in." The editor's letter is worth a read as well. 

In lighter news, this week, winners from the kitchen included no-bake energy bites (if you make them, use jarred pb, not the grind-your-own-kind, as it didn't seem to have enough oil to hold together), veggie pad thai (warning: crashy website), and pasta "alfredo."

This made me happy. Still not on Snapchat, but it was the best reason I've seen thus far. 

A school library in rural California asks for Just One Book

This week, I enjoyed reading The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, set in England before and during WWI. I'm about halfway through The Confidence Code, which is interesting. I'm hoping for All the Answers in the second half. 

Some of these links are affiliate links.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Arab Spring as an Information Community

Tahrir Square, Egypt via:

During the fall semester last year, I took a class exploring the idea of information communities. We had discussions throughout, and our final assignment was a research paper about the information community of our choice. As part of our discussions, we had to write short, directed blurbs and share them with the class. Even though that class is well behind me now, I still find the ideas fascinating, and so I wanted to share some of my ideas here.

So this is the first in a series, and in this post, I present the idea that the protesters who participated in the Arab Spring were an information community.

The Arab Spring was a series of protests, demonstrations, riots, and civil wars that first began in Tunisia in December 2010. From there, dissent spread throughout the region, and, ultimately, events ranging from marches to civil wars took place in twenty-two countries. Syria, Iraq, and Libya remain embroiled in civil war, while many of the other countries involved experience various levels of turbulence to this day.

Conflicts by country. via:

The use by protesters of cell phones and social media to incite and organize their fellow citizens and to document their treatment by government forces was revolutionary in its own right. Facebook, especially, but also Twitter and text messaging were used to share information amongst protesting citizens and with the rest of the world. Social media has an inherent “multiplier effect for stakeholders” (Fisher & Durrance, 2003, p. 659) in that communication between two or more people defaults to public access. This means that any conversation amongst a small group can be seen by the social circles of each participant. The information is easily shared multiple times without corrupting it (no game of telephone here; it’s word-for-word sharing), which ensures that any interested parties have the right information at the right time. Protesters, journalists, and other “diverse groups” (Fisher & Durrance, 2003, p. 659) were able to converge upon city squares with precision, as well as share information, updates, and results.

This social media uprising came about as a way for ordinary citizens to get out from under the thumbs of authoritarian regimes. The governments of these countries had long suppressed free speech through laws, intimidation, force, and censorship. Protesters use of Facebook during the Arab Spring formed “around people’s needs to access and use information” (Fisher & Durrance, 2003, p. 659) out from under the umbrella of state controlled media outlets. This virtual meeting space “removed[ed] barriers to information about acquiring needed services and participating in civic life” (Fisher & Durrance, 2003, p. 660). In other words, the protesters use of Facebook and other social media allowed them to speak freely and share information about participating in demonstrations against their authoritarian governments.
Having an online information community of protesters helped cause the domino effect that spread unrest through the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa because it “foster[ed] social connectedness within the larger community (Fisher & Durrance, 2003, p. 660). That “larger community” also included much of the world, which helped bring international attention to their causes and international outrage over their treatment. 

Fisher, K., & Durrance, J. (2003). Information communities. In K. Christensen, & D. Levinson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world. (pp. 658-661). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Weekend Reading

hi friends! How was your week? I've been doing a lot of adulting lately (talking to the bank and ordering blinds and filling out forms and registering for classes and applying for jobs and internships and ... things), so I'm looking forward to some nephew time this weekend (because 11-month-olds have no patience for silly paperwork) and walking over to the annual town carnival/festival/thingie.

So, perhaps with your weekend you wanna do some reading? Here's what I've liked of late:

The Economy of You by Kimberly Palmer - definitely worth a read if you're interested in a side gig/multiple income streams

Generous Hearts & Social Media Shaming - a post about empathy on the internet (and in life)

My research fail

Amazing looking chocolate chip cookies.

A podcast from a former classmate, Lauren Fadeley about her move from Pennsylvania Ballet to Miami City Ballet

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Not super new anymore (2008), but definitely motivational and a nice change from "exercising makes your body healthier"

Related: Could Thinking Positively About Aging Be the Secret of Health?

I've been binge reading this series by Estelle Ryan featuring a smart, strong leading lady whose hyper-analytical brain helps save art (and people. and the world, really)

Me, in the career development world

Have you read/seen/listened to anything noteworthy lately? Tell me more, tell me more!
Have a great weekend!

Some of these links are affiliate links.

Monday, May 23, 2016

hi there

so, hi. It's been awhile. Don't get too excited, but I'm back. kinda. I don't know what I want this to turn into, but it won't be the same vegan recipe site it has been (though all the recipes will be staying online). Life is in a bit of a transition period at the moment. Since we last talked, I've gone back to school, and this time I'm working on my Master's of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. It is a whole different ball of wax than baking! I'm really enjoying the discovery and learning process at the moment, and I suspect I will share some of that here.

So we will see. Bear with me. Talk to me about how you've been and what you might want to hear. I've added to my arsenal of social media, so if you're into that kind of thing, I'd love to connect with you there!
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