My precious

I am someone who just has to have a knick-knack box. I have always had one since, well, as far as I remember. Much of that compulsion has now gone digital. I see my Tumblr page in particular as my virtual knick-knack box and treasure it more than any other spaces I have carved out in this vast digital world.

My only complaint, however, is about its search function. It sucks. So this post is to move one of my collections from there to here for easier navigation. I have collected quite a few ‘pedagogical gems‘ over the past couple of years. <puffed with pride>

Learning Theory (crossposted 7 Feb 2016)

Cognitive bias cheat sheet (crossposted 4 December 2016)

Media Theorised (crossposted 25 March 2017)

An Illustrated Book of Bad Argument (crossposted 27 December 2013)

Tea Consent (Blue Seat Studios, as part of a campaign by Thames Valley Police, 12 May 2015)

A timeline of earth’s average temperature (xkcd, 2016)

Timeline Tools (Florian Kräutli, 8 April 2016)

DH101: A highly opinionated resource guide by Miriam Posner (crossposted 30 June 2017)

How to choose a research method (Eva Nedbalova, NCRM, 2017)

Which stats test (crossposted 15 June 2017)

Discovering Statistics (crossposted 7 February 2014)

Seeing Theory (crossposted 1 March 2017)

Data Viz Project (Ferdio, 2017)

One Dataset, Visualized 25 Ways (crossposted 6 February 2017)

Fundamentals of Data Visualization (Claus O. Wilke, free e-copy of a forthcoming O’Reilly Media book)

Introduction to Social Network Methods (Robert A. Hanneman & Mark Riddle, 2005)

The Philosopher’s Web (via Open Culture, 20 October 2017; see also 14 July 2016 and 25 July 2013)

How to get that pdf (via @elotroalex [Super useful list of #openaccess strategies to help you find that PDF, including sci-hub (with the legal caveat, of course)], 2 March 2018)

***

And to the makers of these — I heart you.

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Like a magpie

Kind of a (growing) YouTube playlist with my methodology students in mind. To borrow Ed Yong’s words, I scour the internet so that you don’t have to. 😉

Common errors made when conducting a literature review (Michael Quinn Patton, 2015)

Methods 101: Random sampling (Pew Research Center, 12 May 2017)

Increasing validity in qualitative research (Denise Clark Pope, 2017)

[Linked]

Why you can never argue with conspiracy theorists (Wired, 17 June 2017)

Relativity & the equivalence of reference frames (Hillary Diane Andales, 1 October 2017)

Paying forward happiness

Let me start off my twelfth year of blogging on an indisputably positive note. In this age of misinformation and disinformation, I still feel that I am learning a lot on the internet. I now boil eggs perfectly every time thanks to a tip that I picked up on Twitter, for example. I also love hearing about little things that make people happy. Sound of Music style. There are numerous subreddits on that exact topic. There is also a Tumblr account called Things We Like, which used to have regular posts including one of my own a couple of years ago. One happiness hack that I will always remember was from a random stranger on Twitter: brighten your phone screen up a couple of notches in case you need an immediate mood booster. Yes, I have tried, and yes, it works.

Today I have discovered one such hack myself so I am sharing here – as a way of paying forward. WD-40 all door handles around your house. You will feel like your whole life is running swimmingly.

Sliding boundaries

How the South Korean language was designed to unify (Ann Babe, BBC Travel, 18 December 2017)

Nothing in this article is new to me, but I still found it entertaining and thought-provoking to read. Perhaps the author’s self-reflection on her ‘in-between’ positionality resonated with me. Moreover, the article, especially the following passage, supports what I have long hypothesised.

There is no clear boundary between the word ‘I’ and the word ‘we’,” Choi writes in her book A Postcolonial Self. “As the usage of the words ‘we’ and ‘I’ are often interchangeable, so too is the identity of the ‘we’ often interchangeable with the identity of the ‘I.’ The meanings of ‘we’ and ‘I’ are negotiable not only in colloquial Korean usage but also in the consciousness and unconsciousness of Korean minds.”

In Korean there is this idiomatic expression of having a wide ojirap. Its literal reference is to the front flap of an upper garment, but what the expression actually means is that the person in question tends to get involved in other people’s affairs, for better or worse.

I am sure that every language on this planet has some sort of equivalent to a ‘busybody’ or a ‘nosy parker’. However, my hypothesis is that the Korean variant has its extra something, which is that the ‘ojirapper‘ genuinely thinks it is their own business when they are meddling in someone else’s, even if that someone else is a total stranger who happens to be in the same carriage of the train. To put it another way, in that momentary context, the boundaries slide, at least in the ojirapper‘s mind.

By the way, ojirap is an established word in the language; ojirapper, on the other hand, is a modern slang born and used principally online, and as you may have guessed already, its connotation is never positive.

When I need something more powerful than Google

There was this strongman character who appeared across many entertainment shows in the early 90s in Korea. Last Saturday morning, for some trivial reasons, I ended up searching for a video clip of his performance, preferably where he would bite off the side of a beer can with his bare teeth. That was one of his signature gigs. I never knew his name, but I remembered that he had a very prominent mole in the centre of his forehead.

However, my extensive search, both in Korean and English, yielded nothing useful. It was a big blow on my confidence in my information skills! So I needed something more powerful than Google or Naver. I turned to the family chatroom. Literally within a minute, all siblings (except one who wasn’t online at that moment) fired back his name, his recent activities (including his volunteer work in the Sewol rescue operation), and suggestions on how I should have gone about my search.

You thought I had an elephant’s memory? That’s because you haven’t met my family. And this chatroom is like an external brain from which I am only one tap away. ❤

The minefield that is being a woman [2]

A couple of days ago, I had an interview with a US journalist about recent developments on sexual harassment in South Korea. Our version of #metoo, if you like, which took place exactly a year prior to the Harvey Weinstein case. Those developments, often digitally mediated, appear to be empowering, as in “giving a voice to the previously voiceless“, but during the interview I found myself saying, even quite categorically, that speaking up and being heard are two different things and that seeing those courageous “silence breakers” in the US gaining public support and recognition is certainly encouraging but also a little ‘frustrating’ for victims of sexual assaults in South Korea, who had been saying the same thing all this time, if not for longer. I didn’t get to elaborate on this point as we diverged to other related phenomena such as the rise of a men’s rights movement, but by frustration I meant what Langton (2009) calls “perlocutionary frustration“, which may be experienced when one’s utterances are heard but not accepted.

I have been thinking a lot about global parallels in women’s life experience since I started looking into misogyny, online but also more broadly, in 2015, and the interview gave me extra cause for thought. Then, as if someone at SNL were telepathically in sync with me, they put on this delicious satire that summarises all. (My only complaint would be that the video is stingy with Leslie Jones’s dance moves.)

Archive fever – Christmas special

So that I can read again and again – the entire thread as well as all replies. ❤

In the meantime, at another corner of the world. 😀

As far as I am concerned, I think of this tweet around this time every single winter. Not the song but the tweet.

Metaphors we live by

Last month I kept thinking about the following passage from A Torture by Hope, a 19C conte cruel by a French writer Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam.

And, while the Rabbi Aser Abarbanel, his eyes convulsed beneath his eyelids, choked with anguish between the arms of the ascetic Dom Arbuez, realising confusedly that all the phases of the fatal evening had been only a calculated torture, that of Hope!, the Grand Inquisitor, with a look of distress, an accent of poignant reproach, murmured in his ear, with the burning breath of much fasting: “What, my child! On the eve, perhaps, of salvation… you would then leave us?” [emphasis added]

I know I am being overdramatic here, but it did feel a little like a “torture by hope” to be waiting to hear back about a project proposal that two colleagues and I had put together and be told that the review results would come out later than originally announced.

In short, we have now been granted what is called a “seed corn fund”. Some might find the amount modest. Others might be more concerned with the fact that the money comes with the not-so-subtle pressure of getting out there to yield a real harvest. As for me, I was simply ecstatic to hear the news. I had my heart set on it solely for the name – the sweet metaphor for potential and possibilities. I really am a sucker for metaphors.

Lunching al desko

Sandwiches and actor-network theory? I had to click through. The subject is also directly concerned with me as I am a regular contributor to that £8bn-a-year industry. 8 billion!

Speaking of sandwiches, here is another one for my file. Evening Standard printed this article about ten days ago.

Estate agent says London’s millennials should stop buying sandwiches, holidays and splashing cash on nights out in order to afford a house

I was born too early to be a millennial, but that didn’t stop me from rolling my eyes. Tim Gurner and smashed avocado all over again. Then once again a pearl of wisdom was offered in response on Twitter.

Full of beans

A few age-related articles have flowed into my news feeds lately, including a New Yorker article “Why ageism never gets old“, criticisms against the (promotion of) the “Young Forty” discourse in Korea, and some essays on pedophilia culture such as this and this. They have come from different sources and different time points, so it feels like a coincidence, but is it? Or is this one of those moments where the gods of blogging are nudging me to write something? 

All that have sprung to my mind subsequently are feel-good news stories that seemingly defy the natural and social laws of ageing.

  • RT @AJEnglish By day, this 87-year-old Japanese woman makes dumplings. By night, she’s spinning records in Tokyo’s red-light district. Meet DJ Dumpling (12 April 2017)

Then it has struck me that these stories form a specific genre of its own. It is always Japanese obaasan. Always.