How to Read A Book

Useful to improving the number of books you can read, as well as what you get out of them.

Source: How to Read A Book

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The Radicalization of Luke Skywalker: A Jedi’s Path to Jihad

I pointed something similar out to my students in the BibPop course a few years back when a number wanted to write about religion and Star Wars. Most of them couldn’t see it though.

See: The Radicalization of Luke Skywalker: A Jedi’s Path to Jihad | Decider | Where To Stream Movies & Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, HBO Go

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Discovering the need for ethics

A really interesting article by biochemist Jennifer Doudna about how she became aware of the ethical dimensions of developing a method for genome-editing and how it affected her. Moves from just ‘doing’ science, to the need to ethical reflection as part of that – as well as the ability to communicate the implications of the science being done.

I am excited about the potential for genome engineering to have a positive impact on human life, and on our basic understanding of biological systems. Colleagues continue to e-mail me regularly about their work using CRISPR–Cas9 in different organisms — whether they are trying to create pest-resistant lettuce, fungal strains that have reduced pathogenicity or all sorts of human cell modifications that could one day eliminate diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis or sickle-cell anaemia.

But I also think that today’s scientists could be better prepared to think about and shape the societal, ethical and ecological consequences of their work. Providing biology students with some training about how to discuss science with non-scientists — an education that I have never formally been given — could be transformative. At the very least, it would make future researchers feel better equipped for the task. Knowing how to craft a compelling ‘elevator pitch’ to describe a study’s aims or how to gauge the motives of reporters and ensure that they convey accurate information in a news story could prove enormously valuable at some unexpected point in every researcher’s life.

See: Genome-editing revolution: My whirlwind year with CRISPR

Posted in Bioethics/Biotech, Ethics, Ethics | Leave a comment

Endnote fail = New Year’s opportunity?

imagesSo EndNote X4, which has served me faithfully for many, many years, didn’t make it through the upgrade from Mountain Lion to El Capitan on the MacBook. So time to try out the new version of Endnote as well as Papers, Bookends and Mendeley. Will need something that plays nicely with Scrivener and Word 2011 for Mac, and possibly Pages.

This is a little old, but helpful none the same.

Source: Endnote vs …. well, everything else

See also:

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Using Scrivener for academic writing

A really useful set of tips for beginning to use Scrivener for academic writing. I’m adding it to my Writing and Research Tools collection – which already has some Scrivener material in it.

Bibliographic software integration still remains somewhat of a kludge – I normally use EndNote with the EndNote codes in my footnotes (e.g. {Garner, 2004 #603@17-18} ) and then do a final bibliographic format with MS Word. Works for me, but a pain to fix a reference sometime and the bibliography ends up only in Word and needs importing back into Scrivener.

See: How I use Scrivener for academic writing | alawuntoherself

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Spirituality & Cancer: Christian Encounters

Cover-Spirituality-and-CancerExcellent to see Tim Meadowcroft and Caroline Blyth’s edited book “Spirituality & Cancer: Christian Encounters” available for online purchasing now.

Real-life, honest, vivid stories from writers who have all encountered cancer in some way, and they look to find some meaning from their experience. Contributors vary from sufferers, carers, medical professionals, pastors, theologians and scientists. They offer no easy answers but they share a common belief that, within this suffering, there is room for faith and spiritual presence.

Source: Accent Publications » Spirituality & Cancer: Christian Encounters

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On parenting

Have been thinking a bit about this during the week, and especially so having just dropped my daughter off at the wharf to go sailing with her classmates on the Spirit of New Zealand for the next five days or so. The Smiggle bit made me smile, and I could imagine having this conversation in the article with any of my children.

At a profound level, she was absolutely correct. I’m nothing without her. All children change their parents’ lives to the extent that sometimes they replace it. After the birth of his eldest child, poet C.K. Stead wrote that enduring line, “I do not want my life back.” We serve to protect them. They become the central fact of our existence. Food, warmth, love, junk from Smiggle – we break our backs to shovel it their way, and hope they say nice things about us after we’re gone.

Source: Steve Braunias: Father’s days – Life & Style – NZ Herald News

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Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems affect teaching

This article is a little old now, but it does point out how the learning management systems we choose to use (or have thrust upon us by our institutions) shape how we actually teach, rather than being shaped by pedagogy that is appropriate to the topic and material being covered. And to which, I’d add the decisions about those pedagogical structures are often determined not by the teachers themselves, but rather by the institutional administrators in their quest for a uniform, efficient delivery of “content”. (And I’ve been guilty of enforcing that myself).

Course management systems (CMSs), used throughout colleges and universities for presenting online or technology–enhanced classes, are not pedagogically neutral shells for course content. They influence pedagogy by presenting default formats designed to guide the instructor toward creating a course in a certain way. This is particularly true of integrated systems (such as Blackboard/WebCT), but is also a factor in some of the newer, more constructivist systems (Moodle). Studies about CMSs tend to focus on their ease of use or how they are used by faculty: their application, for good or ill. Few discuss the ways in which they influence and guide pedagogy, and those that do only note their predisposition for supporting more instructivist methods.

See Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems affect teaching | Lane | First Monday

Posted in Academic Admin, eLearning/Distance, Teaching/Education, Technology | Leave a comment

Spirituality and Cancer: Christian Encounters

I’m looking forward to the book launch next week of “Spirituality and Cancer: Christian Encounters”, edited by my friends and colleagues Caroline Blyth (University of Auckland) and Tim Meadowcroft (Laidlaw College). The book is a collection of papers delivered at a ‘Spirituality, Theology and Cancer’ Laidlaw/University of Auckland symposium held at the University of Auckland in February 2014.

Cancer disturbs most lives at some point. The contributors to this book all seek to find meaning within that experience, as carers, sufferers, medical professionals, pastors, theologians, and scientists. They offer no easy answers, but speak with an honesty that reveals the anguish and hope that arises from the presence of cancer in our world. The result is a rich reflection on the spiritual and theological meaning of cancer.

Book Contents

  • Caroline Blyth: Introduction

Part I: Personal Responses

  • Catriona Gorton: Public Faith and Private Pain: A Quest for Authenticity
  • Alistair McBride: Dancing with Cancer: A Different Metaphor
  • Brian Brandon: A Healer in Need of Healing

Part II: Practical and Public Responses

  • David Nuualiitia: The Practice of Presence in a Hospice Context
  • Hannah Walker: Soul Nursing in Palliative Care: Spiritual Care of the Dying
  • Caroline Blyth: A Pilgrim’s Progress: Learning to Journey with the Dying Patient
  • Briar Peat: The Physician, Cancer, and Spirituality
  • Stephen Garner: Jesus Heals? Faith Claims in the Public Square

Part III:Theological and Theoretical Responses

  • Jeffery Tallon: Physics, Free Will, and Cancer
  • Tim Meadowcroft: Eternity and Dust? Considering Humanity, Cancer, and God
  • T. Mark McConnell: The Disruptive Power of Christian Hope: Suffering, Cancer, and Theological Meaning
  • Sue Patterson: Fruitful Dominion or Hubris? Creation, Vocation, and Cancer
  • Nicola Hoggard Creegan: A Whole New Life: Hope in the Face of Evil
  • Bob Robinson: “Cancer is Not a Disease. It is a Phenomenon”: Finding God in a Cancer-Strewn World


  • Richard Egan: Spirituality and Cancer: “Not a Saccharine Additive”
  • Tim Meadowcroft: Finding Hope and Yearning for Love

For those in the Auckland area, this Spirituality and Cancer volume will have it’s official launch on 13 November. The invitation is below and consider yourselves all warmly welcomed. RSVP to Accent Publications (e-mail included below)


The book will be available at the event and later through the Accent Publications web site:

Posted in Bioethics/Biotech, Environment, Ethics, Faith & Religion | Leave a comment

Modern academic theology needs to rediscover God

Some interesting comments on being a theologian in either the academy or the church. Some similar reflections to a paper I presented a month or so back.

Why are they so insecure? Contemporary academic theology today operates between the Scylla of academic scorn and the Charybdis of ecclesial disdain. In seeking to avoid the shoals of one, much academic theology has driven itself into the whirlpool of the other, and as a result been destroyed by both.

Source: Modern academic theology needs to rediscover God | Catholic World Report – Global Church news and views

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