Local Global

I needed new running shoes for one of my kids, so we went to a nearly big box athletic store. On a whim, I decided to check Amazon with my phone, which offered the same shoes, once taxes were included, for half the price. However, I’ve been wondering, since ordering them online, whether I’m contributing to the demise of local retail.

I apparently am not the only one who is using these online options. Ten million people, according to Amazon, tried its Prime subscription service for the first time this holiday season, and Amazon customers placed ten times the orders with same day shipping this year over last year. At the same time, Amazon shipped to 185 countries this holiday season, and its total US holiday sales with its smartphone app doubled this year. Continue reading “Local Global”

To the Dogs

I’ve been reduced, after thirty years, to defining good runs as ones when I encounter no loose dogs. In the span of ten minutes Saturday morning, I encountered an unleashed Doberman Pinscher in one community park and then an over-sized terrier in another park.

In this community, I’ve been chased by unleashed dogs through parks, up trees, and around cars by rottweilers, German Shepherds, Labs, and many others. I’ve even been accosted by these slobbery, muddy creatures on leashes when their owners cannot control them. Continue reading “To the Dogs”

Digital Tools and the Humanities

I am intrigued by the potential relevance of social media and other digital tools to the goals of the humanities.

Reading, writing, and the humanities have often been connected to social, cultural, and political developments. Some, for example, argue that societies have become increasingly complex by developing technologies and systems, including literacy, that encourage coordination and cooperation, which produces an increasingly complicated interdependence that constitutes cultural evolution, and that a humanistic, liberal arts education, as critical thinking and self-examination, human connection and concern, and narrative imagination, leads to the cultivation of humanity and is central to democratic societies (Nussbaum 1997 and 2010 and Wright 2000). Continue reading “Digital Tools and the Humanities”

The State of Language Today

They can often be seen chatting with customers or co-workers behind glass windows as they work on others’ nails. Many of these manicurists and pedicurists are Asian, so I was surprised by the recent report that Illinois might begin offering these licensing exams in Asian languages — these exams aren’t already offered in other languages besides English? Continue reading “The State of Language Today”