Author: Sami Stern

Stigmergencies, a second responder

A few weeks back Brendan made a post called Stigmergencies whether stigmergy can really help us build a better system. He was responding the work of Heather Marsh who argues for a movement away from representative democracy and towards collaboration. Like Marsh, I believe that we have a system in desperate need of change. Like Brendon, I’m not sure stigmergy is the way to go.

In order for everyone stigmergy to work, everyone must be working towards the same goal, which means the same goal must be mutually beneficial to everyone.

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You Judged that Book by its Cover, Didn’t You?

Earlier this semester our professor, Dr. McCoy, showed us the original cover of Dawn. I remember being confused for a moment. Where was Lilith? Well, it turns out she was right there, where you would expect her to be. She just didn’t look like you would expect her to look. She was white.

I’ve thought back to this cover a lot over the semester and every time I think about it I get a little bit angrier. First, there is the huge problem with whitewashing in Hollywood. Most people realize that this is a problem in film, but many don’t realize it’s also a problem at the local bookstore. Octavia Butler’s Dawn is one, but certainly not the only time this has happened.

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It’s OK to be a Snob About Reading

A couple weeks ago Cassie wrote an interesting blog post about the importance of the visual. In addition to raising some very valid points, she credited a point that I had made in our small group discussion. I felt that it was important to provide some context and credit to the original research.

Maybe it’s my constant need for validation or maybe just the fact that people are constantly making me justify my degree in literature, but I like to bring up the fact that reading literature actually makes you a more empathetic person at pretty much every possible opportunity. That’s right, fellow book nerds, reading actually makes you a better person. Well, at least if you define better as more empathetic, which I do because we could really use some more empathy in the world right now.

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Cancerous Silver Linings

Cancer is, quite possibly, one of greatest tragedies of the human condition. There aren’t words to describe the horror of watching a loved one waste away as the malignant cells multiply—so I won’t try. People try to make sense of it in all different ways, some saying it made them stronger or brought them closer to their friends and family. As true as these claims might be, no amount of closeness nor personal strength will ever come close to the complete despair the disease leaves in its wake.

There is no upside to cancer.

Unless you’re Oankali, Read more