She meets Paul, a Brooks Brothers clad research scientist at Stanford, raised by hippies, who has his own set of family problems. The unlikely pair fall in love. With the chemistry off the charts, neither can do any wrong in the other’s eyes:
“And you know that thing you do, when telemarketers call and you sort of retch like you’re being strangled and hang up?”
“You like THAT?”
“I love it.” He cleared his throat, looked down at the ground, not so much at the earth but at his footing on it. “I am very much in love with you. Will you marry me?”…
“Oh, Paul. Look, a squirrel’s watching.”
But Paul wouldn’t even turn, as if being watched by a squirrel meant nothing to him…
Her body quickened, like a tree in the wind. Later, she would remember a filament that passed through her, of being glad she had provided him happiness, but not really sure how she felt herself…
The squirrel emitted a screech.
“Is that a yes?” Paul asked.
She managed to say it. Yes…
Behind them the squirrel made a few sharp sounds, as if to say he had significant doubts.
The squirrel turns out to be an important part of the story, and eventually it does matter deeply to Veblen that a squirrel means nothing to Paul, except as a possible subject of the medical trial he’s working on. Along the way, we get a black comedy about the military/pharmaceutical complex, the collision of two very crazy families, and a love story of two misfits. This is a hilarious, touching, and very original book. The characters will stay with me for a long time.
author photo: Linda Ozaki]]>
The program started in fall 2014 after Open Content and Digital Publishing Librarian, Dana Ospina, looked at how other universities adopted similar programs.
According to Ospina supporting students’ academic success is a top priority for Kennedy Library.
“This program helps accomplish that goal.”
Students like Carla Simental, the Affordable Learning Solutions Student Advocate at Kennedy Library like the program because it gives students more options when it comes to accessing textbooks.
Mobility and instant access are another reason why Simental recommends the program to students.
“You can have hundreds of books with you without having to carry them around,” Simental said. “And now students don’t have an excuse for not having a book on the first day of class.”
Some of the e-books even allow for highlighting or annotating within the book, says Simental.
“Our generation is very digital so I’m sure a lot of people will find the resources provided through the textbook match service to be very useful,” said Simental.
But with all these advantages, Simental feels the one students will find most attractive is affordability.
“The best thing about textbook match is the fact that it is free and you’ll be saving a lot of money compared to buying traditional textbooks.” Simental said.
Both Simental and Ospina are working together to add more and more textbooks to the list of provided textbooks in the future so that more students across campus can start utilizing the e-books offered at Kennedy Library.
“We feel fortunate to provide students with this free resource,” Ospina said. “We hope more people will start using this service.”
If you’re interested in browsing the list of available textbooks for spring quarter, visit the textbook match page.
Denbow believes a series of formative experiences led her to writing her book.
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Denbow changed her major from engineering to philosophy because she felt like she wasn’t being heard by her majority male counterparts.
“In retrospect, this experience in engineering school was part of the origin of my feminist consciousness and thinking about how institutions and cultures devalue people’s experiences and knowledge in a systematic way,” Denbow said.
While taking a philosophy of science course, Denbow had another realization.
“Science isn’t something just for scientists to think about,” Denbow said. “There is a really important role for political scientists, philosophers, historians to think about what scientists do.”
“Governed Through Choice,” centers around the contradictions that can arise when the notion of autonomy as it relates to reproductive law and technology.
Denow believes that “having more choices and more options doesn’t necessarily make us more free or autonomous.”
One way book explores the implications of this notion is through the regulation of sterilization.
“Having this option of sterilization creates the opportunity for experts to impose it on someone against their will and to withhold it from others when they want it,” Denbow said. “I started seeing how this technology could be important in the governance of people.”
For Denbow, it was important to focus on issues in reproduction particularly as they relate to race, class, and sexual orientation. This is known as intersectionality.
“The idea of intersectionality became really crucial to my thinking about feminism,” Denbow said. “We have so many different experiences and aspects to our identities that we can’t really separate them out.”
With intersectionality in mind, the author hopes her book will help catalyze an alternative understanding to reproductive decisions.
“What are the implications for this choice in regards to reproduction, given that we have such a complex social and political structure that can exert pressures on people?” Denbow said.
Listen to the podcast below for more of the conversation between Denbow and Beaton:]]>
This month, we chose to showcase the Design Team, which is responsible for designing graphics, handling web development, and enhancing user experiences across multiple library platforms. Below are some of the perspectives shared with us from the design team members themselves.
What they are currently working on: Enhancing the user interface and user experience for the Kennedy Library website, creating a web standards style guide, and designing a logo for the Cyamus Regional Group.
“We have a lot of say in how a design is going to turn out. We really get to utilize our ideas and our voices always get heard.”
What they are currently working on: The “I Am Cal Poly 2016” exhibit and design for a scholarly e-book that will be used to archive and create scholarly access for the “I Am Cal Poly 2015” exhibit.
“Take advantage of all the creative and smart people around you and push yourself to explore different areas that you wouldn’t get to explore inside a classroom. I’ve experienced working with people outside my major as a student assistant and that’s exactly what winning *Startup Weekend was all about.”
*Chris Taylor recently participated in Startup Weekend San Luis Obispo where his team of entrepreneurs across various departments won the competition for their app, Project Takeout.
What they are currently working on: Designing a card-based trivia game about the library.
“This job is a very flexible design job that allows you to break out of your creative comfort zone.”
What they are currently working on: Improving user experience on the Kennedy Library website.
“This department in particular really accommodates to what we want to do in our careers.”
What they are currently working on: Designing a display for the “Read Across America” event on Dr. Seuss’ birthday and creating graphics for the “Open Locker” cart that allows students to access free e-books, music, and videos via a USB.
“We get to do a lot of collaboration which makes everyone really close to each other on this team. For me, this is truly my dream campus job.”]]>
It starts with a marriage unraveling: Don, a realtor, and his wife Claire, a one-time novelist and now stay-at-home mom, are having problems, emotional, and, as it turns out, financial. Both wander off and start acting out in uncharacteristic ways, mostly at night, with semi-strangers. This being a small town (Grinnell, Iowa), they know the back stories of these strangers. And, also because this is a small town, the people they become involved with are also involved with each other.
But there’s more going on here than bored partners considering infidelity in the heartland. There’s a retired professor with dementia who’s supposed to have written a brilliant novel, and his wife has called their son home to clean out his study and try to find it. There’s an octogenarian who’s ready to die, but has some very specific ideas about where, when, and how. There’s a young woman so undone by the death of her lover that she wants to die too, in hopes of meeting her again. There’s plenty in the way of dark themes, but there’s a lot of humor as well. Here, a young actor attempts to work his magic on a woman he’s just met in a bar:
He leans in, and Jesus Christ, he thinks, I’d like to f^(# her too. The truth is, he knows, this is when he feels most alive: when a woman is about to fall for him. He looks at ABC, a deep kind of gaze he’s mastered in the past year. He thinks it says this: I want to make you happy.
“Are you gonna puke?” ABC asks. “You look like you’re gonna puke. Let’s get some air.”
Yes, the human foibles are on full display here. And there’s even a gun in Act I that goes off in Act III. The combination kept me up till 3:00 on New Years Eve to find out how it would resolve.
author photo: Grinnell College]]>
Established by a presidential proclamation more than 25 years ago, this annual global event held each year on the third week of November, raises awareness about geography and geographic information system (GIS) technology and the important contributions they make in many aspects of society.
“Cal Poly’s Geography Awareness Week gives students the opportunity to see how geographic thinking is used in San Luis Obispo and beyond,” said organizer and Kennedy Library Numeric and Spatial Data Specialist, Russ White.
According to White, National Geographic created Geography Awareness Week to excite people about geography and GIS as both a discipline and as a part of everyday life. National Geographic estimates that more than 100,000 Americans actively participate in Geography Awareness Week every year.
“Through events and workshops and Cal Poly’s access to GIS resources throughout the year, we can encourage people to be more geographically minded global citizens,” White added.
This year, Kennedy Library hosted its first humanitarian mapathon in an effort to support the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and their goals to map the most vulnerable areas in the world. After a brief training session, the volunteers at this event went to work mapping parts of the developing world using the free and open source Open Street Map (OSM) software.
“I originally heard of the mapathon as an extra credit opportunity for my GIS class. I didn’t know what we would be doing exactly until I got there and I’m glad it ended up being a really fun and interesting event,” said Maddie Smit (ENVM ‘17). “It was nice to be able to see the work others had already done on this Open Street Map project and how I was directly contributing to their efforts.”
In addition to the mapathon, during this year’s Geography Awareness Week, Kennedy Library hosted a GIS map gallery, which featured maps from students and faculty who use geography and GIS in a variety of disciplines. These map prints represented various subjects, themes, and styles to demonstrate the different applications of GIS and spatial analysis in areas of Engineering, Biology, Natural Resources, History, Landscape Architecture and others.
“I think geography is important because it is an overarching discipline,” said Matt Dinwiddie (FNR ‘16), who worked on one of the maps featured in the gallery. “Almost every major at Cal Poly uses geography but they probably don’t realize it and the impact it has.”]]>
Aaron Englund, the main character in After the Parade, has escaped his family, at least in the sense of removing himself physically from them — although his mother abandoned him before he had a chance to grow up and leave. Naturally, this has left some deep scars, though he manages to remain an open-hearted person. He’s formed a relationship with an older man that, while not entirely satisfying to him, has been stable for twenty years. Ultimately, though, he decides that he needs to get away, start over, and finally deal with the emotional fallout of his broken childhood. Through an acquaintance, he gets a job as an ESL teacher at a barely functional school for adult immigrants in San Francisco. He rents a garage apartment — closer to a garage than an apartment — from a married couple whose arguments become the soundtrack to his home life. Here, he takes one last walk around the neighborhood where he lives with his soon-to-be ex-boyfriend:
He passed the house of the old woman who, on many nights, though not this one, watched for him from her kitchen window and then hurried out with a jar that she could not open. She called him by his first name and he called her Mrs. Trujillo, since she was surely twice his age, and as he twisted the lid off a jar of honey or instant coffee, they engaged in pleasantries, establishing that they were both fine, that they had enjoyed peaceful, ordinary days, saying the sorts of things that Aaron had grown up in his mother’s café hearing people say to one another. As a boy, he had dreaded such talk, for he had been shy and no good at it, but as he grew older, he had come to appreciate these small nods at civility.
Aaron meets a variety of unlikely characters on his way to becoming his own person: an overweight baker, a sardonic private investigator, a man with tusks. I found his story involving and his character memorable.
The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is about a very different family, the nucleus of which is much more tightly connected. The Eapens are Indian Americans: Thomas, the father, is a brain surgeon who may or may not have chosen the only possible medical specialty which requires him to leave India — and his extended family — to practice. His wife, Kamala, still has one foot in her life in India, though she’s so poorly treated by her in-laws that it’s hard to imagine why she’d want to be anywhere near them. Their two children, Amina and Akhil, have their struggles with 1970s New Mexico growing up, but are more American than Indian. There’s enough disaster, heartbreak, and medical misfortune (brain tumor, narcolepsy, depression) in this story to supply several novels, but because of the uniquely well-drawn characters and touches of humor, it avoids melodrama.The story shifts between 1970s India, 1980s suburban New Mexico, and Seattle during the dot.com boom, and features a chosen extended family of Indian Americans who live near the Eapans. Here, Chacko Kurian, who functions as an uncle, passes judgement on Amina:
“Too old for marrying anyway — why worry about it now?”
“Chackoji, don’t start,” Sanji warned.
“What start? It’s not a conversation, just the plain truth.”
Delivered at least twelve times in every get-together, Chacko Kurian’s plain truths could have stamped the joy out of any festivity if anyone were to take him seriously. Springing from lost dreams (to pioneer heart surgery with a fleet of like-minded sons) and found realities (a daughter who was as uninterested in his line of work as she was in trying to make him happy), his edicts were always promptly dismessed by the others, giving him the air of a king ruling the wrong kingdom.
I’d love to see Mira Nair adapt Sleepwalker’s Guide as a film, but in the meantime, I loved both of these books, and was sorry to see them end.
Ostlund: Franchon Smith, The Chronicle
Jacob: Bloomsbury India
Webster’s public talk was part of a one-day colloquium on polytechnic libraries, hosted by Kennedy Library and the Kennedy Library Advisory Board (LAB). Below are some of the key takeaways from his keynote presentation, “Building the Library of the Future”
Before we can visualize the modern library, we have to look back at how libraries have evolved over time, according to Webster. “Why are we being bypassed if we are?” Webster asks.
Libraries are without a doubt rapidly changing environments. 25 years ago, libraries used to be collection-centric facilities. “As technology came on board in the early 90s we became much more client focused,” Webster said. By the early 2000s we saw the impact of technology on teaching and learning. “We saw a rise in the demand for facilities to support projects and group work,” Webster explained. About a decade later, “we started to recognize that the library was a node in the learning process.” Consequently, libraries have become maker-spaces and put more emphasis on collaborative opportunities.
The demand for digital delivery is on the rise according to Webster. “On-demand, shared resources are changing the dynamic of what a library collection can be in the 21st century.” As a result, Webster believes open access resources will be game-changers becauses libraries need to become more open enterprises. “Open access is shaping the policy agenda,” Webster said.
As it often times has, technology has also played a prominent role in shaping the modern library. “Students are more technology rich than ever before.” Webster believes technology at libraries will become increasingly mobile and will continue to reduce costs of production and distribution at libraries.
Despite these trends, Webster believes that every library is unique. “There is no secret formula, every institution has its own needs, priorities, and communities,” he said. However, there is one commonality between all university libraries: “The future of the university is intricately intertwined with the future of the library,” according to Webster.
Listen to the podcast recording of his talk “Building the Library of the Future” at Kennedy Library:
Audio transcript: KeithWebster
Keith Webster is Dean of Libraries and Director of Emerging and Integrative Media Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University. For more on the ways he’s shaping academic library innovation visit his blog: Library of the Future.]]>
During this casual conversation, Bridger reflected on the origins of her research into the history of ethics for 20th century science.
As an undergraduate at Brown University, Bridger focused her research on labor history.
“Labor history may seem like a far field from the topic of Cold War science but in retrospect these two topics have a lot in common,” Bridger said. “We don’t think of nuclear physicists as workers or as part of labor history but we probably should.”
According to Bridger the questions she was asking about labor history were very similar to the questions she asks in her book.
“The questions that I was asking about labor history had a lot to do with how people think about what they’re doing. How do you understand your labor in a context larger than yourself?” Bridger added.
Another experience that shaped Bridger’s research interests was her stint as a professional investigator. In between undergraduate and graduate school, Bridger worked as a professional investigator for the city of New York investigating police misconduct cases.
“I think that job in retrospect oriented me to think about questions of ethics and questions of professionalism in ways I maybe wasn’t fully aware of,” Bridger said.
One of the defining features of Bridger’s work according to the author is the sharing the perspective of scientists grappling with ethical dilemmas rather than philosophers or political scientists confronting these issues.
“I wanted to examine how scientists themselves have thought about questions of ethics as they relate to their own research,” Bridger said. “How do they generate and debate these ideas and how do they act in response to these ideas.”
From a historical standpoint, Bridger and Shelley also talked about the era Bridger focuses on her in book.
“The heart of the book looks at the Vietnam War era,” according to Bridger.
Instead of focusing on the notorious Manhattan Project, Bridger deals with the period after the Manhattan Project to answer the question: “What happened to the Manhattan Project Generation?” In addition, Bridger felt the escalating conflict in Vietnam spawned a lot of ethical challenges. “[The War in Vietnam] created a second moment of ethical crisis,” according to Bridger.
“One of the big themes that runs throughout Professor Bridger’s book is how scientists in these different eras tried to navigate this difficult terrain,” Shelley said.
During the conversation, Shelley also asked Bridger how she would advise today’s young scientists based on her research.
“Having some transparency and some democratic deliberation is almost always a good thing,” Bridger advised.
Listen to the podcast below for more of the conversation between Bridger and Shelley:
Last month, Kennedy Library invited Jenison, who was featured in the documentary film, Tim’s Vermeer, to talk about the connections he’s forged between art and science. Jenison was joined by Pegi Marshall, an assistant professor of scenic design in the Theater and Dance Department.
Jenison became intrigued with the relationship between science and art after working on his documentary Tim’s Vermeer. In it, he attempts to understand how 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer manages to paint so photo-realistically—150 years before the invention of photography.
Though Jenison has a background in developing imaging technologies, Jenison ultimately relies on a simple mirror technique, using a comparator mirror, to recreate Vermeer’s paintings. He demonstrated the comparator during his Cal Poly Science Café event.
According to Jenison art and science are both sides of the same coin. “Most art is based on some sort of technology,” he explained. “You can be very elegant and artistic in technology and you can be technological in your art.”
Jenison points to Leonardo Da Vinci as an example of how an interest in art and science can be complementary. “In the renaissance, there wasn’t really a separation between art and technology,” Jenison said. “Leonardo was a great painter, artist, and scientist.”
Jenison believes that the technology will become more accessible for artists if the technology is presented in intuitive ways. “We try to make things work in the computer like they work in the real world,” he explained. Jenison thinks we are close to the point where artists will rely more on computers and less on tactile art. “It’ll be interesting to see if anyone actually wants to pick up a paintbrush in the future.”
With the applications of technology expanding in the art world, Jenison believes that the expansion of technology enables more and more people to become artists. “Eventually we’ll all be artists,” he adds.
One developing technology in particular will have widespread implications, according to Jenison. “Virtual reality headsets are going to be the next big disruptor,” Jenison said. “It’s possible the whole planet will be covered with people drooling out of one side of their mouth with their virtual reality goggles on.”
Watch the video interview with Tim Jenison.]]>