Oof, that was a productive day, but I'm feeling pretty beat right now. But I might as well write down some thoughts as I transiton out of admin and reading into other stuff, or I'll lose it, and that'd be a shame. So: let's do : irony edition!

I did my teaching, and I'm still in a talky state of mind, and I need to switch to a writing mode. So: let's do a safe spaces thread for shits'n'giggles!

The much maligned safe space, epitome of entitlement! What are they anyway, what's their use (if any), and should your university have one (or maybe fund a decent lab instead? And do you even need to fund them)?

One of the things I want to do in that course is a convo on social constructionism.

SC is the GMO of the humanities.Tech people tend to think that if something is SC, then it's somehow "not real". This is similar to the idea that GMO organisms are "not natural". The two ideas have one origin point: the romantic idea that human-made is not really "real". I'd bet people wouldn't be as proud of being critical of SC if they knew they were repeating 19th century hippies.

So, an excellent little illustration of how even "hard" knowledge is context-dependent.

Me to senior tech friend: "So what other models are there except OSI and TCP/IP?"
F: "WTF? TCP/IP is a protocol and not a model. I have never heard of anything other than OSI being used as a model."
M: "It says in my English textbook that OSI came to the market late and didn't win popularity versus TCP/IP. I suspect the FSU never got to know TCP/IP as a model; only as protocols."

5) Tl;dr for course: you're part of the processes we study, and since the processes are the same, we're not going to treat you as special. Social processes are the operating systems of society, the same processes can work for vastly different content, but the interaction between content (what a system is built for) and system are complex. If you wanna start studying them, you might wanna RTFM before reinventing the wheel, someone's probably done what you're doing before.

4) Most controversial: explain that the social processes of knowledge production and sharing are the same for all of humanity, starting from science and up to religious groups. Moreover, most safeguards in knowledge production are social rather than technical in nature, because it's historically been more efficient. Tl;dr: you think you produce knowledge more effectively than that Evangelical over there? Think again, you're just adapted for different environments.

3) Explain the way our professional tools have evolved, why things are done the way they are, and why there's so much shit being produced (spoiler: it's because trying to hack the thinking process and/or society is really hard: you're always working on a live system which you're a part of, have fun with that, try not to break your own brain).

2) Explain the history of the humanities in a way that is pertinent to the sciences/tech. Basically: "you know how new users make REALLY STUPID NEWBIE MISTAKES that seem perfectly logical to an outsider but are obviously nonsensical to you? Well, you guys do that on our turf, let me give you a few examples just so you don't tread water others have before." It would be a history of how different professional assumptions stop working in other contexts (e.g. freak histories).

Sometimes I feel tempted to do a 'humanities for tech people' course. It would involve several components.

1) Explain our professional lingo in accessible terms, particularly focused on confusion between technical terms and common usage. E.g. just as no physicist in their right mind would normally interpret the phrase "I did a lot of work today" as in any way related to W = FxD, so people should not see "power" or "discourse" as having the same meaning as in everyday convos.

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