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seanbala

@seanbala@mas.to

Former #ReligiousStudies student in #Chicago. Interested in #religion, #philosophy, #ethics, #culture, #environment, #ecology, and #community. Currently working in #HigherEd.

Other Tags: #Episcopal #Episcopalian #Ecotheology #Books #Folklore #Travel #Fantasy #History #Solarpunk #ScienceFiction #SFF #Bookstadon #Bookmaking #Musicals #Theater #India

Love exploring new cultures, interesting ideas, and meeting new people!

"If only I may grow - simple, firmer, kinder, warmer." Dag Hammarskjold

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seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Was out today and had unexpected free time but no book!

I opened my @omnivore app on my tablet and read the short story "The Mausoleum's Children" by @aliettedb in @UncannyMagazine. It was so good!! I'm so glad I discovered both the story and the magazine here. Moral of the story - do your best to always have something good to read!

https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/the-mausoleums-children/

@bookstodon

seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Found this way deep in my YouTube "Watch Later" collection. It's a really nice guide to getting started with Charles Dickens including a recommended order for select books from Robert Douglas-Fairhurst.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aryB10D04jw

Might add these to my 2024 Reading List!

@bookstodon

georgetakei , to Random
@georgetakei@universeodon.com avatar

Thank you to Stephen Colbert and everyone at The Late Show for the opportunity to come and speak about my new book, “My Lost Freedom.” These stories are important, and I'm grateful for the chance to share mine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QQKrFV-FbM

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@georgetakei I don't know if you read the comments here but I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story all these years. In graduate school, I wrote a research paper on Japanese Internment based on 12 different memoirs of survivors. Reading them was probably the most moving experience of my academic career and has always stayed with me. The indignities suffered made me angry and ashamed but the resiliency and strength of the community inspired me deeply.

eeyam , to palestine group
@eeyam@med-mastodon.com avatar

Israel Assures It Doing Everything Possible To Minimize Civilians
https://www.theonion.com/israel-assures-it-doing-everything-possible-to-minimize-1851085308

@palestine

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@Ralph058 @eeyam @palestine Those are the best type of Onion headlines....

seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Listening to the English audiobook of "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman narrated by J.K. Simmons. While I enjoyed Tom Hanks in the English film adaptation, Simmons would have made a truly FANTASTIC Ove / Otto. I don't normally do audiobooks (I have a book group that I really need to finish the book for) but this one has been nice.

@bookstodon

Zeb_Larson , to Random
@Zeb_Larson@zirk.us avatar

One of the most tired genres of academic posting is complaining about your students. A lot of it is mean-spirited (how dare these kids not treat my exact passion with the seriousness I did!), but a lot of it is also just fucking lazy. Congrats, as a trained expert in your field you managed to nitpick a freshman to death, or discovered that they (gasp) skipped a reading.

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@Zeb_Larson Have you ever heard the idea that the people campaign for political offices are not the people that you want running those offices? The idea is that the skills you need to campaign are not necessarily the ones you need to govern. I sometimes feel the same way about academia - the skills you need to get through a PhD select for many who shouldn't be in a classroom. Or, the people who can do research are not the ones you want teaching young people.

@academicchatter

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@Zeb_Larson @academicchatter That is not to say that I'm not sympathetic to those problems that come from teaching. I used to teach university courses and I loved so much of it. But I remember encountering that archetype of academics who were brilliant with research but loathed students with a burning passion.

ml , to AcademicChatter group
@ml@ecoevo.social avatar

Most of Plant Science Twitter seems to be on Bluesky. What are your favorite Fediverse accounts (institutional and/or personal) for keeping up with academic botanical news? @plantscience @academicchatter

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@ml @plantscience @academicchatter @PlantTeaching @jennifermach @ELS @botanyone @AnnBot @bomengidsnl One thing to keep an eye out for - I think that Mastodon will be launching Groups soon. It is on their roadmap and that might eventually make organizing via topic a bit easier! I hope that is correct @MastodonEngineering?

1/2

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@ml @plantscience @academicchatter @PlantTeaching @jennifermach @ELS @botanyone @AnnBot @bomengidsnl @MastodonEngineering I noticed in an analysis of my inactive accounts many inactive academic ones seem to have shifted over to BlueSky. A bit sad but maybe they will come back someday, or maybe someone the ActivityPub + BlueSky Bridge will finally launch and then you can continue to follow them here!

2/2

DejahEntendu , to bookstodon group
@DejahEntendu@dice.camp avatar

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

I feel like he spent too much time working at being cutesy and not enough at internal consistency. It was an amusing book, however. Taken as a light historical fiction about the run-up to modern life, it's good enough.

One example of the issues with the book follows:
He sets up the straw man of biological essentialism, then knocks it down with social consctructs.

1/
@bookstodon

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@DejahEntendu @bookstodon Thanks for posting. I used to teach the book to my undergraduates for a course on big ideas. I think my problem with the book is that he is nuanced when convenient and paints in broad brush strokes when convenient. For me, the one that sticks in my teeth is his views on religion, which is simplistic and lacks any sense that religions are wide umbrellas with MANY different features. @religion

Full disclosure: my academic background is comparative religions.

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@DejahEntendu @bookstodon @religion It is good text to introduce students to thinking on broader time scales and about big ideas, but one needs to use it as a jumping off point rather than a destination.

1dalm , to Random
@1dalm@deacon.social avatar

In an alternate history timeline, do you think the industrial revolution happens without the Protestant movement?

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm One of the more thought provoking books I have read over the past few years is "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson. Its central premise is that if Europe was wiped out by the Black Death, history would have unfolded roughly in the same manner but in different places. So the Renaissance happened in Samarkand and the Industrial Revolution took place in South India in Travancore. So yes, I think it would have happened.

1/2

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm In a non-fiction example, in Amitav Ghosh's "The Great Derangement" the author points out that many of the compontents of fossil fuel consumption like the use of oil and coal are actually much older than we think and were used heavily in places like Burma and China. So the point is that things could have gone differently with different circumstances.

2/2

@bookstodon

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm I can see what you are saying about Chinese printing. But movable type could have come out of India, where the letters for most of the alphabets are phonetic. And there have been constant religious reform movements in India. For example you would have the Bhakti movement in 15th / 16th century India, along with Sikhism. And there were plenty of philosophical movements within Indian philosophy that could have led to an Enlightenment-like movement.

1/3

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm I do get that the printing press and mass media did take place in a centuries long process of societal breakdown partially brought about by the Black Death, the rise of a middle class, and by the Age of Discovery. And in many ways, India and China had social problems that would have made social mobility very difficult. But there are other factors. For example, India was akin to Renaissance Italy - lots of small states in constant low-level warfare.

2/3

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm So, it might not have happened. But it might have happened in a different way. And that is the premise that Robinson explores in "The Years of Rice and Salt."

3/3

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm You are right - this is the original question! The interesting thing about "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" is the question of whether its religious foundation is essential. On one hand, capitalism has started in Europe but on the other hand, it has taken root everywhere with or without a foundation of Protestantism. Is it a general social mechanism that could have arisen without a specific religious context?

@religion @philosophy

1/2

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm @religion @philosophy My feeling is that it could have arisen. But I am curious to think about it a bit more.

Thanks for a nice, thought provoking conversation. Infinitely more interesting than work today.

2/2

seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Craft Project! I have a beloved Kobo Libra H2O. It has a proprietary case covered in a blue fake leather that began to flake. I took it off and for a while went with the cloth underneath. But that was beginning to fray and so I decided to fix it with my ninja bookmaking skills. Probably should have used a thinner cloth for the magnet but it looks beautiful!

@bookstodon

A red ebook cover opened up on its back with a vintage pattern laid flat on a cutting mat with grid lines.
A dirty closed fabric-covered ereader case on a textured fabric surface.
An open fabric ereader cover.

georgetakei , to Random
@georgetakei@universeodon.com avatar

May I suggest adding a comma and an exclamation point, too?

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@georgetakei Funemployment?

arielkroon , to AcademicChatter group
@arielkroon@wandering.shop avatar

Pretty excited that the Solarpunk Conference Journal is out! I have a paper in it called "Disrupting the present in a positive way: Solarpunk and learning from the past". I'm so happy to see it out, and amongst such fantastic company!

Click the link below to give it a read:

https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:62961/

@academicchatter

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@arielkroon @academicchatter Added to my reads for the weekend - congrats to both you and @xtinadlr!

seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Looking to start new series for the coming year (second poll). Can you help me out ? Because you can only have for poll topics on Mastodon, this is the second poll asking for recommendations. I'll take the top two from both polls and do a final four poll. Go to the comments for a link to the first poll.

Feel free to comment on your choice below.

Thanks - happy reading in 2024!

@bookstodon

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@bookstodon

And here is a link to the first poll:

https://mas.to/@seanbala/111677726246741299

seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Looking start a new series in the coming year. Can you help me out ? Because you can only have four poll topics on Mastodon, I'll be posting a second polls with a few more options below. I'll take the top two from both rounds and make final four poll! Go to the comments for a link to the second poll.

Feel free to comment on your choice below.

Thanks - happy reading in 2024!

@bookstodon

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@bookstodon Here is a link to the second poll:

https://mas.to/@seanbala/111677764510400682

nik , to bookstodon group
@nik@mstdn.games avatar

You ever get the feeling that you just can’t read fast enough? I’m usually happy to mosey along, but this book I’m reading right now—Weyward, by Emilia Hart—is so interesting I just want to devour it, inhale it, consume aaaaall of it at once.

https://app.thestorygraph.com/books/f332e5b5-48c5-4d55-b8b4-75b94ff1c90b

Sorry I gotta get back to my book; it’s too good. 👋🏽

@bookstodon

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@nik @bookstodon ADDED to Bookwyrm - thanks!

seanbala , to Random
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Wow , thanks for the help! I am genuinely surprised at how close the results were. It looks like the recommendation is to try out the ( and / or ) first - but only by 1.8% over ! Y'all must know that I've been getting frustrated with lately. I also appreciate the recommendations for other things to explore.

Now the question is Kbin or Lemmy? Or both? (any thoughts?)

https://mas.to/@seanbala/111541402571836032

seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Maybe a question for the hive -mind of !

@bookstodon

(Trying out quote posts on @IceCubesApp for the first time - hope it works!)

From: @Pheebsdw
https://wandering.shop/@Pheebsdw/111495903637658170

Pheebsdw , to Random
@Pheebsdw@wandering.shop avatar

Question: what books are really effective at body language or the different little beats in long stretches of dialogue? My current novel is dialogue-heavy, and I'm looking for more examples of how other writers make these scenes memorable.

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@Pheebsdw

Maybe a question for the hive -mind of !

@bookstodon

seanbala , to histodons group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

This was a truly masterful collection from @FediFollows

Thanks for all your hard work and making me hopeful about Mastodon and the wider Fediverse!

https://social.growyourown.services/@FediFollows/111450074338729847

@histodons

pluralistic , to Random
@pluralistic@mamot.fr avatar

"The Canadian Miracle" is a short story published today by ; it's set in the world of The Lost Cause, my forthcoming novel:

https://www.tor.com/2023/11/01/the-canadian-miracle-cory-doctorow/

I'm serializing it on my podcast! Here's part one:

https://craphound.com/news/2023/11/01/the-canadian-miracle-part-1/

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@pluralistic

The novel sounds fantastic - I'm defiantly adding it to my queue!

@bookstodon

LincolnRamirez , to bookstodon group
@LincolnRamirez@mstdn.social avatar

I loved A Wizard of Earthsea, will the second in the series - The Tombs of Atuan live up to expectations?

@bookstodon

https://conversationsaboutbooks5.wordpress.com/2023/10/27/the-tombs-of-atuan-ursula-k-le-guin/

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@LincolnRamirez @bookstodon

Hope you enjoy the series! Honestly, Atuan was probably my favorite of the series but I know I'm in a minority. Overall, I LOVED all the books and I wish I had read them as a kid.

MichaelEMann , to Random
@MichaelEMann@fediscience.org avatar

"Climate Doomism Disregards the Science -- Climate change is a highway, not a cliff, and we can still take the exit ramp" | Excerpt from , courtesy of @apsphysics: https://aps.org/publications/apsnews/202310/backpage.cfm

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@MichaelEMann @apsphysics

Thanks for sharing!

It feels like Doomism is more philosophy than science, rooted in a view of humanity as driven only by greed and baser impulses. We can't and won't stop because humanity is so warped, corporations so powerful, and societies so weak. It implies that human nature is inherently incapable saving itself.


seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@chidi_anagonye @MichaelEMann

It could be encouraged by those interested in slowing things down but I think that is from deeper in our societal and collective minds. I heard a podcast once from NPR's Throughline arguing modern Western thought can be broken down into whether you follow Hobbes or Rousseau's view of human nature: are humans naturally selfish and need strict authority or are we naturally cooperative and need complete freedom?

@philosophy

seanbala , to bookstodon group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Hey - Currently in India and purchasing to bring home. Planning to buy "The Priory of the Orange Tree" by Samantha Shannon. I've been wanting to read it but the library waiting list is 1,000 miles long. My question is whether it is worth also buying it's sequel "A Day of Fallen Night" as well. Both are CRAZY cheap but quite thick. I also don't usually purchase both books in a series before reading one. Thanks!

@bookstodon

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@carturo222 @bookstodon

Don't worry, I'm doing that, too!

So far, I've bought:

  • "My Name is Radha" by Manto

  • "The Moon has Blood Clots" by Rahul Pandita

  • "Never To Have Gone" by Akash Kapur

  • A non-fiction essay collection about Tibetans in Indian.

  • "Remnants of a Separation" by Aanchal Malhotra

Your point has definitely been on my mind - get things I can't get elsewhere. I'm going to research on some translated books from Indian languages before coming back to the US.

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@carturo222 @bookstodon

This also does not include the 150-200 books I've already got here that somehow have to get back to the US 😂

seanbala , to anthropology group
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

I read Guha's biography of Verrier Elwin years ago. Elwin was a British anthropologist who chose to become Indian (the first European after 1947) and who worked to lift up the Indigenous peoples of the Northeast. Highly recommended.

I'm saddened but not surprised that he would be caught up in the latest problems in the Northeast. When you can fix the present, you blame the past.

https://scroll.in/article/1054940/ramachandra-guha-a-fact-check-for-assam-cm-as-he-blames-a-long-dead-scholar-for-north-east-problems

@histodons @bookstodon @mastindia @anthropology

seanbala , to Random
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Some pages for - on

@BuddhismNow - online magazine

@ReadingFaithfully_org - online posts from tradition

@obu - AMAZING comprehensive FREE online courses on a variety of topics. I'm doing one on the words of the and I am loving it.

@zenartcenter - and

@dharma - Buddhist Resources

And some groups:

@dhamma

@buddhism

Please share any groups or people to follow in the comments!

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@TheDailyBurble @BuddhismNow @ReadingFaithfully_org @obu @zenartcenter @dharma @dhamma @buddhism

I can understand your concern. Many Buddhist schools are aware of the perception and imbalance. There are inequalities, as there are in many religions. People much more familiar with Buddhism than I can speak to this but I would note a a couple of things:

1/n

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@TheDailyBurble @BuddhismNow @ReadingFaithfully_org @obu @zenartcenter @dharma @dhamma @buddhism

In , special attention has been given to reviving female monasteries, and female monastics in exile have been receiving Geshe status (like a super PhD indicating the highest level of learning) the first time in millennia. This is a project very close to the the Dalai Lama's vision for the future of Tibetan Buddhism.

2/n

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@TheDailyBurble @BuddhismNow @ReadingFaithfully_org @obu @zenartcenter @dharma @dhamma @buddhism

Especially in the West, I think you see many communities led by female priests, and there are many gender-friendly zendos. One of my favorites is Domyo Burke who hosts the Zen Studies Podcast:

https://zenstudiespodcast.com

I'm not a Buddhist but I've learned so much from her.

3/n

seanbala OP ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@TheDailyBurble @BuddhismNow @ReadingFaithfully_org @obu @zenartcenter @dharma @dhamma @buddhism

And as @zenartcenter has noted, there are female Bodhisattvas within the tradition.

This is not to say that there are not problems. But I've always thought religious communities are so diverse. Consider - you can have hardcore Christian nationalists in the US and you can have radical peace churches like the Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish within the same tradition.

4/n

liztai , to Technology
@liztai@hachyderm.io avatar

I don't know about you, but Big seems determined to make everyone hate them.

I mean, they've been the best promoter of the so far. Keep it going, guys!

seanbala ,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@liztai What I'm finding so interesting is all of the sites seem to be imploding at once. Like they all lost their collective minds at the same time.

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