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Brian Sarnacki Posts

Blockchain Revolution

The big question facing technology following the huge changes brought by the expansion of the internet is what will be the “Next Big Thing”? The Blockchain Revolution seemed like a good juxtaposition to the open hardware revolution detailed in Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (My Review Here). The Tapscotts make the problem the Blockchain Revolution will address clear: there are too many middle men collecting and exposing our personal data. Why expose all our data when only some is needed? Why have a middle man determine our credibility when we can work one-on-one with another person? Blockchains (Bitcoin being the… Read Blockchain Revolution

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Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in just Five Days

I was excited to read Sprint. It promised “How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days.” It wasn’t a big problem, but we recently got a big slobbery dog who makes us change the water frequently. I wanted a better solution on how to save some of this water. It might not be a big problem but I thought I’d use this as a way to follow along. My assumptions were wrong. Really wrong. However, the book still turned out to be good. Really good. The target isn’t a lone inventor (though anyone can learn… Read Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in just Five Days

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BattleBots

Nerdy. Cheesy. Fun. That’s essentially all you need to know about the first episode of this year’s BattleBots. I missed it live so watched it on ABC’s website. The first 10 minutes is full of completely cheesy build up, but as the episode progresses the terrible poetry of introductions gets more humorous with each battle. An entry of twin robots named Gemini got introduced as: “Your horoscope reads: you’re about to die. It’s the real zodiac killer…” My favorite though was “The Roomba of Doomba.” But, the 3 minutes of action in each round is surprisingly awesome. Flames and clashing… Read BattleBots

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Fish!

We were in line at Half-Priced Books and I couldn’t find the generically titled “Fish” on my phone at the library. We’ll call it an impulse buy. Only two dollars and it was Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller. A one-day read, Fish! was a cheesy but interesting read – worth the two dollars for a corporate mixture of mindfulness and customer service. The book is a “parable” that demonstrates the authors’ training philosophy based on the Pike Place Fish Market. The fictional story is cheesy, but the format made the book quite digestible. It recounts the four principles behind the… Read Fish!

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Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

In Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, Chris Anderson presents a future of inventor-entrepreneurs spearheading the return of manufacturing to the United States. Customizable goods made by desktop fabricators like 3D printers sold globally on the Internet allow artisan manufacturers to occupy a space between mass produced oversees goods and specialty handmade items. Though his historical comparisons are often less than inspiring, his knowledge of the present’s maker culture and manufacturing economy make his book worth the read. Reading as someone who has spent many years in a graduate history program, my face contorted with skepticism at many of his attempts… Read Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

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Changes

After almost a year of no posts (and no contact with my advisor), it’s time my blog catches up with my new post-academic life. So I’m embarking on a new blogging adventure. I’m diving into a variety of things like Maker culture, design, coding, gardening, home improvement, reading! We’ll see where it goes… Me leaving academia via GIPHY

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The Office Space Myth

During the first weekend of the Humanities Without Walls pre-doctoral workshop, I caught the last half of Office Space on television. The fear of becoming a corporate drone is one many academics likely identify with. But the choice is not between Initech and academia. (Even if it were a choice between only those two options, academia has its own litany of issues — just check out the academic equivalent of Office Space, Tenure). One of the most important things that the HWW workshop achieved was demonstrating the wide array of culturally and intellectually vibrant positions accessible to doctoral students. The… Read The Office Space Myth

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Who’s Afraid of History?

Contemporary US society. (That’s who) The College Board revised the AP history exam to better reflect actual historical knowledge and scholarship. Manufactured political outrage convinced them to water it down with nationalism. From NPR: For example, in the 2014 version Europeans “helped increase the intensity and destructiveness of American Indian warfare.” Now it says simply that the Europeans’ introduction of guns and alcohol “stimulated changes” in Native communities. People are deeply uncomfortable with the past. Just ask Ben Affleck. He tried to cover the fact that he is the descendant of slaveholders (and then got Streisand-ed). I’ve started doing some… Read Who’s Afraid of History?

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It’s a Process

Somewhat recently, I had a professor tell me to think of the (academic) job market as a three to five year process. I continued smiling but immediately thought about how terrible the (academic) job market is. In part, because it actually is a multi-year process. You dip your toe in as an ABD and apply for a few good fits. The next year, you apply for everything out of complete panic. Maybe you get a postdoc or Visiting Assistant Professorship and keep applying. After that, maybe you’re part of the lucky half that gets a tenure-track job. Otherwise, you keep… Read It’s a Process

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It’s what you do that matters

Earlier in the week during the Humanities Without Walls workshop, we spent a whole day learning how to “pitch” ourselves. This kind of self-promotion often makes academics uneasy as “selling” yourself can feel awfully close to selling out. The fact is (as many people pointed out) academics constantly pitch themselves and their work in application letters, dissertation proposals, grant applications, and many other situations. There is a big difference between academic and non-academic pitching, however. When pitching in academia, it’s who you are and where you are from. When pitching outside of academia, it’s what you do. For the world… Read It’s what you do that matters

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