Tag Archives: technical communication

Deepwater and risk creep

Saving this great Slate article about Deepwater Horizon (and the recently released movie) for later …

“The blowout of BP’s Macondo Prospect well was a case study in how a series of small mistakes and misjudgments, when not caught in time, can snowball into catastrophe.”

“The reality is that both BP and Transocean had grown dangerously overconfident and were pushing too close to the edge. Perhaps overly impressed by the team’s good safety record, federal regulators routinely rubber-stamped the BP/Transocean proposals. Moreover, despite claims to the contrary, none of the drilling companies in the Gulf had a workable scheme to cope with a massive oil spill. The entire industry had succumbed to risk creep: Over the decades, drillers gradually moved into deeper waters and sunk wells that involved much greater internal pressures and hazards. The technologies and regulations originally developed for shallow waters were updated in response, but not to a degree commensurate with the growing risks. So, even as drillers were getting more proficient, disaster was becoming more, not less, likely.”

Advertisements

Notes on Isaac West’s Transforming Citizenships, NYUP, 2014.

West offers several case studies of how transgender articulations of law can change our perspectives. He also offers “performative repertoire” as a concept to get beyond acontextual legal rhetorics (see more below). Following are selected quotations and contextualizing notes.

“Academic critique that is limited to official state texts, including legislative debates, statutes, and court opinions, embraces an impoverished sense of the rhetoricity of citizenship and its corresponding agencies” (p. 17)

“an exclusive focus on litigation does not provide an accurate picture of legal subjectivities” (p. 20)

“contextualized critiques of articulations of citizenship are necessary correctives for conceptualizing the law not as an external force acting on culture, but rather as an actually existing set of cultural effectivities” (p. 21)

“agency must be understood as a ‘performative repertoire,’ or as embodied practices enabled by and negotiated through the logics of subjective recognition” (p. 39)

Continue reading

Notes on Wendy Mitchinson’s Body Failure: Medical Views of Women, 1900-1950. University of Toronto Press, 2013.

Mitchinson chronicles the history of how the male body was understood as normal and the female body was understood as abnormal, weak, prone to breakdown in the first half of the twentieth century in Canada. What follows are selected quotations and some contextualizing notes.

The first chapter on “Woman’s Place” takes up historical arguments based in medicine and health (and, implicitly, reproductive capacity and fertility) about women’s employment, eating habits, exercise, fashion. The author points out that female sexual organs are naturally better protected than male sexual organs, and yet physicians only seemed to express concern over female fertility in most of these areas.

“I see medicine as a bedrock of societal norms, sometimes in their creation and more often in their maintenance” (p. 8).

Continue reading

Disasters and Social Media

Sent to me by a friend and way too cool not to re-post:

http://socialmediatoday.com/mike-allton/1514366/can-social-media-help-during-disasters

Infographic depicting how social media are used during/after disasters

Infographic depicting how social media are used during/after disasters

From Code.org: What Most Schools Don’t Teach

New article!

I’m very excited that an article a long time in the works has just been published in TCQ! Read “Transcultural Risk Communication on Dauphin Island: An Analysis of Ironically Located Responses to the Deepwater Horizon Disaster” here: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/X8YWCwC3gSIvjmATCxiJ/full

The Gender Gap in Publishing

Jennifer Jacquet, now a clinical assistant professor in environmental sciences at NYU, made the suggestion that kicked off the gender project, which she then worked on. The results showed that "things are getting better for women in academia," she says.

A re-post from the Chronicle. (The photo at left is from the Chronicle as well.) This article discusses  “the largest analysis ever done of academic articles by gender, reaching across hundreds of years and hundreds of fields.” Researchers looked at a data sample that stretched across 345 years and found that 22 percent of authors were female. It also examined other criteria, such as the frequency of women being listed as first author and how publishing connects to getting jobs. Go the full article by clicking this link: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Hard-Numbers-Behind/135236/?cid=gs&utm_source=gs&utm_medium=en