How to be an Academic in Five Easy Steps

1. At every opportunity, impress upon others the importance and relevance of your field of study. All other fields are inferior.

2. Remember that your field is connected to everything. It is a lens through which everything is to be viewed. Continuously look for ways in which you can connect your field to disparate events and ideas. (The conflict in Georgia? Caused by poor financial planning. Or a grave ethical problem. Whatever you're studying.)

3. Emphasize that your field is infinitely complex and far beyond the grasp of the average person. Practice saying this in the most condescending way possible: "I'd love to explain XYZ Theory, but the differential equations are a little over your head...I better not get into it."

4. Obviously, a PhD is necessary to even begin to understand. After all, if any schmuck could learn this stuff in a few minutes, then your PhD would be useless.

5. "It depends..." is the best answer to every question. The good academics stopped really answering questions many years ago.

The Home Stretch

We're gonna go ahead and turn on the seatbelt sign for a few minutes, folks. Looks like we're in personal blog mode for a while.
Today begins my senior year of college. I plan to have a real-life college degree in about 9 months.

These last two semesters will hopefully be filled with the most interesting work I've ever done.

I have been thinking about the idea of studying technology lately. I have been reading a lot of old books in the short break between summer and fall. Workbenches, Chinese blast furnaces, blacksmithing. There's so much cool old stuff out there. It makes the cool new stuff somehow even cooler. It also has given me a renewed appreciation for how hard things were for so long, like when I read about how a log cabin is built.*

This seems so important right now--to study the history of technology, and by extension the people & societies that created it. I am feeling more kinship with my more-traditionally-academic friends, who are pursuing Masters' in Biology, Sociology, and the like. I am not studying people in groups; I am studying technology, and that suits me.

At the same time, I'm still feeling the pull towards the shop. Any shop, at this point. The good news is that I got a call tonight informing me of a job that may be available for the semester in a machine shop on campus.

* It takes an enormous amount of work, but it's hard to summarize beyond that.

Blacksmithing classes in Charlottesville, VA

...apparently for college credit:

Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing
Piedmont Virginia Community College is holding classes in blacksmithing through the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing Studios. Visit them online to see the schedule and request a catalog.
Checking the PVCC website, it looks like 1.4 credits for a weekend "Beginning Blacksmithing" course.

These appear to be offered four weekends this fall. I've got them in my academic calendar on Google Calendar:

From "The Whole Earth Epilog": Books of Interest

Seeds, Spades, Hearths, and Herds by Carl O. Sauer
Planning for an Individual Water System, Am. Assoc. for Vocational Instructional Mat'ls
AAVIM has many others lised, including:
Selecting and Storing Fuels and Lubricants
Small Engines, Vols. I and II
Ball & Roller Bearings

Practical Farm Buildings, James S. Boyd
Good Food Naturally, John B. Harrison
The Apartment Gardener, Florence and Stanley Dworkin
Raise Vegetables Without a Garden, George and Katy Abraham
Shelter, Shelter pubs.
Architecture for the Poor, Hassan Fathy
Shelter in Africa, Paul Oliver
Master Builders of the Middle Ages, David Jacobs
The Elements of Structure, W. Morgan

Craftsmen of Necessity, Christofer and Charlotte Williams
Country Craft Tools, Percy W. Blandford
China at Work, Rudolf P. Hommel
The Sensuous Gadgeteer, Bill Abler
Making Do, Arthur M. Hill
The Foxfire Book, Eliot Wigginton
Crafts of the North American Indian, Richard C. Schneider
The Making of Tools, Alexander G. Weygers
Mountain People, Mountain Crafts; Elinor Lander Horwitz

Living Poor with Style, Ernest Callenbach
Climate Control for Low Income Housing
Putting Food By, Ruth Hertzberg, B. Vaughn, J. Greene
How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, Buwei Yang Chao
Good Cheap Food, Mirian Ungerer

Some Men are More Perfect Than Others, Merle Shain

Science and Civilization in China

Riding the Rails, Michael Mathers
The People's Guide to Mexico, Carl Franz
The Tool Book: A Peoples Car Repair Manual
The Complete Motorcycle Nomad, Roger Lovin
Roll Your Own, Pallidini & Dubin

Diet for a Small Planet, Lappé
Handmade, Langsner
600 More Things to Make, Cook and Phipps

More on Green Industry

I have expanded upon the earlier paper on green manufacturing, which was itself an introduction to a larger group project on that subject.

The topic now includes many other industrial sectors, so I renamed it accordingly.

The assignment was to write a well-researched paper on a subject of my choosing. I wrote it as a broad overview of the subject, like a white paper or a report for someone who wanted the "view from 10,000 ft."

Let's try this in Google Docs format, since there's a lot of footnotes and such:

Green Industry: A Contradiction
by Ethan Labowitz