Mobile Gaming: Are You Really Having Fun?

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Smartphones are pretty amazing. Seriously, I only just got one a few months ago after having the same dumb phone for 5 years, and it has changed my life. And by “changed my life” I mean “it’s made me waste a whole bunch of time.” Some of this time is wasted on YikYak, some is wasted watching Whose Line clips on the toilet, and some is wasted swiping right on every single human being on Tinder. But all of those pale in comparison to the time I’ve wasted playing games on my phone. As we all know, the gaming and smartphone landscape has been transformed by the emergence of mobile games, but why are these games so popular? No doubt their price, easy access, and simple play mechanics–but I would argue that there is one more element not usually considered. These games trick us into thinking we enjoy them.

Quite an accusation, right? Trust me, I can back it up. I spent this semester helping Prof.…

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How I Met Your Victorian Society

How I Met Your Mother

I’ve been taking a Victorian Sexualities class this semester. And throughout I’ve been surprised by the connections between Victorian society and our present-day society. For example, both involve radical changes in technology, concern over family values and morality, and a large amount of coded talk about sex. Although a lot has changed and the conversations differ in content, many of the anxieties of the Victorian era, especially around sexuality and gender, seem to pop up today. One of the places where I was surprised to find myself suddenly thinking about the Victorians was the TV show How I Met Your Mother, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

The unmarried woman was a big concern for the Victorians. The growing number of single women in Britain was in conflict with the traditional role of women as wife and the mechanisms of inheritance and property. William Rathbone Greg wrote “Why are Women Redundant?” in 1862 to address this problem. He believed that it was in women’s nature to marry, so that if they weren’t marrying, it was for unnatural reasons: bad temperament, desire for work, and a lack of eligible men.…

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Interview with Leigh Arsenault

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Leigh Arsenault is the Program Manager for Federal and State Policy at the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, where she oversees the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Before joining Aspen, Leigh served as a Senior Policy Advisor for higher education at the U.S. Department of Education. She also worked as National Youth Vote Director and National Policy Coordinator for Obama for America for the 2008 and 2012 elections, respectively.

THEO: Okay! So I’m going to pull up you’re LinkedIn profile.

LEIGH: Oh jeez, so you’ve been doing research!

THEO: Yes, I came prepared. . . .Okay, so you worked on the Obama campaign. How was that?

LEIGH: It was an incredible experience! It was my first job right out of college so I actually moved to New Hampshire when President Obama announced in 2007 that he was going to run. I worked the primaries as a campus organizer, so I moved to colleges across the state to organize student chapters of what was then called Students for Barack Obama.…

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The Dick Van Dyke Show

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The Dick Van Dyke Show can be seen as one of the first sitcoms that resembles our modern conception of the genre. The show strayed from its predecessors, with Mary Tyler Moore’s spunky take on the housewife role and a new mobility evoked between home and work. At the same time, The Dick Van Dyke Show has roots in the older Vaudeville-variety style of the 1950s. This in-between existence is perfectly exemplified in the season one episode “Oh How We Met the Night We Danced.” The popularity of this episode most likely stems from Van Dyke and Moore’s incredible comedic and dancing talent, both of which were hallmarks of the show. However, this seemingly simple episode reveals much about the historical, political, and industrial contexts of the series.

One of the most popular episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, “Oh How We Met the Night We Danced” reveals how Rob and Laura Petrie, the protagonist couple, first fell in love.…

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