Been a bit of a week. Returned to Ottawa after a few (pretty full, heavy) weeks away, only for all the stress to dump on me and trigger a sick reaction (life happened, in other words, h/t Tantek Çelik for the link). My body telling me to rest more, even if I didn’t realize it at first—though I’m glad T did. It’s fitting that I read Mandy Brown’s latest, “Reentry”, right after asking for a bit more time to rest, for which I’m grateful to my new team for so graciously accommodating. So here we are, resting—reading, writing, and whatever else comes up (tending to the body’s needs, inseparable from those of the mind, as Winston Hearn’s recent year-end reflection reminded me).
And now for a flood of links:
- Susan Jean Robertson on being thoughtful about reading and favourite makes from 2022. (T and I got ourselves a sewing machine for Christmas, so the latter is particularly neat to see.)
- Ellen Pasternack captures so succinctly the problem I’ve long lived with statistics (and quant methods generally): the enormous gap between intro classes and diving any deeper into the concepts and techniques. Also offers some interesting ideas for how academic units can better support their researchers.
- Two Canadian writers dove into federal government contracting this week, Paul Wells and Justin Ling, following a Radio-Canada report similar in its findings to a Globe and Mail report on McKinsey. It’s all worth reading, if you care about questions like state capacity or whatever we call it—the ability for government to function. McKinsey is in the spotlight here, due to the timing of a trend in contracts with the firm and the firm’s being often in the headlines, but pick any of the Big Four and you’ll find a similar story (though with perhaps a different arc): Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC. Having written about this a few times last year (“Playing for team public”, “Assurance”), I care deeply—and am glad to see journalists and others digging into this.
- Appreciated Wesley Wark’s surfacing of an easily forgotten principle of the federal access to information system: it was never supposed to be the only way that records became public. I’d add a reference to s.2(3) of the act, which reads: “This Act is also intended to complement and not replace existing procedures for access to government information and is not intended to limit in any way access to the type of government information that is normally available to the general public.” The principle was written into the legislation from the start!
- Much of my reading—and linking—these days is to either personal sites or Substack newsletters (as with four of the links above). Patrick McKenzie (patio11) dove into the paid newsletter economy.
- Rach Smith wrote about an amazing regular day—and what made it possible, and why that’s not always possible.
Yes, things have been rough—but today it’s sunny, the sky is crisp blue, and it’s time to be out there. All the best for the week ahead!