Author: M.J. Ryder

About M.J. Ryder

Writer, academic and digital communications professional.

It could be time to start thinking about a cybernetic Bill of Rights

Like it or loathe it, the robot revolution is now well underway and the futures described by writers such as Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl and Philip K. Dick are fast turning from science fiction into science fact. But should robots have rights? And will humanity ever reach a point where human and machine are treated the same?

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The highs and lows of academic life

Academic life has many highs and lows.

For the past few weeks I’ve been knee-deep in marking across several different modules as I struggle to make myself more ‘employable’ as an academic, while trying to earn enough money to keep a roof over my head. In the last two weeks I have fought my way through:

  • 80 x 1,500-word essays in Marketing 101
  • 12 x 1,500-word essays in English 100
  • 146 exam papers of 500–1,000 words in Marketing 222

All in all, this comes in at around 211,000 words – or two average-length novels.

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PhD update – the end is in sight!

It’s 8:21am. I’ve been sitting at my desk now since a little after 6am, working feverishly on amendments to a journal article while also planning out thesis amendments, my next blog series, and ideas for the In The Zone podcast. I’m also trying to sort out my work situation for next year and scour the internet for somewhere to live. Oh, and I’m also organising a conference.

Just another day in the life of an academic hermit!

But it’s not all bad. The end is now well and truly in sight. I’ve met my second supervisor and updated my thesis with his suggestions, and now all that remains is to check that he is happy with my changes and cut out about 400 words to bring my total under the 80,000 word maximum required by my department. Though 400 words may not sound like a lot, this will still take quite a lot of work as I’ve already honed down a lot of my content to the bare minimum wordage where possible.

This may be hard to believe, but the main challenge with a humanities thesis is not reaching the word-count, but cutting down your content to fit within the maximum limit. Nearly there though, and not too long to go until I submit!

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Dwayne Johnson and the myth of hard work

Everywhere you look these days, people are ‘working hard’ on social media, telling us about their lives, their jobs, their children and all the many things they do to fill up their time. And when they’re not working hard, they’re spending their time telling us about how hard they’re working, or how much they’ve deserved the break they’ve given themselves from all the hard work.

But what really is work, and why do we do it? Is there even such a thing as working too hard?

I can’t say that I have all of the answers at this point, but I do have several thoughts…

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