Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Highed ed

Today's post is all related to higher education.

First, one of my favorite profs Bob Sutton has a take on the infamous tenure vote discussed in Inside Higher Ed. I've participated in some lively tenure votes, but nothing where branding was involved:
When Reader learned that Hodson planned to recommend against awarding tenure, he made the bizarre decision to expose scars on his arms where he had used a branding tool to burn the words “comfort” and “truth” into his flesh.
Shudder. There's also something that must give people with nonacademic jobs a good chuckle:
To exact his revenge, faculty were told, Reader imagined one day being able to schedule them for teaching on Friday afternoons, the report states. Reader has denied saying he was "out to get" anyone, and he's disputed the claim that he hoped to someday create undesirable schedules for those who voted against him.
Class on a Friday afternoon? Preposterous!! :)

A lighter topic: besides "Writing across the curriculum" a few colleges have tried mathematics across the curriculum. Dartmouth's website says
In the same way that all students should be able to write an essay in any subject they have studied, all students should be able to look at a problem or situation or experiment and ask suitable mathematical questions. They should then have some idea of how to seek the answers to their questions. This is inevitably tied to the reduction of a lot of anxiety about the use of mathematics among the students and, we cautiously point out, the faculty.
Mount Holyoke's classes sound great.

Two things on NPR today reminded me of previous posts: "Humans were born to run barefoot" (remember I already talked about the Vibram FiveFingers shoes), and "California budget woes hurt university system".

Finally, y'all should be listening to Grammar Girl.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Brain strangeness, electric cars

As usual, good stuff in IEEE Spectrum: how our current grid is not build to charge many electronic vehicles overnight, and a piece on "why the Chevy Volt will fizzle" (as part of the January issue's Winners & Losers). About the grid:
EVs need lots of power, especially when charged quickly. Utilities bet that most buyers will want a 240-volt charger that can "fill the tank" of a modest-size EV in 2 to 3 hours, four times as fast as a standard 120-V charger can. Such "AC Level 2" chargers, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers' emerging J1772 standard, draw up to 6.6 kilowatts. Turning one on is like adding up to three homes to a neighborhood, and that's with the air conditioning, lights, and laundry running.
Interesting college factoid: Of KIplinger's top ten best values among California public universities, only one has more male students than female students.

Also, the Sacramento Bee published a stunner: an examination of the top 120 college football programs showed that athletes were more likely than general applicants to receive special admission.

I've posted before about perception of time. The NYT's has a nice review "Where did the time go? Do not ask the brain" (info about Bob Levine's Geography of Time book here). You might also remember this previous post about the perception of time during crisis.

Speaking of brain-strangeness, we also have seating preferences in theaters based on dominant brain hemisphere. It doesn't have anything to do with brains, but you should probably also read about "The unfortunate sex life of the banana". You'll find out what bananas and navel oranges have in common.

Two final things: more from Doug Engelbart and the invention of the mouse. I talked about other Engelbart stuff back in 2005. Finally, something I didn't know existed until this week -- The Mid-Atlantic accent. That explains why people in old movies sound strange :)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

My mistake

I admit it, I was wrong, in the previous post I said "This guy ..." has a vegetarian crock pot blog. I was chromosomally wrong.

And now I really want to try her crock pot tamale recipe. We recently lamented the lack of holiday tamales this year, and this looks like a good solution. Although I might use fake pork.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Starting 2010

This is additional 2009 wrap-up, but I'm too late for that. Here's more:
Always good to see what Bruce Schneier is thinking about "TSA Absurdity and the Need for Resilience". This time, in The Atlantic.
Obsolete learning technologies
Including a link to 21 technologies that became obsolete in the 2000s.
The serendipity of Google Streetview
Lots of people are finding interesting things on streetview, so I looked around Fresno and found these folks downtime. OK, not very interesting.
Cool cities
There more to it than attracting knowledge workers, see "Attracting "Knowledge" Workers is a Bad Strategy".
A provocative piece on "Unpacking the Central Valley “dust bowl” lies". You can also watch the recent 60 minutes segment.
Slow cookin'
This guy "started an experimental crock pot based vegetarian lifestyle in September 2009" and blogs about it daily, well almost.