Saturday, July 30, 2011

Espionage, and cats

Did you see the Nat Geo Wild documentary on our local Cat House on the Kings? Great place to adopt a pet. Here's some good pictures and a video overview:

and here's an excerpt about a kitten whose mother was fed only ramen noodles:

Anyway, changing the subject completely, on to spying. I've been thinking a lot about the role of faculty in the age of free content (Kahn, MIT, Stanford, Harvard ...). Large lectures are used as examples of disfunctional teaching and learning. However, I had some great large lectures at UCSB. Probably the largest was lower division poly sci, taught in lecture of about 400 students. In addition to the lecture, we met once a week with our TA in section (aka "tutorial") with about 15 other students. One of the reason I liked the large poly sci lectures so much was the instructor, David Wise, is an expert on the CIA and used to tell stories about how he and JFK would go driving in a convertable and talk about politics. Wise is interviewed a lot, in fact I saw him this week a couple of times since his latest book is on the Chinese-USA spy relationship. Here he is on this week's Charlie Rose, and a link to his books.

Another UCSB large-lecturer who impressed me was "public" historian Robert L. Kelley. Class (Hist 17, I think), was so interesting I don't remember taking any notes, and at the end of the quarter we gave him a huge round of applause. Here's what some UCB profs do at their last lectures.