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June 1, 2008
We had to get out of Dodge this weekend for a whole series of reasons, so my Mom invited us to take the kids on a Duck tour of Nearby Big City.
May 31, 2008
OK, so it's not particularly related to higher ed, but I have to remark on the White House's belated release of a report to the effect that global warming is real, and human activity is substantially responsible. There are no news-worthy facts or conclusions in it, but this isn't an administration that reaches conclusions based on facts, nor that is comfortable with the idea of "news" as separate from propaganda.
May 30, 2008
Solving the sustainability problem is going to require using new technologies, in the broadest sense of that term. ("Technology" simply being the method by which you do something -- high-tech, low-tech or otherwise.) Over the next few decades, advanced societies will need to go through another major technology shift.
May 29, 2008
Wikipedia states: In general usage, complexity often tends to be used to characterize something with many parts in intricate arrangement. Random House, Webster’s and Dictionary.com all state similar definitions of complexity and intricacy as “maze-like”, “akin to a labyrinth” and “having many interrelated parts or facets; entangled or involved.” An article in the 2008 Encyclopedia Britannica calls the study of complexity “exciting and evolving.” If that doesn’t describe the giddy world of teaching and mothering – I don’t know what else would.
May 29, 2008
A new correspondent writes:I graduated from (Elite SLAC) two years ago as an English major with a concentration in creative writing, and I am now very interested in becoming a community college English teacher.
May 29, 2008
How do we get American students out of the basement of the ivory tower?You remember the recent Atlantic magazine article, In the Basement of the Ivory Tower, whose author, an English professor at a university of last resort, argues that we've got to stop admitting to college people who simply cannot make it in that setting, who will not graduate, who will flunk and flunk again required courses like English composition.
May 29, 2008
Several of the events at the lit festival I went to last weekend convened in a narrow room above a karaoke bar, and panelists sat on barstools behind the service counter. Should I say that we dispensed shots of strong advice?
May 29, 2008
This morning's newspaper features an Associated Press article about a Brookings Institution ranking of the 100 largest US cities, based on per capita carbon emissions. The worst of the bunch is said to be Lexington, KY, with 3.46 tons per person as of 2005.My first reaction was total dismay. The article, the headline, and the accompanying chart all use the term "carbon footprint", and if we could get the average carbon footprint per US citizen down to 3.46 tons, we'd be in pretty good shape. The actual carbon footprint for an average US resident is on the order of 20 tons.
May 29, 2008
Reason #456 we need to hire the next generation of administrators, from an actual conversation I had this week with somebody very highly placed:Bigwig: "Of course, there'll be golf. You do play golf, don't you?"DD (horrified): "Oh, God, no."(pause)Bigwig: "Oh."Apparently, I didn't get the memo saying that it's still 1973. It must have been posted by the water cooler, which I've also never actually seen in an office. It's probably next to the typing pool.
May 29, 2008
Let me clear up any misconception. I am a tenured faculty member at a celebrated liberal arts institution who will soon come up for promotion to full professor.

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