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February 3, 2010 - 10:05pm
A few years ago I mentioned my bewilderment at why the failure of the push to adopt the metric system in the United States in the 70's hasn't received more scholarly attention. I remember teachers earnestly walking us through the various units -- centimeters, kilograms, celsius degrees, etc. -- to prepare us for the Big Change. Obviously, with a few isolated exceptions, it didn't happen.
February 3, 2010 - 10:02pm
Today, I got lucky.It's usually better to be lucky than good (a poker player told me that one). It's always better to be lucky than smart (pure intelligence, if there is such a thing, doesn't correlate particularly well with good outcomes -- luck, if there is such a thing, does). So today must be one of my better days.
February 3, 2010 - 9:20pm
Is the debate we are having about copyright and online streaming of course video (behind a password through the LMS) lagging behind new methods of teaching? How do we situate the discussion within the context of wanting our students to have full, unrestricted access to the assigned class videos source files so that they can create their own new works of scholarship via a mashup?
February 3, 2010 - 8:54am
When I was pregnant with my daughter and unsure what was going to happen to my academic career, a woman I admire, a full-time mom/scientist, told me that she thought of her life in terms of five-year blocks. These blocks corresponded loosely with her children’s developmental stages, and with each subsequent phase she was able to take on different projects or increase the amount of time she devoted to her own interests.
February 2, 2010 - 9:48pm
Too many of the arguments I've read and heard for hiring more full-time faculty rely on moralistic appeals. The idea seems to boil down to a simpleminded equation of "market" with "bad" and "tradition" with "good." Moralistic arguments don't work because they solve the wrong problem. But there's a perfectly reasonable market-based argument for hiring full-time faculty right now: buy low, sell high. Great people have never been as undervalued as they are now; this is an unprecedented hiring opportunity.
February 2, 2010 - 9:42pm
Even my worst days as a learning technologist beat the crap out of my best days in most of the jobs I've had. I've worked food service (Dunkin Donuts), and I've worked retail (ladies clothing - don't ask), and trust me that working in academic technology is a choice gig. Truth be told, I was terrible at any job that required a cash register. If you've ever worked behind coffee counter then you will always, and I mean always, leave money in the tip jar.
February 2, 2010 - 9:34pm
One of the questions that Greenback students often pose about carbon dioxide emissions runs along the lines of, "well, if there's more CO2, isn't that good for plants? And aren't plants good for the environment?"
February 1, 2010 - 10:34pm
A dispirited correspondent writes:
February 1, 2010 - 9:51pm
Today was a snow day of sorts and tomorrow's another one, so I'm feeling a bit behind. I've been thinking, though, about what I've learned so far this semester — here's a start:1) Startitis doesn't work when you make a big mistake near the beginning of a project but don’t notice it until the end. Ask me how I know this.
February 1, 2010 - 9:43pm
Grand Nannie is 92. She wants to be able to speak to her computer to have it do three things: 1) Transfer her paper rolodex into the computer (by speaking) and then be able to retrieve the names (by voice) so she can dictate a letter.2) Dictate letters.3) Look at the news.

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