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July 26, 2010 - 6:00pm
Not too long ago, I had my car repaired. It's got about 100K miles on it and, being a GM product, the fuel sending unit failed. That's the moderately complex doohickey that both pumps fuel from the tank and tells you how much fuel remains. The "how much fuel remains" part had gone entirely bonkers (so my gas gauge needle was swinging randomly left and right), and at that mileage it made sense to replace the whole assembly even though only one little part of it had failed.
July 26, 2010 - 9:00am
Recently, Frau R. and I went on vacation, and stayed in a chain hotel (not my favorite choice, but at least most chains don't operate like big-box retailers, they're independent operators signing on for branding clout). After a day or two, my dame joined us. The way things worked out, the Mrs. and I got a free room update, but my dame didn't. When I compared the two rooms, there wasn't a lot of difference. The upgraded room was furnished a little more stylishly (I think -- I'm no expert in these things), but the basic room was actually more functional. And notably more efficient.
July 25, 2010 - 9:30pm
When William Julius Wilson wrote When Work Disappears in 1996, he wasn’t saying that work was actually disappearing. He was saying that work as urban poor folks had known it had been forever changed – factory jobs with benefits had all but disappeared. Today, new positions at factories receive thousands of applications and people are willing to move their families halfway across the country for a full-time job with health insurance. I grew up in a GM family in Flint, Michigan. My father worked night shifts on the line.
July 25, 2010 - 9:19pm
What if the real purpose of education should be to prepare our brains to function well throughout our lifespan? What if our explicit goals shift from creating brains that can operate well in the economy (or whatever other institutional missions we promote), to the goal of fostering cognitive reserves? What if promoting healthy brains was the best mechanism for creating productive citizens, and all the other values we believe in as educators and educational institutions were best served in service of the brain?
July 25, 2010 - 3:56pm
As noted here, I had an idyllic vacation last week. I felt nourished and even transformed by it—as sometimes happens with distance and a change of scene, I thought I had found the key to some difficult professional and personal issues that had been plaguing me. Perspective is all, I decided. I’d allowed myself to become stressed out and overwhelmed by things that, in the long run, were unimportant.
July 22, 2010 - 9:23pm
I’m at that tipping point in the summer when I’m thinking about what I want to do to revamp the first term seminar I’ll be teaching in the fall, but telling myself to put it off until August so I can get some writing done.
July 22, 2010 - 9:13pm
This prediction can't be correct. If the campus data center is really going to suffer the same fate as the computer lab by 2020 then something is really strange with our current reality. We hear everyday about how the data center is growing faster than we keep up. Not enough power. Not enough cooling. Not enough storage. We are virtualizing, expanding and collocating. It is never enough.  
July 22, 2010 - 8:58pm
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2009 Career Services Benchmark Survey for Four-Year Colleges and Universities lists career counseling as the number one service offered by collegiate career centers. Teaching students how to conduct a job search is a crucial aspect of the career counseling process.
July 22, 2010 - 8:09pm
My scholarly background is in a social science discipline, not math. I have no particular pet theory on the right and proper way to teach math. Frankly, if someone convinced me that counting sheep were the most effective way to do it, I’d gladly requisition a flock or two and tell the soccer team to practice someplace else.

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