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April 15, 2012
The worries began as soon as the economic news was released.  After three months of strong economic growth, the March figures just recently announced were a major disappointment.  The gain in March was a modest 120,000 jobs, half of what the gains were from December through February.  And of course as soon as the statistics were announced, both the economic doubters as well as the political opponents of the Obama administration began to question the strength of the recovery. For me, one month of bad news doesn’t represent the start of a new recession just as one month of good news doesn’t represent a vibrant recovery. 
April 15, 2012
I hail from a long line of disowners. My maternal grandfather's Irish Catholic family shunned my grandparents after their marriage, because my grandmother was a Southern Baptist heathen. My father's family, also Irish Catholic, demanded that my mother convert so that my parents could be married in a "proper" ceremony, with my father's brother, Father Kevin, officiating.
April 14, 2012
A course evaluation on Udacity's CS101. Of course, typically if you drop a class, you don't get to complete course evaluations, and I didn't actually finish the class. But in the case of these free online classes, I'd argue that my thoughts still do count -- after all, how can we help make sure that even if there's no credit offered and no tuition fees assessed, that we're supporting learners all the way through the material.
April 12, 2012
Recently, I had a conversation around the lunch table with several of my colleagues. The discussion turned to the requirement to take pedagogical courses, now part of the criteria for getting an academic job at my university. Were these courses useful or just necessary? Do they teach something relevant for improving one’s teaching? As good scientists, we stopped discussing the courses and focused thereon on the definition of “teaching” or, more specifically, on what “good teaching” should stand for. Of the many things we discussed during that lunch, the idea of the outdated lecture stayed with me, I decided to dedicate this post to a critique of this method of teaching.
April 12, 2012
Microryza launches its official beta today. It's a crowdfunding platform for scientific research with an emphasis on social learning and the scientific process -- not just on outcomes or "a product."
April 12, 2012
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about using Twitter as way to develop an academic identity. Mike M. asked me about the large amount of people who I follow and how I go about "filtering out the noise." That question inspired this post because I realized that, while I spend a lot of time discussing how to engage with various social media sites, I rarely talk about when and why I intentionally disengage with them.  
April 12, 2012
Not finals, not Spring (although it’s related), not baseball; it’s HOCKEY PLAYOFFS! Not finals, not Spring (although it’s related), not baseball; it’s HOCKEY PLAYOFFS! 
April 12, 2012
Over the last two years I've made the point numerous times here that world university rankings have become normalized on an annual cycle, and function as data acquisition mechanisms to drill deep into universities but in a way that encourages (seduces?) universities to provide the data for free.
April 12, 2012
Thanks to my daughter and her friends, I have been exposed to the computer game “Angry Birds.” In it, some nasty pigs try to steal the eggs of a group of birds. These birds then fight back by flinging themselves (with our help) in an attempt to destroy the pigs, who sit laughing at the whole matter. I am most intrigued by the fact that much of what I learned in my first college physics class can be put to use to progress through the game.
April 12, 2012
First, let me respond to David's request by posting a digital version of the hand-drawn sketch which is the working version of my current model of sustainability:

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