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August 25, 2008 - 10:15pm
OK, so it's badly written, and the key section (at least from my perspective) is entirely ungrammatical, but McPaper recently published an important article about "thinking green". It seems like the American Psychological Association has determined that (1) being outside can make us happy, (2) being made to feel guilty can drive us into denial, and (3) we're even more likely to go into denial if an "authority" says it's OK to do so.
August 24, 2008 - 8:55pm
We're trying to raise The Girl to be a strong and independent woman, which, given her lineage, is a bit like pushing an open door. But she's four, and sometimes she has a little trouble finding the sweet spot between 'registering an objection' and 'being an insufferable diva.' Last week, towards the end of an extended tug-of-war between TG and The Wife: TW (exasperated): TG, you're being mean and bratty. TG: I'm not mean! (storms off, downstairs) (a few minutes later, overheard from upstairs)
August 22, 2008 - 5:03am
I’ve just had two weeks of faculty orientation activities and I am so tired I can’t see straight. Between the introductions and receptions and workshops on balancing scholarship and pedagogy, I have had little time to chip away at these little things known as syllabi. Classes start next week. I had a plan to get everything done. It has not been altogether successful. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love all the orienting I have had the luxury of enjoying lately – it’s just the balancing thing already seems to be getting the best of me.
August 21, 2008 - 2:07pm
Our friend Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin says there are three kinds of exhaustion: “Exhaustion caused by muscular fatigue, exhaustion caused by overtaxing the brain, and exhaustion caused by amorous excess.”
August 21, 2008 - 4:59am
Yesterday I met with the new chair of my department to tie up loose ends, hand over some paperwork, and give him whatever advice I could. I felt a bit like I do when I leave town and my husband takes care of our daughter: part of me hopes it goes well, but a selfish part of me hopes something goes wrong so he will see how hard it is. Like parenting, it is hard to really prepare someone for what’s involved in chairing a department. Neither endeavor looks that taxing on paper.
August 21, 2008 - 4:57am
With classes starting any minute now – I can see the dorsal fin in the water – the folks in Student Services are working full-tilt. They're trying to get everybody registered, to deal with all the financial aid paperwork, and to get all the details under control before the start of classes. That's fairly standard. What I didn't really appreciate until a passing comment today was how much of the late crush is due to the 'safety school' phenomenon.
August 20, 2008 - 7:37pm
When I think about information, I usually think about it at rest. Kind of like, when I think about water, the image of a lake or an ocean pops into mind before the image of a river. Maybe that's largely a function of where I've lived, but it's also about how many of us on the wonky side learn and think -- combining and recombining bits of data from various sources, trying to form a comprehensive understanding. "Information", then, is the material of which a stable (if only temporarily) understanding is formed.
August 19, 2008 - 9:56pm
Dear Editors of Money, This one has been making the rounds on campus. The September issue of Money magazine features an article by Penelope Wang entitled "Is College Still Worth the Price?" (I haven't been able to find it online.) It features the obligatory references to Vassar, climbing walls, arms races, the Chivas Regal effect, and superstar professors. It's intended to motivate parents to subject the pricey colleges and universities to cost-benefit analyses, and it could easily have been written ten years ago. But it also contains a memorable howler:
August 19, 2008 - 5:10pm
OK, so it's not technically a secret. But, if your college or university is located in (or even somewhat near) the northeast quadrant of the USA, it could be the best higher education sustainability conference you've never heard of. The Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium puts on a two-day conference every October. This year's conference is at Princeton, on October 27-28. (The schedule for both days is pretty full, so you might want to travel on the 26th and/or the 29th.)

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