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Showing posts with label Random Bits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Random Bits. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fly Away, Little One. Be Free!

It's been a good couple of days:
  • Yesterday, we just got a very good sized check from the IRS (we'd let some things slide when the Unknown Son was sick, and finally got things straightened out a few months ago.
  • about a half-hour ago, I submitted a paper to a journal (not a top-tier one, but a decent one). It's been about 4 years since we started it. So now, it's off my desk.
  • I just got an email that my new 43-inch flat-panel TV is available for pickup from Best Buy.
All in all, a nice way to close out the year. Now I just have to get the TV set up in time to watch the Lesnar/Overeem MMA fight on Friday.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

My Picture With Bill Walton

I just got back from the R.I.S.E. conference in Dayton. There were some pretty good sessions, and my students got a lot out of it (as usual). The highlight for me was hearing Bill Walton (the "World's Tallest Grateful Dead Fan") speak -- I grew up a Boston Celtics fan, and he closed his career (as the quintessential Sixth Man) with them.

He was an exceptional speaker - since he's only 5 years older than me, his illustrations and anecdotes were a real trip down memory lane. Also, he's gone through some major stress: he's had over 60 surgeries on his back and feet, and spent almost two years on the floor due to spinal problems. At one point, he was so depressed and in despair that he contemplated suicide. So I get where he's coming from.

Now, only a few years after having his spine pretty much surgically reconstructed in an amazing medical procedure (they basically built an internal support cage around his spine), he's cycled 100 miles across Death Valley.

And yet, the recurring themes of his talk were family ("there's nothing like the pride of a father") relationships, and a whole lot of John Wooden memories. There's something about major crap happening to you (and I know that of which I speak) that gives you perspective.

As a father, cyclist, beate up former jock, and child of the 70s, I can say that I've heard few talks that affected me as much.

Afterward, we (I and my two students) got a chance to get our picture taken with him. Since I operate under a pseudonym, I cut out everyone's face. But just to give you a sense of proportion everyone's head (except for Walton's) is cropped just at the top of the head - I'm about 5' 7"", and the taller of my two students (the one to my left) is 6'2"". The top of my head was about a good half a foot below Walton's chin- it looks like he's standing on a chair. He is an absurdly tall man.

Now THAT was cool.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Don't Seem To Have a Lot of Empathy

I just took an empathy test (the Baron-Cohen Empathy test) - I scored a 23. A high-functioning Autistic or someone with Aspergers typically scores about a 20. Maybe my wife is right, and I am simply not that empathetic. However, she could have been kidding (if so, how would I know?).

HT: Vox Popoli

Monday, January 04, 2010

Yale Students Are Sissies

British theologian and satirist Malcolm Muggeridge once remarked that it's difficult being a satirist. You work so hard to put someone into a ridiculous situation, and then they go ahead and do something far stranger and dumber than anything you could have come up with.

Yale undergrads provided the latest illustration of Muggeridge's point. Here's the article from the Yale Daily News (The Game refers to the annual Yale/Harvard football game, which is their biggest rivalry):
The Freshman Class Council has run into controversy with its T-shirts for The Game.

The FCC has decided to change the design of its shirts after the original design, which was submitted by students and voted on by the freshman class, sparked outcry from members within the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. But after the LGBT Cooperative and other students raised concerns about the design — which contained the word “sissies” — administrators asked the FCC to reconsider. FCC representatives decided Tuesday to scrap the old T-shirts, which had not yet been printed, and make a new design.

The original design, which won out over five other entries, displayed an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote in the front — “I think of all Harvard men as sissies” — in bold white letters. The back of the long-sleeved, navy blue T-shirt said “WE AGREE” in capital letters, with “The Game 2009” scrawled in script underneath it.

But the term ‘sissies’ is considered offensive and demeaning, and as well as a “thinly-veiled gay slur,” said Julio Perez-Torres ’12, a member of the LGBT Co-op.

After the winning design was announced, FCC President Brandon Levin ’13 said, several students raised concerns about the design to their respective FCC representatives, which they in turn brought to the attention of the FCC Executive Board and Dean of Freshman Affairs Raymond Ou.

Read the whole thing here.

The quote originates from an F. Scott Fitgerald piece:

“I want to go to Princeton,” said Amory. “I don’t know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes.”

Monsignor chuckled.

“I’m one, you know.”

“Oh, you’re different — I think of Princeton as being lazy and good-looking and aristocratic — you know, like a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors — ”

“And Yale is November, crisp and energetic,” finished Monsignor.

“That’s it.”

They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Princeton X ‘17, This Side of Paradise

After all - we can't have taunting at a football game that might offend anyone, can we?

Two thoughts - first, what a bunch of sissies, and second, "Harvard men are sissies" is the best smack talk you can come up with for a football game? The Unknown Daughter is nine, and she could do better.

I remember back in the dark ages when I was an undergrad at UCONN. We played Brown every year in soccer (usually kicked their hineys - we were contenders for the national championship most years back then). Our traditional cheer was "What's the color of SH+T? Brown!" Now THAT's smack.

I think they call us sissies in return...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Gotta Love That Global Warming

I just shoveled another 6 inches of global warming off my driveway.

I blame Al Gore.

On a more serious note, here's wishing you a Happy New Year to one and all. May the best that you saw in 2009 be the worst that you'll see in 2010.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Finding the Lowest-Cost Textbooks

I've blogged on this previously, but this piece on sources for finding low-cost textbooks bears repeating (particularly with school starting back up shortly).

Of the sources mentioned, I tried out CampusBooks to search for a few reference materials I needed (used, of course). It's outstanding, and well worth checking out.

HT: Newmark's Door

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy 40th Anniverary, Moon Landing

I remember watching/listening to the Apollo 11 moon landing as it happened on the television. Hard to believe, but it's been 40 years since .

And yet, some conspiracy theory whack jobs still doubt that it happened. One moonbat (sarcasm intended) named Bart Sibrel systematically harassed the Apollo crewmembers to see if they'd admit that the landing was a hoax. He made the mistake of calling Buzz Aldrin a liar. Click below to see what happened.

Man - I could easily keep clicking this all day like one of those experiments where they gave mice crack.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Finance Professors: Hot or Not?

A whiole back, I blogged on a research study by Felton, Koper, Mitchell and Stinson (sounds like a law firm, eh?) using RateMyProfessors evaluations to see whether the students' perceived hotness of their professors was related to their perceptions of professor quality. Crooked Timber (one of my favorite blogs) recently put this table up from the paper:


Just in case you didn't notice, Finance professors were rated as the hottest among the business disciplines (and accounting was rated least hot). So if you're deciding between a PhD in Finance and Accounting, if you want hotter colleagues, choose Finance, but if you want to look better by comparison, go with accounting.

But unfortunately, I definitely bring down the average. Ah well, back to the gym.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thomas Sowell on "Affordable Housing"

Like most things Sowell writes, it's worth a read:
Behind the housing boom and bust was one of those alluring but undefined phrases that are so popular in politics-- "affordable housing."

It is hard for me to know specifically what politicians are talking about when they use this phrase. But then politics is about evoking emotions, not examining specifics.

In looking back over my own life, I find it hard to think of a time when I didn't live in affordable housing.

Read the whole thing here

HT: Carpe Diem

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stressed? Smash a Plate!

From anannova.com
Stressed Japanese workers are paying for the chance to smash plates against a wall to ease credit crunch blues

Stressed workers are flocking to The Venting Place in Tokyo where they pay to hurl crockery against a concrete wall, reports the Daily Telegraph.

I'll suggest it to our dean. I think this could be big around midterms and finals.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Caffeine and Hallucinations

My students would say that this explains too much about met:
People who take in the caffeine equivalent of three cups of brewed coffee (or seven cups of instant) are more likely to hallucinate, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that people with a caffeine intake that high, whether it came from coffee, tea, chocolate or caffeinated energy drinks or pills, had a three-times-higher tendency to hear voices and see things that were not there than those who consumed the equivalent of a half-cup of brewed coffee (or one cup of instant coffee).
Read the whole thing here.

My students (and many of my friends) know that I drink about 2-3 cups of caffeine daily. In my younger days (when I weighed about 130 lbs) I would average about 7 cups a day.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic... and so am I"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

R.I.P. Richard John Neuhaus

Although this is a bit off topic, I just learned (from the Evangelical Outpost) that Richard John Neuhaus recently passed away. He was one of the lights of the evangelical community, and wrote a marvelous essay titled Born Towards Dying (and no, it's not maudlin at all). Here's a snippet:
It was a couple of days after leaving intensive care, and it was night. I could hear patients in adjoining rooms moaning and mumbling and occasionally calling out; the surrounding medical machines were pumping and sucking and bleeping as usual. Then, all of a sudden, I was jerked into an utterly lucid state of awareness. I was sitting up in the bed staring intently into the darkness, although in fact I knew my body was lying flat. What I was staring at was a color like blue and purple, and vaguely in the form of hanging drapery. By the drapery were two “presences.” I saw them and yet did not see them, and I cannot explain that. But they were there, and I knew that I was not tied to the bed. I was able and prepared to get up and go somewhere. And then the presences—one or both of them, I do not know—spoke. This I heard clearly. Not in an ordinary way, for I cannot remember anything about the voice. But the message was beyond mistaking: “Everything is ready now.”
I can just imagine the conversations he's having now. Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

40 Facts About Sleep

Here are some interesting sleep facts from the National Sleep Research Project. Since we're having a baby in April, this caught my eye:
...a new baby typically results in 400-750 hours of lost sleep in the first year.
Only that much?

HT: Craig Newmark