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The World Of High “Revelance-to-Recent-Accomplishment” Ratios: An Update

[ 22 ] September 20, 2010 |

This was sweeter than sweet. Which is sweet.

2. Notre Dame Another 1-2 start from the team Charlie Weis restored as a national power. However, both of their losses have been at least respectable, so for this year I think they rank behind…

1. Dallas Cowboys When you somehow not only to manage to decisively lose a battle of the ludicrously overhyped to Jay Cutler but make him look like Peyton Manning, now that’s ludicrously overhyped.

I considered adding the Jets to the discussion last time, deciding not to in a close call because of their second banana status and the fact that anyone outside of Queens expecting them to be good is a new phenomenon. Obviously, thumping the Pats largely without Revis gets them off the hook for now, but…bears watching.


Channel Surfing

[ 0 ] September 19, 2010 |


A Methodological Note

[ 5 ] September 19, 2010 |

Essentially all quotes — whether of text or video excerpts or whatever — are literally “out of context.” If you’re going to try to imply that a quotation or excerpt is “out of context” in the sense of being misleading or unrepresentative, however, you actually have to explain why the quote is misleading; it’s not enough to say something is taken “out of context” as if that proves anything.

Admittedly, the underlying issue is so trivial it’s the kind of thing that Althouse would have written at least 10 posts about it if it involved the Clintons, but she who lives be religious identity politics will die by religious identity politics.

New Sunday Series?

[ 56 ] September 19, 2010 |

I receive more than a few e-mails that run roughly as follows:

Sundays are a little less special without your Sunday focused posts, but the twins (and time spent on paid gigs) are more deserving of your attention, and your priorities are well in order.

Sunday Battleship Blogging and Sunday Deposed Monarch Blogging ended because of the above reasons, but also because I felt that the point of diminishing returns had been reached; there were fewer and fewer interesting battleships, and the monarchs became increasingly obscure. Continuing to write on those subjects became less and less of a learning experience, and more of a chore. I had intended to replace those series with a Sunday Book Review, but haven’t done a good job maintaining that, in part because I feel a greater responsibility to the material. If I mess up a post on SMS Nassau, I may get a chiding comment or two, while if I seriously misrepresent a book the author will send me angry e-mail. This means that while the book reviews are valuable, they’re less fun and more time consuming than the battleship or monarch posts.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed running those weekly series. The correspondent above is correct about the other demands on my time; obviously the twins, but also a book on abolishing the Air Force that I’m trying to write, and a weekly column at World Politics Review that I’ll be starting on October 6. However, I’d still like to try to make time for a Sunday feature. So here’s my question; anybody have any good ideas on the subject for a weekly Sunday LGM blog feature? Has to be enough material to spend at least a year on it, and has to be something that I would be kind of interested in. E-mail, or leave idea in comments…

Creeping Reasonableness

[ 19 ] September 18, 2010 |

I’ve been wondering when the Locke/Demosthenes effect would manifest itself through the faux political rivalry of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Could this be their moment?

Stewart on the need to return to a deliberative ethic in American democracy – best if viewed starting @ 2:10 below:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Colbert’s response @ 3:54 below:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
March to Keep Fear Alive
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

A modest prediction regarding this twin set of rallies: Stewart’s will draw a significant number of moderates, for precisely the reasons he hopes, but Colbert’s will also draw Americans on both the far left and far right. If so, that will be an interesting pot in which deliberative democracy can, momentarily, stew – and I wonder what exactly they’re planning to stir it with come the day.

Hope to see you there on October 30th at 8:00 a.m.!

Learning and E-Learning

[ 22 ] September 18, 2010 |

With the academic semester upon us, a rash of news articles about classroom learning have hit the press. First, the NY Times reviews recent reviews of research to remind us that some of what we know about how we learn is wrong. For example, it seems that students retain information better if they alternate rapidly between different subjects while studying and study in differently places.

Bill Petti has more. These studies remind of Nicholas Carr’s thesis on the effects of new media on memory, detailed in his book >The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Either he is wrong that our brains ever learned more by “reading deeply” during the era of the single printed text, or it proves his point that our multi-tasking, hyper-linked information economy has radically changed the way we read, absorb and retain information.

Which brings me to another interesting observation: seems like a quiet IPAD revolution is happening in some college classrooms:

Traditional textbooks have prevailed — until now. The game changer, according to Matt MacInnis, may be a little thing called the iPad.

MacInnis is the founder and CEO of Inkling, a company that designs textbook software for the iPad. He says the iPad has allowed for the reinvention of the textbook.

“We give guided tours through complex concepts,” he says. “So rather than seeing a picture of a cell dividing and then having a big, long caption, you can now tap … through all the different phases of cell division and see those things unfurl in front of you.”

He says that changes things because, until now, e-textbooks have basically just been bad imitations of their paper counterparts.

“When you just copy the stuff that’s on a page and slap it onto a computer screen, you really don’t get the same effect that was intended for what you have on paper,” he says.

Alex Montgomery-Amo, a professor of political science at Reed College in Portland, Ore., couldn’t agree more. Reed College is one of a number of universities around the country that have been experimenting with the iPad, turning Montgomery-Amo’s nuclear politics course into something of a laboratory for electronic readers.

Last year they tried out the Kindle and this year they’ve been given free iPads to test. Montgomery-Amo says they’re hoping to have better luck with the iPad than they had with the Kindle.

Of course, I’m not sure the privileged students at Reed really need free IPADs (how about running these “experiments” in some community colleges or low-income high-schools)? Still, it’s useful to think through the implications and opportunities of each emerging technology as it proliferates from the consumer market to traditional learning environments.

Friday Nugget Blogging

[ 13 ] September 17, 2010 |

Mom, do animals menstruate?

Read more…

Your Moment Of Bobo

[ 6 ] September 17, 2010 |

It sure is lucky that David Brooks’s apocryphal nameless liberal friends make their otherwise sound points with such specific, problematic details! The strawman-burning would be a lot harder otherwise. It’s also a shame that he seemed to file the thing before the results of the Delaware primary were announced…

Lickspittles, Start Your Word Processors!

[ 52 ] September 17, 2010 |

During the upcoming NFL labor negotiations, I’m either going to have to avoid reading much about it or be careful to watch my blood pressure.   The journalists who cover all sports (with a few honorable exceptions) seem to seem their role during labor negotiations as pretending that the interests of the owners and the interests of the fans are one and the same no matter how absurd or self-serving the arguments the owners put forward, but as Pierce says given the career and life expectancies of NFL players the inevitable sucking up to NFL owners is especially grotesque.

I’ve written this before, but as I public service I would like to note the following, which seems to escape both a majority of fans and a majority of sports reporters.

Distribution of money that comes from reductions or artificial limitations on player salaries:

  • Teachers, cancer researchers, Haitian orphans, and other comparative groups often cited as more deserving of money paid to athletes in order to justify owners screwing players:   0%
  • Extremely wealthy, usually lavishly taxpayer-subsidized owners: 100%

…And, as NonyNony reminds us in comments, “Amount that ticket prices would be reduced by if players were payed less: 0%.”

Paul is dead?

[ 18 ] September 17, 2010 |

The SSA has a nice site that lets you look up all sorts of statistical info on naming patterns. Among other things it allows one to predict that 70 years from now very few baby girls will be named Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, or Emily (people who study this kind of thing have noted that girls’ names associated with the generation of women who are now grandmothers tend to be very unpopular, apparently because they’re now strongly associated with old age. Hence the current scarcity of Doris, Ruth, Shirley, Jean, Betty, Dorothy etc.).

But what about Paul? Paul was a remarkably consistent name for the first seven decades of the 20th century, always coming at between 12th and 20th in popularity. Then in 1969 it began a steady decline, to the point where it’s now outside the top 150.

My theory as to why:

Abbey Road

Nobody wants to associate their newborn with a dead guy.

On Mass Murder…

[ 19 ] September 17, 2010 |

The only modification that I’d make to this argument is that the responsibility does not wholly lie with Mao Zedong.  The Great Leap Forward had the early support of a depressing number of CCP elites who  really should have known better (Deng Xiaoping, Liu Shaoqi).  To be fair, both Deng and Liu used the failure of the Great Leap Forward to push economic policy towards decollectivization, but when the policy was conceived they were largely on board.  Much later Deng tried to pin responsibility for the Great Leap Forward entirely on Mao, exculpating the rest of the CCP leadership.  However, while the Cultural Revolution can be profitably interpreted as the outgrowth of intra-CCP conflict, the failure of the Great Leap Forward had many fathers.

Deficit Hawkery Defined

[ 9 ] September 17, 2010 |

Evan Bayh: “[t]here’s no bigger deficit hawk in Congress than I am.”

So, of course, he must favor letting Bush’s unpopular upper-class tax cuts expire, right? Ha ha, just kidding.

In fairness, there’s not necessarily a contradiction here; Bayh didn’t, after all, define his terms.  If we define “deficit hawk” by inference, I think Bayh fits the bill:

Def·i·cit Hawk (adj.) 1. A political figure who favors deeply regressive tax cuts, unlimited defense spending irrespective of efficacy, and high deficits that can be used an excuse to cut (or, better yet, to oppose the enactment of) any program that might possibly help a poor person. 2. A loathsomely pompous fluffer of plutocrats.

I think we can all agree that there are indeed few bigger deficit hawks in Washington than Evan Bayh.

see also.

fairness can wait!

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