“The great promise of our libraries is that, if you can physically get there (and for some services, even that isn’t required), you have access to the materials, rich or poor. And in the 21st century, that also means the internet, for those who can’t afford to access it. Personally, I use the library all the time, and it seems a pretty bustling place to me–if anything, it would appear library use is soaring, at least in Boston.
Books need to be accessible to all, not just those able to afford internet access and Kindle. To declare the need for libraries dead is just stupid technobabble.”
“Most Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. Some of those paychecks are larger than others, but the pattern is the same.
Most of us also get paid every two weeks. Our bills, however, come monthly, and so our household budgets are structured according to these monthly expenses.
But at least twice a year we get this wonderful treat: the three-paycheck month. It’s like a mini-Jubilee, a respite from the strain of every dollar’s being accounted for before it is received.
You likely know what I’m talking about, but apart from a few personal-finance columns advising readers on the most prudent use of this twice-yearly windfall, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any recognition from economists that this phenomenon occurs and that, cumulatively, it might have some rather significant, measurable effects on the rhythm of the American economy.”
“How many teachers would school reformers have to fire in order to get American schools performing at their best? That’s the question researchers Doug Staiger and Jonah Rockoff set out to answer in a study they presented at the Columbia conference.
The researchers went through a simulation exercise, building on prior findings about the impact that great teachers have on their students, the fraction of incoming teachers who turn out to be strong performers in the classroom, and the “signal-to-noise” ratio in a teacher’s performance during her first couple of years (i.e., how hard it is to tell whether a teacher is bad or just unlucky).
When they ran the numbers, the answer their computer spat out had them reviewing their work looking for programming errors. The optimal rate of firing produced by the simulation simply seemed too high: Maximizing teacher performance required that 80 percent of new teachers be fired after two years’ probation.”
“About a week before xkcd published its much-ballyhooed cartoon, the higher ed consulting firm Noel-Levitz released a study of how prospective students are using colleges’ websites, based on more than 1,000 responses from college-bound high-schoolers.
The authors of the study offer some confident conclusions, but the data points do not exactly jump off the page. A quarter of respondents said they had removed a college from their list because of a bad experience on the institution’s website, and 92 percent said they would be disappointed with a college if they could not find what they were looking for. However, only half of those who had removed a college from their list because of a bad website experience — 12 percent of all respondents — said their “bad experience” was related to being unable to find the information they wanted.”
“The thing about seeking out new civilizations is, every discovery brings a day of vomiting. There’s no way to wake from a thousand years of Interdream without all of your stomachs clenching and rejecting, like marrow fists. The worst of it was, Jon always woke up hungry as well as nauseous.”