Links for 2009-11-10

  • "About a year from now, if all goes well, a box about the size of a loaf of bread will pop out of a rocket some 500 miles above the Earth. There in the vacuum it will unfurl four triangular sails as shiny as moonlight and only barely more substantial. Then it will slowly rise on a sunbeam and move across the stars."
  • "[The National Survey of Student Engagement] "fails to meet basic standards for validity and reliability," writes Stephen R. Porter, an associate professor in Iowa State University's educational leadership and policy studies department. Porter's study -- presented in Vancouver at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education -- raises questions about most research based on surveys of students, and he stresses that he does not believe the problems are unique to NSSE. He even goes so far as to say that in the past he has done research based on student surveys that he now doubts has validity. "
  • "At Purdue University, which is attempting to put standard lecture capture technology in 280 classrooms by next semester, faculty members said they would not even be willing to press a button at the beginning of class to initiate the recording, according to David Eisert, the manager of emerging technologies there.

    "It was a six-month discovery process just to figure out what the faculty wanted," said Eisert, who spoke at a session focusing on Purdue as a use case for scaled lecture-capture deployment. "We said, 'If there's a start button on the Questron monitor as you walk into the classroom, will you hit Start for your lecture' -- 'No.' ""

  • "Yes, the anti-abortion provision in the House bill is very bad (subjecting the poor, but not the rest of us, to the strictures of conservative Catholics and Southern Baptists), but it will at some point (one hopes) be removed. In fact, the bill that the House passed last Saturday is considerably more robust that the original Social Security bill."
  • "Since graduate school, I have surrounded myself with writers, many of whom are now my dearest friends (and one of whom is my husband), and they are a boisterous, savvy, messed up, cuh-razy, brilliant, ignorant, frustrating, stupid, arrogant, elitist, humble, generous, kind, and downright weird group. I can't imagine feeling closer to or happier with any other type of people. But you know what else I can't imagine? Being a creative writer. Never. Nuh-uh. No frakkin' way. Going for a swim in an active volcano? Maybe. Writing a novel? Thank you, but . . . no."
  • "It's not a theory that can really be summarised in a single sentence, because it's still really in the process of formation; but I'm going to chuck out a simple statement and then see if I can sketch out some lines of thought around it. It's really quite straightforward:

    Vampires are ex-gay."


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