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From here:

On that site, students find 20-ounce Coke bottle labels with blank space where the ingredients usually are listed. Students can type test answers in this space, paste the label on their bottles and keep the bottles on their desks during an exam.

New (claimed) ingredients in Coke: antidisestablishmentarianism, the Versailles Treaty, isolationism, blitzkrieg, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the swinging sixties.

Todd Henderson, the University of Chicago professor who inspired the mild-mannered James Fallows to mockery (at least by quotation) by whining about the pain of poverty at six figures, who inspired Brad DeLong to patient and sympathetic vivisection, has now apparently done the one thing that is more obviously ill-advised than writing his post in the first place: deleted it.

But Google has it cached.

If you really need a historian’s homiletic here, well: if you commit a bad idea to paper, it’s even worse if you show a guilty conscience about it. Just ask James G. Blaine, who had the bad judgment to write “burn this letter” across the bottom of one of his missives.

UPDATED to add, in the time I’ve taken to write this post, Brad has also discovered the Google cache. Oh well.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advice for life at college, from Mr Destructo. The people who need it won’t pay any attention.
Part I
Part II

For nascent military historians, this is well worth it:

The West Point Summer Seminar in Military History seeks to improve the teaching of military history at the collegiate level by broadening its Fellows’ knowledge of military history and improving their ability to teach it. The Seminar brings together a select group of historians for an intensive series of seminars, lectures, and staff rides to local American Revolutionary War and American Civil War battlefields. These activities—led by members of the USMA faculty as well as a variety of noted military historians—seek to facilitate detailed discussions of historiography and pedagogy within the field of military history. Upon completion of the seminar, participants are prepared to return to their home institutions and develop or enhance a program in the study of military history.

Further information here.

I once saw Joel Garreau give a talk in which he promised (promised!) that brick-and-mortar stores would soon be gone (gone!) because everybody (everybody!) would be doing all their shopping online. Big boxes, especially, were dinosaurs (dinosaurs!), he claimed. And one of the major challenges facing urbanists would be what to do with the empty shell of the discarded consumer landscape after all of the consumers had moved to Internet. Garreau told his rapt audience that this process of creative destruction would take less than a decade.*

That was eleven years ago. And Davis’s gigantic new Target, a palace to hyper-modern consumer culture, is slated to open in less than a month.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that I’ve long had doubts about the idea that online education will spell the death of brick-and-mortar colleges and universities. But this article, coupled with the University of California’s decision to try to raise fees by A LOT over the next two years, gives me pause. My sense is that the children of relatively well-off parents will continue to go to traditional colleges and universities for the foreseeable future: to learn, for credentials, to network, for finishing school, etc. What I don’t know, though, is what will happen when some significant chunk of non-traditional students, coupled with the children of not-especially-affluent families, decide that higher education for $99/month sounds pretty darned good. What will that do to the revenue stream that colleges and universities now rely upon for survival? What will it do to the economies of scale that currently make higher education viable? And what will the ripple effects be? I guess I could give Joel Garreau a call and ask him what he thinks.

* Word to the wise: elements of this paragraph may be slightly exaggerated for effect. But only slightly. The talk, by the way, happened at a conference on cultural landscape studies held at the University of New Mexico in 1998. As part of that conference, I got to tour J.B. Jackson‘s house, which was cool.

I do not know whether Fronto should be known as the first nitpicker of language, but as tutor to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, he has a good case for the most tenacious (p.129):

To my lord.

Have pity on me, and remove one word from your speech;  I entreat you never to use the word dictio (utterance) when you mean oration.

Farewell, my lord, my immortal glory.  Please give my greetings to your lady mother.

The moral of the story:  one can never escape one’s teachers.  I’m sure Fronto had a red pen.  Stylus.  Thingy.

Unless, perhaps one is Emperor.

To my master.

I shall tomorrow offer my defence of that word, if you remind me.

What’s the Latin for “pwned”?

One may question the pedagogical value of final exams, especially when one is in the midst of grading them, but the plain truth is that in-class exams afford a somewhat unique opportunity for feverishly scrawled… artwork (reproduced via Paint here):


The problem of induction, illustrated.

Happy grading, everyone.

More precisely, it turns out that this is the right year to be applying to college if you’re the moderately talented child of exceptionally wealthy parents. Honestly, I had no idea there were so many ways around need-blind admissions.

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