Wireless-less classrooms

March 31, 2008

In a story on Silicon Valley corporate meetings going gadget-less, an LA Times report notes in passing that 75% of law professors at UCLA shut off wireless Internet in their classrooms.  Anyone think this is worth trying at Northwestern?  Students, would full-scale uprisings break out?

I wonder if there’s any hard data on the effects of Internet usage during lecture classes.  For example, it would be interesting to compare class performances pre- and post-installation of wireless internet in the University.


Binding contracts?

March 30, 2008

In what can only be described as a tremendously misguided offer (if you don’t believe it, watch this), the Dr. Pepper Company has offered a free can of Dr. Pepper to everyone in America if Guns-N-Roses puts out their album that has been in the works since I was in college. 

Jeff, are you on the class action if (a) the album comes out and (b) Dr. Pepper renigs?

And also, can you think of anything more horrible than drinking a Dr. Pepper and listening to a new Guns-N-Roses album?  Perhaps DIET Dr. Pepper and Soulja Boy??

Sometimes . . .

March 28, 2008

it is just impossible to find a sitter.

Can anyone explain the “FREE” in “free market” to me?

March 28, 2008

I know critiquing neocons for market interference is nothing new, but right now it is just so crazy.  Let’s recap the last few weeks.

Hoping to avoid a big drop in the financial markets, the fed subsidizes Chase’s buy out of Bear Sterns, externalizing most of the losses from bad business decisions or unlucky investments or failure to diversify or whatever you want to call it.  Bear Sterns is not saved but how cool for Chase?  They get this big new company and none of the downside risks and costs. 

Oh, and when the economy is faltering let’s give rebates to try to tinker with all kinds of markets. 

Don’t forget helping people who bought mortgages on the free market that they now cannot afford.

And, just the last one for now, all the tinkering we do with interest rates in reaction to all kinds of market faltering or chaging

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against helping mortgage buyers who may have been duped by greedy mortgage brokers who lied to them (hey, how about some regulation with enforcement?).  I am just saying, why do we even pretend that there is such a thing as free markets?  It is hard for me to hear the talk of free markets without giggling. WHat am I missing?  Why doesn’t everyone just laugh when free market lingo is used to justify Chinese imports of cheap stuff?  Or when it is used to resist helping individual home owners/mortgage holders but not Bear Stearns?

What am I missing?

George Lakoff on Barak Obama’s Landmark Speech

March 28, 2008

Lakoff’s analysis of Obama’s speech on 3-18-08: the most important speech on race in recent history & much more….


I am going to meet a Bush appointee in 35 minutes . .

March 26, 2008

That’s right people, I am going to a small group meeting with someone appointed by President George W. Bush.  I am trying to figure out what to say.  Yes, I am being somewhat cryptic here because it will certainly be in our local news and my immense and extreme hatred for the Bush administration should not be the story.  The story should be about what an AMAZING school my kids are lucky enough to attend.  Lucky, lucky, lucky — thanks mom.  I mean, it is such a good school that even an executive branch agency full of people appointed by President GW Bush recognizes it.  So it must be good. 

More soon. . . .

UPDATE 11:42 am:   I met the undersecretary of education for special education and programs (or something like that).  He also had the person who runs this program called PBIS (positive behavior incentive program) that rewards good behavior and collects data about where good and not as good behavior happens around the school.  It is a great program, but the principal at my kids’ school has made a million great innovations/additions (you can watch a time lapse of the school with red and green dots for good and bad behavior).  Anyway, all this data collection leads to rational decisionmaking about behavior and such. It is a great program and even better with Andy’s improvements, so the school is getting an award and he will be going to make a presentation to the department of education.  And, the dude was nice — Now if they would internalize the idea of rewarding positive behavior instead of punishing negative behavior . . . . (NCLB anyone?)

Apropos of blog party discussion

March 24, 2008

NYT: Even at Megastores, Hagglers Find No Price Is Set in Stone

SAN FRANCISCO — Shoppers are discovering an upside to the down economy. They are getting price breaks by reviving an age-old retail strategy: haggling.

Click for more…