Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Incentives ... part two - Free applications

For some reason, the Geniuses of Indiana thought free college applications was going to work.

A laudable goal: get more kids to apply for college. Misguided idea: make it free for one week only. So what happened? TONS of applications. Some were legitimate, many were incomplete (it's free so who cares?), many were done as a class project with no intention of actually applying (it's free so let's get some practice at the expense of the college office).

"but some colleges say last year's initiative was misguided and caused problems." Only some?
"Any time you start up a new program, you are going to have unintended consequences," said Elizabeth Crouch, spokeswoman for Learn More Indiana, an Indiana Higher Education Commission partner. "We have had many, many conversations with the schools, and we've gotten good input about how to move forward."
By not ever doing this again? Don't you love how the little weasel pushed the idea that this was growing pains, not merely stupid? Purdue gets 10,000 admissions @$50 from Indiana kids alone. That $50 pays for the attention, visits, tours, replies, brochures, advertising, etc. Why on earth would the college voluntarily give that up and increase their workload by four or fives times with a bunch of crap applications? This is a lot like the problem with teacher applications through -- you get hundreds of chaff for a few kernels of wheat -- it's free and easy so why not click the button?

But the high school liked it so it was good, right? It "opened doors for students." "I saw students who would have never dreamed of applying to college fill out applications, and follow up," he said.

"Total self-serving, misguided BS," I said.

Re-posted here in case the link is archived.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Animated Bayeuax Tapestry

Just because:

Depicting the Norman Conquest of 1066, the Battle of Hastings and the death of Harold, the tapestry is:
Linen, 231 feet (70m) long and 19.5 inches (49.5 cm) wide.
Worsted embroidery in 8 colors.
70 different scenes starting with Harold’s visit to Bosham on his way to Normandy and ending with the flight of Harold’s English forces from Hastings.

This animation is done with a bit of humor and a lot of attention to detail. Very cool.

Globe Theater Burns

On this day nearly 400 years ago, Shakespeare's Globe Theater burned.
"Built in 1599, the first Globe theatre was 14 years old when a stage cannon fired during a performance of Henry VIII, set fire to the thatched roof and consumed the theatre. The modern Globe – also in its 14th theatre season, having opened its doors in 1997 – is today equipped with fire retardant thatch coating and a specialist sprinkler system, so is unlikely to suffer the same fate."

Incentives .. I'll make the teacher merit pay connection.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cheating starts with The Administration

From the NYTimes
One day next month every student at Loyola Law School Los Angeles will awake to a higher grade point average. But it’s not because they are all working harder.
The school is retroactively inflating its grades, tacking on 0.333 to every grade recorded in the last few years. The goal is to make its students look more attractive in a competitive job market.
No. The goal is to make the school look more attractive. The student benefit is secondary.

Colleges have been playing this game for years: paying students to retake the SAT to raise the USNews rankings, gaming the enrollments to increase "diversity", fiddling with grading to improve student "satisfaction", and now they're out and out lying about GPA calculated from the inflated grades of watered down courses presented by professors who have lessened their requirements and overlooked more.

Changed to pass/fail so the pressure is reduced but "This new grading system also makes it harder for employers to distinguish the wheat from the chaff, which means more students can get a shot at a competitive interview." Total bullshit.

and we wonder why the students feel entitled?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is it a gun or a weapon?

Highly Ineffective Principal holds firm to his principles. (No jokes about his gun, AT EASE in the back.)
The picture "shows a hat created by 8-year-old David Morales to honor American troops, for an assignment to decorate a hat in his second-grade class at Tiogue School in Coventry, R.I. School officials told him he could not wear the cap he decorated, saying it violated the district's no-weapons policy because the toy soldiers were carrying tiny weapons. (AP Photo/WPRI)"
I can't stop laughing.

It gets better.

Rhode Island boy with banned hat wins a medal
General praises him for his 'outstanding job'
By ASSOCIATED PRESS / Washington Times
June 20, 2010

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. | A Rhode Island boy whose school banned a hat he made because the toy soldiers on it carried tiny guns was awarded a medal on Friday for his patriotic efforts. Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio, the retired head of the Rhode Island National Guard, gave 8-year-old David Morales a medal called a challenge coin during an appearance on WPRO-AM's John DePetro show.

R.I. school to reverse ban on boy's toy soldier hat
By ASSOCIATED PRESS / Washington Times
June 20, 2010

COVENTRY, R.I. (AP) -- The superintendent of a Rhode Island school district that banned a second-grader's homemade hat because it displayed toy soldiers with tiny guns said Saturday he will work to change the policy to allow such apparel.
So ... he doesn't feel that he can simply declare the hat "not a weapon" and move on, he will leave this ruling intact and simply "work to change the policy". Weasel.

Merit Pay and Testing

Campbell's Law: “the more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.”
h/t: Jim Horn

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I can't help it - Swearing is sometimes really funny.

But little children and pregnant women should not watch this Korean Swearing Lesson. Everyone else may ROFLYAO.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Milkman's Puzzle

Honest John says that what he "don't know about milk is scarcely worth mentioning," but he was flabbergasted the other day when he had nothing but two ten-gallon cans of milk, and two customers with a five and a four quart measure wanted two quarts put into each measure.

It is a juggling trick, pure and simple, devoid of trick or device, but it calls for much cleverness to get two exact quarts of milk into those measures employing no other receptacles of any kind except the two measures and the two full cans. You can try the problem with the fullest assurance that it is a legitimate and not a silly catch.

Sam Loyd, Cyclopedia of Puzzles, 1914

see the answer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Weight of a Brick

If a brick balances with three-quarters of a brick and three-quarters of a pound, how much does a brick weigh?
~Sam Loyd, Cyclopedia of Puzzles, 1914

I won't bother with a separate post: answer

How Old is Mary?

"You see," remarked GrandPa, "the combined ages of Mary and Ann are 44 years, and Mary is twice as old as Ann was when Mary was half as old as Ann will be when when Ann is three times as old as Mary was when Mary was three times as old as Ann.
How old is Mary?

~ Sam Loyd, Cyclopedia of Puzzles, 1914

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Negotiating, Union-style

No Choice
"Teachers initially requested a 6 percent increase on the base every year for three years, but have since requested a 4 percent increase on the base for one year, followed by a 0 percent increase on the base for one year as part of a multiyear contract. All the while the board has held their position to of freezing teachers' salaries for one year." -- Herald
How exactly does this constitute "negotiating" and what inescapable moron thought that this kind of demand was a good idea in the middle of this economy, for a group of teachers that has typically been well-compensated (compared to other similar schools within 25 miles)?  Asking for the moon is insulting; it is not a "tactic."
This left the teachers with no choice but "to strike in the fall." One teacher: "I understand that times are tough for some. But there are plenty of people getting raises."
Priceless. And the NEA wonders why people feel it to be out of touch.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Clock Puzzle

The picture of a clock dial illustrated the important point of evidence in a detective story where a stray bullet from the assassin's pistol struck the face of the clock.

It struck the exact center, driving the post through the works and stopping the clock. The two hands became united, as it were, in one line, pointing in opposite directions, although not in the direction shown, for it is evident that the hands could not point at three and nine at the same time.

Can you tell what time of day it must have been, thereby proving an alibi for the hero who wishes to show he was eating a plate of pig's knuckles in Hoboken at the time the pistol was fired in Sir Reginald's flat in Harlem?

- Sam Loyd, Cyclopedia of Puzzles, 1914

answer in this backdated post.

Cats and Kittens Puzzle

Seeing that four cats and three kittens weigh thirty-seven pounds, while three cats and four kittens weigh but thirty three pounds, we are asked to tell the respective weights of cats and kittens.

- Sam Loyd, Cyclopedia of Puzzles, 1914

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Visualization of the Wealth in the US

Just found another visualization. Whatever side of this discussion you're on, you've got to admit that this is a really good way to make this point.

Visualization of the Oil Spill

They say a picture is worth a thousand words ..

This one's a doozy.

(Though I do wish they'd named it but that domain is parked at GoDaddy so it's probably a cybersquatter trying to sell to some realtor or something.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Racist in Vermont

I really like this state. The environment, communities, the people. And then you get the whack-jobs crawling out of the woodwork and it just stuns you. Take this article in the Rutland Herald (south-west part of the state):
Police: Day care also home to coke dealer
A day care inside a home in a well-to-do neighborhood of Rutland City served as the base of operations for a prolific cocaine and marijuana distribution operation, according to police assigned to the state's Southern Vermont Drug Task Force. (continues for many paragraphs ...)
You think, "Oh brother, nasty crime. Glad they caught them. Good job police." and then the lunatic shows up, in the comments section:
Better get use to this because the blacks have taken over Rutland with drugs and have the low life junkies deal for them, only way to get rid of this is to run the blacks out along with their welfare ma ma's and the slum lords that rent to these poeple, sorry bleeding hearts but we treated them as a equal and this is what they do, time for the working class whites to get back our city.
-- Posted by None None
What the hell?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Letter to the Editor - WCYDWT?

Found this. What Can You do with It?
It costs more to use less
An Albany (NY) Times Union Letter to the Editor

It's bad enough that the town of Colonie, in tandem with the Latham Water District, has raised the cost per 1,000 gallons of water usage a number of times over the past few years. Now, the minimum charge has been raised so that anyone trying to conserve water will pay more than the base rate.

In the last six months, my water usage decreased by 5,000 gallons, but instead of paying for the water at the rate of $2.65 per 1,000 gallons, I've been assessed a minimum charge of $3.25 per 1,000 gallons because I failed to use as much water as the town thought I should use. Unless your usage is more than 20,000 gallons in a six-month period, you will be zapped with a higher rate.

Why would I want to be careful about water usage when it will cost me more if I use less?

This administration apparently is taking a page out of the book of the state Legislature by trying to make up its deficit on the backs of the people it will hurt the most, the seniors. I believe the seniors are most likely the group who will use the least amount of water, yet pay more for it. Water conservation helps everyone and it should not be used as a tool for the town of Colonie to make money.

Robert Leffingwell

Evil techologies and illicit items

I don't have an opinion about all of this, just putting out the list.  The following things are filtered or banned for the students.  Rules for faculty are different:
  • Cellphones, except in the hallways between classes and at lunch.
    • and iPods, music players- all gadgets, really.
    • except maybe a graphing calculator but I'm just being snarky.  What are we going to do when the only calculator is on an iPhone?  Insist that he spend another $120 for TI?
  • Bad sites
    • Youtube, etc.
    • Music site - Playlist but not Pandora.
    • Wordpress and all other blogs, forums, etc.
    • Google accounts - documents, calendar, Gmail, etc. Access to personal email accounts is blocked and the school doesn't provide one at the school domain.
    • sports of any kind.  Averages and percentages? I have to collect and save the info in a Word Document.
    • gambling (including the state lottery commission - have to find my probability info elsewhen)
    • Games, except those tech doesn't know about. is okay.  Why? Not sure.
  • Music sharing, torrent, limewire, napster, Rhapsody,
    • but not Apple iTunes or Pandora.
  • Hats, hoodies, even costume hats at Halloween.
  • Bare feet in the grass outside.
  • Backpacks (when the mood strikes -- currently, they're allowed)
  • Oh, and all the dress code violations.
Might be banned list
  • USB drives, especially .exe files on said drives.
What have I forgotten?  Plenty, I'm sure. Let me know how you feel - is there something that you think should be allowed but isn't or that your school allows but mine doesn't?