Category Archives: Etc


Given all the years we’ve had cars, rain, and umbrellas, why isn’t there an easy, or even effective, way to get into the driver’s seat of a car with a very very wet umbrella that doesn’t either get you wet before you get into the car, or get you wet when you bring the umbrella into the car?

(I mean of course when the car is parked outside: parking indoors makes this easy, but that’s not always an option.)

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Save The Words

There’s a certain kind of person that will love this: Save The Words.

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Stuff that Should Be Obvious

Unqualified Offerings has good advice for students looking for work:

1) If your professor sends an email saying “I have been asked to recommend some good students for this job opportunity, please send me a resume ASAP so I can pass it on to my contact and put in a good word when I pass it on” the correct answer is “Here it is”, not “I’m not sure.” It’s fine to not be sure, but the whole point of applying is to keep an option open until you become sure one way or the other. You can turn down an offer that you don’t like, but you can’t get a job that you don’t try for.

2) Wait, you need to work on your resume? Don’t you have an updated resume on file?

3) When you send me the resume, don’t title the file “My Resume.docx”. The person making the hiring decision will have a folder full of resumes, and if they want to find your resume you should be making it easy for them.

4) For that matter, unless explicitly asked for a .docx or whatever, send a .pdf. Yes, people can take information from a .pdf and do stuff with it, but a .doc or .docx is much easier for the “lazy but malicious” type to modify. No, I’m not knowingly passing your resume on to a “lazy but malicious” type, but once a file is sent into the wilds of the internet who knows what can happen?

Also, there are all sorts of weird compatibility and formatting issues with different versions of Word. PDFs are much less prone to that sort of thing. And if you can’t afford Acrobat, never fear, there are free converters out there.

via For those who wish to escape the crate.

Incidentally, point 3 is especially good. Use your surname as the start of the file title!

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The Scouring of the White Horse – The Occasional Pamphlet

Stuart Shieber writes about what he believes is the oldest extant human artifact that has survived due to continual maintenance. I wonder if there’s anything older in China?

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Students Should Be Glad I’m a Slow Grader

Those high-stakes grade-school standardized tests with essays on them? The ones that determine schools’ and sometimes students’ futures? Like, for example, Florida’s FCAT? The grading may be shoddy and arbitrary.

Read the exposé by Jessica Lussenhop, Inside the multimillion-dollar essay-scoring business: Behind the scenes of standardized testing.

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A Contracts Problem

Mars Hill professor resigns after student undresses in class

Mars Hill College has accepted the resignation of a longtime professor after he challenged students to disrobe in exchange for an A in his sociology class and one of them took him up on the offer.

College President Dan Lunsford said the professor didn’t expect the student would actually take off his clothes during the class last Thursday evening. The instructor’s offer was intended to illustrate cultural differences and that public nudity is unacceptable in American society, he said.

“He did not expect it to happen,” Lunsford said. “The professor realized that this had gone much beyond what he ever anticipated, and he was shocked and dismayed.”

Lunsford said he would not release the name of the professor or student because of privacy concerns. The student will not be punished, he said.

The incident has been the talk of the campus at this Madison County school affiliated with the Baptist Church. Senior Kat Marotta said it disturbed her.

“I feel a lot of the responsibility is on the professor in how he handles his classroom,” she said. “I’m very disappointed.

“People were very upset about it. It’s probably the juiciest thing that’s ever come out of this campus.”

But students such as senior Josh Dye do not believe it was that serious.

“As part of the classroom setting, I don’t think it should have been done, but it really didn’t affect me,” he said.

Lunsford said the professor, who has been with the college for more than 25 years, acted professionally by resigning. He has tenure and is eligible for retirement benefits.

“The professor has requested to activate his retirement, and it has been accepted with my expression of appreciation of his service to the college in the past,” he said. “I am concerned about the negative perception it may generate, and the professor was equally concerned in his conversation with me. However, it was a mistake.”

The professor apologized in an e-mail to students in the class. Lunsford said the student will not be punished because the incident would not have occurred if the teacher hadn’t issued the challenge. However, the student will not receive an A for accepting the offer, he said.

“In my view, in American society and in an academic environment, public nudity is not acceptable to illustrate a point,” he said.

Offer and acceptance?

[Original draft 2/21/2004. In preparation for my blog redesign, I found draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

2010: Link-rot has struck. Here’s the version. I imagine I didn’t run this because it seemed a little risqué somehow for around here and I felt sorry for the guy. And I suppose the contract is void on public policy grounds?

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A Brief for Time Travel in History

Grant McCracken:

[E]ven if time travel is not possible, we should prepare for it anyhow. Why? It is, I believe, the single best way to teach history at high school and college.

Sounds fun, but very expensive.

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