Archive for February, 2013

The GIF

February 28, 2013

Here is some history of the gif.

Thinking about Markets, Individuals and Community

February 27, 2013

Here’s a helpful discussion of what can and can’t be done via central planning. It’s a simple argument: no one person knows enough to make consistently good decisions. Of course, that also means no one can go it alone. So it’s a nuanced kind of libertarian argument. Think about the pencil.

The Founders’ Religion

February 27, 2013

A brief note on a fairly recent book on the topic, Gregg Frazer’s The Religious Belief of America’s Founders. On my to read list, probably after I finish working through Mark Noll’s America’s God.

Who Benefits?

February 27, 2013

A while back (in my list of things to read), the Chronicle suggests that perhaps our disruption won’t benefit the people most in need. One comment, that MOOCs reflect a “mass psychosis” catches at least some of the angst. The big potential problem according to the article:

Here’s the cruel part: The students from the bottom tier are often the ones who need face-to-face instruction most of all.

I have some anecdotal evidence to back this up. The problem may be solvable, but at least we need a bit of attention to the issue.

100 Ideas for Higher Education

February 26, 2013

Here’s a post on the list. Worth reading.

Rating Rate My Professor

February 25, 2013

Not exactly, but asking questions about the utility of the site. For evaluations to work, we need clear agreement on standards, consistent expectations, and more – none of which we seem likely to achieve.

Potential bias admission. Early in my career I had only 1 rating (a not flattering one) which my son pointed out on several occasions. That was years ago; don’t know if any more have ever been posted – and not interested in knowing about them for reasons this post describes. Reading course evaluations is often meaningless enough. By now, I mostly know my strengths and weaknesses. I learn a little from evaluations, but not all that much. They’re more helpful in new classes or re-designed courses.

Reformed Theology and African Americans

February 23, 2013

Here’s a brief discussion of some reasons for the increasing influence of Reformed theology among African Americans. Highlighted are (with a few side comments from me):

  1. Christian Hip-Hop (probably under appreciated by many in terms of its impact!)
  2. The digital age (enhanced by the willingness of some to give away product that might normally be sold; I’m thinking of Desiring God and Crossway in particular).
  3. Greater Access to Reformed Education (though this is more removing a barrier)
  4. Hunger for Biblical Teaching (there are non-reformed teachers too, but it does seem like the Reformed guys have been more visible in many context)
  5. God’s Sovereignty (though this seems a somewhat self-referential reason that wouldn’t be persuasive to non-Reformed!)

There remain some issues, especially the fact that a portion of the Reformed movement has some political and cultural allegiances that could cause future problems (e.g., the confederacy or the Precious Puritans controversy). But still, the trend seems up!

The Me Decade

February 23, 2013

Tom Wolfe’s classic essay on the “Me” decade and the Third Great Awakening. There is a lot of insight here.

Humanities Ph.D.

February 23, 2013

Megan McArdle on the value of a Ph.D. in the humanities. She’s a bit skeptical, and rightly so I think.

Ebooks and Paper Books

February 22, 2013

Are print books here to stay? Of course. Here’s a take on print books vs. ebooks that may be a bit too optimistic, however. Perhaps not. We’ll look at it again in 20 years or so….