Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What do we want? Reasonable Prices!

And when do we want them? Now!
Why are college textbooks so expensive? I don't understand why this gigantic rip-off has been allowed to go on. Constant "new and improved editions" with a few chapters shuffled around are being released, forcing used editions to become worthless to the student.
My extremely overpriced Economics textbook itself suggests that if textbooks were included in the price of tuition, colleges would negotiate with textbook publishers and prices would go down to better market rates.
Students who need the book for class at, eventually, any price, have no leverage to bargain with. I think the system needs reform. Drastic, extreme, and immediate. I'm tired of paying far more than the pathetic things are worth. And any reform should be before I graduate, preferably. But how to go about pushing for this?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I don't like vague answers, or history revisionists. If something is true, say it as such. Do not alter the facts to make your point, you will only confuse, annoy, or anger your students.

Case in point: When trying to show, as an example of leaders who go to war for defensive reasons, to protect their own borders, don't name, of all people, Hitler! And don't go specifically stating that "Hitler wanted to take over Europe, right? And eventually the world. This was to ensure the protection of Germany's security."

Taking over the world is in self defense. Oh, of course. Not insane overblown nationalistic megalomania, xenophobic racist hatred for anything "other", even a messed up childhood or something- no, no, certainly not. How could anyone ever think otherwise.

I never imagined anyone could say anything like that while conscious! Needless to say this is no longer a class that I'm taking.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Locke and Demosthenes

Take a look at this cartoon:'s "Locke and Demosthenes".

I loved that part of Ender's Game- the clever way two kids could use words to change things- themselves, and the world. The scene where Val is upset when her father sides with her own secret identity, because she had thought no reasonable person ever could, stands out in my memory with particular poignancy.

But they didn't just make a blog (kind of like I'm doing right now, hmm) they used message boards and such and responded to other people to the extent that they got jobs as newspaper columnists.

Also, I'm not as ambitious. And I hate Peter, although I kind of like Val more than Ender even.

I want a philosophical nom de plume, though! It's just fun. I'll have to think about it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"You Lie!"

I'm feeling cynical today. A senator losing all his self-control and actually yelling at the president mid-speech? I mean, why?? The choices are:

a- Wilson has a big ego and likes to interrupt regardless of the consequences, uncaring in regard to all reasonable behavior and ignorant of historical precedent for Senatorial procedure.

b- He is trying to win political capital in his own state as one willing to stand up to the evil death-panel man, and this was a deliberately calculated "outburst".

I'm not sure which is worse.

Author reading

So I went to an author reading, which I enjoyed considerably. Hearing books read aloud by the person who wrote them, besides the cool factor of seeing the person behind the book, is particularly interesting because they read it the way it is meant to be read, the emphasis and focus exactly how they pictured it in their own heads, not diluted or filtered by the reading and interpretation of a stranger.

I found the experience more compelling than I expected. Normally I hate listening to books because I read so quickly, myself, that the aural factor slows things down and I get impatient. But somehow, at the reading, I let myself be drawn into the story- all the authors did such a good job reading that it wasn't hard- and I felt almost as I do when I read it myself.

And now I can't wait to read Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld. Any book that starts out with a character saying his father is Archduke Ferdinand, and he's currently in Sarajevo...did I mention it's 1914? Yes, awesome setup for a book. And awesome illustrations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Million Others

So every other blog and its cousin begins by saying, wow, this is so exciting, I have a blog, I'm sure I'll fill it up with all sorts of exciting things!
Except then they never do.

So I make no promises, tell no lies, except I shall use this as I see fit. How's that?

And to introduce myself:
I am a new college student, with lots to say that I keep thinking I would have liked to blog about. So now I'm giving it a try.

*breaks champagne bottle over blog's prow*
And we're off!