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November 2010

The King gets one wrong

(Here in the great state of North Carolina, "the King" doesn't mean--usually--Elvis; it means Richard Petty.)

Joe Gibbs vividly remembers his first conversation with Richard Petty, how he had to look up to NASCAR's all-time winningest driver because "The King" was sitting in a much higher chair in the Randleman, N.C., shop known as Petty Enterprises.  

"I go, 'Richard, I'm thinking about getting into this sport,'" recalled Gibbs, then the head coach of the Redskins talking with a huge Redskins fan. "He looked at me and goes, 'Why?'"

Almost 20 years later, things have changed. 

My, how they have changed.


"Teachers: Please stop prohibiting the use of Wikipedia"

I agree with this 100%.

You know what Wikipedia has that the nether regions of the Internet do not, though? Citations. References. Links to further reading and verifiable primary sources. And when it doesn’t, it has a nice little box at the top of the entry explaining why it doesn’t meet Wikipedia standards.

Wouldn’t it make far more sense to encourage students to use Wikipedia, cite it appropriately, and then insist that they also use X number of linked primary sources? How much more valuable would it be for a kid writing a report on Mars to not only read about it in relatively straightforward terms on Wikipedia and then also read a relatively obscure website put together by an MIT scientist on Martian climate issues?


CarWoo

I haven't used it, but it sounds interesting. (I'm willing to pay a few bucks to avoid going to a dealership and engaging in car games, aka the Car Salesman Olympics. I did it once through AAA and was well-pleased with the result.)

Here’s how it works. Shoppers pay a fee to CarWoo and select the car they want. Depending upon which plan they choose, CarWoo will facilitate quotes from two to five nearby dealerships. Buyers are free to negotiate the final price, but rather sitting in some cubicle while the saleman makes repeated trips to “talk to the manager,” it all happens anonymously online. The process is transparent, and both the buyer and the dealers involved see all of the offers that come in.

Think of it as eBay in reverse.


Another sign that the Ivy League just doesn't get it

"Colleges aim to revive the humanities: New buildings and focus combat dip in enrollment".

At college campuses around the world, the humanities are hurting. Students are flocking to majors more closely linked to their career ambitions. Grant money and philanthropy are flowing to the sciences. And university presidents are worried about the future of subjects once at the heart of a liberal arts education.

In response, the leaders of many prestigious universities — including Cornell, Dartmouth, and Harvard — are increasingly espousing the virtues of the humanities in speeches on campus and abroad. Some are pledging to spend more money beefing up their literature and arts departments; others have begun erecting buildings dedicated solely to the besieged disciplines.