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My broad brush. Let me paint you with it.

Posted by Stanley
on 10.02.09

So, I managed to have two regrettable conversations tonight.

In the first, I asserted, without having seen the film, that the new Michael Moore movie was probably him once again making arguments I am more or less sympathetic to, but making the case in a very bad way. (I still expect as much from the movie, but holy crap did I open a can of worms with what was intended as an off-hand remark.)

In the second, I averred off the cuff, while talking to two college friendquaintances whom I hadn't seen in years, that no one should be in a Ph.D. program that wasn't at least almost fully funded. Only to learn that both of these folks were in un- or drastically under-funded Ph.D. programs.

I really should hold my tongue when I don't know what I'm talking about.

The End. A Diaper Production*.

*This is how my mom ended bedtime stories when I was wee. I think it's hilarious.


 

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Have a great weekend!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.02.09

If you miss me, Jammies, and Hawaiian Punch, you may be able to catch sight of us here. Hawaii and I will only be there Saturday and Sunday, though. Recommendations?


 

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I am old.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.02.09

When this came out about ten years ago, I laughed so hard that tears rolled down my cheeks.

I still think it's basically funny, but now there are lines here and there that make me uncomfortable. I'm sort of split-minded over it: if I align myself with partying emo kids, then I adore how it mocks the mainstream squares and boldy makes them uncomfortable. If I align myself with adults, then I get uncomfortable - it seems so sadly bare and realistic. (Not the last "dead" line. Not any humorous line in particular. But the scene that's set in between the jokes.)


 

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Guest Post: Can't spell "disrupt the peace" without Di.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.01.09

Well fuck it. If I'm going to fall off the damned "I Quit the Blog" wagon, I may as well go all-out-bender and offer you a guest post. Mostly because I'm interested in this crew's comments on this article. Plenty of fodder for discussion, I think. Personally, I was thrown by this quote: " 84 percent of women report they've done it simply to "keep the peace" at home."

84%?!

Maybe that turns on what people mean by "keep the peace." A friend of mine recently reported that she has to have sex with her husband because his mood gets rather foul if he doesn't get it often enough. ("I don't know if maybe it's the testosterone builds up...") She doesn't want to deal with that, so she fucks him. Are 84% of women "keeping the peace" in this sense? The idea shocks and appalls me. And scares me.

And if ever a paragraph was drafted to troll Unfogged, it's this:

Many of those complexities, say the authors, can be explained by human evolution: stealing a friend's lover (something 53 percent have done) can be viewed as an effort to win a partner with the most desirable genes; jealousy functions to alert a person to a threat; women who have sex out of a duty to please are "mate-guarding." And while the notion that sexual decisions are tethered to our caveman (or cavewoman) past has come under recent criticism, it seems just as reasonable that the myriad of female motivations could come from the flood of mixed messages we hear about how women are supposed to behave: enjoy sex but don't enjoy it too much, withhold it but don't be a prude, save it, flaunt it, be sexy but not a slut. No wonder things get complicated.

And in conclusion, I think this should be a guest post.

Di


 

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How to cough

Posted by Standpipe Bridgeplate
on 10.01.09

Cough into the crook of your arm, like this: [demonstrates]. This is also How to Sneeze. The old way of coughing and sneezing -- namely, into your hands, which you then rub together as if to start a fire, while the person sitting behind you in the airport looks on in horror -- is deprecated.


 

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Problem solvey.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.30.09

I read a fascinating article on the problems of teaching problem-solving skills. (It's at school; I'll try to link it tomorrow.) The article said that there are two well-understood components to a student's capacity to problem solve, prior to entering the classroom. The article claimed these are genetically determined, which I doubt. People always write stuff off as being genetically determined if they want to define it away from consideration.

According to the article, the first is memory capacity. One of those tossed-around facts is that people can hold seven pieces of information in their head at a given time. This article asserted a stronger version of this: first, that pretty much everyone can hold between 6 and 8 chunks in their head at a time. Second, that this is a fixed amount for each person, and you can categorize 6-chunkers, 7-chunkers, and 8-chunkers. Third, that you can accurately calculate the memory load required by a given word problem. There was a graph showing how performance of 6-chunkers plummeted when they hit the problems requiring a load of 7, the 7-chunkers plummeted at 8, and the 8-chunkers plummeted at 9.

The second allegedly predetermined capacity was called field independence. I'm sure this is some larger psychology term that's just being applied here, because they didn't really explain where the term comes from. Field independence/dependence refers to how well you are able to make wise choices for those seven chunks of information. Highly field independent people select extremely useful bits from a word problem and from their memory to put on their mental worktable. Field dependent people make very poor choices and get hung up on nonessential parts of the problem.

Together, these two skills basically comprise what is measured by IQ tests. So if you're giving a class, and your test questions or lectures exceed the students' memory capacity, you're not accomplishing anything useful, just giving a semester-long IQ test. The article also said that the dumb set - 6-chunkers who are field dependent - often develop strategies at the workplace so that they can handle high-chunk situations.

The conclusion of the article was disappointing: break your material into sufficiently bite-size pieces, and your students will be able to handle it. No duh, dude. What I'm curious is - how could one construct a class that would train students to increase their memory capacity? But in a flexible way? It wouldn't suffice to train them to memorize strings of 8 digits, because that wouldn't translate to another context. How could you actually help students develop these supposedly genetic skills?

I just don't believe these are rigidly fixed. Our brains are way too pliable and brilliant. It has a ring of someone confidently proclaiming that no one could learn two languages, because a language is just so extremely complex. But I have no idea how to place someone in a situation where they begin to gingerly hold an extra piece of information in their head at a time.


 

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Socks Ed

Posted by Becks
on 09.29.09

Tufts says you can no longer have sex in front of your roommate.


 

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We have forest wallpaper, at least.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.29.09

Yesterday, my carpoolmate said that they avoid using the air conditioning and heat in their house, except for extreme circumstances. They do use a wood-burning stove in the winter, and an attic fan in the summer. She said that she likes to feel the weather inside the house.

I find this so charming and appealing. I don't know if I'd want to live it, but perhaps I wish I wanted to.


 

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Does this make me old?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.28.09

I've solved one of my biggest problems recently when I started sleeping with a pillow under my knees. It seems when I sleep, the small of my back sags, and then spasms all the next day. With my Ortho-Pedo-Solution, the small of my back is rounded against the mattress, and I'm happy the next day. This may be a by-product of pregnancy, since it really started over the summer. This one is not very embarrassing, at least.


 

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Irrepressible indeed.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.27.09

Heebie is not the young mama you thought she was:

A sculptor, landscape designer and social worker, Jill Nooney transformed junk metal into "Heebie Geebie," a man of steel with an irrepressible libido.

Oh dear.

 

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Affirmative Action Movies

Posted by Becks
on 09.27.09

Now that Barack Obama's been elected, I think we can retire the convention of disaster movies always having black presidents. I can't pinpoint the exact emotion, but as I was watching the trailer for 2012, it just seemed...unnecessary? Fake? Something.


 

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Guest post: Bostoniangirl

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.27.09

Bostoniangirl writes in the This Is Shameful thread:

I was hoping for a thread on the Polanski business, but I don't want to derail these serious ones. Can we have a new one?

Here you go:


 

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