Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Does This Error Mean

What Does This Error Mean - paste in an error message and read comments on what it means and how you can fix it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gladwell on Late Bloomers

Why do we equate genius with precocity? by Malcolm Gladwell

A few years ago, an economist at the University of Chicago named David Galenson decided to find out whether this assumption about creativity was true. He looked through forty-seven major poetry anthologies published since 1980 and counted the poems that appear most frequently. Some people, of course, would quarrel with the notion that literary merit can be quantified. But Galenson simply wanted to poll a broad cross-section of literary scholars about which poems they felt were the most important in the American canon. The top eleven are, in order, T. S. Eliot’s “Prufrock,” Robert Lowell’s “Skunk Hour,” Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” William Carlos Williams’s “Red Wheelbarrow,” Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish,” Ezra Pound’s “The River Merchant’s Wife,” Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy,” Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro,” Frost’s “Mending Wall,” Wallace Stevens’s “The Snow Man,” and Williams’s “The Dance.”

Those eleven were composed at the ages of twenty-three, forty-one, forty-eight, forty, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty, twenty-eight, thirty-eight, forty-two, and fifty-nine, respectively. There is no evidence, Galenson concluded, for the notion that lyric poetry is a young person’s game. Some poets do their best work at the beginning of their careers. Others do their best work decades later. Forty-two per cent of Frost’s anthologized poems were written after the age of fifty. For Williams, it’s forty-four per cent. For Stevens, it’s forty-nine per cent.

Related: Gladwell (and Drucker) on Pensions - Malcolm Gladwell and Synchronicity - Hiring the Right Person

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seattle high-schoolers get F's for the First time in 7 Years

Seattle high-schoolers can now get failing grades

For the first time in seven years, Seattle public high-school students who do poorly can receive a failing grade on their report cards. Since 2000, not a single student has received an E, a mark more commonly known as an F. High schools instead handed out N's for "no credit," which didn't affect a student's grade-point average and took much of the sting out of failure.
When students receive an E or an N, they don't get any credit toward graduation. The E, however, counts as a zero when calculating a student's grade-point average. An N does not. So a student with three A's and three E's would have a grade-point average of 2.0. A student with three A's and three N's would have a perfect grade-point of 4.0.
Still, the fact that Seattle students could fail four classes, get two As and still have a perfect GPA "seemed a bit ridiculous," said Tim Ames, a social-studies teacher at Nathan Hale High School.

Un-acknowledged failure was not just present in the boardrooms of fat-cats looting their companies with obscene pay for themselves. I suppose if the society doesn't want accountability practicing it with high school students is not the worst place for non-accountability.

In my opinion, we need more accountability everywhere, including for high school students. I came very close to failing calculus in high school. If I had failed it fine, give me an F. While requiring accountability in other areas in more important than for high school student's grades, still I think restoring the acknowledgment of failure is a good idea.

The logic of those defending the practice of "Es" makes little sense. They talk of "they'll miss the flexibility that the N allowed, especially the ability to send students a message without putting a big dent into their GPAs." The difference of one D versus one F is not huge (on a 4 year GPA). For a semester it can have an effect but jeez if you don't like that effect don't use the semester GPA for significant decisions (I don't see much justification for using it - though I acknowledge there is a challenge in how to deal with students, parents, coaches... that care more about athletics than learning and how you deal with trying to enforce some level of learning...).

Related: Creating a Nation of Wimps - Alumni of Seattle high schools

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Truck, Bus Fleets Beefed Up to Beat Jams, Fueling Congestion

Truck, Bus Fleets Beefed Up to Beat Jams, Fueling Congestion

It's the price of doing business in one of the most traffic-choked regions in the country, but it makes matters worse. The additional vehicles on the road add to congestion and fuel a cycle that further stresses the region's overtaxed roadways, resulting in even more delays and pollution.
The answer is decent public transit," said Zimmerman, who also is a member of the Arlington County Board.

Related: Traffic Congestion and a Non-Solution - Designing Cities for People, Rather than Cars - Urban Planning in N. Virginia