Monday, March 28, 2011

Grind Grind Grind

The post-Spring-Break grind is upon me. While it's not so onerous now that I've moved from a four-exam to a three-exam semester format, it's still a grind in the sense that a) yes, I still have exams and what-not to grade, and b) student begin to pester me for extra credit. Why couldn't you care enough about your grades from the get-go to render this a moot point? But students will be students, after all.

There also myriad committee meetings, professional development meetings, reports, more reports, the transition to a new Moodle-based LMS from the old Blackboard Vista one --and no, we didn't have the funds to commit to an automatic conversion program, so everything must be (re)built from scratch.

And I am on full-time Baby Watch in case Junior decides he wants to come out to play prematurely.

What was it that Lloyd Bridges used to say? "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue..."

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

What We Learned While Goin' Fishin' on Saturday

  • If in doubt about the cranking battery, get it tested at the nearest parts store before heading out on the water.

  • A change of dry clothes back at the truck (and a towel) is always a good idea (learned the hard way).

  • Seaweed in abundance is the sworn enemy of any impeller-powered rig.

  • 65 degree water is still too cold for comfortable swimming, let along going under the boat to clear a clogged intake.

  • The third time the boat refuses to start in a reasonable time, when it does get started it is time to head for the ramp.

  • Any day you catch fish and get back to the ramp under your own power is A Good Day, no matter what else happens.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Redux: How, Once Again, I Was Ahead Of The Curve And Am The Greatest!

UPDATE: I wrote this back in May 2008, and it bears revisiting now.

RealClearPolitics - Articles - A Step Back From Enviro Lunacy: "$3 a gallon gas didn't change anybody's mind about energy issues. $4 a gallon gas did. " That was today.

Now, compare this with comments I myself made elsewhere over two months ago: "We are still in the relatively inelastic range of the demand curve. You get gasoline up to $4.25/gallon in Houston, or $5/gallon in Los Angeles, and I’ll posit that you’ll see the beginnings of serious declines in consumption." I was off by about 25¢, but I still claim it as me own.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Concealed Carry on my campus?

My state legislature is currently debating allowing concealed-carry permit holders to carry firearms on campus. Naturally the natives are now Restless. "And can you do SOMEthing about our legislature forcing this down our throats?" sniffed one solon at the last Faculty Senate meeting to the incoming board chairman. Every other conversation in the office inevitably brings the issue up. I suspect a coordinated effort on the part of some SuperSekrit Wacko Faculty-List: Journolist for the community college set.

My colleagues seem to believe that the second this happens, students are going to start bringing Glocks and Colts to class with them and twirling them like six-shooters. I'm trying to figure out if their fear is motivated out of an instinctual (viz., left-wing) fear of guns as a symbol of Authority; or a reflexive spasm against anything coming out of our Republican legislature.

Puh-lease. If you're worried about a student shooting you, CCL holders are probably at the bottom of your list of potential suspects. Most students cannot afford the training. And the ones who are angry enough to actually gun you down, probably aren't going to worry about if they're going to be ticketed for lacking a permit. They'll either ignore the law (funny how gun laws seldom actually stop crimes...) or wait for you to be off-campus. Virginia Tech: that poor crazy so-and-so didn't care about a permit. Professor Crazy What's-her-face at Alabama-Huntsville: didn't have a permit, still came to the department meeting with heat.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but we have guns on campus already, the students are just being very cool and even (!) responsible about them. They're not the ones I worry about. The day some hothead gets angry enough to shoot up a campus near me, I hope someone is capable of stopping him quickly and forcefully, and more often than not such stoppage is going to involve superior firepower. This is reality, however distasteful and ugly it may be.

(Note: I would not oppose requiring those CCL holders who actively carry to register with campus security, should they chose to actively carry while on-campus.)

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Monday, March 7, 2011

What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today? --Nat'l Geographic

What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today?: this kind of thing I have noted before (as have others) and occasionally this keeps me up at night. My mania for gardening isn't just about playing with power tools....

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