My Own Competition

I am providing my own competition. I told a friend who is looking for work about my SLAC’s open position. Based on what happened with me, I don’t think she will get the job, but she might. She is qualified. However, I also applied for the position… I am less qualified on the topic than she is, but I am also known there.

We’ll see. But I hope one of us gets the job. I guess if she does get it, we might be able to carpool on MWF. That would be very useful for me… Faster traffic. Of course, since we have to cross through town, it’s still time in traffic.

Great Minds Think Alike

Study Hacks has the story of a student who dropped off Facebook and gained significant educational ground.

I was wondering if the time I was spending on Facebook was keeping me away from my work. So from Monday through today, I have only been on fb to read and reply to my inbox. It has not made an appreciable difference.

So I’m going back on. But the student didn’t. It made a huge difference in his life.


Very interesting map that shows unemployment from 2007 to 2009 can be found here.

You know, Obama said 1 in 10 is unemployed. I was like, really.

Ten grownups in my family.
Mom- not employed, doesn’t want to be
Dad- not employed, doesn’t want to be
baby sister- not employed, doesn’t want to be
BIL- employed
sister- employed
BIL 2b- employed
husband- employed
me- underemployed
brother- unemployed
SIL- unemployed

So my family’s unemployment rate is 25%.

Wow. I didn’t realize how bad it is.

And that’s without taking into account people like my sister’s best friend who work full time and make $12,000/year.

Dinosaur Colors Found!

Of course, it is out of China and they’ve had some fake stuff, but this looks real.

The BBC says:

Professor Benton explained that differently shaped melanosomes produced different colours, with blacks or greys produced by “sausage-shaped” melanosomes, and reddish or “russet” shades found in spherical ones.
“A ginger-haired person would have more spherical melanosomes, and a black-haired or grey-haired person would have more of the sausage-shaped structures,” said Professor Benton.
The scientists found both types of melanosome in Confuciusornis and decided to turn their attention to Sinosauropteryx, which is the most primitive feathered dinosaur yet found.

Good stuff.

If I ever teach Dinosaurs and Dragons again…

I Won!

I won a writing award from my college system!

What’s funny is that I didn’t check my email today until 9 p.m. I read from the most recent on down. So, the first inkling I received is when a friend wrote and said, “Kudos for winning the writing award!”

I am very excited.

Unfortunately I’m also off facebook this week, to cut a budding addiction problem, so I can’t post it there. Too bad.

Dejá Vu

I was just grading an assignment I graded in a dream four years ago. It’s in my online class in Angel, which my college didn’t have four years ago.

Very strange.

Math in New and Improved Ways

The Math Curmudgeon has a great post on Game-Changing Graphics.

It is well worth looking at.

Want to see how a Russian Winter decimated Napoleon’s army? It’s there.

How cholera was identified as coming from a septic tank? That, too.

Scary view of sex at Jefferson High. (When did that come out and how did I miss it? Answer 2004. I don’t know. That would be a good place to point some of my students. American Journal of Sociology.)

This would definitely be interesting to read about.

It Shouldn’t Take This Much Emotional Energy

It shouldn’t be that hard to clean out a closet. It shouldn’t take hours to decide on categories like: give, keep, throw away.

But it is hard.

Would R want this? Do we need boxes? How many are too many? Should I get rid of this? How do I get rid of that? (Boxes of books and magazines. Where should those go?) I don’t really wear this, should I give it away? I wore this once, maybe I’ll wear it again. Where am I going to put all the suitcases?

And, of course, it doesn’t help that all four trash cans we own are full because someone (not naming any 17 year old son) forgot to take out the trash two times in a row.

Bogus Global Warming Claims Were for Political Purposes

Scientists used and re-used this information without ever checking it. I am guessing part of the reason for the lack of checking (especially since it was never published in a peer-reviewed journal which should have checked it) is that it matched what the scientists were expecting to find and so they accepted it.

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Doesn’t that tell you more about science being subjective than you wanted to know?

I found this on Watts Up With That. It includes several screen captures of British papers on the topic.

My School Blog is Dead

I am not sure what has happened. I assume someone hacked it. But my blog that my students must write to will not open. I’m going to have to get the Computer Programmer Superwhiz on that.

Great. The blog I use for teacher education isn’t working either.

Apparently I Can’t Read

I was looking at an old email for some information and found in it a wealth of information which I had not seen before.

I received the email about two weeks ago and I just totally missed a whole entire section. I don’t know why. Perhaps I was skimming?

I also missed the implication of a different email and caused someone quite a bit of hassle. Unfortunately.

I need to be more careful about reading my emails apparently. Because I can read.

So I guess I would have to say I just don’t.

A Dream

I dreamed I was riding in a huge van with my mother. My mom was driving. We were going from one place to another, though I don’t remember where now.

She started going down a hill that was at the incline that makes me paranoid because I rolled down one in a car when I was three. So I asked her to slow down and I was looking sideways to not freak out.

Mom knew exactly why I asked her to slow down so she really pressed on the gas and the steering wheel was bucking against her. I told her she didn’t have to slow down that much, but it was too late.

The big van was out of control and we were headed off the road. I couldn’t see where we were going, but I knew it was bad. I told her, “I love you.”

When I woke up I was curled in a ball. It was quiet. I didn’t know if the crash were real and I was in the hospital and just wasn’t feeling the pain yet or if it had been a dream.

I woke up in bed and rolled over to curl up next to R.

I wasn’t upset, but it was a strange dream.

Usually when I have nightmares, which I would count wrecking a car as, I wake up hollering. I don’t know what that was about.

I couldn’t get back to sleep, though, so I got up and worked on school and then I came here to write it down.

I have lots to work on with my online class, but I kept making a mistake that erased what I was doing, so I stopped for a while.

Hot Weather Survival Tips

I could not find a lot on this. Even when I tried various different combinations of words it was mostly on winter survival. When I limited my search to not include winter, there was very little available.

Most of what I found is for seniors in a heat wave. Not exactly useful discussion for how to survive five months in the summer without electricity. (Yes, we have 5 months of summer in Houston.)

I did find Maricopa’s Desert Awareness manual. It has some good stuff.

Here’s what they recommended for a personal survival kit:

Metal signal mirror
Pocket knife
Flint and steel
Small candle
Cigarette paper book
Small pencil
Small magnet compass
Waterproof matches
Dental floss (100 yd)
1 qt canteen with water
Bright colored balloons
Iodine tablets
Canteen cup
Waterproof match case
Map of area
Duct Tape
1 sq yd nylon or chiffon, brightly colored
4 Quarters (What the heck? So you can phone home?)
Hard Candy
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
Small fish hook
Razor blade
Heavy plastic bags for use as canteens
necessary, follow these rules: AVOID plants with milky sap. AVOID all
red beans. If possible, boil plants which are questionable. Test a
cooked plant by holding a small quantity in the mouth for a few
moments. If the taste is disagreeable (very bitter, nauseating, burning),
do not eat it.
Poncho or sheets of plastic
Needle with large eye
Cobbler’s linen thread (1 Yd)
Light picture cord (snare wire)
Snake bite kit
Bar of soap (small)
Woodman’s saw
Knife sharpening device
Survival guide (I am fairly sure this would be VERY useful for most Americans.)

Their suggestions are common sense, but useful.
Avoid stressful activities during the hot season.
Limit activities to cooler times of day. (This is probably where the two hour siesta came from.)
Keep pace slow and carry light loads.
Wear suitable clothing.

Operational Manual from the government
DO NOT eat food without water. (Maricopa mentioned that too.)

The operational manual would probably be useful for Apocalypse Man scenarios. There is also basic useful information in there.

Enormous Support for a President

a president who entered office with enormous support and an unprecedented amount of goodwill.

The Commentary is talking about Obama.

He got 53% of the vote. I’m not sure that is enormous support. He did get 8 million more votes than McCain. Of course, in a country of 305 million people, an amazingly high 127 million voted.

That’s over a third of the population, which includes children!

Americanization of Mental Illness

An intriguing article/title from the NYTimes.

This unnerving possibility springs from recent research by a loose group of anthropologists and cross-cultural psychiatrists. Swimming against the biomedical currents of the time, they have argued that mental illnesses are not discrete entities like the polio virus with their own natural histories. These researchers have amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that mental illnesses have never been the same the world over (either in prevalence or in form) but are inevitably sparked and shaped by the ethos of particular times and places. In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia; men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Across the fertile crescent of the Middle East there is zar, a condition related to spirit-possession beliefs that brings forth dissociative episodes of laughing, shouting and singing.

For more than a generation now, we in the West have aggressively spread our modern knowledge of mental illness around the world. We have done this in the name of science, believing that our approaches reveal the biological basis of psychic suffering and dispel prescientific myths and harmful stigma. There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we’ve been exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” as well. That is, we’ve been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures. Indeed, a handful of mental-health disorders — depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia among them — now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness.

And those are just two of the fascinating sections of the article.

Isn’t this a little weird?

It says it is copyrighted in 2008.

It also says Coakley conceded. No one else does though.

The Denver Post says he won.

Is this a Dewey-Truman moment? We’ve already had those. One news center posted election returns yesterday.

What is up with me?

I have grading to do and I have done everything but the grading.

There’s a paper coming up and I haven’t written it.

I need to lose weight, but I’m eating a lot.

I lack self-discipline today. That is a terrible realization.

I am going to grade now.

Password Joke

from my friend Jill:

During a recent password audit at our company, it was found that a receptionist was using the following password:


When asked why she had such a long password, she said she was told that it had to be at least 8 characters long and include at least one capital.

Life is Busy

I am finishing up my online class. Turns out it isn’t good enough (despite the fact that people did it last semester) to be ahead of your students. You must be finished. So I’ve got a load of work to do. I don’t know when I will be doing it either.

Today is almost over. We go to the hotel tonight. Tomorrow is the marathon. Perhaps tomorrow afternoon while R sleeps I will have time and inclination to work. Then Monday it is up and to Austin. I wonder how E will feel about being up at 5:30 to get there. He can sleep in the car. I’m good with that.

Also we are looking into applications for a job away from Houston. It would mean some serious uprooting of our youngest son, but he would be going to where he would be going next year anyway. It also means some serious reconsideration of what we are doing. We’d have to get the house in order. Do we buy a smaller house or do we buy a house with land? Do we buy as if we intend to stay forever? What does that mean? We have to fix this house if we are going to sell. I figure… $6K in upgrades and fixes. Maybe more, maybe less depending on who we find to do them.

We’d need to shift stuff out of the house. Decide what we were keeping and why. Some stuff I’ve held onto for the kids. But if we are moving, do we want to move that? There’s the cost of moving as well. How much do we want to spend on that? How will we do it?

And, do we want to move? It is something different. But could we do something different here? Not now. I don’t have a job. If I had a job could we? Perhaps.

But this job is contingent on a price break for our son’s tuition. That would make a difference. What will we do?

I do not know. And when I am overwhelmed I tend to go read. So I have been reading today instead of working.

I think I will fold some socks, finish the laundry, and load the dishwasher. Though I will NOT fill the water bottles again. That is E’s job this week. He can do it.

How do you make a decision?

A job in Abilene may be opening up. How do we make a decision?

Let’s say that Ron makes X. I would expect the opening in Abilene to pay 1/2X. Average home price in Houston is $198K. Average in Abilene is $140K. Not 1/2.

We’d get a substantial break on tuition for the youngest munchkin. That would be worth a lot. But not enough to make up for the 1/2 we’d lose. And in four or six years, when he’s finished, we wouldn’t have the cash of that tuition.

I know the job.
I like the people.
We have talked about moving there before.
Hubby could do something different.
I would actually have a job that would pay me decent money for doing 2/3s of what I am doing now.

Not big city.
Have to go to X church.
1/2 income.
No real retirement fund gets built there.
Away from my family. (Yes, I know that could be a positive for my immediate family. But it would still be a negative for me.)

You know what? I am doing too much. I think I need to seriously consider cutting back on the school I do next year. Perhaps I should drop English at the SLAC. I’d still have the 2 business courses. But I wouldn’t be working full-time for part-time pay anymore. (Which I am right now.)

Maybe the reason Abilene sounds good is that I wouldn’t be working too much. It’d be more laid back. I could do two conferences and … I don’t have to do two conferences now, but I am. And if we went to Abilene, I couldn’t afford to go.

Gotta think about this.

Why is it so appealing? And is it appealing enough? I don’t want to go after the job and then turn it down if they offer it.

I mean, I could say, if it’s not $X, then I can’t take it. That’d be different than saying, “Oh, you know, I decided I didn’t want to go.”

M says you make the decision with prayer and fasting… I’m not sure when I have time to fast, but I sure have time to pray.

God, do you have a plan here? Would you mind telling me what it is?