Links 25-May-2008

  • Penelope Trunk has an excellent post on how she got her current favorite mentor, to complement her other posts on the topic. As a forty-odder among twenty-somethings, I find that my mentors are not just the professors, but my peers who have longer experience of being a student, being at SILS, being connected to many other students who they think may be good for me to meet. I have a couple of trusted mentors -- including, of course, The Illimitable Cassidy -- both 20 years younger than me, who provide me with excellent advice and guidance.  I hope to be of use to them one day, or to pay it forward in some way.
  • I recall an author reading I went to years ago; she'd written a book about the Book of the Month club. Her opinion at that time was that literate book-culture was seeing its history growing smaller in a rearview mirror, hence the explosion of books about books, books about reading, books about bibliophiles. There's a strong flavor of sadness and melancholy in these books. I thought of this when reading the UK Guardian review of Alberto Manguel's "The Library at Night":

The traditional library was a citadel sacred to the notion of omniscience; the web, by contrast, is 'the emblem of our ambition of omnipresence', like a supermarket that boundlessly proliferates in space and deluges the planet with its tacky wares. 'The library that contained everything,' Manguel laments, 'has become the library that contains anything.'

  • In junior high school, I got hooked on the Doc Savage novels with the James Bama covers. William Denton somehow located the author Lester Dent's Master Fiction Plot Formula for any 6000-word story. While you're there, check out William's library science pages. And I'll probably try his index card system for organizing my school work this fall. Update: I tried it for a while but it duplicated other systems for tracking work and reading that were more convenient, so I dropped it.
  • Susie Bright is looking for odd book titles. (Susie's site is fun, but its ads could be classified as NSFW.)

MOON WATCHING

To know whether the moon you see tonight will be bigger or smaller tomorrow night - In the Northern Hemisphere, the moon spells “DOC” each month - first it looks like a “D” (waxing moon), then an “O”…


MOON WATCHING

Links 22-May-08


  • This paper studies the CVs of assistant professors of economics at several American universities and finds “evidence of a strong brain drain” and a “predominance of empirical work.” If you searched the CVs of assistant professors at top-10 IS/LS schools, what do you think you’d find? [via Marginal Revolution]
  • Michael Leddy (of the consistently fun Orange Crate Art blog) recommends this Atlantic article written from a teacher in the academic trenches. Professor X’s message to her/his students? “[T]hey lack the most-basic skills and have no sense of the volume of work required; that they are in some cases barely literate; that they are so bereft of schemata, so dispossessed of contexts in which to place newly acquired knowledge, that every bit of information simply raises more questions. They are not ready for high school, some of them, much less for college.” Note, though, the type of college the Professor works at. Does this lack of preparation prevail at better colleges also?
  • A great NY Times profile of the great Mad fold-in artist Al Jaffee. By hand, people!! And the Times did a fabulous job of animating some of the fold-ins. The Broderbund set of Mad CDs I bought (cheap!) years ago had that feature, also.
  • Tyler Cowen cites the really only truly most important reason for becoming a full professor.