Posts Tagged With: Blogs and Blogging

Other Penn Blogs

Some blogs run by Penn students (or faculty): Martin Gordon's Blog - Miami Beach senior's blog. curiousgirl's playground - Jing Chen's senior blog. 3000 Miles of Virtual Insanity - Ravi Mishra's blog. He'd prefer you didn't read it, though. Cool New Web - Anton Bernstein's Wharton blog. Progressive Dispatches - Liberal Canadian perspective on Penn. The Un-Wharton - Stuart Stein's labor of love about Wharton. Akkam's Razor - Daily links from a Penn grad student. I don't know who writes this one but the pictures are cool. Jeff Weintraub - Social Science Professor's out-of-classroom takes. Metadatta - Sujit Datta's Physics blog. AlbertGate - Albert Sun's freshman blog. (Updated) I'm Not Even Hungry - Tim and Jim, two seniors, offer a critical take on Penn life. The Spin/The Buzz - Blogs from the Daily Pennsylvanian. The Sphinx - Plenty of name-checks of other Penn students, but not any with the author's name. Scents - Grad psych student (and a TA from my Psych 1 class last semester) writes here. Oikono - Wharton student working in China this summer. (more updates, thanks Albert Sun) Nat Turner Wharton junior/entrepreneur/Houston-based Cavs fan is starting a new company this summer. Sounds intriguing. Earning My Turns - Fernando Pereira, Computer Science department chair (and my professor next fall), sounds off. Werblog - Kevin Werbach is a professor of Legal Studies at Wharton, and writes here. Language Log - Mark Liberman, linguistics professor, and a few other bloggers play language police. This site kills all of ours in terms of popularity. Mr. Swyx - Singapore freshman's technology blog. The Appletonian - Justin Sykes W '08, from Appleton, Wisconsin, with conservative/personal opinion And on the fringe (either not quite blogs, or not quite Penn students): lost the reflex to resist - Really, you should come here. It's not as bad as you're making out. Overheard At College (UPenn Chapter) Penn Press Log Leighcia (.) - Former Penn student wondering if finance consulting is the way to go. Caveat Lector If you know any more, or blog at Penn and aren't listed here, or want to change your description, let me know in the comments. We should unionize. And yes, you are all in my feed reader. Listening To: "Here I Come" by The Roots, ft. Dice Raw & Malik B.

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Posner on college

From Richard Posner: "...colleges and graduate (including professional) schools provide a screening and certifying function. Someone who graduates with good grades from a good college demonstrates intelligence more convincingly than if he simply tells a potential employer that he's smart; and he also demonstrates a degree of discipline and docility, valuable to employers, that a good performance on an IQ test would not demonstrate. (This is an important point; if all colleges did was separate the smart from the less smart, college would be an inefficient alternative to simple testing."

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Health Care Quote of the Day

From Judge Richard Posner: "The current concern about the health system, which generates plans such as the Edwards plan, may be misplaced. It is true that health costs are rising faster than the inflation rate. But rising costs, even of "essential" products and services, such as food, health care, and national defense, do not necessarily demonstrate the existence of a problem. Costs may be rising because quality is rising, which is true of health care (new and better therapies and diagnostic tools), or because demand is rising (and average cost is not flat or declining), which is also true; as people live longer, their demand for health care rises because more health care is required to keep people alive and healthy the older they are. In addition, much health care is in fact discretionary (cosmetic surgery is only one example; others are treatment for mild depression and other mild emotional or cognitive problems and treatments designed to enhance athletic ability), and demand for it can be expected to rise if quality rises relative to price. "It is also true that Americans spend much more on health care on average than the people in other wealthy countries do, without greater longevity to show for these expenditures. But health care does much more than extend life; it alleviates pain, discomfort, disfigurement, limited mobility, visual and hearing impairments, and mental suffering, and it is not clear that foreign health systems, which also involve considerable costs in queuing, do these things as well. In addition, the better a nation's health care is, the riskier the population's life style is likely to be, because the cost of obesity and other risk factors for disease is less." The full text is here. When Tyler Cowen and Greg Mankiw wake up I expect they'll link to this article too. In the hysteria of, "We deserve cheap good healthcare," these points are forgotten. Of course there are issues with the current system. I listened Posner talk earlier this year. While he made very good points, he is a more compelling writer than speaker.

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On Being an Elementary School Teacher

The NYT has a new blog up (subscription required) featuring posts from five schoolteachers from around America. Reading the last post from Mor Regev, a brand-new teacher in the Bronx, about how her attempts to discipline a student not only made him more disobedient but threw off her plans for the rest of the class. Schoolteaching is possibly the only discipline where we take brand-new teachers and throw them in a classroom with thirty (in this case, forty-two) students, with virtually no supervision or feedback. Furthermore, because teaching carries such a low salary, it is difficult to find qualified teachers for positions. There are two things which, based on my experience as a student, will most dramatically improve quality of education: improve the quality of the teachers, and have smaller class sizes. Improved technology in classrooms may be nice, but it doesn't do a thing if the teacher is horrible; indeed, it may be a bigger distraction to students. Furthermore, I highly doubt teachers in the 1940's and 50's were hindered by their lack of access to computers and email.
We can improve the quality of teachers first and foremost by raising salaries, but also by improving mentoring programs to give better feedback and introducing better sharing of lesson plans and effective techniques for handling and teaching a class of kids. Reducing class size will only be made possible by investing in more classrooms and more teachers at each grade level. The problem boils down to money, and better use of the money we spend. For now, we'll have our brand-new elementary school teachers on the verge of tears because they're trying their best, and failing, to control a class with forty-odd kids.

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Becker-Posner-Blog

Becker-Posner-Blog gets a mention in this week's edition of the Economist, in an article about academic blogging. I really like reading Becker-Posner because they rely solely on statistics and proven theory rather than speculation. They stick to what they know and what is concrete in giving their opinions, something that's missed in most commentary. I often end up agreeing with what they have to say. Gary Becker is a Nobel Prize-winning economist and Richard Posner is an influential circuit judge. The opinions and commentary on their site lean to the right, but not by much.

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Speaking of Ahmadinejad…

He's got a weblog up, http://www.ahmadinejad.ir. The first post talked about his roots in a small town in Iran. We will see how techno-savvy he is. Posting really could come back to bite him if he isn't careful about what he puts on there. On a related note, be careful what you put on the internet. Blog posting and 'flames' are sort of like getting a tattoo. You may think it's a good idea now, but in the future you may be cursing yourself. Prospective employers, college admissions people, your parents and your friends may read what you write. A good rule to follow is to expect that everything you publish will be read by your parents and the pope. Think about the kind of trouble our current politicians get in for stuff they did in the 70's, before they had 24-hour access, and then imagine politicians 30 years from now getting heat because they wrote an anti-Semitic post or flamed out a girlfriend when they were twenty.

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