Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Conversation With Stephen Colbert

A Conversation With: Stephen Colbert

Host, "The Colbert Report", Comedy Central

The options on the Google Video homepage were impressive - all sorts of ways to demonstrate your interest in a video and/or share it with others - friends or those not so friendly . . . .

Some Evil has left this earth . . . . .

The top news headlines on current events from Yahoo! News: "Saddam Hussein executed for war crimes
This video image released by Iraqi state television shows Saddam Hussein's guards wearing ski masks and placing a noose around the deposed leader's neck moments before his execution Saturday Dec. 30. 2006. Clutching a Quran and refusing a hood, Saddam Hussein went to the gallows before sunrise Saturday, executed by vengeful countrymen after a quarter-century of remorseless brutality that killed countless thousands and led Iraq into disastrous wars against the United States and Iran. (AP Photo/IRAQI TV, HO)

AP - 57 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein struggled briefly after American military guards handed him over to Iraqi executioners. But as his final moments approached, he grew calm. He clutched a Quran as he was led to the gallows, and in one final moment of defiance, refused to have a hood pulled over his head before facing the same fate he was accused of inflicting on countless thousands during a quarter-century of ruthless power."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald R. Ford 1913-2006

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum: "Gerald R. Ford's signature
July 14, 1913 - December 26, 2006

Mrs. Betty Ford issued the following statement from her home in Rancho Mirage, California:

'My family joins me in informing you that Gerald R. Ford - our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather - has passed away at 93 years of age. His was a life full of love for God, family, and country.'"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Productive Day

Today was a very productive "back-to-work" day after taking a few days away from the computer to enjoy the holiday. I started one of my new year's resolutions early - writing every morning and I also fit in two exercise sessions plus some outdoor work at the farm. I also had a phone conference with a colleague on a potential publication and did some catching up on the never-ending email tasks. I have to manage email more effectively - primarily by setting aside fixed response times each work day so that I am not constantly diverting my efforts away from other tasks that need to be completed.

I also ate the left-over turkey dinner - the stuffing and gravy are almost better the second time around and the pumpkin pie is always good!

This time last year I was constantly engaged with the clean-up process after a water pipe broke. I did head out to Colorado during this week but did not go to AHA like I'm going to do this year.

How do you best manage your email within the context of the rest of your work?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Kansas-City-Christmas.jpg (JPEG Image, 313x400 pixels): ""

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Student Accountability as Adults

Confessions of a Community College Dean: "One of the life skills I'd like college to help impart – at least to traditional-aged students, since older students have usually picked this up already – is the ability to figure out what to do when nobody tells you directly. Since we don't measure that directly, students can graduate without really developing much of that. I'm concerned that the 'intrusive advisement' model makes it easier for students who are already weak in this area to stay weak. That's not to deny for a minute that they can pick up these skills elsewhere, and many do, but I can't help but think that college should play a role."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education - Inside Higher Ed :: Scholarly Archive or Ideological Center?

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education - Inside Higher Ed :: Scholarly Archive or Ideological Center?: "Scholarly Archive or Ideological Center?

Southern Methodist University has long been considered the front runner in the competition to be the site of President Bush’s presidential library. Laura Bush is an alumna and trustee. Dick Cheney was a trustee before being elected vice president. And the university’s main challenge — a lack of space — may have been fixed this month when SMU won a court fight over its right to demolish a condo complex the university had purchased, in part to have land for the Bush project.

But now, as President Bush prepares to decide among SMU, Baylor University and the University of Dallas, a new issue has emerged. Professors at SMU are circulating an open letter calling for the university to have a full discussion of the implications of being host to the Bush library. Several recent press reports have quoted Bush advisers as saying that SMU has the edge and that the library’s affiliated think tank will encourage scholarship with a specific political agenda."

The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO - Thefts ruin holidays

The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO - Thefts ruin holidays: "Published December 17, 2006 11:43 pm - While Gaylin Hall watched a movie with her 12-year-old daughter on Dec. 9, a thief ran up charges on her debit card.
Hall had parked outside the Northstar 14 movie theater, 210 N. Northpark Lane, about 4:30 p.m. When she and her daughter left the theater, they found that someone had smashed the truck’s window and grabbed Hall’s purse from inside.

Thefts ruin holidays"


Maybe you shouldn't leave your purse in your car???? It's sad for her family and illustrates how the small town where you leave your house unlocked and the keys in your car (yes, some people around here STILL do that - in the ignition, no less!) no longer exists.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Historical Lunatics - via Cliopatria

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Work on Highway 249 shifting gears

Work on Highway 249 shifting gears: "Work on Highway 249 shifting gears

— By Wally Kennedy
CARTERVILLE, Mo. — Carterville has a grocery store, an ice cream shop, two convenience stores, a cafe, a tavern and a post office — all things a community of 1,900 people needs.
In a few years, it also will have in its back yard one of the most sophisticated highway interchanges ever constructed in Southwest Missouri. The high-speed interchange, under construction where Missouri Highway 249 meets Missouri Highway 171, will have seven bridges, including one that will be 70 to 80 feet in the air.
From the north, the interchange will provide a direct conduit for truckers and motorists to reach Interstate 44 and U.S. Highway 71, about five miles to the south. From the south, motorists will have an outlet to swing east to U.S. 71 at Carthage or swing west and connect with U.S. Highway 400 at Pittsburg, Kan."

Progress just keeps moving forward . . .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Charles Blackmon Case

I spent two great days researching at the Archives as well as enjoying a holiday wine dinner with a friend.

The Archives just worked with the Kansas City Star to publish a collection of their "greatest hits" that is wonderful for anyone interested in history - whether as a hobby or as a profession. It's especially great with the one-page synopses - that's called "teacher-friendly" in our world.

One case highlighed is the Charles Blackmon trial - he was a Wichita State University student who protested President Johnson's visit to the city. The greatest find was the 400-pages-plus of court transcripts and interviews. That type of document tells the story of the rest of the documents.

I also looked at osme more enemy alien records for Kansas - interesting personal stories even in the short documents.

Then, some of my brothers' friends came to visit and I caught up with my favorite mentor via phone. He's always great on providing perspective even we are each calling the kettle black. . . .

It's another 60-degree December day. I just read in the paper that we don't actually get consistent cold her until January through March. I'm glad we've had one great snow, though!

Monday, December 11, 2006

How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

Chronicle Careers: 12/11/2006: How Dumb Do They Think We Are?: "How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

By Jonathan Malesic
First Person

It happened more times last year than I can even recall, but I clearly remember the first time. I was grading a paper and came across a sentence that surprised me. It just didn't fit in with what I had read up to that point. I was surprised partly because the sentence made proper use of the word 'implacable,' whereas in the paragraph before, the student had used an abstract noun ending in '-ship' as a verb. Twice.

I read more and found more seismic shifts in the writing style. Magisterial paragraphs were followed by inane ones; syllogisms gave way to circular logic, and back again. I picked one suspect sentence, entered it into an Internet search engine, and in milliseconds, I found it -- word for word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark. It turned out much of the rest of the paper had been plagiarized from the same document.

I deduced that the student had also performed a 'find-and-replace' function on one key word in the document to make paragraphs that were on a different topic seem as if they were on the topic I had assigned."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday morning

After having been festive for the last couple of days to celebrate the season, I'm not energized to do some catching up and try to go beyond the just "getting by". At times like these I will I were Samantha and could just twinkle my nose and the house would clean itself. My major issue is the stacks of papers/documents/journals/books to look at later - including potential subjects of blog entries.

I have a two-day research trip planned to the National Archives in KC and am going to the farm for the next couple of days to enjoy the last of the snow. Christmas decorations are about 10% up - primarily the red mini-lights on the Christmas tree. The red lights that were left outside at the farm are now white to orange to light red so those will have to be replaced - I should have realized that leaving them on the railing all year.

Today is the anniversary of discovering the broken water pipe at the farm. This year, the outside faucet connection was severed in October and occasionally turned on when needed so there wouldn't be a repeat. A friend's husband was able to "restore" the under the counter refrigerator withOUT cracking the granite countertop so there is celebration all around. He also reworked the doors that were not hung right and the door trim that was not re-assembled correctly. You don't realize what it takes to do something right until you see it done incorrectly. And, the house is too new to have these types of issues. Let's just say I learned a lot about the different levels of insurance impelementation and hope to never have to apply those lessons again.

I'll also be going to a great wine dinner with a friend in KC while I'm there so the festivities continue.

Meanwhile, look out for flying posts as part of my catch-up effort!

Friday, December 08, 2006

History News Network

History News Network: "Manan Ahmed
That Conference Paper

In March, I am presenting on a panel at the annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies. A few weeks ago, we co-panelists thought about ways in which we could enhance the process of writing and discussion on the papers before the conference happens. We are convinced that our idea for the panel could be turned into a neat little book and so, we wanted to invest far more longitudinal conversations than is common in panels [my advisor Ron Inden famously quipped: 'A panel compromises of 4 people who never have to speak to each other.'].

Since all the panelists were scattered around the country and could not meet in person [which would make life SO much easier], I felt that what we needed were 4 sets of networked documents - annotatable, referenceable. That is, we would want to comment on an individual paper, comment on that comment, and refer to some section on a similarly marked up different paper. Perhaps, a pdf or Word document with tracking enabled and a template, being mailed back and forth, continuously. Um, no.

My working notion, then, was to create a private wiki where the co-panelists will post our papers and get those conversations started: post our primary materials, notate the main trajectories of our arguments, etc. I think it would have worked reasonably well.

Today, however, Ben Vershbow and the amazing people at Institute for the Future of the Book introduced me to their notion of a networked working paper: Mitchell Stephens's The Holy of Holies: On the Constituents of Emptiness. Taking off of their earlier work on McKenzie Wark's Gamer Theory, this newly imagined paper provides each section with a dynamic margin to the right of the text where one can post comments on individual paragraphs, and also annotate the text with links and refereneces to related materials. One thing I can think of adding is a space for the meta-discussion - that is, the discussion of the paper as a whole.

One can easily see the immense potential of this - especially in the many-to-one discussion model. That is, a number of people commenting/parsing one basic text. I can easily see dissertation committees all over the land jumping up and spilling their coffees in excitement. Oh wait, they never read those things.

As Ben mentioned, 'I think the history community should pay attention... this is something they could really use.' I couldn't agree more. This is also a great illustration of how web 2.0 technologies can impact humanities. I think the key part of this experiment is to mould technologies to get their benefits without necessarily rupturing the ways in which academia functions. This is a positive and welcome step in that direction.

So, how about it, Ben? How does your prototype scale to a panel?

Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 1:04 PM | Comments (1) | Return"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lake Ozark Damage Photos - Provided by Excess Detailing

Lake Ozark Damage Photos - Provided by Excess Detailing

This is the downside of owning property . . . . :-(

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NCSS presentation

Here's the link to my NCSS presentation on social software for teachers. Fellow blogger Eric from Liberty was there and is definitely a blog you should check out.

The session was surprisingly over capacity with some great expertise throughout the audience - which also points to whey more conference sessions should be interactive and not reading papers to other adults. Several of our grant teachers who did podcasts with us this summer were in attendance. I discovered too late that the only room in the conference center where my Sprint broadband card did NOT work was in the room where I was presenting. But I quickly accessed the available system and made it work as some of my teachers were explaining their podcasts that I played from my hard drive.

The National Archives session was also over capacity and Tracy and Kimberlee did a great job and we received lots of compliments later - bringing free primary sources to teachers.

The reception and presentations at the National Archives that evening was quite moving and served some great wine and cheese.

Dinner with teachers and friends from Colorado and St. Louis was great. I can also say I have done research at Archives I - the bill files for the Presidential Libraries Act and the Former Presidents Act. And I have an official researcher card since the card for the regions doesn't appear to transfer.

Yesterday I received news that 3 of the teachers and I were accepted onto the WHA program next fall in Oklahoma City. This is my first acceptance on this program so I am quite excited. And it will be a fun meeting for the teachers given the existing diversity of membership and the inclusive tours.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Historical thinking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Historical thinking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Historical thinking
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Historical thinking is defined by many education resources as a set of reasoning skills that students of history should learn as a result of studying history. Sometimes called historical reasoning skills, historical thinking skills are frequently described in contrast to history content such as names, dates, and places. This dichotomous presentation is often misinterpreted as a claim for superiority of one form of knowing over the other. In fact, the distinction is generally made to underscore the importance of developing thinking skills that can be applied when individuals encounter any history content. Most educators agree that together, history content--or facts about the past--and historical thinking skills enable students to interpret, analyze and use information about past events."

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