Monthly Archives: June 2010

June 17, 2010, 6:37 am

Oh hell.

Someone here has discovered the vuvuzela iPhone app.

June 16, 2010, 8:06 am

1st Meditations on the soccer ball.

It’s that time again, once every four years, when nations from around the globe gather…

… to ponder why Americans don’t like soccer.*  None of the typical explanations are compelling.  Thus I rant, first in a series, in part because it will tweak eric, tongue firmly in cheek, and you may talk about games that you’re watching in comments if you like, or you may rant back:


June 16, 2010, 5:25 am

Is American politics a "sick system"?

Or the American media? Or the Internet? Somehow I’m suspicious, but I’m too tired to think it through

June 15, 2010, 2:23 pm

Monthly Coalition Fatalities in the U.S.-Afghan War from January 2009 with Predicted Casualties to December 2010

The predicted fatalities are based on an extremely rough and ready calculation. Fatalities from Spring 2009 to Spring 2010 nearly doubled (1.78, actually), so I applied that same increase to the Summer 2009 figures to get to Summer 2010 estimates. I make no claims to any particular analytical value for this.


June 15, 2010, 8:49 am

False documents.

A reader kindly points me to the essay “False Documents,” by the great E.L. Doctorow. It is of course through Doctorow that many readers now know of Sherman’s march or the Rosenberg trial; which is to say that Doctorow’s gripping narrative of these events has in those readers’ imaginations a place that is somewhat surer than the pure recitation of known historical facts. This is of course just as Doctorow would want it.

June 14, 2010, 9:33 pm

Let us look at it first with our feet on the ground and then from the air.

A filmic tour of the Grand Canyon from the 1920s (via).

Searching for the Grand Canyon Suite led me here. (Previously on this blog.)

June 14, 2010, 4:14 pm

And do the other things.

XKCD scores with another historical item.

The mouseover text, which you’ll have to visit the site to read, is especially good; previously on this blog.

June 14, 2010, 9:28 am

Fatalities in the U.S.-Afghan War by Season, 2001-2010

Total coalition fatalities for each season since 2001.

June 13, 2010, 11:29 am

She was a plagiarist. The first one I caught. The only one I punished.

Plagiarism is understood to be a cardinal sin at the professional level. But, via the email, we get this piece asking whether there are ambiguities at the undergraduate level.

June 13, 2010, 8:55 am

Fatalities in the U.S.-Afghan War by Month, 2001-2010


Fatalities are the total fatalities in each month from 2001-2010, so “January” is the sum of January, 2002 plus January, 2003, etc.

June 12, 2010, 1:41 pm

Monthly Fatalities in the U.S.-Afghan War

Monthly Fatalities

(Coalition, not just American, and both combat and non-combat)

June 12, 2010, 7:57 am

In An Enormous Shock To Everyone, Student Evaluations Are Not Particularly Accurate

At least, in terms of measuring how much students learn:

That conclusion invites another: students are, in essence, rewarding professors who award higher grades by giving them high ratings, and punishing professors who attempt to teach material in more depth by rating them poorly.

The article, from the Washington Post notes the most widespread alternative to evaluations, standardized tests:

In K-12 education, you have standardized tests, and those scores have never been more widely used in evaluating the value added by a teacher.

Because nothing ever goes wrong with those:

The district said the educators had distributed a detailed study guide after stealing a look at the state science test by “tubing” it — squeezing a test booklet, without breaking its paper seal, to form an open tube so that questions inside could be seen and used in the guide. The district invalidated students…

Read More

June 12, 2010, 6:16 am

Names are still not definite descriptions

With Nebraska moving from the Big Twelve (which lost Colorado last week) to the Big Ten (which already has eleven schools*) we’ll briefly have a great situation where the Big 10 has 12 members and the Big 12 has 10 members. (Sadly this probably won’t last as a number of Big 12 schools are contemplating a move to the Pac 10.)

*Hence their cute logo.

June 12, 2010, 5:51 am

Rico's Roughnecks!

Yglesias links this appreciation of the great “Starship Troopers.” One of my all-time favorites, not least because of Casper van Dien’s teeth.

[E]ven though it was produced in 1997—and based on a Robert Heinlein novel from 1959—Starship Troopers is such a clean, strong, almost direct post-9/11 allegory that Verhoeven and Neumeier had to have seen what was coming.

It’s remarkable how the satire, which seemed over-the-top at the time, now looks like it didn’t go far enough.

June 9, 2010, 9:10 am

Protect the motherland.

It’s 1915, and Josephus Daniels wants you to want a bigger Navy, by exposing you to “the complex life that throbs through our dreadnoughts.”

Here’s a short clip including a submarine going down.

You can take in the whole thing, or at least 11′24″ of it, at the National Film Preservation Foundation.