Weekend Reading: Whiplash Edition


Since it’s a furlough day at my university, and since there is apparently a tentative labor deal in my state, and since tomorrow’s my kid’s 8th birthday party, I’m going to keep this short, and instead commend to you Aaron Bady’s excellent post on how easily higher ed pundits forget the systematic defunding of public colleges and universities when they complain about rising tuition, higher ed “bubbles,” and the like:

In 1981, a college education at a university like California State was virtually free. You paid $160 a year, which is not nothing, but which also is pretty little. Next year, CSU freshmen will likely pay $6,450, which is much closer to the price which that commodity would fetch on the open market. By the time they graduate, they will be paying substantially more, if current trends continue, but the numbers themselves are less important than the fundamental qualitative shift that this represents: the state used to pay for something that the students themselves now pay for.

As they say, read the whole thing!

On to this week’s links:

  • Kevin Smith, the scholarly communications officer at Duke, explains why you should care about the copyright infringement case against Georgia State University: First, if this injunction were adopted as proposed, it would enjoin everyone at Georgia State, including students, who would seem to largely lose their fair use rights by virtue of enrolling at GSU.  It would apply to e-reserves, faculty web pages and any learning management systems in use or adopted in the future.  It would make GSU responsible for every conceivable act of copying that took place on their campus. (Via RepoRat)
  • The Neuroskeptic reminds us that “there’s no DNA in disease”: Cells don’t get symptoms. People get symptoms – and people are very complex systems made of billions of cells. So it would be extremely weird if a particular genetic variant only ever caused one specific disease.
  • Alice Bell suggests that social scientists and humanists need to think more carefully about public engagement: Of course, you could study whatever you want to, in exactly the way you choose, and only bother to have the cosiest of chats about it. You can do that in your spare time. Want independence? Go, join the hobbyists. Me, I’m a public sector professional, and as such, I take pride in the ways in which I may cultivate an independent voice, but do so within a network of constraints provided by public service. Listening to outside voices is not a threat to my professionalism; it’s an expression of it.
  • David Atkinson proposes, not just blogging, but live-blogging to enhance learning: From the students’ perspective, it fosters communication skills, improves working to deadlines and builds confidence about conducting interviews. Our students ended the day with a new sense of professionalism. They acted as ambassadors for the university in the way they conducted themselves on the day.
  • This advice from 37Signals’s Matt Linderman, although pitched at business folks, should be mailed to graduate students with their acceptance letter: Also, turning a passion into a business is a good way to kill the passion. You might love music. But become a music critic and you’re going to have to listen to hundreds of albums every month. Including a lot of stuff you hate. By the end of it, you might just discover that you can’t stand the thing you used to love.

In this week’s video, book designer extraordinaire Chip Kidd explains what his college graphic design course did for him:

Designer Chip Kidd Talks About College from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

And since today’s the lull between my kid’s birthday (yesterday) and his party (tomorrow), here’s his first online book review, of Dan Wallace’s The Jedi Path.

And since this week was the end of spring classes on my campus, here’s The Hold Steady & The Drive-By Truckers collaborating on the latter’s anthem, “Let There Be Rock.”

Have a great weekend!

Photo by Flickr user VinothChandar / Creative Commons licensed

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