Archive for the 'opinion' Category

Interview with a 9-year-old skeptic


“When atheists and “freethinkers” gathered in Houston this month to hear noted atheist and author Christopher Hitchens speak, Mason Crumpacker of McKinney, who just turned 9, drew international attention by asking Hitchens a question about what books she should read. Points recently caught up with Mason and her parents to ask some questions of our own. Note: This is a longer version of the Q&A in the Oct. 30, 2011, Points section of The Dallas Morning News.”



Steve Jobs at Heaven’s Gate: The New Yorker Cover


The cover of the October 17, 2011, issue of The New Yorker
in Open Culture

Scientific Process Rage




The Risks of Stopping Too Soon


“Software development suffers from an infirmity best called Premature Termination; the symptoms are that developers begin to do something useful but stop too soon. The result is something that is not only not very useful, but often harmful.”

David Lorge Parnas


Communications of the ACM
Vol. 54 No. 6, Pages 31-33

Can the U.S. Afford Universities Focusing on Research Over Teaching?


“The question I’m raising here is whether we can afford a shift toward research and away from teaching in the United States.  There is evidence suggesting that the increasing costs of higher education are not due to growth in instructional costs, but in costs associated with sponsored programs and graduate education External Link. In his blog, Rich DeMillo points out that university research rarely pays for itself External Link. Doing research is more expensive than doing education well.  ”


The Quiet Revolution in Open Learning


“The concept is simple: Community colleges that compete for federal money to serve students online will be obliged to make those materials—videos, text, assessments, curricula, diagnostic tools, and more—available to everyone in the world, free, under a Creative Commons license. The materials will become, to use the common term, open educational resources, or OER’s.”

in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Stumbling Into Bad Behavior


“(…)participants who faced a potential fine cheated more, not less, than those who faced no sanctions. With no penalty, the situation was construed as an ethical dilemma; the penalty caused individuals to view the decision as a financial one.
When we fail to notice that a decision has an ethical component, we are able to behave unethically while maintaining a positive self-image. No wonder, then, that our research shows that people consistently believe themselves to be more ethical than they are. ”
in The New York Times

Changing Education Paradigms


Complete presentation:

Why You Hate Comic Sans


“Everyone loves to hate Comic Sans. The child-like handwriting font is so infamous, there is a movement to try to ban it. Mention its name to the common layman (aside from a preschool teacher), and you will likely get a chuckle, mention it to a trained designer, and you’ll get a look of disgust. But what exactly makes Comic Sans so horrible?”

The Top 25 Nerds Of The Year


“Was 2010 the year geek became chic? Tough to make a case against it — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was on the silver screen, deep-space tech bailed out some caved-in miners, and Julian Assange became the pallid rogue who kept governments guessing. But they weren’t alone: Techland takes a look back on the top 25 nerds of the year.

Here they are, the top 25 nerds of the year:”