Wednesday, May 29, 2002
This is a little 'slice of life' link that reveals why the Web is so good for telling stories. Lisa Whiteman's purse was stolen... what happened next was, fortunately for us, documented in her weblog. [Note: click on the links in the first paragraph for the full story.]

Wednesday, May 22, 2002
I love the idea of the serendipitous find, which is probably why BookCrossing appeals to me. I'm tempted to try this myself, but I'm still not quite sure where I'd leave my books. Even worse, which ones can I live without?

Friday, May 17, 2002
Now that I've finished Word Freak (see 15 May's entry), I can happily announce that it's my Best Book of 2002 (So Far). I even found the glowing New York Times review of it, which should convince you even more that it's worth reading.

But don't just take my word for it-- here's a radio interview with Stefan Fatsis about his book.

Thursday, May 16, 2002
There is a frightening potential for this technology to be misused in mass media. (You'll need a sound card again. Watch the clips in the right column).

While it's exciting stuff-- a method of snipping and splicing videotaped dialogue so that it looks convincingly like something different-- there are a whole host of reasons why this makes me think that we're about to enter a new era of misrepresentation.

Granted, the system only works now if the speaker doesn't move his/her head and the background remains perfectly static. So at least for a little while, I'll know to be sceptical of motionless, backdropped talking heads.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Now come on... 'K-A-T'? (You'll need a sound card to view this... and of course, it's safe for work).

Strangely enough, that came across my screen at the same time as I'm finishing Stefan Fatsis's tremendously enjoyable Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002
Two recent articles (this one and this one) provide more evidence that the blighted image of the community college is changing, and more rapidly than I expected it would. Some of this has to do with something that I've been calling the Universal Contact Principle: that is, because of the exponential rise in US university costs, casual users of higher education now have little choice but to patronise community colleges. What's new about that is these same people tend to be wealthy and already well-educated, not the traditional audience for a community college. Middle-class students are moving more towards the community colleges, especially because the costs of being unsure of one's major and doing a bit of academic exploration are often prohibitive. Because of their affiliation with these institutions, community colleges have lost quite a bit of their stigma. And deservedly so.

I'm sitting here wondering how the city of Coral Gables, FL will manage to keep itself from being sued over this job posting. Is there any question at all that they will be taken to court over this?

It does raise interesting questions about what criteria are acceptable to use in hiring and firing. If the sacred cows of age, sex, race, religion, and (the 'letter Y' of discrimination) sometimes sexual orientation, are ruled out, is everything else fair game?

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