Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Odds and ends

This one is specifically for my family members who may never be able to buy another loaf of bread.

A food production company was ordered to pay nearly £17,000 after a man found a dead mouse in a loaf of bread as he made sandwiches for his children.

Stephen Forse, of Kidlington, Oxfordshire, had already used some slices when he came across the mouse.

How about turning $39 into $11 million? This is kind of an obscure sports story, but did anyone notice that Jim Furyk won the last tournament of the year and the season title on the PGA tour this weekend? He won just over $1.3 million for the last tournament and $10 million for winning the Fedex Cup.

Apparently before the final tournament Mr. Furyk walked into a local golf shop outside of Boston and picked up a USED $39 putter from a bin of 300 used putters. He tried it, liked it and used it this weekend to win $11 million in the tournament. The next time your better half wants to spend $399 on the latest Callaway putter you might want to remind him or her of this story.

I've often wondered about this situation myself - when you see a lecture hall full of kids on their computers are they really taking notes or just sitting in a classroom while surfing the web?

"It was in a theater-style lecture hall, with rows of desks rising away from the podium. From where I stood in the back, I had a good, down-slope view of the screens of students’ laptops. One guy seemed to be taking notes on the lecture until a message popped up. He typed a response, sent it, read the response to his response, typed again. Then he took out his phone and, sheltered by his open laptop, began texting.

Another student craned forward for a better view of the sports highlights on the screen of a student in the row ahead, which caught the attention of a third student a couple of rows back of them, who then tried to go to the same site on his own laptop. I could see others shopping, watching videos, reading the news. Many appeared to be taking class-related notes at least some of the time, but I didn’t see any who stuck to note-taking all the time. And when they were actually taking notes, they didn’t seem to be actively listening to the argument of the lecture with concentrated intellect so much as transcribing the professor’s words in a sort of secretarial fugue state."

I can't say I blame the kids because if I'd had access to youtube in college I might have been distracted a bit as well. However, I think it is the responsibility of the college or university to make sure that it's delivering a good product that is being utilized by the students. Asking kids to be stenographers is not an engaging way to learn. If you have kids on the verge of making the college decision ask if you can attend classes for a day. Get a sense for what is the style of teaching in a college and would it ultimately improve your chances for success in life? The cost of college is astronomical and you should get more out of it than free wifi.


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