Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekend Reading: The It Has Been a Tough Week So Here's Some Random Links Edition

So, sitting out two days in the middle of the week makes you behind on things. What a surprise!

Petunia is almost all better now, but not completely. And- this is fun!- it seems that when she's sick she wets her bed. Wheee! Mr. Snarky and I are both still trying to kick this cold, too. Probably the getting up at 1 a.m. to change Petunia's pajamas and strip the sheets off her bed isn't helping.

And then I had the sort of day at work today where my to do list was ambushed by my inbox.

But I don't want to deprive you of your links! I'll just deprive you of any organizing principle to the links whatsoever.

First, this is a really good open letter to white male comics. The main point of the piece is to explain why rape jokes aren't such a good idea, but it also explains part of why I don't watch much comedy anymore. Instead of being edgy and thought-provoking, so much of it is just mean.

Tressiemc had a really good post about why being able to enter and exit and re-enter the educational system is a strength, not a weakness, of our system.

Speaking of higher education, Nicoleandmaggie had some thoughts on Harvard, and Grad Lurker posted a link to the return on investment of various undergraduate colleges. It is an interesting, but an incomplete way of looking at things. For one thing, I strongly suspect that the ROI differs for different groups (race, gender, etc- see this earlier Tressiemc post for thoughts on that with respect to the "don't go to grad school" advice that is popular these days. Tressiemc has interesting things to say about higher education. If you're interested in that topic, a stroll through her archives is likely to be a bit of a time sink.) Also, Harvey Mudd is the top of the list, but since Mudd is focused on STEM, it benefits from the fact that a large number of Mudd grads are likely to go into STEM fields, which tend to make more money, particularly at the BS/BA level that the list examines. Finally, I don't think getting a high paying job is the sole purpose of higher education. I realize that is easy for me to say from my comfortable status possessing a high paying job, and I don't think getting a high paying job is a bad thing to hope for from your higher education, I just think that it isn't the only thing you might hope for.  I still had to look up my alma mater and generally waste a fair amount of time examining the list.

On a completely different topic, Laura Vanderkam had a good post about the latest incarnation of the false dichotomy between working and enjoying your life/kids/whatever. 

I found ThinReads, a site dedicated to short eBooks, via Laura's twitter feed, since they interviewed her. I haven't had time to explore it much yet, but I like the idea of a site to help me find short eBooks- as you know, I'm a fan of them.

I really liked this Salon article from Bill Moyers and Michael Winship about the gun regulation debate, and how mind-blowing it is that almost 3 in 10 Americans think they will need to take up arms in the next few years to defend their liberties. WTF, people?!?!?!?! Way to give up on democracy and the Constitution!

Let's end on a far more lighthearted note. I loved this tweet:

And these photos of London are cool, if a bit creepy.

I hope you are all healthier than we are at Chez Cloud. Happy weekend!


  1. Anonymous6:04 AM

    I'm also a little wary of that ROI list because they mis-categorized my school. It makes me wonder what other mistakes they've made. (Internal validity vs. your external validity concerns! Guess what I finished grading last night...)

    1. They also mis-categorized my school (as "liberal arts" but it should be "liberal arts,engineering")

      I'm mildly curious as to which of the institutions were undergrad-only and how many also have graduate programs. I realize that the rankings only considered students with a BA/BS and no higher. But I think the presence of graduate students would have an interesting affect on the undergraduate experience. My school, for example, is undergraduate only. Well, there is a small graduate program, MBA and MAT, but it's rarely spoken about. That means there are no TAs, and the undergrad students assist the PhD professors with research.

  2. Harvey Mudd has a policy: pay for a BA/BS, get a MS free. If you graduate in good standing from their undergrad program, you qualify to stay tuition free for a coursework masters. Some people do a bit of research with faculty to see if they like it enough to pursue a research PhD elsewhere. That makes HM a high ROI school.

    I know a Harvard undergrad who went on to earn a PhD in science. She didn't want to go to work for Wall Street, but it was the only way she could finish paying off her student loans fast enough to start a family while young enough.

    She wishes she'd gone to a state flagship school w/o debt and before her PhD. Then, working as a scientist would be a more viable option.

    Yeah, she went to Harvard and earns a lot. But, she's doing something that she doesn't believe has any redeeming value other than a big paycheck. I wouldn't call that a success or a high ROI.


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.