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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book Review - Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World

Amazing what you can find on the Internet. I was looking for an article about how Textbooks are created for public schools, and I found a very good article about China's schools.

I have mixed feelings about this. What I have noticed, is there is a huge amount of Chinese students who go to college in the US. I have a feeling these students get an excellent K-12 education, and then get the benefit of the excellent US College system. And yes, I understand the students who manage to go to a US college are a select few.

The US K-12 system, the quality varies tremendously. China's schools are focused on testing, and US schools seem to be taking some of this approach with Common Core.

The Myth of Chinese Super Schools - NY Review of Books - Diane Ravitch

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Ph.D. Not sure route to Middle Class?

Basically schools are over producing PH.D's with a benefit to the school, but not to the students.

Graduates have:

  • Poor job prospects
  • Only 50% find tenure track positions
  • Keeps the market flooded cheap adjunct faculty (which explains recent moves at some colleges for unionization of adjunct faculty).

The Academic Coin Toss - The American Interest

What was not mentioned is there is also a huge drop out rate for Ph.D's, as well as the cost.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Online class sizes ‘may not matter’

Wow, I am surprised...

Online class sizes ‘may not matter’ - Times Higher Educational UK

And this is an obvious implication:
Those implications may not be good news for instructors, especially adjuncts.

What is not mentioned in the article, is how many first year college classes are taught in huge auditoriums with limited interaction with the Professor. My guess, is there is not a lot of difference between a class taught in a huge auditorium, and one taught online.

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Learning Style Myth?

I am surprised, this was a big part of the theory taught for my Masters in Teaching...

All You Need to Know About the ‘Learning Styles’ Myth, in Two Minutes - Wired Magazine

A very good read.

96% of teachers believe in learning styles, but the research backing this idea up is weak.

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Chinese Dog Treats in the news, again

I am very protective of my dog, so the story about dog treats is scary.

When buying dog treats, unfortunately, I feel I need to check where the item was made. I bought some dog treats a while ago at Target, and I was surprised they were made in China. I am glad I returned them, soon as my dear wife, noticed where they were made. I remember the stories from a couple of years ago, 2008, about the contaminated dog food due to ingredients from China, that killed a number of dogs. I wrote some blog posts on it. I am surprised that 7 years later, this is still an issue.

Petco pulls Chinese treats - New York News

And per the FDA press release, the FDA has received 1800 complaints since October 2013.

And from the FDA site, this is what is involved:

What are the products involved?
The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but others include duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.

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Solar War Heats Up

I like the idea of Solar a lot, so I have mixed feelings on this. I am surprised that Taiwanese solar manufacturers are included. The major cost, not mentioned, of solar is installation. The panels are just part of the total cost of setting up Solar.

I have gotten a lot of telemarketing calls at home (and yes, I am on the do not call list) about Solar. The callers know less about Solar that I do, so the calls are not even educational. On my most recent call, from a telemarketer, I was polite and after listening to their start by asking a question (classic sales technique), I just replied politely, I am surprised at your call, since I am on the do not call list. The person seemed surprised by that answer, and after a little bit of silence, said they would place me on their do not call list.

Global Solar Trade War Flares Up - The American Interest

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Mochi Cake Danger

Mochi a Japanese is a rice cake, and very similar to the rice cakes eaten for Chinese New Year.

Anyway, this caught my attention, especially with my older relatives:
Nine people choke to death eating mochi rice cakes in Japan - The Guardian

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Green, Yellow, & Red Lights in Rowland Heights

On the way to work this morning, I noticed two drivers running a red light. It's very normal I have noticed in the Rowland Heights area.

I did a bit of Googling, and found this:

California Driving - A Survival Guide
It has some nice pictures.

This was the section I found useful:
California Driving – Bad Habits (And Worse)

I am surprised at the amount of people the blog claims do not use turn signals when lane changing. What I have observed, is people turn on their turn signals just as they change lanes.

Something that is not mentioned, is the tendency of hit and run drivers. People who are in an accident, and then leave. I saw this on a freeway, where a person rear ended a car, and the other car was pulling to the side (the one in front), and the one that hit it, sped up, got off the freeway, and disappeared. I was very shocked to see that. The same thing happened to my wife, it was not major damage, just a scratch, but still. The person hit her, and kept on going. I had the same thing happen to me about 9 years ago. Wow, that long? Where a person hit my car, and kept on going as I pulled to the side.

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