think on this.

Jul 31

Why no MOOCs on Gaza? -

Where are the MOOCs on Gaza? Where are the MOOCs on Iraq? Etc., etc.These are not insignificant places and conflicts. And to be sure handling vigorous student participation would require great planning and focus. But there is, arguably, a real need for public service to enhance deep learning on complex events versus generic or broad disciplinary takes (e.g., international relations). I suspect a lot of people (alumni included!) would benefit from engaging with a well planned and executed MOOC on the history and politics of Gaza & Israel right now.
Are universities with MOOC initiatives just searching for low-hanging fruit (i.e. existing broad undergraduate courses that can be morphed into MOOCs)? Are universities and professors just risk averse regarding potentially controversial ‘open online’ course topics? Are MOOCs the equivalent of taste-testers (at food festivals) for university courses and programs, a charge I’ve often heard directed at one MOOC platform. Perhaps the international collaborative potential of MOOC platforms has not been recognized, yet, and relevant professors and researchers in various countries/universities/think tanks have not yet worked together to create the ideal MOOCs on these places and associated conflicts?

Jul 30


(via California print by penmeetpaper on Etsy)


(via California print by penmeetpaper on Etsy)

“Update: KTLA is reporting that at least 739 cars are inside the two parking structures and almost half of them are completely under water.” —

(via pussreboots)

Dude, I have been thinking about this SO MUCH. What do you even do? How do you even get compensated? Probably through a lawsuit eventually, but in the meantime? You basically can’t function without a car in LA, and most car insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, and how do you prove that your car is inside a completely underwater parking garage?

(via kelsium)

not to minimize this, and not to imply that having a car partially underwater is all that much better than having a car completely under water, but they are still surveying and identifying damage at UCLA. that info about the cars went out first thing this morning before things had been verified, so the true scope of the situation and damage isn’t yet known. (i am implying that KTLA is irresponsible. i feel ok about that implication.) 

(Source:, via kelsium)

i want to get another cat so i can name her Dorothy Purrrker.

is that wrong?

Why We Don’t Know the Size of the Transgender Population -

But counting the transgender population nationally remains a steep challenge. The U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t ask who is transgender,1 nor do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But even if they did, the responses might not be reliable because some people are afraid to answer, while others disagree on what “transgender” even means. If you see someone cite a statistic about transgender people in the United States, you’re seeing a rough estimate at best. …

Gates has spent most of his career trying to convince survey writers to better include LGBT Americans in their research. Major breakthroughs have been made. In 2013, after years of consultation, the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey included a section on sexual orientation. As a result, nationally representative data is available for the first time on lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans — but asking questions on gender identity is still a long way off.

That’s partly because there is disagreement about what it means to be transgender, and because of some people’s reluctance to identify themselves that way.

you guys i am having the best day, aside from ongoing terror about the rain, which is currently causing “minor flooding” in my area. it’s amazing how small the differences between a good day and a bad day are.

Response to Bustle's 31 Questions About Kim Kardashian Hollywood -


i love this.

Jul 29

i find this depressing

i am reading a number of detailed data analyses of teacher salaries as compared to other professions and the comparisons are all between people with the same education level and number of years of experience, because those are strongly related to salary level. and then all of the results and reports are disaggregated by gender because of course that is strongly related to salary level also. it is such a well-known thing that not one of the reports has explicitly discussed the decision to do comparisons by gender. we all just know that it isn’t meaningful to compare women’s salaries to men’s.

just making sure all my emergency update phone registrations are up to date before it starts thunderstorming this afternoon, with flash flood warnings, because last year’s floods have made me fear rain.

Why Ryan’s Proposed Work Requirements Are Cause for Concern -

  1. It would divert funds that help families put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads to pay for programs that, at best, produce modest employment increases. Even the most successful welfare employment programs usually don’t enable more than half of participants to get steady jobs, and the success rate for typical welfare employment programs is much lower than that. In contrast, SNAP (food stamps) and housing assistance lift millions of people out of poverty. As I explained yesterday, the way the Ryan plan would provide more resources to impose and monitor work requirements would largely be by cutting food and housing assistance that now goes directly to needy individuals and families. If that assistance is taken away, poverty will rise and the long-term benefits of SNAP and housing assistance will be diminished.
  2. It ignores the realities of today’s labor market. Low-skilled individuals looking for work today facing a daunting reality: the economy still isn’t operating on all cylinders, and employers are increasingly looking for skills that these individuals generally don’t have. Imposing work requirements won’t itself create new job opportunities for people who are struggling to find work. In addition, millions of Americans work hard for little pay — 28 percent of workers in 2012 had wages too low to support a family of four at the poverty line through full-time work, the Economic Policy Institute has found. Government assistance that helps working-poor families meet basic needs shouldn’t be diverted to pay for work programs that will be of little value to them. Yet that’s likely what would occur under the Opportunity Grant proposal.
  3. It may reinforce the mistaken belief that most public benefit recipients don’t work. More than half of SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult work while receiving SNAP — and more than 80 percent work in the year before or after receiving SNAP. Similarly, nearly three-quarters of non-elderly, non-disabled households receiving one of the major forms of rental assistance work (or recently worked) or participate in a program through which they likely face a work requirement.
  4. States haven’t shown a commitment to investing in work programs. Although caseloads in most states’ cash assistance programs for poor families with children fell sharply in the late 1990s, states generally haven’t used much of the freed-up resources to improve the job prospects of poor parents who have barriers to employment. Only 8 percent of state and federal dollars under TANF directly supports employment activities for cash assistance recipients. Even when you count funds that support families with jobs, like child care assistance and the refundable part of state earned income tax credits, states spend only one-third of their federal and state TANF dollars to promote and support work.


My brains are spectacularly bad today. I’m almost impressed.


Father Hires In-Game “Hitmen” To Deter Son From Playing -

Feng’s 23 year-old son, “Xiao Feng” (小冯) started playing video games in high school. Through his years of playing various online games, he supposedly thought himself a master of Chinese online role playing games. According to his father, Xiao Feng had good grades in school, so they allowed him to play games; but when he couldn’t land a job they started looking into things. He, however, says he simply couldn’t find any work that he liked. Feng was annoyed that his son couldn’t even tough it out for three months at a software development company. Unhappy with his son not finding a job, Feng decided to hire players in his son’s favorite online games to hunt down Xiao Feng. It is unknown where or how Feng found the in-game assassins—every one of the players he hired were stronger and higher leveled than Xiao Feng. Feng’s idea was that his son would get bored of playing games if he was killed every time he logged on, and that he would start putting more effort into getting a job.

on the sidewalk between my bus stop and my work, in a park that is frequented by homeless folks, there is a huge pool of dried blood. next to it, someone has written, in blood, “JF RIP”. this was there yesterday - i imagine something happened over the weekend (i can’t find any mention of it in the news) and i find it unbearably tragic. we are in for thunderstorms the next few days, which will likely wash it away. i wish i knew something, anything, so i could help keep the memory.

Jul 28

i am annoyed with every single person on the bachelorette finale. literally every single one. nick is a creepy stalker and his mom is encouraging him in that, josh is a dull meathead bro, andi just wants dull meathead companionship, chris harrison is irrelevant and pedantic, and chris the farmer is absent. UGH.