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How do we improve ESL students’ learning experience in the States? 

In addition to the common  academic challenges that all students have, English as a second language (ESL) students suffer from additional challenges such as English learning difficulties and social adjustment difficulties. Many of them have not had any experience interacting with Americans and have not learned much English and American culture before coming to the …

Posted 98 months ago by

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Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors 

Anyone doing some writing this summer? Anyone having trouble doing some writing this summer? Then this link is for you! Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors The tips were offered to writer Steve Silberman as he works to turn a long magazine article into a book. It occurs to me that …

Posted 98 months ago by

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Where do conservatives get the nerve? 

First, it was creationism as a 'theory' which should be taught alongside evolution in schools; now, it's a denial of the realities of climate change. The list of baseless nonsense dressed-up as informative and informed theorizing looks set to grow with each new challenge to the possibility of 'business as usual'  - at least for …

Posted 98 months ago by

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On Reading, Good Writing and Being Grateful 

Have you ever read a book so good, so well-written that you wanted to hug it? Maybe you slept with it tucked safely under your pillow? Every word in every paragraph on every page was the most beautiful, truest part of a whole you could ever imagine? I'm pretty sure we have all been there. …

Posted 99 months ago by

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Rocket Within Me, Rocket in the Sky 

Among the great many Achaeans at Troy, one warrior shone above the rest.  The Oracle at Delphi delivered a choice to him: live your life peacefully and die namelessly, or die young and be immortal.  Wan Hu of the Ming dynasty tested the first rocket propelled manned flight to the moon.  Far before Yuri Gagarin, …

Posted 99 months ago by

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Technology as Metaphor 

“Technology should be assigned the dubious role of a liberator - it should assist its creator in every endeavor he pleases.” -A.M. Wheel for transportation, paper for writing, electricity for powering, engines for propelling, any intelligent civilization inevitably busies itself with means of existence. Last year saw the first decline in the sale of computers …

Posted 99 months ago by

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Type III Civilization and Beyond 

Imagine the freedom of traveling to the Andromeda galaxy through the mind; harnessing the energy of a black hole; or breaching cosmic censorship at one’s will – pleasures that even the great sages of this Milky Way boondocks were not privileged to experience. Civilizations are categorized by how efficiently they extract energy and control their …

Posted 100 months ago by

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Path of a Mathematician: Favorite Student? 

Every educator had this experience: what type of student is the best?  Is it the straight-A student, is it the inquisitive kid, or is it the smartest pupil? For mathematics, the answer is a toss.  Sure, I have had the straight-A students who hardly breaks a sweat doing any problems.  I had the overachievers who …

Posted 100 months ago by

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How To Write 1000 Words A Day 

As we approach the end of the semester, you may be wondering: "How on earth am I going to find a way to write X pages of papers before Y?!," where X is some obscenely large number and where Y is some extremely close date. Happily, however, I have found a new resource for you: …

Posted 100 months ago by

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Citation Strictness 

In an article titled "Why the 'Research Paper' Isn't Working" at the Inside Higer Ed blog, librarian Barbara Fister pushes back on the idea that conventional research papers ought to be the cornerstone of an undergraduate writing education: "The first year “research paper” has always sent a mixed message. You’re supposed to be original, …

Posted 100 months ago by

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Dr. Atomic 

To someone who wakes up to the soothing solo arias of Il Clemenza di Tito and sinks into the poetic torpor of Götterdämmerung, Dr. Atomic is disquieting and comforting. Rarely is a work so direct, penetrating, and philosophical that one is forced into the nexus of contradictions and questions his deepest belief.  The transformation of …

Posted 100 months ago by

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Measuring the Value of a College Library 

This article at the Chronicle of Higher Education takes up the important question of how to determine and measure the value of college libraries. Academic departments have been increasingly asked in recent years to justify themselves by quantitative measures, like how much grant money they take in or how many articles their professors produce. This …

Posted 100 months ago by

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Have You Been Rattled Lately? 

There was a French illuminatus called the “Bourbaki” – a mathematical club with an eccentrically exclusive membership. When a member was over a certain age, younger ones would at time test his acumen by tossing him a tough question.  Bourbakists called this tradition “shaking the tree” – a saying in Indonesia when boys hang on …

Posted 100 months ago by

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Is your PhD worthless? 

1. Come on, be honest: are you really that special? Are you sure you're going to be one of the dwindling few - those graduates who go on to get a tenure-track position at a university? Nerve like that is uncommon in one who has read the news. Especially the 'commonplace' news which is, strangely …

Posted 100 months ago by

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NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black Is Out 

When I first heard that Mayor Michael Bloomberg had appointed a friend and  publishing magnate to run New York City's school system I felt personally insulted. Why? Because, I feel that the job of Schools Chancellor should go to an educator. Call me crazy!  Instead of finding a principal or a local superintendent who has …

Posted 100 months ago by

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The Heavy Price of Taxing the Rich 

I was raised by two neo-Marxist grandparents, left of the left, who staunchly preached the ideals of the Frankfurt School to me over dinner from age two.  After immigrating to the United States, my upbringing was molded by my socialist stepfather, a career academician whose friends included Michael Harrington.  Not even the political pragmatism of …

Posted 100 months ago by

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To Think or Not to Think: That Is the Dilemma 

For many mathematics educators, one of the most imperative goals of teaching mathematics at the secondary and even post-secondary levels is to increase students’ awareness of mathematics.  But one’s appreciation for the ubiquity of mathematics is truly a double-edge sword constantly sharpened and dulled by the rapid technological advances the very knowledge of mathematics creates. …

Posted 101 months ago by

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Talking to Children About Current Events: Japan 

Children ask tons of questions. They are not immune to what's happening in the world, and are able to grasp bad news when they hear it. Lots of children are most likely aware of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan which were then followed by a nuclear meltdown. Those are three concepts that are terrifying …

Posted 101 months ago by

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YAY-CRL! 

College & Research Libraries, the journal of the Association of College & Research Libraries has recently dropped its 6-month holding period for new articles and become completely open access. In a nod to the high costs of journal subscriptions in academic libraries and changing mores of scholarly publications …

Posted 101 months ago by

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Historical Mathematics: Bridging the Perceptual Gap 

The way students perceive mathematics and their performance are related.  It is not clear based on current research whether a student sees mathematics as an informative means of comprehending the world because he excels in mathematics or vice versa. The perception that mathematics is eminently out of reach, that it is a discipline for the …

Posted 101 months ago by

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