Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kim's "Habits of the Mind"

President Kim really gets it.

From my remote location in Washington, I had the chance to see Kim's Thursday lecture via streaming video, the second in his presidential lecture series. Our friend Joe Asch over at Dartblog contends that Kim's speech was only so much rehashed material -- the standard stump speech. That may be so. In the event, it's a damn good stump speech, and one which probably can't be repeated enough. Kim's unique ability to articulately outline the utility of the liberal education, of what education can and should be, is reason enough to applaud, even if the routine sometimes seems like it's getting old. Undoubtedly, Dickey's repetition of his signature line about making the world's troubles our own troubles occasioned grumbling in some quarters. But that repetition has made it a foundational feature of the Dartmouth identity.
I was particularly struck by this portion of the talk, which addressed the value of the humanities from a scientific perspective:

His background in medicine and his scientific approach is what makes Kim a particularly notable and effective champion for the humanities. It's very predictable for an English or History professor to stand up for his discipline's inherent value. It carries some added oomph when it comes from the other side of the aisle. Moreover, it is an important part of the progression toward a reconciliation of science and the humanities, and a mutual understanding of the necessity of each. If more talks on this theme can help contribute to the unity of the disciplines, then Kim's efforts really are worth something in an academy that is characterized by disciplinary fragmentation.

Now, the notion that a humane education would lead to creative thinking and enhanced capacities for empathy is common sense. But it's common sense that needs to be said again and again. And, frankly, Kim (and more largely, Dartmouth) is fighting a very lonely battle for the liberal arts in the United States and throughout the world. At the end of the clip above, Kim talks about the almost strictly vocational nature of Korean education, even at elite levels. The same could be said about much of the United States, where the most popular undergraduate major nationwide is business administration. It would be a difficult task indeed to measure the empathy-generating effects of coursework on the foundations of marketing.

Of course Dartmouth, happily, is one of the proud few who abstain from dealing in such training at the undergraduate level. But that merely points to what an elite phenomenon the purely liberal arts education still is -- which is truly a shame. The liberal arts belong to all, and would be the rightful focus of all undergraduate college education outside of the natural sciences.

I just returned from a week-long Intercollegiate Studies Institute conference in Annapolis precisely on this topic, and it is remarkable how many of the themes that I heard coming from conservative intellectuals at that conference are echoed in Jim Kim's remarks. Notwithstanding items like the very misguided shut-down of Connecticut River swimming, et cetera, Kim's seemingly deep-felt conviction and thoughtful commentary on the liberal arts should give conservatives a few reasons to cheer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Filligar's New Album: The Nerve

Have you heard it?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Begin the Revolution

Well, that sure didn't take long. Looks like concern that the Administration would delay their decision over what to do about the River turned out to be unfounded. Instead, they rendered it less than 48 hours later.

From Blitz:

Dear Dartmouth Students:

We are writing to update you on this summer's swimming options. As you may already be aware, students and the Administration have been working together to develop and review proposals for the safe use of the waterfront. The Administration has reviewed the recommendations received to date and has concluded that we do not have viable alternatives that can be implemented this summer.

As such, the College will continue to provide free shuttles to Storrs Pond on weekends. We are also working with the student leaders at Ledyard Canoe Club to continue to offer free use of canoes and kayaks through the end of the summer term.

None of us are happy with the current situation. We are committed to working together to find a safe and fun alternative for the summer. We will be working with Student Assembly to form a Task Force to explore longer term options for use of the College controlled areas of the waterfront. It will be very important that the Task Force members represent the breadth of the student community. In addition, College staff and faculty with particular areas of expertise will be asked to assist. While Student Assembly is developing its appointment process, please blitz Campus Life if you are interested in participating, or have ideas that should be considered.


Sylvia C. Spears, Ph.D.
Acting Dean of the College

April Thompson
Associate Dean of the College for Campus Life

Aaron R. Limonthas '12 Summer Term Student Assembly President
John R. Rutan '12 Class Council President
Satoshi W. Harris-Koizumi '12 Class Council Vice-President

I hope Mr. Blalock is ready to rush his troops to action.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Regarding the River

So you may remember that the Connecticut River is closed. The Class Council has a solution.

"You're joking."

No, not really.

Every Saturday and Sunday, noon-5pm,
Meet in the back of Collis to be shuttled to Storrs Pond ---for the remained of the term (last day: Sunday, August 22).

Shout out to freshman year roomies, this song is dedicated to you toria.

Rebecca--can we please work on CS hw together? asdfhakdjhf

Sam Marshmallow. Give me your landrover.
They may not be joking about Storrs, but that doesn't prevent Storrs from being a joke in and of itself.

Unfortunately, it looks like the protest over the river has been postponed. Over at Dartblog, Joe Asch has the Blitz from Travis Blalock '12 posted. It appears the College has formed a committee on the matter and Blalock has decided to hold off--for now, at least. The instant the College "does not satisfy our demands we will resume our campaign of protest."

One hopes Mr. Blalock is correct in his assessment. If the College decides that a judgment on the matter is to be rendered in, say, December, Mr. Blalock can go right back to protesting. The College hasn't been all that stiff when people start showing up in Parkhurst.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scientists More or Less Solve Timeless Conundrum

Researchers in London have recently published findings that claim an answer to the age-old question, "what came first, the chicken or the egg?"

Long story short, it's the chicken.

In a paper entitled "Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein," the scientists discussed the discovery of ovocledidin-17, a protein found only in chicken ovaries and eggs. This protein, they contend, must be present in the ovaries of the chicken in order for the egg to form.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Sheffield University's Dr. Colin Freeman stated that, "It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first."

However, in an interview with CNN, the same Dr. Freeman said that the conclusions weren't as clear-cut as one might think. "I would argue that the concept of an eggshell came about way before the chicken, it's dinosaur or even pre-dinosaur thing. That's something to talk to an evolutionary biologist about probably," he said.

Apparently the research was meant to gain insight as to the formation of shells in order to apply the findings to other fields, namely medicine. As it turns out, the results re-sparked interest in the chicken-egg riddle, but failed to come to a satisfying conclusion. It seems that the debate rages on.

Protest Forthcoming at Bloomberg Lecture

No, it won't be a protest against Bloomberg. Our spies have informed us that there will be a student led protest against the river closure before Mayor Bloomberg's lecture, because that's "where the cameras are."

You heard it here first.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ivy Grad Publishes 2nd Book

Travis Rowley's first book, Out of Ivy, revealed how a liberal Ivy, Brown University, turned him into a committed conservative. Providence Journal editor Robert Whitcomb wrote, "Mr. Rowley's description of incidents on Brown's politically correct campus are by turns hilarious, infuriating, and intriguing as he provides one of the sharpest and most detailed inside looks at elite higher education seen in a long time, Tom Wolfe's 'I am Charlotte Simmons' included."

Mr. Rowley's new book released last week does not attack Brown University, but the last 70 years of Rhode Island's left-wing activists, unions, and Democrats who have propelled RI into bankruptcy and achieved the 10th highest total state and local tax burden in the country. When asked what he hopes to accomplish, Mr. Rowley says, "Nothing short of a wholesale power shift will satisfy me... My political experience, coming out of Brown University, has been with the far left. And I think that has put me in a unique position to be able to point out the radical elements that have infiltrated Rhode Island government." Mr. Rowley is currently the chairman of the "oldest political youth organization in the United States" RI Young Republicans.

Bloomberg Takes to Hanover; Boloco for All!

In the continued spirit of President John Sloan Dickey's "Great Issues" concept, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will take a break from the sweltering heat of the Big Apple on July 16 to speak in Moore Theater at the Hop. Bloomberg, who successfully amended New York City's term limit laws in order to run and serve for a third term in 2008, will discuss his experiences as a politician, businessman, and philanthropist.

In a blitz to both undergrads and graduate students, President Kim explained that the lecture is intended to "provide the entire sophomore class with a shared experience that sparks campus-wide conversation and debate about important issues of the day." The President elaborated that the talk is the first in a Dartmouth Presidential Lecture Series.

Although space is limited, and it is assumed that a seat at the talk is a hot commodity, President Kim is nonetheless sweetening the deal with free Boloco burrito vouchers for those in attendance. Additionally, students at the lecture will be asked for feedback "as part of our strategic planning we examine ways to incorporate a shared intellectual experience into the Dartmouth summer schedule in future years."

What better to spur Dartmouth students into a continuation of intellectual discourse than free Boloco?

Not to be outshone, President Kim will deliver his own lecture on July 29th in which he will discuss "the importance of developing 'habits of the mind' that are key to success in life. "

Bloomberg's lecture will take place at 11:15 a.m. on July 16th, with Kim's at 4 p.m. on the 29th.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Can't Stand the Heat?

Head to Novack. From Blitz:

Due to the prolonged heat and humidity, the college has identified the air conditioned Novak Cafe as a student "heat relief" and "cooling station."

The cafe has been equipped with 50 cots for sleeping (20 have been set up in Novak room 60). Additional cots can be set up in the main area of Novak as needed. Novak is open and available to students 24 hours a day and will be staffed from 11PM to 8AM each night this weekend by Safety and Security personnel. Students who are in need of a cool place to sleep or who are looking for a comfortable space to study or just cool off should use this space during this heat wave.

"The Talk"

Occasionally, an organization on campus will descend into self-parody. For the Sexperts, a group that has near Adam West era levels of camp in more or less all that they do, this is difficult to pull off, but they've finally done it.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Want to Scare '14s?

If the answer to that question is yes, you can sign up for "The First Time."

B@B Offline

It appears that Bored at Baker has been taken down, at least for the time being.

If you're unfamiliar with the site, it allows users to post anonymously about more or less any subject they choose without any moderation of their comments. At Dartmouth discussion has ranged from discussion of which a cappella groups are "A-side" to much less savory material. It might help if you think of the site as a sort of virtual bathroom wall.

Jonathan Pappas, the owner of the Boredat sites (as I understand it, there's one for every Ivy, named for the respective library on campus) has shut them down while he figures out a way to correct the situation, issuing an open call for coders. Why, exactly? Well, to quote the page that B@B's address redirects to:

i have temporarilty suspended boredatbutler and other similar boredat sites. recently it has come to my attention that a small group of people have begun using the sites to target and attack specific individuals. the attacks are not on the community as a whole, rather, they are targeted at specific individuals in a repeated, persistent manner. the attackers post personal information (phone numbers, email addresses, etc) and defamatory statements. i do not condone this kind of activity and never have. since i dont have a solution for this problem right now, like i've done in the past, i've decided to take down the sites for the time being.

on another note, it seems that the community has shifted over time to be about homosexuals looking for anonymous hookups. don't get me wrong: i dont have anything against homosexuality. however, its not what i intended the site to be all about.

i will not allow boredat to exist if these conditions are present:

1. specific individuals can be targeted or defamed repeatly without a proactive way to deal with such incidents.
2. a majority of the "center stage dialog" centers around anonymous homosexual activity.

Hard to see if there's anything surprising about this. It's more or less a proven law at this point that internet+anonymity=jerks and that sites like this tend to quickly deteriorate to the lowest common denominator.

Still, I doubt this is the end for B@B. It's been taken offline before and it seems unlikely that it will be gone for long. Until then, the less savory amongst us will just have to content themselves with scratching obscenities into tables in the stacks.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Dartmouth a Good Investment, Says WSJ

The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog has ranked the top institutions in terms of return on one's investment. We landed in the number five slot, two slots behind Harvard but ahead of the rest of the Ivies. All in all, not a bad showing.

It's interesting that the research was conducted by Payscale, a company that placed us #1 on starting and mid-career median salary not too far back. It should be noted that both rankings are based on self-reporters (albeit it quite a few of them) rather than scientific samples.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Well, hopefully everyone has had a full plate of barbecue and spent time with friends and family by now. Allow the Review to lighten the mood and entertain you for a few minutes with this patriotic little ditty from the musical 1776.

Remember to be careful with any fireworks you may set off tonight, and God bless America.