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Spartan Ideas is a collection of thoughts, ideas, and opinions independently written by members of the MSU community and curated by MSU Libraries

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Ninth Circuit Holds Consumer Financial Protection Act Applies to Tribes

  Here is the opinion in Consumer Financial Protection Board v. Great Plains Lending. An excerpt: We have consistently held in our post-Stevens precedent that generally applicable laws apply to Native American tribes unless Congress expressly provides otherwise. In the Consumer Financial Protection Act, a generally applicable law, Congress did not expressly exclude tribes from …

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Attack of the Monster Syllabus

Image courtesy of Creative Commons By Jessica Landgraf While the syllabus is an important component of a college course at any level, over the last decade they have morphed into new beasts, made up of copious amounts of class specific information supplemented with institutional policies, personal preference statements, and living document clauses leading to a …

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Independent Streams (week of January 16)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research Problems Which Michigan Counties Are Most Vulnerable If Obamacare Is Repealed (link is external) Recent analysis by Bridge Magazine highlights Michigan counties which would be most affected by repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Survey: Government Trust Levels Low (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Charles Ballard …

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Hope, Lies and Making Change

I was up early as usual yesterday morning to sneak in a little quiet reading time before heading off to set up for our local monthly recycling drive we’ve been operating for 28 years. It was chilly (14 degrees) and dark when I loaded up our 1999 Ford Ranger, 4-cylinder truck with our material before …

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Social Emotional Recognition

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons Thinking back to my own training as an elementary school preservice teacher, I remember the lack of preparation dedicated to handling classroom discipline or behavioral issues. It was clear to me then, as it is now, that understanding how to help students recognize and control their emotions and develop ways …

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Testing and Accountability for Public Power

Testing and accountability policy has consistently been held up as a way to empower parents, especially in poor neighborhoods. Give parents clear, objective information about how schools are doing, and schools, facing complaints from parents and shrinking enrollments as parents opt to send their children elsewhere, will be pressured to reform themselves. In essence, accountability …

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Pro Bono Analytics Is Growing Social

Pro Bono Analytics is a program by INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, for the acronym-averse), “the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics”. PBA “connects our members and other analytics professionals with nonprofit organizations working in underserved and developing communities”. …

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  WE CAN’T PUT IT TOGETHER. IT IS TOGETHER. Last semester a Lyman Briggs College class (LBC is a residential college here at MSU that bridges the humanities and the sciences with interdisciplinary teaching and research) used The Last Whole Earth Catalog as one of its texts. Students used an online version of the catalog, but …

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Are quanta particles or waves?

Are quanta particles or waves? The title of this post is an age-old question isn’t it? Particle or wave? Wave or particle? Many have rightly argued that the so-called “wave-particle duality” is at the very heart of quantum weirdness, and hence, of all of quantum mechanics. Einstein said it. Bohr said it. Feynman said it. …

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The Gulf is Deep (Heinlein)

  The novella Gulf predates almost all of Heinlein’s novels. Online version. The book Friday (1982) is a loose sequel. Wikipedia: Gulf is a novella by Robert A. Heinlein, originally published as a serial in the November and December 1949 issues of Astounding Science Fiction and later collected in Assignment in Eternity. It concerns a secret society …

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AlphaGo (BetaGo?) Returns

Rumors over the summer suggested that AlphaGo had some serious problems that needed to be fixed — i.e., whole lines of play that it pursued poorly, despite its thrashing of one of the world’s top players in a highly publicized match. But tuning a neural net is trickier than tuning, for example, an expert system …

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Announcing clustRcompaR v.0.1.0

Announcing clustRcompaR v.0.1.0 Alex Lishinski and I worked on an R package over the last year or so. We are excited that it’s now available on CRAN. You can install the package using install.packages(‘clustRcompaR’) (only needed first time) and load it (more on its two functions below) using library(clustRcompaR). Here’s a description: Provides an interface …

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Independent Streams (week of January 9)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Michigan Outlook: Companies Expect To Hire In 2017 (link is external) IPPSR affiliate Charles Ballard discusses the challenges of gaining skilled trade workers in Michigan. Head Of Michigan’s Unemployment Agency Reassigned After Thousands Wrongly Accused Of Fraud (link is external) Michigan Political Leadership Program Alumni …

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Mapping Trackball Buttons

For years, I’ve used a Logitech M570 wireless trackball with my Linux Mint PC. I generally prefer trackballs to mice — no need to lift and reposition after a bunch of movement — and I find that using my thumb, rather than my index finger (or, if I’m in a bad mood, my middle finger) …

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Will and Power

The claim that one has a fixed budget of will power or self-discipline (“ego depletion“) may be yet another non-replicating “result” of shoddy social science. Note that the ego depletion claim refers to something like a daily budget of will power that can be used up, whereas Jocko is also referring to the development of …

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Varieties of Time Travel

My kids have been reading lots of books over the break, including an adventure series that involves time travel. Knowing vaguely that dad is a theoretical physicist, they asked me how time travel works. 1. Can one change history by influencing past events? OR 2. Is there only one timeline that cannot be altered, even …

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Mint Upgrade Woes

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I upgraded a laptop from Linux Mint 17.3 (“Rebecca”) to 18.0 (“Sarah”) with minimal difficulties. My laptop serves as a guinea pig for these things. Once I’m sure things work fine on the laptop, I’ll consider upgrading my desktop as well. A few days ago I finally …

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Time and Memory

Over the holiday I started digging through my mom’s old albums and boxes of photos. I found some pictures I didn’t know existed! Richard Feynman and the 19 year old me at my Caltech graduation: With my mom that morning — hung-over, but very happy! I think those are some crazy old school Ray Bans …

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Independent Streams (Week of December 19)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Great Lakes Greatly Stressed (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Eric Freedman pens article on threats to the Great Lakes, near and far away. State Taps Unemployment Insurance Fund To Balance Books (link is external) MPLP Alumni and House Minority Leader Tim Greimel criticized a recent …

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Toward A Geometry of Thought

Apologies for the blogging hiatus — I’m in California now for the holidays :-) In case you are looking for something interesting to read, I can share what I have been thinking about lately. In Thought vectors and the dimensionality of the space of concepts (a post from last week) I discussed the dimensionality of the space of …

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Secretary DeVos and Title I Portability: A Renewed Push for Federally-Funded School Choice?

  New Education Secretary: What Policy?                                                                                                In all likelihood, Betsy DeVos will soon become Secretary of Education. As an earlier Green & Write post has pointed out, DeVos is best known as a very rich, very well-connected champion of school choice and publically-funded vouchers. Remarkably influential in Michigan politics, she has provoked criticism, and garnered support, …

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