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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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Independent Streams (week of August 29th)

Independent Streams (week of August 29th) | IPPSR Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Moving The Academic Needle At MSU (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Bill Dutton comments on the newest faculty members in Communication Arts and Sciences. GM Sites Ready To Redevelop (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Tomas Hult helped …

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The Idiocy of AYP

  AYP, or “Adequate Yearly Progress”, is one of those seemingly benign terms that pops up in the educational lexicon every few years. AYP sounds…friendly. Unassuming. Who could argue with a reform initiative based on kids, teachers, or schools making “adequate yearly progress”? What are we, communists? Of course we want our schools to make progress…and …

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Fletcher: “The Next Justice’s Impact On The Indian Child Welfare Act” (law360.com)

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death impacts Indian country in dramatic ways. Last term, the most critical tribal court jurisdiction appeal to hit the Supreme Court of the United States in decades was affirmed by a 4-4 tie in favor of tribal jurisdiction. The court declined certiorari in a pair of tribal labor relations cases where there was a gaping circuit split, possibly …

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Reading is Democracy

I was reading from the pile of books stacked nearby earlier this morning, John Harris’ How to Be Good: The Possibility of Moral Enhancement (Oxford University Press, 2016) It’s a philosophical treatise that I bumped into on the new book shelf a few weeks back. As I was reading it, I kept reflecting on, “why am …

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Independent Streams (Week of August 22nd)

IOur weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Singer To Donate Proceeds From Upcoming Detroit Concert To Processing Untested Rape Kits (link is external) Erykah Badu donated the proceeds from her Aug. 12 concert to help ease Detroit’s backlog of rape kits. IPPSR affiliate Rebecca Campbell was pivotal in the reform of Detroit’s …

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What Jackie Wilson Said

I paid a visit to the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm last week. I’m afraid I didn’t have my reporter’s hat on, so don’t count on the blog for accurate or detailed information this week. Truth to tell, I hardly knew where I was. I don’t get into Detroit but once or twice a year, and it …

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Salvaging Wet Books

Earlier this month, the MSU Libraries’ Disaster Response Committee practiced our procedures for salvaging wet books.  We took advantage of the nice weather to get outside, get some books wet, and then do our best to salvage them (don’t worry, we used withdrawn materials!). Eric Alstrom, Head of Preservation and Conservation, showed us how to …

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Charter Schools: The New Private Prisons?

    A new report from the Justice Department recommends the suspension of contracts for private prisons, effective immediately. In explaining the justification for this decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates concluded that “the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.” Teachers and those who have …

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A Birthday Sonnet

This past weekend, I celebrated my 60th birthday with friends and family from all over. One of the roasters was Ben “The Bard” Kerr, a professor at the University of Washington and colleague in the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. Borrowing from another bard, Ben waxed poetic about one of the …

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Another Birthday Haiku

As I said in my last post, I just celebrated my 60th birthday with lots of friends and family. Several folks produced new artistic works, including two lovely haikus that celebrate the E. coli long-term evolution experiment. Here’s one from Mike Wiser, who did his doctoral research on the long-term lines. A highlight of his …

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The Pivot and American Statecraft in Asia

Hugh White, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University, critiques the Obama administration’s so-called pivot to Asia. Australian strategists are a good source of analysis on this issue because they are caught in the middle and have to think realistically about the situation. Whenever I see a book or article on this topic …

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Birthday Haiku

This past weekend I had my 60th birthday. I was delighted to celebrate it with wonderful colleagues, students, friends, and family. At a dinner roast and toast, everyone sang When We’re Sixty Four (Thousand), a tribute from the E. coli in the LTEE to the People of the Lab. And several friends came up with …

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Independent Streams (Week of August 15th)

Independent Streams (Week of August 15th) | IPPSR Our weekly round-up of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Flint Poisonings Haunt Mayor Whose Town Faces Michigan Takeover (link is external) Wayne, Michigan is a small suburb of Detroit that may soon fall under emergency management. IPPSR affiliate Eric Scorsone comments on the policy-related and economic …

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Alex Skibine on “Indians, Race, and Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country”

Alex Skibine on “Indians, Race, and Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country” | Turtle Talk Alexander Skibine has posted “Indians, Race, and Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country,” forthcoming in the Albany Government Law Review, on SSRN. Here is the abstract: With the possible exception of the Indian Major Crimes Act, the classification of “Indian” for the …

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Goodbye MSU

Goodbye MSU | Punya Mishra’s Web I started working at Michigan State University on the 15th of August, 1998. Today exactly 18 years later I bid MSU farewell to take up a new position as Associate Dean of Scholarship at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. These last 18 years have been …

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Some R Resources

(Should I have spelled the last word in the title “ResouRces” or “resouRces”? The R community has a bit of a fascination about capitalizing the letter “r” as often as possible.) Anyway, getting down to business, I thought I’d post links to a few resources related to the R statistical language/system/ecology that I think may …

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We Are What We Eat/Read

We took our son, Noah and his partner, Andy, to dinner last night at a new Thai restaurant in Detroit, Katoi. The menu was unique to my culinary experience. The mix of tastes and combinations of ingredients was so distinctive, that I could not possibly imagine what these combinations might taste like. I was struck …

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The Hipster Donut Experience

We might have seen this one coming. I mean Voodoo Donuts in Portland has been around for quite a while now. In the spirit of what I laughingly call “research” I Googled them and found out that there actually is no such thing as Voodoo Donuts. It’s Voodoo Doughnuts, and their website says that they …

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Fletcher on ICWA at Cato Unbound

Fletcher on ICWA at Cato Unbound | Turtle Talk Here is “Limit Government Intrusion in Indian Families’ Lives.” This essay is part of a series of online essays at Cato Unbound on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Excerpts: The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) restricts government intervention in Indian families’ lives, imposes important obligations on …

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Independent Streams (Week of August 1st)

Independent Streams (Week of August 1st) | IPPSR Our weekly round-up of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Missing In Action: Michigan’s Primary Voters (link is external) Michigan’s State House primary election takes place on Tuesday, August 2. IPPSR Director Matt Grossmann talks about the importance of voting despite historically low turnout in local elections. …

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Ethics vs. Efficiency

As we drive through the rural Chinese country side visiting village after village, I notice a pattern within Chinese agriculture that is paralleled in Chinese culture, and that is quite different from anything I’ve experienced in America. They literally use everything —  and between rice paddies are planted to soy and the medians between roads …

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Machine Learning for Personalized Medicine: Heritability-based models for prediction of complex traits (David Balding)

Highly recommended talk by David Balding on modern approaches to heritability, relatedness, etc. in statistical genetics. (I listened at 1.5x normal speed, which worked for me.) MLPM (Machine Learning for Personalized Medicine) Summer School 2015 Monday 21st of September Heritability-based models for prediction of complex traits by David Balding Complex trait genetics has been revolutionised …

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The tensions inherent in creativity: Interview with Mark Runco

The next article in our series (Rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century) for the journal Tech Trends is now available online. This article has an interview with Dr. Mark Runco, Distinguished Research Fellow of the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, a Professor at the University of Georgia, and an internationally recognized scholar of creativity. Read more by following …

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