Remember The Milk

Looking for an easier way to manage your tasks and run errands? Just Remember The Milk (RTM)! ”Manage tasks quickly and easily. Get reminded, anywhere. Organize the way you want to. Locate your tasks. Work together to get things done. Add tasks wherever you are.” RTM is a free web-based and cross-platform time management program. RTM …

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Something Happening Here

So goes the start of a well known Buffalo Springfield song at the height of the Vietnam War. I had started another blog earlier today and let it settle before going back to edit. Looks like it will have to set a little longer as I read or viewed several powerful presentations today that I …

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Genuine Article

A few years back I met a fine fellow at an international consultancy I was on who regaled the group with stories of academic ritual, on the one hand, and the trials of small farmers in India, on the other. As I recall it, the rituals had something to do with Oxford University in the …

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Trial by Fire

Being controversial on purpose won’t get you invited to a lot of parties, but it might make you a better writer. Defending your ideas can be terrifying; most people instinctively avoid confrontation. But debate sharpens both your ideas and your rhetoric. Early rhetoricians studied the subject for the express purpose of speaking in the public …

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Bitcoin dynamics

Good discussion of Bitcoin by Mark Andreesen in the Times Dealbook: Why Bitcoin matters. There are also good points made in the comments (see Reader Picks). For example: … Bitcoin is arguably more like a commodity than a currency as it has no physical assets or central bank behind it. As a commodity should it not …

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Creativity in the lives of accomplished teachers: Pre-pub version

How do exemplary teachers incorporate creativity in their teaching? In this dissertation study, Danah Henriksen  interviewed National Teacher of the Year award winners (and finalists), to better understand their beliefs, interests, and practices involving creative teaching. Analysis of the data help us identify key themes of how these teachers approach the creative process, as well as the …

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A Simple Toast

I love finding inspiration in the day-to-do things. When I saw this on a window in New Orleans, I felt assured that others do, too. Here’s to the crazy ones. And to the creative ones. Taken with an iPhone 4. Tweet

Negotiation Tips for New Chairs

In a previous column I addressed the issues facing candidates who are negotiating their first faculty positions. The recent controversy over a job offer that was retracted when the candidate attempted to negotiate reminded me that the person sitting on the administrator’s side of the table may also be new to the process. This article advises new administrators on …

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10 Steps to Interview with Confidence

Excited, confident, optimistic, stressed out, anxious, terrified… How you feel going into your job interview greatly depends on your preparation. Put yourself in the best position possible with the following tips culled from my experience with both Skype and in-person interviews, as well as advice I gathered during my own preparation. For more on phone/Skype …

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Hail to the Chief

MSU President Simon: Steve’s a physicist who also knows genomics. He’s doing great things here. President Obama: He looks like someone who can do great things! See earlier posts The Presidents and Obama in Oregon. Obama picked the Spartans to win the NCAA tournament this year :-) Tweet

Reflections on a Decade of GDC Fieldnotes

Ah, the Game Developers Conference (GDC)… I started my field research in 2004 at a relatively small but growing game studio: Vicarious Visions. Since that time I’ve been researching game development and game developers. That’s a long time to study such an amorphous, variable and shifting thing/community/world/culture. I’ve ranged from AAA developers to hobbyists to …

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Live Unapologetically

Stop apologizing, start accepting, embrace your beauty, and take part in the movement. This past summer (2013), two grad students, Katie Manthey and Rachel Seiderman, had the opportunity to experience an internship, and became part of an important movement known as, The Body Is Not An Apology (TBINAA). This is an online activist organization founded …

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House Made

Norman Wirzba was on campus at MSU this week. He gave a rousing foodie talk to an audience of mostly undergraduates. He was encouraging them to think about where their food comes from, and since Norm is a theology professor at Duke University, he didn’t shrink from the God-talk in making his case. I picked …

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The Internet: Chopped & Screwed

A few years ago the Internet was introduced as a dial-up service, and it was an irrelevant tool that very few people had access to. Today, the Internet has become a requirement for communication and is accessible on any device in many places around the world. Corporate self-indulgence and the government has allowed the Internet …

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Patterns on the sky

I’m busy reviewing ~200 promotion and tenure cases for my day job, so I don’t have much time to post about the BICEP2 observation of primordial gravitational waves via their effect on the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Instead, I refer you to Sean Carroll, Lubos Motl and Liam McAllister (guest poster at …

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The Antiquity of Cancer

Historic Tumor Drawing, before and after, via Wikimedia Commons   Cancer is a leading cause of death in the world today, however it is something that archaeologists rarely identify in human remains from the past. The hypothesis behind this is that cancer is primarily caused by modern living conditions and increased longevity in humans. It …

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Beyond Vuvuzelas and Samba

Listen to “Beyond Vuvuzelas and Samba: Lessons from South Africa 2010 for Brazil 2014,” a lecture I delivered at Brigham Young University’s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies on March 5, 2014. The talk analyzes the political, economic, and cultural dynamics of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and its similarities to the …

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Fertile Musings

Ever so frequently I wake up on Sunday morning with the urge to blog on a topic that has some nominal connection to the “food ethics” theme of the Thornapple blog. Then there are Sunday mornings like this one, when I’m sitting there with my coffee and thinking that I’m supposed to post a blog …

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So… how’d your interview go?

March 5th-7th, 2014, I had the pleasure to participate in the CIRTL (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning) Network Exchange program as a former Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) Fellow at Michigan State University. I traveled down to The University of Georgia (UGA) to give presentations on both my Teaching-As-Research (TAR) …

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CP Optimizer, Java and NetBeans

After years of coding CPLEX applications in Java, I’ve just started working with CP Optimizer (the IBM/ILOG constraint programming solver) … and it did not take me long to run into problems. As with CPLEX, you access CP Optimizer from Java through the Concert API. As always, I am using the NetBeans IDE to do …

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Fake It Till You Make It

Does your confidence change when your writing receives a rejection? That shouldn’t be the case. Instead bounce back by following The Renegade Writers advise: 5 ways to fake confidence in your next article pitch. It’s better to fake confidence, rather then to appear as if you have no confidence. It is important to eliminate wishy-washy wording, …

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