Wednesday, September 27, 2006

O'Reilly on Melinda: "Suuure Looks Unstable"

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If you haven't seen it I'd suggest taking a look at this clip of Melinda's Attorney Kim Schulte as she interacts with another node of the media's Project Polarization, Mr. Bill O'Reilly.

He was definitely in top shape last night. O’Reilly walked all over Schulte, and successfully spun the interview where Melinda was indeed the killer, and we only now need to look for the evidence to incriminate her. You can't not love this man.

It’s fairly easy to see how O'Reilly framed this interview, beginning with his subtle language choices. He began by saying that Melinda “could well have killed her little son,” even though she also "could well have" done a lot of things, like, maybe, not kill her little son. O'Reilly also added that it just "makes more sense" that they "had someone on her, shadowing her" and waiting for her to go back to the "crime scene". While the police did state they were able to arrest Melinda days after the disappearance of her son, but chose not to and opted to keep surveillance on her instead, let's not spin the reasons for the possible arrest:

The reason for the possible arrest does not include hard evidence of her involvement in Trenton's disappearance, but instead relies on an affidavit (PDF) stating that Melinda lied about a threatening email she supposedly received from her estranged husband earlier in the summer. Of course, that email may also just have been a product of a messy divorce and have absolutely nothing to do with Trenton, but O'Reilly implies that the case could have been a done deal if the police chose to act and arrest her. They would just have to find the "crime scene" later. Guilty as almost charged, right?

Bill also makes mention that "we all agree" how "unstable" Melinda was. Another generalization to add to the (growing) list in this story, and Schulte let this one slide without much opposition, too. Her reply was an important start, when she stated that anyone would be in the same frantic condition if they were making the same 911 calls and interviews. She did not, however, correct O'Reilly on the overarching "we all agree" comment, nor did she ask what he was implying with the word "unstable".

There’s a subtle difference between being “unstable” given the context of the interview (Melinda presented as the probable killer, "unstable" in her actions) and being an “upset” or “grieving” mother. Schulte didn’t vocalize this. When she stated that any mother would act the same way in a similar situation, he handwaved her off and asked why she didn’t make Melinda take a polygraph.

Also important to briefly mention is the juxtaposition of segments of the 911 tape that reference instances where Melinda was unable to answer questions given to her, and O'Reilly's introduction about the Grace interview where Melinda similarly could not answer. Viewers are reminded through this juxtaposition that "unstable" Melinda could not answer Nancy Grace or the 911 operator, weakening her credibility and her defense.

Schulte had a lot of good answers to give, but with the way she quickly presented them, swallowed whole by O'Reilly's interjectory big mouth, they had little impact. These ought to be noted here: that Melinda was not initially allowed access to her lawyer, and that Melinda was counseled to not take the polygraph test. Media accounts have for the most part depicted Melinda as the one evading police, when in fact she was cooperating and following the advice given by her attorney (to not take the lie detector test) and police (to discuss events directly with the FBI and not with the local department).

In general she could have been a lot more vocal, as she often flailed and allowed O'Reilly to interject and disregard her answers, while making up answers of his own and in the eyes of the collective public whom feeds off this polarization.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Decency Lost: Attacks on Melinda Continue

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There is no end in sight to this indecency.

Police acknowledged on Thursday that Melinda Duckett is the prime suspect in the disappearance of her son. Note, however, that they have NOT stated Melinda is to blame for her missing son, but that's a common misconception you'd get if you were continuing to read up on the story and continuing to discuss this with others.

What began with Nancy Grace's prosecution phone interview of Melinda Duckett has led to an array of baseless accounts of Melinda's guilty involvement.

A lot of folks have been spreading beliefs that a "real mother" would have helped the authorities more, or that losing one's child makes you do X Y and Z, or that Melinda could have hung up on Nancy Grace whenever she wanted to. These folks are acting on gut instincts and perpetuating this media parade that started off with an immoral emphasis on ratings, but continues even today because folks want to make generalizations and fabricate evidence that support their assertions.

This act of using generalizations to support our assertions runs rampant in our society. You'll see it often if you look for it: an inherent fear of Black people at night because "lots" of black people commit crimes, avoiding Middle Easterners because "lots" of Middle Easterners are terrorists, asking gay people about fashion tips because "lots" of gay people are trendy. These are ridiculous notions, both untrue and dehumanizing, but folks continue to use them to support their actions, rather than logically looking at the factual evidence.

Many of the attacks on Melinda have used the same thought process, without any understanding of the situation she was in.

For instance, it may be very easy for some of you to tell Melinda what she “should have done”. After all, "lots" of mothers would have been able to do this or do that. Maybe you yourself are a mother, and know "exactly" what you would do in her position, and of course "lots" of other mothers would do the same. But remember that these are value-based assessments that emanate from your own personal experiences. Remember that you weren’t the one raising a child on your own while working 2 jobs and attending school, you weren’t the one who went through the trauma of losing a son, you weren’t the one being impugned by crass viewers of society with more interest in spouting gossip than thinking logically, and you most certainly weren’t the one being interrogated by a news show host who has no shame. You are not Melinda.

You might assume that there is some “correct” response to the situation she was in, that other “real moms” would have done this and this and this much differently. Again, these are value judgments that you’ve made, that are true for YOU and for those you may associate with, but may not be true for Melinda in the situation that she was in. You, like many others that have contributed to the gossip surrounding this story, are implicating others without actual evidence or actual facts. It’s these gut feeling accusations that Melinda also had to deal with, besides the situation with her son and family that she was already dealing with. You are not Melinda.

On that note, while you may have dealt with some similar issues that Melinda did, have you dealt with all of them at the same time? Have you been implicated in the disappearance of your son from a baseless news show host and value judgments that millions of others may have made about you? Has your story been a topic of national interest, the privacy of your family been torn asunder with intricate details and commentary made public? No, you haven’t, so remind yourself that you really can’t understand what was going on in Melinda’s mind at the time, nor can you understand the stress weighing down on her and how that changed her, and cease with these endless conjectures and attacks on her credibility. You are not Melinda.

Few (if any, though I'd love to actually talk with you if you have) of you know personally how Melinda was faring at the time; the only interaction you’ve had with Melinda is through the media’s perception of her. She may well have been a nervous wreck. Stop assuming she wasn’t. You are not Melinda.

Some of you have even gone so far low as to assert Melinda was a bad mother, because there are pictures of her and friends drinking together, and MySpace comments that say she goes out to parties and, *gasp*, dates other men! After all, partying, drinking, and banging guys 24/7 is the pastime of "lots" of other 21-year-old ladies, especially ones who occasionally post pictures of drinking with friends. Did she really do this “every day”? And were you there with her when she was drinking with people “every day”? And do you know for a fact that the actions she was taking outside of her role as a mother and provider were hindering her ability to be a mother? You’re making an assumption on her character from a few pictures and MySpace comments that you’ve seen. Just stop. You are not Melinda.

With regards to the media involvement, you might assume that Melinda "knew" what she was getting herself into with taking on the Nancy Grace interview, or that "lots" of mothers would be able to hang up the phone and end the interview. But how well aware are you of her emotions and her psyche? Did Melinda really want the media to rip open hers and her family’s lives, to scrutinize everything and anything, to add commentary to every last detail, and to encourage others to make the same value judgments on her innocence and guilt? Melinda was on national TV to help forward the efforts to find her son, NOT to invite a crusading news show host to impugn her in his disappearance. But by the time she was doing the interview, would hanging up really stay the incrimination that Nancy Grace pushed onto her?

Nancy Grace deserves to be reprimanded here for her lack of journalistic integrity. Any other responsible individual, whose respect for the human condition weighed in larger than greed for ratings, would have performed the interview differently. To say that Nancy Grace’s ruthless questioning, implications of Melinda’s guilt, and encouragement of others to make these value judgments, combined with the already existing factors in Melinda’s life, led to her suicide, is a logical assertion to make when all the facts are addressed. And it's very painful to hear.

The fact that Nancy sought to torment this girl with her line of critical questioning, particularly given the situation Melinda was in, is absolutely repulsive.

As a final thought, the story of the Ducketts is not about YOU; it’s about Melinda and Trenton and their family. You are not Melinda Duckett.

Let the factual evidence the authorities find make or break the case against Melinda, and NOT your own value judgments and personal gut reactions. The perpetuation of your assertions is among the ranks of Nancy Grace in revulsion.

Show a little decency for this family.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More on Melinda: Blogs and Perceptions

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I must say, I am having a hard time gauging my emotions on this issue. I am very taken with this story as of late, as I actively scour the internet on my free time for more information. Bear with me as I sort out my feelings and figure out why I am so personally hurt by this situation.

To start, I found a YouTube clip (courtesy of Tampa Pirate) of an MSNBC Panel Discussion that puts the issue into perspective. If you watch the clip, you can take a wild guess how I feel about Steve Adubato's perspective (my flippin' hero). In it, Steve brings up a salient point, when asked if Nancy Grace "should have run the interview [with Melinda] after Grace knew this young mother had killed herself":

"You mean, run it because it's the right thing to do for the public to see, or run it because, 'Boy, isn't this great for ratings?' ...Nancy Grace apparently has no line that she will not go over to get ratings. It's disgraceful."

The Media's involvement in this situation is truly abhorrent, with it continually escalating this horror into a ratings battle as more and more personal information is broadcasted on national TV, with subsequent analysis and commentary, for the purpose of polarizing the public and having viewers fabricate their own suppositions and stories for evidence of why Melinda is guilty or innocent. My criticism, then, should also extend to any form of media that has encouraged viewers to 'take a stand on the issue,' whatever that means. I'm talking about blogs.

One of the main sources of news and commentary for many, I've found several blogs covering this story that have pushed for readers to form opinions about the state Melinda was in, about what Melinda was really saying with her MySpace posts (and this might be a generation-gap-thing, but for chrissakes, it's MYSPACE, not a formal journal, so let's stop trying to find specific meaning in her posts), and to forge assertions of Melinda's guilty intentions. I recently had a discussion-- albeit strained at times on my end, marked by the state I am in-- on a blog about this issue, and so I will reproduce my comments here. To put it into perspective, what really got me was the poll that asked if readers thought Melinda Duckett was "absolutely guilty" or "definitely not guilty", and then the subsequent post that offered some of the author's speculation on the events that occurred:

Me: How about we all stop assuming what happened to Trenton and let the authorities carry out their investigation? The way you folks treat your feelings and assumptions as factual evidence is disgusting.

You are speculating on her innocence or guilt based on value judgments, and you are asking others to do the same thing, an example being with your inane poll entitled “Is Melinda Duckett Guilty in her Son’s Disappearance?”

These tactics infringe on the privacy of the family, impugn individuals with no evidence other than your thoughts and feelings, and facilitate the notion that we as outsiders should also be actively making value judgments on the issue, and it is truly despicable.

There is a difference between informing and actively polarizing your readership.

I admit, slightly vitriolic.

The responses I got included that many people want to share their opinions about this story, and so it was just a forum to continue doing so. Also, that there were no privacy issues because all of this information is already being made available online. I responded:

Me: I appreciate your responses, thanks to both of you.

The fact that people want to share their opinions and make these value judgments on innocence or guilt does not imply you are doing the right thing by egging them on, such as by polling your readership, asking if people think Melinda is “absolutely guilty” or “definitely not” guilty. How can anyone come to that conclusion with the actual evidence we have?

As I’ve written before, the Media is ripping open the lives of this family for everyone to see, with detailed commentary on divorce papers, hobbies, mental illnesses, including accusations and assumptions of Melinda’s guilt, which should be roles relegated to unbiased law enforcement agencies, not polarizing talk shows. You are facilitating these intentions, by giving links to where people can find more (often personal) information and by creating an online environment that asks folks to gossip and make their assumptions heard in a public setting. It matters not that this information was already on the internet to begin with; you are further disseminating this material with the underlying intention of having folks speculate on it and about what happened. I dislike the Media for doing it, and I certainly feel the same way about blogs that do it as well.

If the focus should be only on Trenton right now, make it so. Change your poll, control the urge to surmise what happened, and encourage readers to do the same. Do your part in protecting this family’s privacy and Melinda’s character and integrity. Noting every painful thing that has happened to them, it’s the very least we can do.
The poll was taken down. A step in the right direction.

And as I've said before, the fact that I'm again bringing this story up and offering sources for more information in effect forwards some of the same goals that I despise. However, the key difference is intention.

I am promoting this information to prove the point that there is absolutely no reason anyone should have Melinda's guilt or innocence made up in anyone's mind. No reason at all. Let's fight the push by media pundits to polarize this story, and recognize that the difficulties in Melinda's life were tremendous, as are the tensions and grief of the ones who recently said goodbye to a mother and are still searching for a son.

It's the least we can do for this broken family.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Melinda Duckett and the Media

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I'm not really sure how I haven't even heard of this story until now. There is a dearth of actual information on any of the news sites I commonly use, but googling affords a good timeline of news events relating to the story. It's tragic--and not just in the way that every newscaster has feinted the phrase to gain the collective emotive response from viewers that helps boost ratings.

The media is ripping open the family's lives for everyone to see, with detailed commentary on divorce papers, hobbies, mental illnesses, including accusations and assumptions of Melinda's guilt, which should be roles relegated to unbiased law enforcement agencies, not polarizing talk shows. Media even went so far as to begin their own arm of the prosecution, and some assert this, combined with other factors, may have sparked the conditions necessary for Melinda's suicidal intent and delivery.

On some of my own investigatory work (or google), I discovered Melinda's MySpace page, although it is (and has always been) set to private and so one cannot see more details. But looking at the empty profile page alone breaks my heart.

What do I see?

I see an attractive 21-year-old woman, smiling, standing in a blurry picture. I see her heartache, her troubles with the father to her baby, her difficulty in managing her life as a young mother, her fear of loss, her stress, written in unseen text. Her tribulations are tremendous--I will never understand how difficult young, single mothers must have it, nor will a lot of the folks reading this.

I also see a lot of love and hope, both for her own life and that of her child. And I see an empty future.

It's painful to see, and I suffer vicariously just knowing that life can offer these difficulties, but then fails to offer necessary support. The simple fact that I, too, am making light of this story on my blog, and am offering links on where others can find out more information, means that I'm furthering some of the goals of the media that I find hideous. But my intentions are not the same: I don't want you to make a value judgment of Melinda's innocence or guilt. I want you to acknowledge the pain in her life, and the fate that befell her.

I sent a message to Melinda just now, and felt sharing it would tie up my thoughts before I head to bed:

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for your child. I'm sorry for your fate. I'm sorry I was able to even find this page, courtesy of all of the media attention your story has received.

I used to have a friend who also struggled to make ends meet as a young, single mother. She is your age, and deals with stresses I cannot begin to fathom. I am thankful that she is managing so well in raising her son, despite a lot of obstacles thrown her way. I only wish you, a stranger to me, would have an opportunity to see the same for your son.

Rest peacefully,

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Movies I Want to See

...and the trailers that appetize:

Saw III.

The Fountain.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I've added a link that will be new to those of you non-Cal students: Berkeley Webcasts. It is a listing of recorded events and class lecturers that anyone may peruse at any time. It is definitely a step in the right direction in making school more accessible to everyone, and I'm glad the number of classes and events that are recorded seem to be increasing as of late.

Note: See those 2 MCB courses, 102 and 110? I (need to) see them a lot, myself, to prepare for another round of GREs, biochem-style. Irk.

Revenge on the Rays?

Irwin fans, maybe this isn't such a good idea:

Dead stingrays with their tails cut off have been found in Australia, sparking concern that fans of naturalist Steve Irwin may be avenging his death.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Leaders and Language Use

Besides witnessing a glorious conquest of the Gophers led by the Golden Bears of Berkeley, today I participated and planned a training session for our new executive committees for hall association.

Just to define these terms for readers, Hall Association is the forum by which residents can use their voice and represent their interests, when it comes to doling out funding for programs (each resident puts in $45 of his or her housing fees to a hall government fund), deciding on which issues the community values participation in, and to coalesce in social harmony and shape the residence halls into something they can all call Home. The officers democratically elected as leaders of the hall association make up the Executive Committee. I just spent the last couple of weeks planning and implementing an extended elections production for these officers, teaming with publicity, paperwork and parleys, so you can perhaps understand where I was coming from with the previous post.

I’m pleased with the outcome, both of the officer turnout and of their initial training. Training today consisted of the standard introduction and icebreaker, followed by specific job training for each of the different Ex-Comm positions. I and another staff member led the training for RHA Reps. Again, some clarification: the officers of the Ex-Comm all have different roles, and these include president, executive vice president, secretary, treasurer, and so forth. Another important position is the Residence Hall Assembly (RHA) Representative. A common analogy employed is that of the levels of government in America: RHA is the federal government, namely the senate, where representatives from every Ex-Comm in the Berkeley Res. Hall system (the state governments) can congregate and discuss issues that are important to their constituents, whom are the residents of their respective hall communities. Very swank indeed.

So, right, the RHA Rep training. We discussed some basic duties of the position, time commitments, all in all a very broad overview because they would be getting more specific training next week that I am not a part of. I’m proud to say that the last section we included was one on addressing diversity, specifically related with language use and abuse and why it matters to leaders who want to effectively lead. I’m going to include the flyer we helped put together with some additional analysis.

In one sense, this information is key in understanding those that one wants to lead, and we were explicitly promoting these tenets from the sole perspective of including others as one leads. However, I think readers will know that I’m also a fan of social justice for the sake of it itself, and I want to make it clear that these ideas should be given credit regardless of one’s job or, say, position on an executive committee.

We as a diverse people accept language norms from society and assume they are natural, but only because it is so ingrained in our culture and daily life. We accept this and other arms of socialization in different aspects of our lives, but only because we may not have made an effort to really see what is going on. That is, we’re allowing others to think for us. Us! College students! This simple truth can be hard to swallow but it is an immediate consequence of interacting with a society corrupted by fears and generalizations. It’s up to anyone who is a free-thinking individual, particularly those of us who are quickly moving ahead in the world with higher education, to step up to the challenge of instituting change, and recognize that just because society says it is ok does not make it right.

One does not need to consider oneself a leader to act as a conduit for change. Nay, the very act of pushing for change is what defines you as a leader, so take from this what you will and know that your actions, no matter how trivial you assume them to be, are what make you a leader in the eyes of others.

Including Others: Language

As leaders in the halls, you play the dual role of representing your peers and acting as role models before them. Listed below are some examples of offensive phrases and perceptions that affect different areas of diversity. Make a conscious effort to avoid language abuse and encourage your peers to do the same. Many of these statements may not have ever occurred to you as being offensive, but please read with an open mind, and remember that intent is not always the same as impact.

Intent vs. Impact
• What you mean isn’t necessarily how it is perceived
• You must take responsibility for what you say; just because you didn’t mean it doesn’t invalidate the emotional response of the person you offended

Bottled-up Effect
• You don’t know what experiences people go through
• You might think someone is overreacting to a situation
• You might say something and the person will pretend to not be offended or hold it in and then explode later
• People’s physical reactions don’t necessarily reflect how they are really feeling

One of my favorite analogies to this (as I indeed used it today and will continue doing so) follows: suppose I reached over my friend to pick up a book, but in doing so, I absolutely crushed my friend's foot in the process with accidental misplaced footing. My intent was pure and righteous, seeing as how I only wanted the book and didn't want to cause trouble, but the impact manifested itself as a few bruised toes, and a probably irate friend. Knowing this, it would be foolish to justify my actions by saying, 'Whoops! Mah' bad, but it's only your foot, you'll live," or to similarly move on with my life without taking responsibility for my action. I would be invalidating his response and not recognizing that the impact of my actions was tremendously different than just what I intended.

We can make the connections from this analogy to any of the below statements used in our society, and how what we intend to mean does not necessarily correspond with an intended impact.

“Oh that’s so gay”

An all-too-common adjective describing anything negative. Why do we use this? Why is gay given a negative description? How is anything other than people gay? How do you think a person who identifies as being gay will respond to such a statement?

• “Hey guys”
• “First Years” instead of “Freshmen”

Why do you only address the guys in the room when you address your friends with this? How awkward for you would it be, if you are a man or a woman, to hear someone welcome a group of people with "Hey ladies how's it going"?

• “Asian ghetto”

An affectionate term for a special southside hub of Berkeley delectable eats from a variety of cultures, several of them identifying as Asian. But why do we call it that? What are we implying about those that work there, or those that eat there? What about the Asian cultures that are represented there? Further, how does using the term ghetto for labeling a successful food court make those who are actually suffering in poverty-stricken areas of America feel? Aren't we then making a mockery of their plight?

A helpful note to Cal students: its name is the DURANT FOOD COURT. So use it!

• “That’s so retarded/that’s insane/that’s crazy”

Similar to the language involving gay.

• “Let’s all thank God…”
• “You’re going to hell”

Why assume that everyone identifies with a Christian belief system?

• “This is so cheap!”

Not for some it isn't. Why assume that everyone has similar finances or similar financial stability?

• "Residence Halls" instead of "Dorms"

Not so important for those living outside the residence halls, but still an important distinction to make. The word dormitory has Latin origin and comes from to sleep, but we don't want this to be a place just for sleep. We want interaction. We want communities to form. We want a sense of being at Home, with extended family. That's why they are residence halls.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Muddle Through the advice given by Tom McMahon in his transcendent take on life's lessons:

Muddle through

I've never seen a self-help book with this advice, but really it's some of the best advice I can give somebody going through a difficult stretch. Sometimes the absolute best you can do isn't that pretty, or elegant, or graceful, or frankly all that inspiring. When you're in one of those stretches, stop worrying about it. Nobody else could do that much better in your position either.

I found this post back in March and I still go back to it for advice and a soothing read in troubled waters. I recommend it to anyone currently struggling to swim.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Croc Hunter's Father Speaks

Saw this article on "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, and found this line from his father heart-breaking:

Bob Irwin told reporters his son and he were extremely close.

"Steve and I weren't like father and son, we never were," Irwin said.

"We were good mates. I'll remember Steve as my best mate ever," he said.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stubborn Teachers

I believe strongly in certain tenets of education, like taking the emphasis off of busy work and homework and placing emphasis where it belongs: on actually learning the subject. My physics course here at Cal requires its students to complete weekly online homework assignments from a teaching aid dreaded by many a science major, Mastering Physics.

And so every Monday at 1pm, I hate my life with such a passion, because

I stare. At a blinking cursor. In front of a long string of variables, parentheses, and Greek letters. Above a memo from the automaton instructor informing me that I have one more attempt remaining to answer the question.

I submit to its evil intentions. I give up. I click 'Show Answer'. I see an equation appear in the box. The same equation that I had crafted over the past 43 minutes, with a parenthesis moved ever so subtly.

This happens all the time.

Another fact: I like to argue, especially in written form. It's what netted me a solid GRE writing score (although it did nothing for my math section, which was expected). And so I emailed the professor about my thoughts, in hopes that I could persuade him to reconsider this torture:

What's frustrating is how trivial some of my mistakes were (squaring 2 and d_2 instead of just d_2), and yet the program would offer no real constructive advice on how to glean the correct answer from my input. While I do enjoy your lectures, I am really not looking forward to an entire semester with this frustrating teaching aid.

He responds a day later:

Perhaps the best approach is to learn a precise approach. Math is not free-form; it requires a level of precision that also helps to clarify one's thought.

If that doesn't help, and if you're thinking of a career in medicine, consider that a misplaced decimal point on a prescription can kill a patient. "Well, that was a trivial mistake" won't cut it then. The same problem applies in most professions, including law, etc.

Of course, I take this reply as a slap in the face for a d-d-d-d-d-duel, and respond as such:

I understand what you're saying about a certain level of precision when it comes to math, but your analogy really doesn't fit, unless you want me to assume that every week, Mastering Physics gives me life or death decisions to make, and in which case I'd ask that you clarify your expectation with the rest of the class. This is only a homework assignment, given to help us learn physics.

Also, in terms of human grading, there is not a GSI in the world that would give me a 0 for such an answer, when I did the same work and got the same results (sans the unfortunate typo) as any other student with full credit.

All I'm saying is that this teaching aid is really sucking the life out of studying because it emphasizes formatting answers and not the actual work involved in getting there, and if one felt so inclined, it is easy to see which one has the more important life lesson.

At this point, I feel that I've addressed all of his concerns. Yes, precision counts, but learning physics does more in the context of a physics course. If we're to pretend that moving a decimal the wrong way will kill someone, then we should also assume that we're not really learning anymore, and instead only focusing on getting the right answers with the educational tools we already have--which misses the entire point of homework, unless someone wants to correct me on my perception of homework's purpose for being used as a study aid.

But what does he respond with?

It's pretty clear you've already made your mind up. Having taught
this course in several forms over a number of years, I've learned
that in cases like this it's best to just say that I disagree, and
that I think it's unfortunate you're missing the point of how MP can
help you learn.

I wish you luck learning the thinking skills you'll need for this course.

Yeah, he insults me and avoids my arguments. Great. I don't have the 'thinking skills' necessary for doing well in the course, nor the prowess to comprehend how important it is that we do not potentially terminate someone with that one misplaced parenthesis. Maybe the professor can update me on what these 'thinking skills' are, as I've been told that professors normally teach these to their students.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Cell: A Motion Picture

Harvard biology students will be given a cool resource in their attempts to learn the events happening inside cells: a flash animation.

The Inner Life of a Cell is an eight-minute flash movie that visualizes how a cell uses its myriad, minute components in effecting a physiological response. Every little part inside the cell has a function, a purpose, a job to carry out, and the movie gives an interesting view on how the parts work separately and together.

If you don't already have a background in cell biology, the movie will look foreign and freakish, but remember that it is metaphorically the movie of YOU under a powerful microscope!

Still Here

Janelle was thinking of me and my "recent" post when she bought her Frappuccino, and picked up a Starbucks pamphlet with a catchy title:

Starbucks Commitment to Social Responsibility

I'd wager this is more of an attempt to allay the sometimes violent opposition to their corporation and practices than anything, an intention that differs oh-so-slightly from a college dining hall's advertisement, but it's still good to see.

And, yeah, there's been a slight falling out between me and Blogger this last past week. I realize now that the beginning of the Fall semester as a Program Assistant is a bigger strain on my time, and consequently blog relations, than it was in past years as a Resident Assistant. This should not last too much longer, and I'll try to reach my goal of reasonable posting intervals in due time. Hell, I still haven't finished the Hall Staff Training posts. More to come!