Friday, April 11, 2014

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together

I really like the way the Honest Courtesan links to various government abuses by using that ridiculous phrase, so I have decided to do the same:

1. Traffic tickets in Florida for those speeding to the hospital.

2. Doubling down on out-of-control joggers in Austin.

As to the phrase itself, "choose" seems like an odd word for an institution is fundamental feature is a monopoly on the legal use of violence.

On consultants

From the New Yorker.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jobs that sound like fun

This fellow called Jesse Schell is an "Assistant Professor of Entertainment Technology" at CMU. Why didn't anyone mention this career path when I was playing SimCity back in grad school?

Hat tip: Ophira Vishkin

Tree Campus USA

The University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus has been recognized by whomever does the recognizing of such things as a "Tree Campus USA" for the sixth year in a row.

In other news, yesterday the university sawed down several perfectly healthy trees outside of Lorch Hall, home of the economics department. Rumor has it that the trees were removed so that the ugly construction trailers that have been present outside our building for almost my entire career at Michigan, but which disappeared a few weeks ago, can be replaced by more spacious ugly construction trailers so as to facilitate the next round of construction at the busyness school next door.

Hat tip: Joel Slemrod.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel

We saw Grand Budapest on Friday night at the State Theater. It is a complete delight: crazy, original, funny, at times sad, visually rich, and overall just an excellent way to spend a couple of hours. I completely concur with the glowing review by A.O. Scott in the NYT.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

On cheating

The Atlantic reports on the reaction of some college teachers to a student who advertised on Craig's List for someone to help them cheat on a placement exam and possibly also an on-line course.

People do cheat, even at Michigan. Of the three places I have been, I liked Maryland's process for dealing with cheaters best. It involved (in part) students judging other students, and the students were typically much tougher on cheaters than administrators. Michigan's process works reasonably well too, but is a bit more lenient than I would like.

Western Ontario, at least when I was there, was neither as organized as Maryland and Michigan in how it handled cheaters nor as tough. I had a student at Western who plagiarized on their honors thesis (!). I wanted to toss him out of the program but in the end was only able to give him a low grade. He had the temerity to come back a few days later and ask for more points. That day was the closest I ever came to physically harming a student.

Assorted links

1. Jerusalem Gardens moving into Seva space. Yum.

2. Mocking Rob Ford at the Atlantic.

3. Urban ruins: Rochester subway (and be sure to click through to the old promotional video). They should make lemonade from lemons and do something like the Underground Tour in Seattle.

4. Remodeling Morgan and York. More yum.

5. Hanna Rosin on affairs.