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Comment: Try his Gawain (Score 2) 94

Tolkien's edition of Gawain and the Green Knight is really good. A layperson can easily learn how to pronounce the Middle English of the text, which being a bit "Northern" is somewhat "older" and different than that of Chaucer. There's also a useful glossary. It's really a great book. If you like Tolkien, and you haven't read it, you should probably take a look at it. On the other hand, the claims above about Tolkien being the person who brought the Medieval into the Modern must come from a very narrow perspective. The Medieval was always there. Think of the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, or of Walter Scott. And Tolkien was far from the only fantasist whose work drew heavily on the Medieval. In fact, and I know this is heretical, but there are works out there that are in many ways better than his. But his world is amazing, his scholarship quite useful, and, in my opinion, he was on the right side of the issue with C.S. Lewis. (As a final note, he made an interesting contribution to an interesting little mystery, the "Nodens" ring and inscription. Also fun to check out.) A final, final note: Seamus Heany's version of Beowulf is a pretty good read too.

Comment: Re:The key here is "Conference Proceedings" (Score 1) 62

by supercrisp (#46332853) Attached to: Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake Papers
Some institutions intentionally don't look too closely. The university at which I work, a state university in the southeastern US, will take a person with a degree from the University of Phoenix or even with an honorary degree. Doesn't matter, just as long as you have the right political connections. The Tennessee Board of Regents actually passed a resolution or made a statement, I forget the correct terms, that a degree is a degree. This is when a basketball coach was found to have a diploma mill degree. And then there are all the faculty who are found to have completely lied about their degrees.... So, no, I think sometimes this sort of publication credential gaming is just one part of a larger and very corrupt system. (And this may draw fire: I think this has gotten worse and worse as university administrations have become heavier and heaver and costlier and costlier AND as those posts have come to be filled, at least at mid-level schools by people with no real academic credentials, among which I'd include business and education degrees.)

Comment: Re:Simpler answer: It was a con (Score 2) 160

by supercrisp (#46293859) Attached to: Another Possible Voynich Breakthrough
With respect to your low uid# and the awesome bit of Schiller in your sig, I have to point that the age of the vellum does little to prove that the text originates earlier than some assumptions. Vellum was used over and over. So, unless we have some clear evidence that it has not been reused, the manuscript text may well be written on vellum significantly older than itself.

Comment: Re:Simpler answer: It was a con (Score 1) 160

by supercrisp (#46293851) Attached to: Another Possible Voynich Breakthrough
I wish the author of that article provided links to the information about letter forms. I'd like to read about that. The age of the vellum doesn't help much, as vellum was often re-used. Of course, there may be evidence that this text was the first use of the vellum, though the article does mention finding previous text with a blacklight. Maybe I should be glad there aren't links to this other research. I might lose half my morning.

Comment: The answer is obvious (Score 3, Informative) 134

by supercrisp (#46254195) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: E-ink Reader For Academic Papers?
The obvious part: Root it and install a more capable e-reader app. My recommendation: I prefer Moon+ Reader Pro, which will not only give you a highlighted and annotated file you can use elsewhere, it can also, with one click, generate a document with annotations and highlights only that you can e-mail to yourself. I should not that this is something even Acrobat Pro can't do, and also note that Moon+ is more feature complete and easy to use than is Adobe's offering for Android. NB: I don't have any stake in Moon+, nor give a crap what money they make. I'm sharing because I spent too much time wading thru all the e-reader apps to find this one.

Comment: Re:Use Class Rank (Score 3, Insightful) 264

by supercrisp (#46216519) Attached to: Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation
In my experience (just over 20 years teaching English courses), students in the first two years of college are horrible now compared to 10-15 years ago. At upper levels, students are indeed working much harder. But part of the harder work is a lot of flailing around because most bright students have never had to study, organize, research, or any of the basic scholarly skills. School has just been so easy. ---- I'm reluctant to address grade inflation on slashdot because so much of the discussion on teaching here is from only the student perspective, and typically from disaffected students who see education as some sort of market exchange. It's got a much older set of models, and that complicates the hell out of things. For reasons good and bad, faculty tend hang onto some Medieval ideas like mentoring, patronage, whipping people into shape, and separating wheat from chaff. As I said, good and bad reasons. ---- But major influences on grades just don't come up in these discussions, so I'll offer two: retention and rehiring. Administrators and evaluating bodies continually yell "retention." What can you do if all your students suck because they're getting shit for a high school education? Dumb down the classes and pass them. Or don't, and your department suffers. Or you do. That brings me to rehiring. Many classes, right on up to the senior level are now taught by "contingent" faculty--the majority of faculty now are contingent. Nontenured. Rehired year by year. If you're contingent, you'd better listen when someone howls retention. And you'd better make damn sure that little Pauly Privileged doesn't go running to your chair bawling because he got a C for his paper copied from Wikipedia. Better give that brat a B so that you can keep paying your student loans. Presto! Grade inflation. ---- There are other reasons. And I know everyone here is super brilliant and earned those A grades.

Comment: Re:As an environmentalist and (former) Obama fan. (Score 3, Insightful) 343

by supercrisp (#46104435) Attached to: Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize
Well. Maybe the KKK is greatly reduced, but the "Southern Strategy" is alive and well, as is racism, as both a factor in campaigns and elections, as well as in districting for elections, zoning, and education funding. Hell, what about Birmingham being back in the Supreme Court of the Voting Rights Act?

Comment: Re:Hello I'm british (Score 1) 95

by supercrisp (#46085171) Attached to: Surrey Hit With Catnado
A pair of F2s passed on either side of my house once. One was about 100 yards away, the other was less than 20. I wasn't shitting myself, but I was juggling a beer, a cigarette, and a rather small pipe as I peeped up thru a basement window. If I'd had glue to sniff, that'd have been in the rotation too. F2 is plenty big enough, thank you! Each of the two utterly destroyed houses along the two east-west streets they were traveling.

Comment: Re:The 21st Century is (Score 1) 360

by supercrisp (#45836913) Attached to: 53% More Book Banning Incidents In US Schools This Year
I'm sure what you describe happens. I'm also sure--because I've been in the classroom as student or teacher--that a lot of young white men get butthurt when the concept of white, male privilege is broached in the least way. Some guys at that point will immediately holler that they're being oppressed. As a teacher, I will be the first to admit that K-12 and college are filled with horrible, ignorant, non-thinking, reactionary teachers of all political stripes. But we've done that to ourselves. In all the states I've taught in (at the college level), K-12 teachers start out and often continue to earn at the same level as a non-experienced starting line worker in a non-union auto-plant, about $32-34k a year. You're not going to get intelligent people with that sort of cash. And then there are the "education" programs out there that teach tons of nonsense (which is only superseded by the sort of nonsense peddled by the home-schooling industry). Anyway: sure, some teachers suck and are bullies when it comes to race. But in my experience it's far more often that complaining student is a whiner. (I don't use this blunt tone in class. I prefer to slowly encourage the precious little snowflakes to think, rather than to alienate them by speaking to them like the adults they think they are.)

Comment: Re:Wrong question (Score 1, Redundant) 191

by supercrisp (#45822401) Attached to: Safeway Suspends Worker For Sci-Fi Parody of His Firing
A lot of people don't seem to understand how tax brackets work, nor do they read closely. Mr. Anonymous Coward is a good example. Let's take a look: "I don't have a problem with someone's five-million-and-oneth dollar being taxed at 90%." If the 90% tax bracket kicks in at five million dollars, the first dollar earned after five million would be taxed at 90%. You'd only get a dime on it, and Uncle Sam would get 90 cents. Everything earned by that would be taxed at the lower rates of the lower brackets. The first 50k would still be taxed at less than 15%. That's not "in poverty."

Comment: Re:I fear a monoculture (Score 4, Interesting) 234

by supercrisp (#45817939) Attached to: Is a Super-Sized iPad the Future of Education?
As a professor, I'd welcome a monoculture. I'd love for all my students to have the same machine with the same OS and the same apps. Otherwise, every class with a computer component becomes a class in teaching half the students how to change systems settings or whatever on different machines. The average student doesn't have any great computer competence, despite the "digital natives" hype. They can get on Facebook or use Google, but inserting a header in a document or hooking up to an external monitor is beyond them. I can really understand why other educators would want a "monoculture." (However, I think the emphasis on computers in education is misplaced and overhyped. My students, at the college level, would benefit much more from learning touch typing and a few basics than from whatever malarky they're being taught now.)

Comment: Re:classroom tools (Score 1) 210

by supercrisp (#45728269) Attached to: Datawind Not Blowing Smoke: $38 Tablet Coming To the US
Meh. I spend 40 hours a week after work teaching underprivileged children yoga. I volunteer to be a practice dummy at the police firing range. I've donated all my major organs to the Red Crescent, and I've sent my bones off to fertilize the roses at the local battered women's shelter. I developed a forty-two bazillion line software project intended to help developing nations coffee farmers integrate the principles of feng shui into outhouse production, and I have given up my own sex organs to be used by sex surrogates for elderly veterans. And I've accomplished all of this while taking care of my own family and my own job, up hill both ways, ten miles, in the snow, every day!

Comment: Re:Fed up with publication pressure (Score 2) 106

by supercrisp (#45650981) Attached to: Nobel Winner Schekman Boycotts Journals For 'Branding Tyranny'
Looking at things like impact factor of the journal or the number of times the article is cited require reading/counting* skills most deans don't seem to have--at least based on how most of them seem unable to read contracts or faculty handbooks. (*It seems skills learned while counting beans do not transfer well.)

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis