Keeping Up Appearances

Multiple College Bowl Games Cancelled, Others Impacted as COVID-19 Cases Rise (People via yahoo.com)List of colleges going virtual to start spring semester due to COVID spike (The Bergen Record via yahoo.com) I know that my bosses are currently monitoring the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin, and it bears repeating that you couldn’t pay me enough money to make the decisions they’re having to make right now about what next semester will look like. If the past couple of years have taught us anything,…

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Disconnected

Finals week started this past Wednesday and runs through tomorrow. (I’m not a fan of having it staggered over a weekend like this, but at least it’s better than other arrangements I’ve had to deal with, including one where I was forced to run a final on a Saturday.) As I’m fond of telling my students in the leadup to finals week, we instructors kind of deal with pressure this time of year in an inverse relationship with how students feel; right now things are…

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Spectacle

Why South Dakota teachers’ “Dash for Cash” felt so gross (msnbc.com) For all the “television will rot your brain” rhetoric I heard when I was younger, the opposite seemed to be the case for me. I watched a lot of educational shows back then — Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood, 3-2-1 Contact, Mr. Wizard’s World, and others — but even the shows that weren’t explicitly educational still triggered a desire in me to learn more. Back when all the major television networks had game show…

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Defrosted

One of my first purchases when I came to Wisconsin in 2018 was a microwave oven. My apartment didn’t come with a microwave, and while I don’t really like microwaving food, sometimes the convenience of fixing hot food quickly (especially in the winter months) can’t be ignored. In a lot of ways, that purchase drove home to me that I was living on my own in ways that not even the long move from Colorado did, and I still sometimes catch myself looking at my…

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Pushed

PointCast was one of those Internet services that was far ahead of its time. At its root, it was a lot like the news readers we use on our smartphones and tablets today, pushing information to computers during off-peak Internet usage, and its screensaver was far more useful and engaging than those shipping with Windows 98 at the time (or those shipping with Windows 10 today). In an age where 56k dial-up modems were the height of speed for most Internet users, though, PointCast was…

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