Monthly Archives: April 2014

Seeds of discord in Ukraine

When I arrived in Odessa in the spring of 2011 to do research on trade between Russia and the West in the 19th century, I imagined the relatively idyllic picture painted by financial observers of that period. When our plane landed, I discovered that my spoken Russian was not good enough to bargain with the […] … learn more→

Five everyday myths that make it hard to understand pain

Surprisingly for such a universal experience, pain is profoundly misrepresented by common myths about what it is and what it means. These are rooted in dualistic models: the body as a simple machine and the mind, distinct, receiving input from and sending orders to the machine. But pain emerges from recursive interaction of the brain […] … learn more→

The new ‘austerity imperative’ for Universities

Coming soon: The next outrage in your university health-care plan. And it’s all part of “business as usual.” Here at Pennsylvania State University, the new bad news is steep hikes in health-coverage rates for graduate students, combined with cuts in benefits. The real “usual” is saving money at the expense of those who can least […] … learn more→

Education as entitlement, Part 2

Last time around I mentioned riots at an institution that had the “audacity” to not consider undocumented immigrants as in state students, charging them the tuition that out-of-state students would need to pay. These undocumenteds want to get rid of the administrator that’s trying to put some common sense into the system. This is to […] … learn more→

Three solutions to rising College costs that the far right finds attractive

Writing for, Christina Crouch has surveyed in some detail “Three Radical Plans” for reducing college costs []. The first two of these “three radical plans” have been addressed previously in posts to this blog: the “pay it forward” plan that originated in Oregon, that has been adopted or adapted in some form in 15 […] … learn more→

Only the 1% can afford to teach in Higher Education, part 2

Only the 1% can afford to teach in Higher Education, part 2

Last time I discussed a serious change in higher education: the replacement of the faculty by part-time, minimally paid, no benefit “adjuncts”. Such adjuncts now teach the majority of classes in our colleges and universities, and represent a serious savings, costing only 25% (often, much less) of having full time faculty teach the course. For […] … learn more→

Yo Hablo HTML

We are nearly five months into Britain’s “Year of Code,” an effort to promote computer-coding skills among Britons young and old. The British media’s coverage spiked in February, when the campaign’s director admitted she couldn’t code a computer to save her life, but has ebbed since. Still, I’ve been taking advantage of some of the […] … learn more→