Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Last Blog . . .

. . . for the quarter.
Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture (www.hyperionbooks.com), realized he didn't give his last lecture because he wanted to. He gave it because he "had to."
Like Spiderman, Paush believes "with great power, comes great responsibility." As you read the final chapters of The Last Lecture, how would you describe the legacy or message left by Randy Pausch?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Socially Mobile Grinders

David Brooks in "A Nation of Grinders" (RC,WW 543-547) asks readers, "[H]ow about Abraham Lincoln as the defining capitalist figure of our age?" (543). His answer, "That middle-aged Lincoln represents all the sometimes homely but invariably dreamy pushers who are what American striving is really all about" (543).
The typical American success story does not consist of the billion dollar deal signed behind the doors of mega-corporate board rooms, but comes from "the need to actually execute and finish your strategies" at companies where the culture "encourages the Lincolnian virtues of simplicity and humility." In other words, work hard and do a good job, no matter what your job title. Further, when practiced, this "social mobility reduces class conflict because each person can build his own fortune, rather than taking from the fortunes of others" (547).

What's your response to the notion that "each person's destiny is somehow related to the amount of talent and effort he or she pours into life" and this defines "the very essence of justice" (547)?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Biofuel Salvation

Vinod Khosla in "My Big Biofuels Bet" (RC,WW 520-527) has "been searching for a renewable fuel that could realistically replace the 140 billion gallons of gasoline consumed in the U.S. each year" (521). He further believes that "corn ethanol is a crucial fist step toward kicking our [USA] oil addiction" (521) by using "cow manure--because this waste powers a facility that turns corn into ethanol" (521). He answers the objection that "there's not enough land to grow crops for ethanol" (527) by saying that "taking land now used to grow export crops and instead planting energy crops, it's feasible to eliminate our need to import oil for gasoline" (527).

Do you believe "that Americans are addicted to oil and alternative fuels are our only salvation" (529)? What do you think about replacing food crops with fuel crops?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Not Just For Nerds?

"The inherent danger of dealing with strangers is one of the major reasons that online dating has been looked down on" (RC,WW 423), but according to Joshua Slick, the author of "Not Just For Nerds Anymore," this has been largely overcome due to "online ratings and review systems" and "'reputation-management systems'" available at online cites like TrueDater and Opinity. He cites a USA Today article asserting that "technology has made anonymity a thing of the past" (RC,WW 424) meaning online daters "can find out virtually anything about anyone without ever leaving . . . home" (RC,WW 424).

Do you feel that Slick overcomes his readers' objection to online dating and agree that cyber dating is safe and "just as viable for meeting people as going to church or bars" (RC,WW 424)? If so, why? If not, why not? Have you ever gone on a date with someone you met online?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Literacy and Voting Decisions

Jonathan Kozol in "The Cost of an Illiterate Society," believes that people who can't read or write "are forced to cast a vote of questionable worth. They cannot make informed decisions based on serious print information." He prefaces this comment by quoting James Madison, one of the Founding Fathers, who said, "A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives" (RC,WW 403).

Do you read your voter's handbook? Do you understand your voter's handbook? How do you think your literacy contributes to your voting decisions?