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Showing posts from August, 2011

Video Essay: Defining Hipsters

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An approved topic for the Regent's exam is to "discuss a stereotype that you once believed but that later proved inaccurate." Stereotyping is defined as "a generalization about a group of people whereby we attribute a defined set of characteristics to this group based on their appearance or our assumptions."

Stereotypes are definitions - we define a certain group by their "group" actions, or perceived group actions by using extended definitions. But are stereotypes always bad? Sometimes we use stereotypes to help us quickly identify and make sense of the world around us. They allow us to make predictions about what to expect from those stereotypes. It costs us relatively little psychologically, we don't have to deal with, or don't have to modify our behavior, because we know how those stereotyped are going to act. But most of all, they are beliefs that are shared, otherwise we wouldn't stereotype in the first place. So stereotypes ar…

Video Essay: Classifying and Dividing College Roomates

Students are often asked to write Classification/Division essays that either break apart a whole into parts (Division), or sort items into categories (Classification). A popular prompt for this assignment is to classify roommates into categories - as does this video from www.collegehumor.com.

See all the CollegeHumor Original Videos here. The video essay takes the broad category of Roommates and then subdivides it into Monsters. From there it divides monstrous roommates into six different kinds from "The Robot" to "The Zombie."

How would you classify your former or current roommates? Can you think of a broad category of roommates (like monsters) and then subdivide it further?

Debt, Red Herrings, and the Church of Global Warming

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James Taranto wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal on the Anti-debt ceiling Republicans that wound up at the global warming issue, an issue that has divided people. An issue that has removed the lens from such environmental disasters as drought-driven famine in Somalia to indigenous cooking fires which "Kill a million and a half people and nobody gives a damn. But become a part of this big climate thing and everyone comes knocking on your door," at least that's what Burkhard Bilger reports in "Hearth Surgery" from The New Yorker, but I digress . . .

James Taranto, a conservative writer, reports that liberals believe, “Some of the congressional Republicans who are preventing action to help the economy are simply intellectual primitives who reject modern economics on the same basis that they reject Darwin and climate science.

"Darwin is a red herring here. Although disparaging people for holding harmless religious beliefs as 'intellectual primit…