Classics Club

Some talented and curious people are organizing a Classics Club for bloggers. Here is the information in case you want to join this great endeavor. I visited some of the blogs by people who have joined the club and they are really amazing folks who love reading. I wish my students could see these blogs and realize how silly their “I hate reading!” sounds.

The first step of the Classics Challenge is to make a list of 50+ classic work of literature you pledge to read in the next 5 years. The beauty of the project is that nobody will dictate to you what should go on the list of classics, so you can create your own canon. And you have an excuse to read books you always wanted to read but never got around to doing it. I always feel so guilty for reading anything that is not research-related that it’s good to be part of an initiative that will take the guilt away.

I’m putting the bulk of this post under the fold to avoid cluttering people’s Google reader feeds.

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And This Just Makes My Blood Boil

Students get caught cheating massively on a test and get penalized. And here is how one of them reacts:

Julie Rothe, an 18-year-old finance and information systems freshman, said she plans to accept responsibility. But she will challenge the penalty, she said, because students cheated in years past. “I’m really angry at the fact that students got away with this in earlier semesters,” she said. “We are taking the hit, and I believe that is unfair.

Words cannot explain how this ridiculous, entitled, stupid attitude makes me feel, people. What’s next? You get caught driving drunk and you get really angry because other people drove drunk and got away with it? You commit a crime and get really angry because there are criminals out there who were never brought to justice?

Instead of getting angry with herself for being a lazy, cheating idiot, this brainless creature gets angry with the very people she tried to defraud.

This is just the limit.

I really hope she flunks out of school and goes to live under a rock someplace where she cannot harm others with her egregious lack of morals and responsibility.

And now I need to go do some breathing exercises to get over the shock of reading something like this.

A Student Barred From Bringing an Actress to a Prom

A reader sent me the following article and asked me to comment*:

Stone was called to the principal’s office at Tartan Senior High School this week and told it was inappropriate to bring an adult film star to a high school dance, the Daily Dot reports. However, the 18-year-old student escaped disciplinary action and was not in any trouble with the school, Jennifer McNeil, a representative for the school district, told The Huffington Post. After sending nearly 600 Tweets, Stone had recently received responses from at least two porn stars who said they were willing to attend his prom as long as he provided money for airfare.

In a statement issued to parents and obtained by HuffPost, the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District cited regulations to defend their decision to ban an adult film star from attending the event. In short, the rules state that the district has the right to deny any person admission to a school-sponsored event if “the visit is not in the best interest of students, employees or the school district,” or if it “substantially disrupts the orderly operation of school or school activities,” McNeil said.

All I can do in response is ask the following question: if we can’t trust an 18-year-old adult to decide who his date for the prom should be, then how can we blame the young people for being too immature, indecisive, and irresponsible? How come it’s OK to police who this guy’s date is? And how far will we take this kind of babying of people who are old enough to vote?

I also think that being judgmental of this man’s willingness to pay for companionship (in the form of airfare or any other form) is very hypocritical. How is this any worse than paying for your date’s meal or theater ticket?

As for this woman’s profession, it takes a lot of gall to bar people from anywhere because you don’t happen to approve of their career choices. Unless she is planning to engage in anything illegal right at the prom, then who’s to say that her profession is worse than anybody else’s?

Seriously, the amount of prudishness one encounters every day is daunting.

* By the way, I really love it when people do that. It’s hard to keep track of every interesting bit if news, but with the help of my readers, I can stay informed. Besides, it makes me feel important to be asked to comment. 🙂

Severe Weather Conditions

You know that I’m not in favor of dumping on the young generations but some things are just too much even for me.

Today, less than half of the students showed up for class. Those who did show up came in anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes late. When I asked what was happening, they told me it was because of the “horrible weather.”

The horrible weather in question is a tiny little drizzle that you don’t even need an umbrella for.

Seriously, folks, I don’t get this. You are going to sit there at home, completely immobilized because of an insignificant little drizzle that doesn’t even deserve to be called “rain”?

I’d much rather people just invented some excuses instead of telling me they are late or absent because of this “severe” weather.

Bullying Practices During Job Interviews

I read every article that mentions the word “statistician”, and here is one that I found today:

When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password. Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

My interest in statisticians has to do with my husband being one. When he was on the job market, I had a chance to discover how much bullying there is in his industry*. I have written before about the practice of forcing people with PhDs in Financial Statistics to solve some completely idiotic puzzles during interviews. N. initially tried to prepare for such questions by poring over collections of puzzles but then realized that his self-respect was of more value to him than any job and decided to terminate any interview where he would be asked to engage in such a stupid exercise.

Justin Bassett also terminated the interview when he was asked to offer the interviewer access to his profile. I congratulate him on this decision because working for a company that hires unhinged, psychologically unstable idiots like this interviewer is a place with no future. There cannot be any practical, job-related value in seeing anybody’s Facebook profile, which means that anyone who insists on access is a pervert desperate to rummage in other people’s lives for lack of their own.

* I’m not talking about other industries in this context because I have no information. In academia, nothing like this is remotely possible. The search committee that hired me, for example, was legally barred even from simply Googling my name.