Flipping and Flopping

I now know why Romney chose Ryan as his running mate (this sounds like a tongue-twister). No matter what he does or says or how he contradicts himself, he still looks like a genius and a charmer by Ryan’s side. Of course, this strategy backfired for McCain in 2008.

New Phone and Emigration

I spend so much time on my smartphone that changing one phone for another feels like emigrating. I feel like I’m in a strange country where everything is weird and unfamiliar.

I know I will get used to it but for now I suggest we accept my temporary status as a digitally dsiplaced individual.

Smartphones, Kindles and tablets are like little universes we carry in our handbags and pockets.

Teaching Loads and Idiots

There has been yet another stupid article in Chronicle of Higher Ed. What else is new, you will ask. The Chronicle turned into a beacon of anti-intellectualism a long time ago.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, however, I will acquaint you with yet another anti-professorial witch hunt promoted by this periodical. The Chronicle loves to participate in spreading the myth of the overpaid, lazy professors. Now it is allowing a very silly creature called Lawrence B. Martin spread egregious falsehoods about academia:

If cash-strapped universities want an easy way to save money, Lawrence B. Martin, a professor of anthropology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has an idea.

By tallying faculty output in areas such as publication rates in scientific journals, Mr. Martin has concluded that there could be as much as $1-billion to $2-billion in extra salaries sloshing around U.S. higher education, needlessly lavished by institutions on faculty whose low teaching loads aren’t justified by their research output.

Of course, Mr. Martin forgets to mention what these “low” teaching loads are and why it is impossible to raise them even higher. Most professors nowadays teach at least 3 course per semester. Most teach 4 courses per semester. Many are teaching five. Maybe there is somebody somewhere at Harvard whose teaching load is 2 courses per semester but Harvard profs constitute a statistically insignificant minority which makes any discussion of them in this context pointless.

As one of those lucky ducklings who teaches “only” three courses per semester, I can tell you that it is the absolute maximum anybody can teach at a university level. Anything past that gives you ridiculously low-quality teaching. Mr. Martin lies like a stupid jerk that he is when he talks about all those billions supposedly lavished on lazy profs. Raising teaching loads that are already way too high will effectively rob students who pay their tuition in hopes of receiving high-quality instruction.

So let’s imagine I’m that “lazy” professor who never publishes anything and teaches 3 courses per semester. Martin believes that money should be “saved” by making me teach 5 courses instead of 3. If he had an ounce of brain matter, this stupid donkey would know that the only result of this supposedly “money-saving” measure would make students abandon my university in droves. A professor who is assigned this teaching load will not be an effective educator. Of course, if Martin ever tried actually teaching anybody instead of bleating idiotically about teaching, he might have even figured that out.

Now would you like to know why Mr. Lawrence B. Martin spreads these vicious lies about college professors? The answer is obvious: he is getting paid for doing so:

“If the least scholarly and productive 20 percent of faculty, who are effectively producing little or no scholarship, are receiving reduced teaching loads,” said Mr. Martin, who runs a side business supplying major research institutions with data about their faculty’s productivity, “then the cost of that is staggering.”

Shame on you, Mr. Lawrence B. Martin, you nasty, anti-intellectual sell-out. And shame on you, Chronicle of Higher Ed, for allowing your pages to be used by this dishonest individual who besmirches an entire profession to make a quick buck.

I’ve seen a lot of blatant attempts to pass off commercial advertisement as journalism but this article really takes the cake. Did Martin pay the Chronicle for advertising his business or did Paul Basken, the author of this piece of commercial crap, take a bribe?