Monday, July 25, 2011

Back to the main abode late last night. I was worried about the plants, but they weathered it just fine - and greeted me this morning with an abundance when I went out to water and inspect! Tomatoes, three kinds of beans, zinnias. (The zinnias have replaced the petunias as my favorite annual this summer.) Cucumbers and eggplant are coming, but it will be a while longer. In Samsonville, we ate zucchini all weekend: raw with dip, grilled, parmesan (also on the grill!), and I brought back some for the week. There will surely be a shopping bag full when I return. Picked up local corn, peaches and cherries at Davenport's farm stand in Stone Ridge.

I got a new N router and hooked it up, in spite of the heat. It works great, although I am still not satisfied with the range. I also need to do something about the home phone connect - the (poor) signal can only be found in the yard. I feel like I am on Green Acres, when they had to climb the pole to talk on the phone.

I swam and sweated and got chewed on by bugs. I think I have never been so hot in my life! I could never live in a really hot climate. But that didn't keep us from the Rosendale Street Festival, which was great. Here's the story about the short flix fest. Twelve selections out of forty! Not too shabby.

Just now I heard a little thunder and we had a downpour! (This is why there are no zinnia pictures today, as planned.) The plants are celebrating. I am too, because certain parts of the lawn need weed whacking, but others are crispy - and without rain I don't want to cut it. So maybe this week, if there is a dry day.

Here's a subject that's dear to me. LOL! Not really, what I mean is that it is something I often write about here. I am amazed by this story. Not by the professor's discovery that a lot of students cheated in his computer science classes. What amazes me is that he was this naive. Or was he not paying attention?

Just two examples of why this is a "hello?," a Duke University study found that 75 percent of college students admit to cheating at some point. In 2005, the Stanford Center on Ethics found that two thirds of students in an introductory programming course at MIT were found to have cheated. Apparently, it is rampant in computer science, even more than in other disciplines. I understand that it is fairly common in schools of business, too. Unfortunately it is not completely absent in any field of study.

The conclusions he decided to implement, to change his methods so that it is much more difficult to cheat, are a big Duh. His evaluations went down? So overlooking cheating = good evaluations? The classroom dynamic became nasty? So overlooking cheating = engaged class? What's wrong with this picture?

I think there is something more going on here. I don't know if NYU frowns on professors going after academic dishonesty. I can only speak from my own experience, and trust me, administrators do not discourage it being rooted out. They do not glory in it, of course. Nor do I, but that doesn't mean I look the other way, and whine. These are teachable moments. I think maybe they frowned on how he presented it on the Internet. I am not sure what he wrote, since the post has been taken down. But if he only revealed what the Chronicle reports, I doubt there is a legal problem. Again, my instinct is that there is more to this story.

I think it is likely this guy has some other issues. Whenever someone spouts off and claims they now thought it was safe to do so because they have tenure, I get suspicious of their motives. I don't like people who cower in fear of reprisal. People of good judgment don't have these kinds of problems and don't need tenure to protect their speech. Don't get me wrong, I am not attacking tenure or suggesting it doesn't protect academic freedom. It's just that I am not tenured, and things like this don't worry me an iota. Maybe it is a set-up, so down the road he can sue and say his rights were violated.

Finally, something else amazing: This from Dear Abby. I am not sure whether the problem could be this extreme or if the writer is exaggerating or perhaps has a serious case of death denial? I completely agree that it is not acceptable to throw trash around or damage property, but to act as if a cemetery cannot be a place of joy is absurd! I am trustee for a cemetery - while purposeful vandalism can be a problem (thankfully, rarely), visitors are not. Visitors are encouraged! Go! Say "Hello in There, Hello." :-)

I also live in front of another cemetery and often walk my dogs there. A lot of other people do too. It is the absolutely favorite place on the planet for any dog I've ever had, including the current two. Better than the yard, better than the park, better than the street or sidewalk. I've never seen anyone blasting music or being rowdy there. Nor is it desolate or depressing; it's a beautiful, serene place, truly a selling point for the village.

While it is true that a few slobs don't clean up after their dog and (again, rarely) a beer bottle turns up, it is not a larger proportion than are rude in this respect anywhere - the park, along the sidewalk, etc. Regarding cleaning up after a dog: if I saw someone do, or rather not do this task I would not hesitate to call them out, but considering the number of dog walkers in the cemetery it is not a major problem; the vast majority of visitors are respectful.

I look at the wonderful stones in the older sections as Sophie sniffs around (her favorite graves are the Hills, who were born in England and have been dead long over 100 years; I imagine them to have liked hounds and to be pleased to see me and my Basset lingering nearby). It makes me smile and reflect - those people are not forgotten.

Added: Speaking of flix, we watched two DVDs late at night over the weekend. Too hot to sleep! Neither was awful, but they also were not great: The Adjustment Bureau and Unknown. I'd wanted to see the former in the theatre, now I am glad we waited for the small screen.

And: It's official!

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