September 19th, 2013


You Can Do Anything With LEGOs -- ANYTHING

via Jay Lake's Link Salad:

A group of PhD students from University College London, Tsinghua University and Peking (Beijing?) University met a challenge to build an atomic force microscope using LEGOs. Really.

Meanwhile, American kids combine LEGO sets so Indiana Jones can face off against Darth Vader. Okay, I'm not playing fair here, but it's the usual kind of whine you hear about education. (grin)

The laboratory of the future is here and it uses LEGOs and 3D printers.

Dr. Phil


I am, of course, part-time or adjunct faculty at Western Michigan University. I don't make much, especially with my long commute and the cost of the greedy oil corporation's gasoline. I do it because I wish to teach.

I am lucky. Mrs. Dr. Phil is willing to support me/us with her real, tenured librarian position. And as I sit in this hospital bed, with the meter somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars, it is through her excellent health insurance. And WMU accepted the part-time instructors union just the other year without any fuss.

Still, at the current (or previous if you prefer) rate of classes and income, if I were totally on my own, I'd be so far below the poverty line it wouldn't be funny.

And then I read a piece like this about Duquesne University (via Tobias Buckell) and I get really angry.

It's bad enough that too many in this country bad mouth teachers in general. It's bad enough that colleges have seen their costs rise dramatically that to compete or even survive, they must depend on adjuncts. It's bad enough that too many somehow feel universal healthcare is something terrible. Or that people in poor finances deserve what they get.

But when I read a piece like this as certain people want to bring up the what... 42nd vote to defund what they derisively call Obamacare, I want to shake some sense into some people.

And this story is from a religious institution to boot?

I weap.

Dr. Phil

*** PS Earlier today I left an angry comment on a high school classmate's Facebook post, pointing out that defunding Obamacare doesn't solve the problem. If your complaint is that the Affordable Care Act allows Wal-Mart or McDonalds to cut workers' pay rate or hours to shovel the cost onto... horror of horrors ... the taxpayers, then get rid of the loophole and solve the problem, and stop this defunding nonsense. Really.