I should note here that this post contains strong language, and thus probably makes the Baby David Broder cry. Consider yourselves warned.

Some time back a reader chastised me for making fun of Ross Douthat. (Hmm, that makes her sound completely insane, but she was actually rather polite in the thread. I promised I would address her points in another post “soon”, but I did not do so because I am fundamentally an indolent, unreliable person.) The complaint Douthat was making is one that is heard a lot in anti-feminist circles, and often in a doubly irritating concern-troll fashion. It boils down to this: sexual liberation has paradoxically furthered mens’ interests at the expense of the hapless women it purported to be liberating. This is because all men want lots of commitment-free, anonymous sex with lots of different women, while all women want to be taken to the State Fair and have their special man win them a giant, plush, pink teddy bear which will fill the car with the etiolated scent of frying fat while she gives the guy a hand job. I believe it all goes back to life on the veldt, when our proto-human female ancestors needed to eat the pink, heart-shaped fruit of whitmansampler africensis in order to have the energy they needed to bear young. [click to continue…]

Irish Solutions

by Maria on March 6, 2007

Last night I was talking with fellow Blueshirts about Irish politicians’ reluctance to think about energy policy in a strategic way, or to look further ahead than the next election at issues that have a 20-30 year horizon. Ireland’s not even on the end of a pipeline, and any deal Germany makes with Russia isn’t going to concern itself with us. We are still opening peat burning stations with relatively high CO2 emissions, and our gas supply is running out. To diversify, we’ve got interconnectors with the UK – current and planned – and in the next decade or so, we’ll have an interconnector direct into the French national grid. Which is striking, given how sniffy Irish people are about nuclear power. [click to continue…]

The perils of Powerpoint

by Chris Bertram on March 6, 2007

Jo Wolff’s “Guardian column today”:http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,2027064,00.html is all about the limitations and dangers of using Powerpoint (a subject “I’ve discussed before”:https://crookedtimber.org/2003/12/21/powerpoint/ ). In a spasm of anti-Microsoftness, I used “S5”:http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/s5/ in my lectures this year but eventually gave up because of the sheer hassle of doing anything other than bullet points with it – Powerpoint just worked better (as does Impress, btw). Jo’s key complaint, though, is about what PP does for spontaneity:

bq. For those who prefer to project the idea that a talk is a unique event, a voyage of discovery that could go in any one of a number of directions, and may well go in all of them, PowerPoint gives the game away. As someone once said: “The art is hiding the art.” With PowerPoint, everything is on display. Elegantly effortless performance is hard enough as it is. PowerPoint makes it impossible.

I don’t know how Jo does his lectures, but one thing it is pretty hard to get away without (given student expectations and all that) is the _handout_ . And once you’ve given them a handout then they either know where you’re going or you’ll confuse the hell out of them if you go somewhere else. How does Powerpoint make things any worse in this respect?