From the monthly archives:

March 2019

Discussion Boards

by Harry on March 4, 2019

Here’s another contribution to the ACUE website, this time about how I use online discussion boards to hold students accountable for doing reading. As you’ll see it has been trasnformative in my smaller classes, though less so in my large classes. Still, even in the larger classes, it seems to have had some effect, especially in the class I am currently teaching in which I have used canvas for the first time, and have worked out how to prevent them seeing other people’s posts till after they have posted their own, and also how to organise them so that their online discussions are with the members of the their brick and mortar discussion sections. It’s pretty obvious to me that I wouldn’t have landed upon this device without having experienced Crooked Timber which, in turn, I wouldn’t have participated in but for CB leaning on me quite heavily when we started out. The final paragraph is true — I am basically a technophobe, and a late adopter, so I am still surprised, when I describe this, that everyone isn’t doing it.

British Road, BS3

Coal, cronyism and corruption

by John Q on March 3, 2019

The latest issue of Coalwire, a weekly newsletter covering the transition away from coal list three separate corruption cases involving coal: in Indonesia, South Africa and Bangladesh. These aren’t isolated instances: in just about every jurisdiction that isn’t moving away from coal at a rapid rate, the industry is associated with cronyism at best, and outright corruption at worst.

In Australia, for example, the push to develop the Galilee Basin is being driven by a set of politically connected billionaires (or pseudo-billionaires on the Trump model). In China, the move away from coal is being obstructed by provincial governments eager to keep the construction gravy train rolling. In India, there’s Coalgate. Crony capitalist governments like those of Trump in the US, Erdogan in Turkey and Law and Justice in Poland are among the leaders in resisting decarbonization.

The explanation is simple. Coal can’t survive in an open market environment, particularly one with a carbon price, nor under a coherently planned system. It’s only under the toxic mixture of markets and intervention represented by ‘business friendly’ government that money can still be made from destroying the global environment.

I thought it was hilarious.

The Uses and Disadvantages of Historovox For Life

by John Holbo on March 2, 2019

Corey caught flack for his “Historovox” piece. I have since been intermittently failing to write a useful response. Maybe this one will go better.

There are two thoughts behind the piece.

1) Trump is weak.

2) ‘Historovox’ affords a distorted view.

The connection – the thesis – is that,

3) Because 2, many have been slow to see 1.

If 1 and 2 are true, this is plausible. But 1 and 2 are such distinct thoughts that the link – even if it holds – doesn’t hold the piece together. There are too many angles of pushback and complication. Dealing with 1 and 2 together is too hard. To put it another way: Corey’s piece is framed kind of like a proof of 2, via 1. But since you need 3 for the proof, and 2 for 3, it’s kind of circular. Or is it? In fact it needn’t be viciously so. You know what? I suggest we pocket 3 as interesting, but hard to gauge. Think about 1 and 2 separately. In this post I will talk about just 2. [click to continue…]