Corrupting the admissions process

The University of Texas is a big school and can absorb a lot of sub-average students. But when the corruption seems to be driven by the president, that’s pretty bad.

Of course, the old Rice joke was that UT was the best faculty a student body had never deserved. I’m sure that was very mean of us, and not nearly true. But one wonders what percentage of the law school were legislative admits?


Barbara Tuchman, The Proud Tower: a Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914. xiv.

We have been misled by people of the time [1890-1914] themselves who, in looking back across the gulf of the War, see the earlier half of their lives misted over by a lovely sunset haze of peace and security. It did not seem so golden when they were in the midst of it. Their memories and their nostalgia have conditioned our view of the pre-war era but I can offer the reader a rule based on adequate research: all statements of how lovely it was in that era made by persons contemporary with it will be found to have been made after 1914. A phenomenon of such extended malignance as the Great War does not come out of a Golden Age.


My father would never have let me get away with that . . .

I threw away TWO (2) containers of honey mustard dipping sauce from a take out meal today. He would have been appalled. My mother said “oh, fine.”* But here’s the real question — is frugality like that really why there’s so much money in TIAA CREF?

*However, she is resisting letting me give an unopened case of pre-packaged mandarin orange slices (I’ve never seen her open a container!) to the poor. I may have to sneak. I’m gradually emptying the shelves of the upstairs bathroom (stuff which they abandoned in 2006).

AS Roma’s new stadium

A new home for the Roma soccer team. Lots of pictures. 

I’m unimpressed. Bringing skyboxes to Italy? Not that the current Stadio Olimpico is a great building, easy to get to or get away from! I look forward to reading about cost overruns and work delays.

The interview mentions that there’s going to be a Roma Village – a 365 day shopping extravaganza! But it’s in the middle of nowhere . . . .  Why do people believe in making Destination Stadiums?

Travel day(s)

Yesterday was a planned travel day – Rochester to Chattanooga the long way. Today I hadn’t anticipated. Mother and I are headed down to North Alabama this afternoon for a family reunion tomorrow (I thought it was going to be a Sunday day trip). So no getting used to a bed yet, but I will get to have a meal or two with an aunt and uncle I haven’t seen much of for a long time.

Real mysteries of the ancients

No, no alien deus ex machina solutions.

The Spheres of Diquis really are mysterious. The only way most ancient civilizations had to shape stone was with another stone and then with polishing grit. We’re actually back to using that method, but the grit is in a high pressure water flow – much easier on the hands.

So the real mystery isn’t “how on earth did people make this??” That we pretty much understand. The real mystery is “why?” Spheres are obviously perfect shapes, enormously satisfying (once they’re finished!). Maybe they were astronomical? Maybe they were just expressions of power? Maybe they were aniconic representations of gods? No one knows – and probably no one will ever satisfy enough scholars that the problem will be declared solved. Still – a great example of how much there is to learn!

Here’s the Wikipedia entry, which is pretty good – despite a final section on ancient alien style myths.

70% less

I’m a little embarrassed – I should have done this earlier.

I switched last fall to using Apple TV instead of cable. Today, I finally got around to calling Time-Warner to have the TV service shut off, but to keep the internet and phone. I also mentioned the promotional price Verizon is offering for similar service right now. TW came back with a price $15 lower than that . . . and 70% lower than what I was paying. Wow – I’ve been throwing money down that well long enough!

I’m sure the promotional price won’t last more than a year – but I resolve to check up on it, this time.