The new BusinessWeek rankings of business schools are out. Thousands of future MBAs will pour over the statistically-insignificant differences between similarly ranked schools to decide which will receive their quarter million dollars.

Of course, we can disagree over the finer points of methodology. But first, BusinessWeek needs to show us that they are capable of basic math.

170% job placement rate Continue reading »

UPDATE (16 October 2012): Cards for the Town Hall edition of Presidential Debate Bingo are now up.

Let’s hope both candidates show up this time.

Here are the bingo cards for the third quadrennial edition of Presidential Debate Bingo.

If you’re holding card 5, note that “Jim, Wall Street can afford it” would get you most of the way to Bingo.

In 2007, University of North Carolina basketball standout Tyler Hansbrough shared with Sports Illustrated how he is availing himself of UNC’s academic opportunities:

There’s no reason I chose Swahili other than that I thought it would be cool. I enjoy it.

Now we learn that “Swahili” is UNC-speak for “a non-existent class.”

Other professors linked to the Swahili class and eight others have disowned them, and the investigation has found their signatures were forged on course paperwork.

In fact, athlete-heavy summer classes like “SWAH 403: Intermediate Swahili” never met. Other suspect classes had only a single student–a basketball player–officially enrolled.

How does UNC basketball coach Roy Williams respond to the discovery? Will he call for an investigation? Demand higher academic standards? Offer platitudinous rationalizations?

It is not a basketball issue. It’s a university issue.



The players were eligible to be enrolled in those classes, as were non-student-athletes, and they did the work that was assigned to them.

How do you say “college credit for jump shot” in Swahili?

I needed a passport photo. Beyond my usual photographic concerns (the fact that photos of me all seem to bear an unfortunate resemblance to me), I was required to ensure my photo’s conformity with State Department standards. They photo must be two inches in each dimension, featuring a correctly-proportioned forward-facing non-tilted expressionless face.

To provide guidance, the Department of State offers pictorial guidance, complete with multiple “incorrect” photos, associated “correct” versions, and suggestions for converting the former into the latter.

Guidance like this:

Silly Dept. of State passport photo guidelines

Because if you discover that your square photo is sideways, the easiest thing to do is to fire up your computer, rotate the photo in your editing software, reprint it, and then handle it carefully lest you accidentally rotate it again.

My wife regularly contends that while my abstract inapplicable research is pursued entirely for self-gratitude, her chosen field leads to practical, human-benefiting innovation. Economists, you see, are motivated by results that are “cool” but useless, while engineers (clearly not motivated by coolness) pursue practicality.

A counter-example:

fluid mechanics wine glass

The glass tank is a purported marvel of fluid mechanics:

when the amount in the glass decreases, a constant amount is poured from the tank into the glass. never overflowing from the glass because of air pressure and water pressure.

That’s all well and good, but what happens when I swirl this monstrosity?