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Feb. 13th, 2012

So how are classes going? I'm glad you asked. Nobody complained about the cancellation of class last Tuesday, at least not exactly. One student did e-mail to ask that similar announcements in future be sent by mass e-mail to the class instead of a posting to announcements on the class web page. She (and other people) have Official E-Mails sent to go right to their phones, while the system doesn't seem to allow that for Announcements. This seems like a reasonable request, although she admitted she wasn't confused by the absence of people in class. Students never are. Well, actually, at least one student was briefly, as she'd missed the class before when I announced I might be out, but she worked things out from the lack of students or teacher there.

I did discover, really very belatedly, that if I don't alphabetize the homeworks after I collect them, but instead just leave them in the order by which I walked through the desks collecting them, then I can return the grades more swiftly and give the impression of having actually learned student names. It's almost magic. Why did nobody ever tell me to do it this way before? It's a little longer in entering grades, but the effect in class is great. Particularly it was great for the first assignment being returned, since as I pointed out to them, this was my first chance to know what any of their names were, so the performance value of ``psychically'' reading so many names was great.

Friday, about five minutes before class started, one student asked if there was going to be a new assignment passed out today. No, I was postponing the new assignment to Tuesday. He thanked me, got up, and left, not to be seen again. I said to the remainder, ``Maybe I shouldn't have admitted that'', and got a kindly chuckle. Of course, he's the one losing a point off the course average for each day missing. My score stays the same.

Trivia: At the peak of the crossword puzzle craze in the 1920s the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road placed dictionaries in all the trains on its main line. Source: Only Yesterday: An Informal History Of The 1920s, Frederick Lewis Allen.

Currently Reading: Rite of Passage, Alexei Panshin. Hey, what's a generation starship doing not having collapsed into anarchy, merely jaw-droppingly offensive amorality? (Also, rare mention for Kant, compounded by a rare dismissal of utilitarianism, which I imagine was the Official Approved Philosophy of John W Campbell.)

PS: Figuring Out The Penalty Of Going First in bids on Contestants Row. In a thousand words I agree with what [Bad username or site: @] said in about twenty.

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