21 12 2005

Writing about web page

Really odd piece of research this one:

Researchers have found that 66 per cent of British people with three sons and no daughters vote Labour or Liberal Democrat, but that figure increases to 78 per cent among parents with three daughters and no sons. This shows that parents who have predominantly daughters are more likely to be left-wing, while those who have predominantly sons lean to the right.

The thing I find hardest to work out is what might have prompted the original investigation.

Safety first

12 12 2005

One of the valuable services provided by the Safety Office in its regular bulletins is the collation of information about accidents which have recently taken place – many of these are in universities but some are not. They all offer salutory lessons about safety matters. The most recent one I particularly enjoyed was this:

The owner of a strip club in Switzerland has burnt his club to the ground while trying to demonstrate to health & safety inspectors that the decorations were fire proof.

Something for everyone there.

The flashing blade/nostalgia fest?

11 12 2005

DVD front cover

The Flashing Blade [1967]
Not rated
OK, I can’t actually bring myself to get this and watch again yet – have been waiting for it for years but now it is there I don’t know if I dare. It seemed like the most exciting programme ever when I was a kid (esp the theme tune) but I fear that it might really be unutterable rubbish

Compelling stuff

11 12 2005

Book front cover

The Star of the Sea
Joseph O'Connor
4 out of 5 stars

It is a surprisingly gripping read – excellent (if a bit unpleasant) descriptions of life for steerage passengers crossing the Atlantic and existence in Connemara during the famine – all bound up with some entertaining intrigue.

Buy it.

Dead Interesting

9 12 2005

Writing about web page

Intrigued by this in recent edition of the Chronicle (NB – you will need to login via Library to see full article):

Back on Campus, for Eternity By ERIN STROUT

The most loyal of college alumni would live and die by their alma maters. Recognizing an opportunity in that sentiment, some institutions are offering their graduates burial plots in campus cemeteries. Institutions like the University of Virginia have long had cemeteries where distinguished faculty members and administrators are laid to rest, but until recently the options for alumni were few.The University of Notre Dame has had a cemetery since 1843, and recently decided to expand it and sell burial options to its graduates. An alumni survey indicated “overwhelmingly strong interest” in such purchases. Hence the Coming Home Project was born. “So many people say that Notre Dame is like home to them and that they’d like to be buried here,” says the Rev. William D. Seetch, alumni chaplain. “But we’re still in the design phase of the project, so we’re encouraging everybody to wear the sunscreen and eat the oat bran, because we’re not ready for them yet.” Although Notre Dame needs several million dollars to expand its cemetery, officials don’t want to sell the plots too soon. “What if somebody buys a plot and then they die? We’d have no place to put them,” Father Seetch explains. “It’d be a public-relations disaster.”

I can’t believe we’ve not included this idea in the campus development plan.

Pseud or sound?

7 12 2005

Is this a profound and meaningful job or just a load of guff? I find it difficult to decide! It is a ‘Learning and Progression Project Manager’ post at a neigbouring institution (OK, Birmingham)

Join our efforts to make Birmingham’s excellent curriculum accessible to those who have the innate ability to benefit from it, and to ensure that all students are supported academically to reach their full potential with us. We need someone who can develop, with input from academic colleagues, and evaluate initiatives that will identify and support those students who, for whatever reason, appear not to be achieving their full potential or in danger of discontinuing. You will have a professional insight into pedagogic approaches and knowledge of initiatives and research in this area. You will also be committed to evidence-based evaluation of student progression and capabilities.

It’s the final two sentences I find hardest to comprehend. Does it really mean that you should be an ex-teacher who prefers fact to fantasy? Or am I missing something?

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