Archive for October, 2005
For our “communication skills for teachers” class, we had to come up with an impromptu three-minute speech on some teaching-related topic we were given ten minutes in advance.
The things we have to do to put food on our family (Slate’s complete Bushisms)… Oh, Chicken wins.
Previous: Chicken vs Ratties
Some drawings I made for an IT-based learning project. Also the first real work I’ve done with the tablet (a Wacom Graphire 3) I bought nearly half a year ago.
The lighting’s all wrong, I know… hey, it was 3am.
Sorry about the lack of chicken comics lately. However, after two consecutive all-nighters and generally not much sleep, I’m finally done with most of the assignments for this semester. Service will resume whenever I muster up enough cognitive ability to think of something mildly amusing.
Anyway, I noticed this in the local papers a week ago:
SINGAPORE, Oct 22 (Bernama) — Singapore has described as “not insightful” accusations that it is restricting academic freedom, The Straits Times reported.
Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that Singapore placed no restriction on what scholars could study, the newspaper reported.
“If we did have such a climate, it would be difficult to explain why NUS (National University of Singapore) was ranked 18th overall in the Times of London’s educational ranking and 10th in social sciences, just below six top US and three top UK universities,” he said.
(From the Malaysian National News Agency, because our press does such a spectacularly bad job of being searchable by Google News)
After having ranted my head off (, , ) about the university rankings and how meaningless they were, I’d resigned myself to being faced with the government and press mouthing off about NUS’s “18th rank” every so often.
Today, however, I noticed that the new Times Higher Education Supplement rankings have been released. Observe (last year’s rankings in brackets):
1 (1) Harvard University US 2 (3) Massachusetts Institute of Technology US 3 (6) Cambridge University UK 4 (5) Oxford University UK 5 (7) Stanford University US 6 (2) University of California, Berkeley US 7 (8) Yale University US 8 (4) California Institute of Technology US 9 (9) Princeton University US 10 (27) Ecole Polytechnique France 11- (52) Duke University US 11- (11) London School of Economics UK 13 (14) Imperial College London UK 14 (23) Cornell University US 15 (17) Beijing University China 16 (12) Tokyo University Japan 17- (20) University ofCalifornia, San Francisco US 17- (13) University of Chicago US 19 (22) Melbourne University Australia 20 (19) Columbia University US
(Source: THES, full rankings unavailable but Top 20 findable on Google News)
So, umm. Didn’t progress up the charts, did we now. On the bright side, we no longer have to face the “difficulty of explaining why NUS is ranked 18th overall”, right?
Disclaimer: I have nothing against NUS, and in fact suffer from a near-complete lack of opinion about the school (uh, it’s… hilly?). What gets on my nerves is the way our press and government have decided to glorify a meaningless number, just when I thought we were past such trivial comparisons (supposedly evidenced by the long-awaited near-complete abolishment of secondary school and JC rankings).
It amuses me so to think of how our nationalistic media will spin this, so… impress me, Straits Times. Please. Make me guffaw the way you did with “Singapore can help Russia make its mark”.
Interesting. Stanford now has its own podcast channel on the iTunes Music Store, accessible from itunes.stanford.edu (I believe it’s not searchable from the main iTMS). There’s a bunch of good stuff to be downloaded for free, such as Steve Jobs’ ever-so-popular Commencement 2005 speech, various faculty lectures (I’m downloading one on sleep disorders by William Dement now), as well as sports coverage from the on-campus KZSU radio channel.
Not that I want to relive play-by-play coverage of, say, the football team’s loss to Divison I-AA UC Davis (admittedly, the team’s been doing much better recently — three straight Pac-10 wins, prompting the San Jose Mercury News to title its coverage Huh? Stanford wins third in a row), but it’s a great resource nonetheless. A winning basketball team this upcoming season would be fun to hear about on the KZSU podcasts… ah, one can hope.
No chickens for the rest of the week, I’m exhausted from all the homework.
Instead, here is the very best ST Forum letter ever (from a couple of days ago, I won’t bother providing the link since it’ll go down in a couple more days):
Headline smacks of arrogant conceit
I REFER to the article, ‘S’pore can help Russia make its mark: MM Lee’ (ST, Oct 12).
This is an arrogant conceit. When Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was addressing Russian academics and students, he was conscious that he was talking to a people with great technological and scientific prowess. He never said Singapore can help Russia make its mark.
Yeong Yoon Ying (Mdm)
Press Secretary to Minister Mentor
I didn’t even know something could be “a conceit”* until this letter came along and slapped those over-enthusiastic headline writers upside the head. My day is made.
- “Puffed up with conceit”, “smacks of conceit”, yes… but “a conceit” is news to me. That’s the only kind of useful news I can glean from our local papers.
Or, “What to do with all the chickens”.
When I’m not drowning in assignments (almost… done… with… Physics… education… essay), I’m considering moving the chicken comics to the front page of this domain, i.e. www.stupidchicken.com, and renaming the entire strip to Stupid Chicken to fit the domain name. It’d require a drastic realignment of Chicken’s underlying motivations and overall psychological health, but I think we can deal.
Maybe in two weeks, when assignment deadlines STOP SHOWING UP AND BITCHSLAPPING ME IN THE FACE EVERY BLOODY DAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Back to your regularly scheduled chickens.