Thursday, February 23, 2012

Doubloon Death Clock

During Mardi Gras, various parading krewes throw plastic coins called "doubloons." They often have images on them, typically the year of the parade and its theme. I've been collecting them since we moved to New Orleans. We store them in a large glass container. I have a theory that when the container is full of doubloons, that's the year that I will die. It's like sand in an hourglass but with a New Orleans twist. Here's the container after this Mardi Gras:

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Goat Kicking To Improve College GPA & Retention


My university, like many, struggles to retain Freshmen students. It's a major problem, and with Congress looking to tie government funding for education to graduation rates, it's more serious every year. Many students don't continue to their second year due to a variety of reasons, with academic and financial issues being the top two. The powers that be have convinced themselves that Saturday life-skills lessons are the answer. Our own collected data in fact shows that students who show up to these Saturday meetings outperform the students who skip these sessions. But I'm cynical, and think that there's something else going on here. So here's my alternative plan, and it's not good news for goats and their human advocates.

I would email all Freshmen students and tell them to meet me the first Saturday of every month at 7AM. We'll then kick a goat for two hours. I can guarantee you the Freshmen students who read their emails and made the effort to show up will have a much higher GPA than the the students who missed the goat kicking, and more of the goat kickers will thankfully be around at graduation. In fact, I'd bet that the goat kickers will earn 10 times the incomes of the students who missed this valuable pedagogical tool.