Thursday, June 17, 2010

Too professorial? Ouch.

I guess speech directed toward a second semester high school freshman is "professorial."

Thanks to Dr. Davis for calling our attention to this story:

Language guru: Obama speech too 'professorial' for his target audience
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 17, 2010 10:23 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- President Obama's speech on the gulf oil disaster may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday.
Tuesday night's speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor. The Austin, Texas-based company analyzes and catalogues trends in word usage and word choice and their impact on culture.

Though the president used slightly less than four sentences per paragraph, his 19.8 words per sentence "added some difficulty for his target audience," Payack said.

To read the rest of the article and see a clip of the speech, click here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Get cash for adding publications to your portfolio

Diane Berty, Vice President of Student Affairs has called our attention to a writing opportunity at the Ada Hub Magazine (under new ownership)?.  According to Dr. Berty, they are working on a tight deadline (7-10 days) to get this month's magazine out and are immediately in need of writers who could produce two-three articles (400-500 words/800-1000 words).  After meeting this deadline they expect to keep one or two writers on staff for future editions.  

This seems to be a great opportunity for interested students who need publications for their portfolio and also would like to earn a little money. 

If interested please call Michael at 405-415-5675.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stop Blaming Superficiality on the Internet

Mind Over Mass Media

By Steven Pinker (that's Pinker in the photo at right)

Published June 10, 2010 in the New York Times

Truro, Mass.

NEW forms of media have always caused moral panics: the printing press, newspapers, paperbacks and television were all once denounced as threats to their consumers’ brainpower and moral fiber.

So too with electronic technologies. PowerPoint, we’re told, is reducing discourse to bullet points. Search engines lower our intelligence, encouraging us to skim on the surface of knowledge rather than dive to its depths. Twitter is shrinking our attention spans.

But such panics often fail basic reality checks. When comic books were accused of turning juveniles into delinquents in the 1950s, crime was falling to record lows, just as the denunciations of video games in the 1990s coincided with the great American crime decline. The decades of television, transistor radios and rock videos were also decades in which I.Q. scores rose continuously.

For a reality check today, take the state of science, which demands high levels of brainwork and is measured by clear benchmarks of discovery. These days scientists are never far from their e-mail, rarely touch paper and cannot lecture without PowerPoint. If electronic media were hazardous to intelligence, the quality of science would be plummeting. Yet discoveries are multiplying like fruit flies, and progress is dizzying. Other activities in the life of the mind, like philosophy, history and cultural criticism, are likewise flourishing, as anyone who has lost a morning of work to the Web site Arts & Letters Dailycan attest.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In Defense of English, or Studying the Big Shaggy

History for Dollars
By David Brooks
Published June 7 in the
New York Times

When the going gets tough, the tough take accounting. When the job market worsens, many students figure they can’t indulge in an English or a history major. They have to study something that will lead directly to a job.

So it is almost inevitable that over the next few years, as labor markets struggle, the humanities will continue their long slide. There already has been a nearly 50 percent drop in the portion of liberal arts majors over the past generation, and that trend is bound to accelerate. Once the stars of university life, humanities now play bit roles when prospective students take their college tours. The labs are more glamorous than the libraries.

But allow me to pause for a moment and throw another sandbag on the levee of those trying to resist this tide. Let me stand up for the history, English and art classes, even in the face of today’s economic realities.

To read the rest of the article (and understand the relevance of the photo above), click here.