Excerpt from:
Keating, DP & Sasse, DK (1996). Cognitive socialization in adolescence: Critical period for a critical habit of mind. In Adams, GR, Montemayor, R, & Gullotta, TP (Eds.) Psychosocial development during adolescence: Progress in developmental contextualism (pp. 232-258). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

"...it is important to note that schools do not present the sole opportunities for, nor the sole barriers to, critical thinking...

Consider two salient aspects of contemporary society that have received critical attention: mass media, and television in particular, and the social orgination of moden urban centers... The goal of advertising, of course, is to move products and rarely do they appeal to our skills in critical analysis to do so. Indeed, they are typically designed to overcome critical thinking - by overwhelming decision-making capacities with endless and usually irrelevant criteria, by using an accelerated presentation rate to defeat refleective thinking, and by using sophisticated techniques to link products with strong emotions and desires...

The world experienced by North American and most Western adolescents outside school and beyond television is also increasingly narrow. The notion of meaningful discourse in public spaces has largely yielded to a mix of shopping mall cultures and isolated residential enclaves (Powell et al., 1985; Sennett, 1991). Opportunities for adolescents to observe or engage in critical discourse are rare, and shifting cultural patterns have contributed to this." (emphasis added)

Hmmm.
divisionbyzero: (Default)
( Apr. 9th, 2003 12:09 am)
Given that the name of this journal is DivisionByZero, I figured I'd rant about something math-related that bugged the crap out of me in my statistics class tonight. (Oh, and if anyone can tell me how to make it just say 'DivisionByZero' up there, let me know.)

So tonight in my stat class, we talked about regression towards the mean. My stat professor is a thorough, if patently boring, guy who does a good job of explaining statistical concepts accurately. He seemed to really like the idea of regression towards the mean, instilling a vigor in his delivery usually reserved for his discussion of dog shows and basketball.

Dr. L had 2 pages worth of examples of where regression towards the mean happens in the real world. Most of them I liked, but I took issue when he said the following: "Between 1969 and 1988, no team had repeated as champions in the NBA. Regression towards the mean."

ARGH!

Now, I'm all for more statistical speak in daily life, and for combating the misuse of statistics and misinterpretation of numbers, but I'm sorry, this is a little much. If we reduce the idea of teams not repeating as 'regression toward the mean', how many factors do we ignore? Essentially, we're reducing all the other variables like player turnover null and void. He cited baseball too... do we really think the Yankees are subject to the same statistical processes that the rest of the world is? Try telling Steinbrenner that.

And just when I thought I was being overly critical, especially since this class doesn't seem too sports-savvy, I hear two women walking out of class talking about how the Pirates' hot start is destined to fade because of... regression toward the mean.
divisionbyzero: (Default)
( Apr. 8th, 2003 12:02 am)
I don't get it. It's only an hour.

Why does daylight savings time consistently kick my ass every year? My schedule is highly variable... I go to bed when I'm tired, or when work is done... which is rarely the same time every night. I get up at reasonable hours. But for some reason, the 1 hour shift consistently wipes me out for a few days on the 'spring forward' side. And I'm sure John will tell me that I just need to switch earlier.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm a little bit disappointed in war coverage today. Those who have spoken to me regarding this conflict know that I stand on largely in the "good idea, bad timing and bad execution" camp in terms of disarming Iraq and changing the regime. So to recap: disarming good, regime change good, flipping the collective bird to the world and Having It Your Way (tm), bad.

So today, we track down some purported chemical weapons. And I hear almost NO reporting of this! Isn't the threat of WMD the primary pretense, er, reason we started this war? And the media and government are making no big deal of it? Most curious. Have we become that bloodthirsty for full and complete Risk-like conquest that we have lost sight of what started us down the road to ruin?

I can hear the collective American people drooling over the prospect of Saddam's death, but caring as little about the chemical weapons as they do about that potato chip that just bounced under the couch. Have we forgotten that quickly about that case of duct tape and tarps now gathering dust in the basement?
divisionbyzero: (Default)
( Apr. 7th, 2003 12:32 am)
One bar for nothing.

My friend Bill once made a statement about web pages that really stuck with me. Back in the mid-1990s, when web pages were still in their infancy, everyone's page was roughly the same. Find a cool divider bar, some neat .gif icons, and tell the world about who you are and what you do. And somehow we thought they'd care.

Bill said that you have to offer something unique to the people of cyberspace. A service, a comment, a witticism, an opinion. When I went to set about redesigning my website, I took that to heart... created a website with witty content, regular commentary sections, and of course, the obligatory cool divider bars. And it fell into neglect and disrepair.

After watching the developing blogs of [livejournal.com profile] harliquinn and Jim, I decided it's time to resurrect the idea. I've sporadically started and stopped journals, sporadically started and stopped webpages. Now maybe with both in the same form, I can be more consistent. Plus, with being a doctoral student, I could use the creative outlet. May my ictus remain strong and consistent.
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