26 October 2010

Not a moment too soon

I am not a fan of snow. I probably never will be. But, as much as I dislike it,  I have conceded that it will snow here. Though I was alarmed by stories earlier this week, which turned out to be over exaggerated, I  have now reached a point where I am grateful that it has not yet snowed but am expecting the snow yo arrive. I want to be clear (in case Ms. Rexburg is reading this) that I would rather she never snowed, but if she must, she can now do so with my permission.

P.S. the light dusting on snow this morning was a good reminder of her eagerness to bless us in white.

16 October 2010

University Books

One of the things that I might most disdainful about school is buying books. While I understand that many people have spent countless hours compiling information in a single volume and that this costs money, as does printing and distributing the book itself, I often wonder if the expense that is then passed on to me is not misplaced. To begin with, I must question: does coloring every page of chapter 3 yellow, every page of chapter 5 blue and every page of chapter 10 violet really increase the intrinsic value and learn-ability of "An Introduction to Accounting"? It's Accounting! Having each page dipped in gold and hand signed by various dignitaries and celebrities would not have spared it from the unfortunate drool marks that occupied various pages. In case the publisher wishes do know, full color pages in already boring books do nothing to make the material more interesting but certainly do make the book more expensive. ($150 is a lot of money so that someone, who is not me, can enjoy dark colored drool stains.)

Along with the possibly misguided printing expenses, I question the validity of the authors themselves. It seems that we simply believe them just because they have their name on a book that is used in a university and we don't. What's in a name anyway? I understand that my good friends who contribute to global knowledge by adding information to Wikipedia may, at times, try to mislead me. For that matter, they try to do that in real life too. Who, of credit, is to say that Boone and Kurtz are definitive authorities on matter of business? Who can verify that they even know anything the topic? Can anyone even tell me, for sure, that Boone and Kurtz have had been dead for a number of years and that some other rather enterprising individuals simply kept their deaths quiet so that they could continue to publish books in the names of Boone and Kurtz while reaping the profits? I certainly cannot claim to know any of the information. Instead, as I sit in Intro to Business, I must assume that Boone and Kurtz are: real, alive, authorities on current business matters, and are not trying to mislead me for their own personal amusement.

Finally, I question the efficacy of learning so much material from a printed book. Not that I'm opposed to books, I love. I love hefting the book around like a ward against boredom, feeling its smooth pressed surface ran through my fingers as I turn the page, knowing that it will instantly (and I mean instantly) boot when I open it and that my marking will always be where I left them . I don't question the printed nature, rather I question why I'm being taught to keep going back to a published volume that is constantly being updated because the topics it discusses fall out of date so quickly. If I were getting books like Gray's Anatomy or Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders that, while refined with each edition, do not in essence change that would be one thing. Instead, I am referencing I Think, a primitive writing primer that is already out of date, and Contemporary Business, that is so cutting edge that it has to be written every year or else the text wouldn't make sense. In either case, I think it would be better that I learn for to access the source information: MLA, APA, AP style guides and good collections of writing like the Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker instead of the almost useless primer and to visit places like the Small Business Administration and IRS websites and to read business plan writing guidebooks instead of the forcibly updated business text. Because next semester, when I am out of my writing class and have passed my business class, I am certain that I will want to reference a well written piece to know how I should handle some difficult wording and I will need to know where to get information on creating a corporation. I suppose I could go back to the same antiquated texts I am using now, but I would rather get new, fresh information without having to buy the books again.

14 October 2010

To: The Half-Blood Prince

Dear Half-Blood Prince,

Though I am a muggle, your fame for annotating an advanced potions book is well know to me. While such endeavors were surprising to me, in that a student could add so much new and valuable information to what should have been a polished scholarly work, I had no idea that you also studied the equally important, though admittedly not nearly as exciting, subject of the impact of society on the environment and vice versa.

Recently, I was pleased to open up my innocent seeming textbook for my Environment Stewardship class (Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed) and was rather shocked, though pleasantly so, to begin reading your commentary on the topic at hand. Though I am still not sure whether it is good that I read your margin notes and occasionally underlined text instead of the actual printed words, I have saved loads of time by doing so. For that I wanted to personally thank you. Your notes have spurred my in-class participation and given me new insight into the text I never read.

Action Figure Daniel

P.S. Would you happen to have an annotated copy of the Business Law textbook? I take that next semester and am a little nervous.