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Kansas House Speaker Merrick blasts regents, KU over funding, salary issues

When I went in the latter half of the 1970s - graduated 1981, all of my classes were taught by full professors, very few of whom were "duds". Some really good ones were: Albert Burgstahler and Gerald Maggiora in Chemistry, for whom I did research; Robert Carlson, William Argersinger, Clark Bricker, Peter Hierl, Chemistry; H. Lewis McKinney, History; Robert Nunley, Geography; Chester Sullivan, English; Henry Fullenwider, German; Karl Stockhammer, Biology. Bernard Williams, whom I've kept in touch with to the present, was the TA for my Western Civ class. I will say that my experience with the Math Department was horrible - and I've heard numerous complaints about it over the past 32 years since I graduated, but overall I got a superior education at KU. I went on to get my PhD in Chemistry in 1987 at U. Florida - and used my notes from Prof. Argersinger's class to tie for second place in the Physical Chemistry qualifiers there.

June 26, 2013 at 11:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: KU doctoral grad sees lack of faculty support

About 30 years ago, a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literature from KU gave people a pretty good shot at getting a job with the CIA or NSA. Nowadays, if you spent good money chasing after that degree, you've probably wasted your money. When I got my PhD, I had a full scholarship and stipend all the way through, and then a couple of post-docs thereafter. In addition, I was fully qualified to teach any undergraduate course in organic or physical chemistry - the subject matter is well characterized and isn't that difficult if you've done it for a while. If you aren't fully qualified to teach whatever Slavic language(s) you studied, the department is absolutely worthless if they awarded the PhD, and they defrauded you. If they booted you out ABD, or you failed the qualifying exams that's another story, but PhDs are qualified to teach in their area. Here's an article you might enjoy: http://www.selloutyoursoul.com/2010/1...

Here's a quote from the article:
"It was as if one professor in the world was saying what others only gestured at: there are no jobs for PhD’s in the humanities, there are little chances for employment for PhD’s, there is a terrible ethical abnegation by professors to let bright young people study for 10 years and then fall into the cracks of unemployability and depression.

There is a sad trap of prestige with grad school, a path which talented young people chase, only to find at the end a lack of any real achievement, social prestige, or financial reward—the very things that they thought grad school would bring them and for which they made unhealthy personal and financial sacrifices.

Something is structurally wrong in the humanities. Yet few have the guts to straight out say it."

May 28, 2013 at 10:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Day after city's bid opening for recreation center, relief and a few questions

"Considering that the majority of the infrastructure is for the KU portion of the project which is privately owned by the developer and will be used for private events benefiting only the developer ..."

OK, why are tax dollars going to benefit a private developer? For the next 50 years?

"The primary concern would presumably be with local government officials using this mechanism in ways that do not really express the preferences of their citizens. This concern might be realized in two ways. First, local governments, given their small size, may be prone to manipulation by the concentrated and powerful interest of developers to aid in the construction of projects that undermine the overall competitive positions of the jurisdiction--this is known as "interest group capture."...

Shanske, Darien. 2007 Public tax dollars for private suburban development: a first report on a national phenomenon. The Free Library (January, 1), http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Public tax dollars for private suburban development: a first report...-a0164997861 (accessed May 28 2013)

May 28, 2013 at 10:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Day 2: From the Emerald Triangle to the Sunflower State

If it were legal for people to grow their own for personal use, the big money operations like this would be out of business overnight. The same goes for all other drugs. Make it legal for people to do it on their own, and the drug business would disappear. As for people's lives being ruined by drugs, it's happening now, and jail does not offer drug treatment. Add to that the fact that it's often the case that people can continue to get drugs in jail from corrupt guards. As a result, people are still addicted when they get out, only they've got no chance at getting gainful employment and are forced into crime to support their addictions.

The best way to deal with this problem isn't by jailing addicts, it's by treating the addiction and getting them on the road to recovery. Perhaps involuntary commitments to psychiatric hospitals might do some good as well, but these would have to be fairly long term instead of the short commitments presently seen, in which patients are "stabilized" on other drugs and then kicked out into the community without any real support. Paying $30,000 per year per inmate incarcerated on drugs charges is a very bad deal; it's possible that significant savings could be realized by putting addicts in halfway houses and the like instead.

May 27, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: Scandals undermine trust in Obama

The only bounce that Obama ought to be getting is his @ss out of the White House after he gets impeached. He's the reincarnation of Richard Nixon, maybe even *worse* than Nixon, if that's possible: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-bu...

May 20, 2013 at 2:40 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawhorn's Lawrence: A night of partying in Oread

Back in 1981, when I graduated from KU, I went to a house party where a bunch of punk rock bands were playing - one of them could have been the Mortal Micronotz, but I don't recall for sure, memories are fuzzy, not least due to the fact that there were four kegs of beer - ice cold - there in addition to clouds of pot smoke. One of the highlights of the evening - or early morning - occurred when some guy rode his motorcycle up the stairs, all 650 pounds or whatever of it and him, all the way up to the second floor. Oddly enough, the house is still standing, still has students living in it. It's the house on Tennessee Street, on the corner of 11th or 12th street, with the diagonal square window on the south side.

May 20, 2013 at 2:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

As city prepares to bid recreation center, officials still waiting to receive cost numbers from Fritzel on infrastructure

I can see Fritzel bringing in this project for $15 million, and taking a $10 million profit off the top. He's got a blank check, with a notation on the bottom: "Up to but no more than $25 million", and there's no accountability process with the City Commission to stop it.

May 13, 2013 at 9:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Simons' Saturday Column: Lawrence has lost growth, economic momentum

Lawrence has a small number of rich families who use the place as their own cash cow. They run their projects through the City Commission which they control, lock, stock, and barrel. It's obvious to any industry that considers Lawrence as a place to put their operations that they have to have a "buddy" from one of these families, or they won't be in business here long. Corporations see this, and stay away. Word *does* get around. The recent business about the way Rock Chalk Park was handled is a case in point, it's a bad deal that the taxpayers of Lawrence can't afford, but it provides cash benefits to a couple of the families which run the place, so it went through the City Commission on the fast track. As a result of the tax arrangements for this deal, the rest of Lawrence will be paying still yet higher property taxes, and residential real estate values will fall. And seeing the influence of big family money on local politics, most of the population has lost interest in taking part in elections. The only thing really keeping the place afloat is KU - and if the state runs into financial difficulties and has to make really big cuts there, Lawrence will be in big trouble with lots of debt and a shrinking tax base with which to pay it. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm pretty sure "more of the same" isn't it.

May 4, 2013 at 3:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence-based Wicked Broadband announces plan to install super-fast 1 gigabit Internet service to Lawrence neighborhood

Google Fiber - yes; anything to do with Lawrence Freenet or whatever, absolutely not.

April 17, 2013 at 1:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Academic focus

This is a good idea - and there's plenty to report on: just see http://www.researchmatters.ku.edu/

Examples include:

"Ilya Vakser, professor and director of the center for bioinformatics at KU, says modeling these interactions is vitally important. But until now, scientists thought years of work lay ahead before a useful set of templates could be completed. Now, Vakser and colleagues have discovered that an almost-whole set exists already, a breakthrough with far-reaching implications for structural biology.

Vakser: Proteins are the building blocks of life, they are at the heart of molecular mechanisms, of life systems, so there are the most important components of life. So if we know things about proteins, we can tell a lot about how living systems operate. We can gain a lot of fundamental knowledge about biology, but also can learn to how to cure diseases." http://www.researchmatters.ku.edu/201...

"“Using the iPad, not only can they interact with a screen, but we can teach them through a series of steps to control things on that screen,” the KU researcher said. “There are so many apps already available; we don’t have to go out and make our own apps. There are apps available to make a communication board. There are apps available that have different levels of difficulty. Parents of children with CVI are already learning that the iPad works well. There are blogs that say, ‘Look at this one’ or, ‘Look at that one! My child is responding to this app.’”

“With the proper intervention techniques, the amazing thing is that the child’s brain grows the brain cells needed in the cerebral cortex,” she said. “It grows the brain cells necessary to begin understanding what their eye is seeing. So they develop the ability to interpret images, sometimes just partially, sometimes fully.” http://archive.news.ku.edu/2011/octob...

April 17, 2013 at 1:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )