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November 2005

Time for Googlepalooza!

The New York Times concludes that Google made the Web safe for advertising.

TRUE, major ad buyers still spend a majority of their client's online budgets on banners and display ads and, increasingly, on video commercials. But even in the deployment of these formats, one can see the effects of Google's civilizing influence: these advertisements, for the most part, eschew the strong-arm tactics of earlier times. David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer, said, "Paid search has brought to the fore the cliché 'the consumer is in control,' and there is no going back."

Robert X. Cringely declares game over: Google will soon be the Net:

There will be the Internet, and then there will be the Google Internet, superimposed on top. We'll use it without even knowing. The Google Internet will be faster, safer, and cheaper. With the advent of widespread GoogleBase (again a bit-schlepping app that can be used in a thousand ways -- most of them not even envisioned by Google) there's suddenly a new kind of marketplace for data with everything a transaction in the most literal sense as Google takes over the role of trusted third-party info-escrow agent for all world business. That's the goal.

Forbes quotes a man who foresees a day in which Google is All-Knowing:

Marc Meyer, who knew Schmidt at UC, Berkeley and worked with him at PARC, says Schmidt sees a day when Google will hold everyone's data on a "trust me" basis. "He told me, ‘If you want it to be private, don't put it in a computer,'" says Meyer, now at a recent tech startup. "Eric has an Anakin Skywalker conundrum. He has absolute power, and it will be hard to resist the Dark Side."

The Washington Post proclaims that Google's main focus is to be a bull in a china shop:

The soul of the Google machine is a passion for disruptive innovation.

Powered by brilliant engineers, mathematicians and technological visionaries, Google ferociously pushes the limits of everything it undertakes. The company's DNA emanates from its youthful founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who operate with "a healthy disregard for the impossible," as Page likes to say. Their goal: to organize all of the world's information and make it universally accessible, whatever the consequences.

And all of this is because it is so amazingly, profoundly good at search. Distinguished professors of medicine are not as valuable as they once were.

But since this is a "fair and balanced" blog, I'll end by referring you to "Disturbing Facts About Google".


Time for Educationpalooza!

What, according to the comments on RateMyProfessor.com, should a professor do to win the favor of students? Slate provides a convenient summary:

Don't play favorites, yet don't deny students extra credit or a second chance on a paper or test. Don't "get sidetracked by boring crap." Don't refer to yourself in the third person. Don't ever call on students. Don't be "mean," "hateful," or "ambiguous." Don't take attendance. Don't be "high on Viagra and full of yourself." Don't be "distractingly spastic." Very important: Don't talk about stuff in class and then put other stuff on the test. Most important: Don't give low grades. Do show slides. Do offer easy assignments. Do crack jokes and "provide a fun teaching atmosphere." Do show up at your office hours. Do give A's on all group projects. Do walk your dog around campus. Do resemble a celebrity of some sort. Finally, try your best to be "awesome."

What should college students be learning? Slate's symposium features several scholars' answers. My favorites are by Princeton's K. Anthony Appiah--learn to "evaluate mathematical models or statistical arguments", and see a bit of the world--and Berkeley's Alison Gopnik--make students attempt real research.

What should students who want to be engineers do? Insist on better teaching.

Finally, what personnel policy is shared by the Catholic Church and the New York City public schools?


Over at the U Va econ dept. . .

Over at the Virgnia econ deparment, the teaching load has been reduced from four courses a year to three. And seven professors will be on leave this coming spring. This leads the proprietor of University Diaries to comment acidly:

Let us deconstruct this very postmodern phenomenon.

You’re proud of attending U Va because it has a world-class, famous economics department.

But almost all of its economists of stature are absent.

Hence you may boast that X and Y teach at your school. You just can't learn anything from them.

Link via Cold Spring Shops.