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Alex Myrick RSS Feed (Seattle, WA United States)

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Sony Clie PEG-SJ20 Handheld
Sony Clie PEG-SJ20 Handheld
7 used & new from $25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Economy & Power, November 15, 2004
This is an attractive, compact, useful, easy to use, durable PDA. I had been using a Palm III and really enjoyed the high resolution of the Clie's 320 x 320 screen. Using the backlight drains the battery fairly quickly, but it's necessary for ease of reading, unless you are in an ideal lighting environment. After about 14 months of use, the battery stopped holding a charge as well as it was supposed to, and needs to be recharged about every two days. One of the few design flaws is an adapter required for either recharging or hot syncing. If you recharge in one location, and hot sync in another, you need to keep carrying the adapter around with you. My rebate came in the form of a free leather carrying case. It was so small that it's an ordeal to get the PDA in or out of the case, rendering the case virtually useless. However the protective flap works well and has an attractively accented logo. The jog dial is great for one-handed navigation. The "back" button is handily located on the side, but does not work in many applications, and just returns to the desktop. The search function became unreliable in later months, generating frequent fatal errors. The geek squad "fixed" this with a hard reset, but once data was restored via hot sync, the same problem immediately reocurred. Despite these shortcomings, this is a great organizational tool at a modest price.

In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development
In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development
by Carol Gilligan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.18
568 used & new from $0.01

85 of 134 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Myth is Born, September 27, 2004
In Psychology, as in other academic disciplines, the normal process is to conduct research on significant numbers of subjects, have the methodology and results peer reviewed, publish the research, then perhaps cross over to mass media. Gilligan has used Harvard's cache to ignore this responsible and time honored protocol. She used tiny samples, reached unwarranted conclusions, rushed them into print on the mass market, and started making the talk show circuit. Now, over 20 years later and after thirty some reprintings, she still has not published her research! Furthermore, she refuses to allow other researchers to see her data!

Women may be less competitive than men, but there is no real evidence to support Gilligan's other claims that women, across the board are more caring and less abstract. Gilligan has used selective and tortured data to prop up her thesis that Western culture is toxic to America's adolescent girls. "In a Different Voice" is readable and thought provoking, and Gilligan has been extremely influential in that her "findings" have impacted attitudes, and led to a redistribution of scarce resources, but Harvard should be ashamed of the poverty of her scholarship.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2010 10:45 PM PDT

The Language Police:  How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn
The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn
by Diane Ravitch
Edition: Hardcover
229 used & new from $0.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious Wake Up Call, September 10, 2004
Book shelves are awash in educational critiques, but The Language Police is in a class of its own. It is an objective, yet alarming expose of the insidious process which determines what students may or may not be tested on, and what is included or excluded from their textbooks.

This readable, well researched work by respected educator and historian Diane Ravitch, who was appointed to key national educational posts under both Democratic and Republican Administrations, is a scathing indictment of the special interest goups which pressure their state education officials. Textbook publishers respond with products which are not only boring, but profoundly misleading as well.

"Bias and sensitivity reviewers" of the left and the right are laboring under the illusion that keeping students from reading offensive words, or seeing illustrations of objectionable concepts (even on the periphery) will shelter them and move the world a step in the direction desired by the reviewers. Ravitch shows how activists from both extremes of the political spectrum have entered the bureaucracy and formed a perverse alliance which has eviscerated texts in Literature, Science, History and every other subject. The result is a massive collection of bland books devoid of anything thought provoking.

Ravitch's compilation of current examples is notable for its breadth and depth. She documents the bizarre world of the "curriculum experts" who have morphed into de facto censors, in which every character must be a model for living, reverse stereotypes are mandated, the elderly are always robust, children are always obedient and everyone is always happy. History texts deemphasize the development of democratic institutions and refrain from suggesting any culture is more or less advanced than any other. "Even those that had no literacy and only meager technology are described as advanced, sophisticated, complex and highly developed." Ravitch correctly points out that student readers will not be equipped to perceive the importance of freedom, democracy and human rights in the successful functioning of multiethnic, multireligious societies.

The Language Police" is a serious wake-up call, and may be the most important book on American education to be published in the last decade. I have bought it in bulk to distribute to the teachers, principals and school board members I know.

Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony
Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony
by Robert B. Edgerton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $33.10
54 used & new from $9.75

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthropology Redeemed, June 11, 2004
Anthropologists don't get any academic accolades for identifying a behavior or custom as maladaptive; Rather they feel compelled to demonstrate they have shed their own ethnocentrism by going through empirical and interpretive contortions to define virtually all primitive conduct, regardless of how perverse it is, as adaptive. UCLA Professor of Anthropology and Psychology, Robert Edgerton understands this, and courageously takes his colleagues to task in an erudite, readable and gracious manner.
The anthropologically inclined will find his global survey of primitive cultures fascinating. Those not so inclined may find the repetition of the theme somewhat morbid. Nevertheless, Edgerton's case would be less compelling without the multitude of ethnographic evidence he presents.
Although the author doesn't say so, moral relativism leads to cultural relativism, which leads to a bogus multiculturalism, which, in turn, results in a slandering and denigration of Western civilization. Anything that breaks this chain is a much needed contribution, and Edgerton does a masterful job of demolishing the link of cultural relativism. The discipline of Anthropology is much in his debt.

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