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adsii1970

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Status Updates posted by adsii1970

  1. Life on the university campus:
    (Spring 2023 Semester, First posting)

    Ah, yes. One of my favorite moments of the original Battlestar Galactica opening credits. And so appropriate for the days before the semester begins. Already I am getting emails from those enrolled in the various classes I am teaching. Some are complaining about the cost of the textbooks. Others are complaining about the time of my scheduled office hours. A few have already begun questioning the number of assignments in the course. And there are even a couple complaining that the course looks "too hard for first-year university students" and somehow I need to re-imagine the course to be more student friendly. I still do not know what that even means.

    This isn't high school any more.

  2. Life on the university campus:
    (Fall Semester 2022, second posting)

    This has been a more difficult semester than usual. I do not know if it is the growing job dissatisfaction I feel or the growing frustration I have with the educational habits and expectations of the younger generation. I am having a harder time not understanding why, when there is so much available to assist students on campus, so many are content to not take advantage of those opportunities to better themselves. Last week, I was yelled at by a student because I failed them on a formal academic research/writing assignment (this project was 1/3 of the course grade). In this student's mind, I should not have graded them on the citations of their sources (which were lacking), the selection of their sources (Wikipedia and Ask.com are NOT academic sources - and copy/pasting from them directly without a citation is plagiarism), nor should I have graded them on the use of standard written English. The student even yelled, "you should be grateful I even bothered to give you the (fill in the blank) assignment! You owe me a 'C' for doing the (fill in the blank) work I did!"

    At the community college there are free services to assist students in nearly every stage of the course project I require in each course I offer. There's the library, which offers a weekly session on how to use the various academic journal research databases. The English department offers a writing center where students can get help - even with citations. I offer to help students during my office hours AND each class has a project paper guide that's a step-by-step guide in how to do the project paper (it even has the phone numbers and emails of the other services offered on campus). But still, there are some students who, no matter how much help you offer them, they refuse it all.

    Frustrating? Yes. But there's really nothing I can do.

     

    1. intelliCom

      intelliCom

      I'm a university student myself, though not in the united states. That student clearly hasn't learned how to take responsibility for their own failings, and I suspect this is a problem with either poor parenting, or low-quality, "everyone wins" kind of primary/secondary education. (Perhaps even drop-outs)

      Maybe their anger is a reflection of their own parents' expectations on them? Regardless, given their use of Wikipedia and Ask.com, they're clearly not suited for essay writing, and likely don't have any interest for the material they are being taught. They probably (I have little context on who they are, and that's understandable) are only going for a degree to either make their parents proud with as little effort as possible, or for bragging rights.

      Quote

      You owe me a 'C' for doing the work I did!

      This definitely comes across to me as an effort = value kind of mindset instead of quality = value. Even if they actually did put significant effort into the assignment (given their choice of sources, they probably didn't), they still needed to write a good essay, at least for a pass.

      You're doing well in enforcing a proper standard of quality for assignment submission, and I have a suspicion that handing over your job to someone else would diminish that standard. I'd feel sorry for any student who fails, but the student in your case clearly did not want to learn; they just wanted to succeed.

      As for newer generations being more infantile than previous generations, I'm inclined to agree. At least once a week, I see some poor kid glued to an iPad while the parent uses their phone. Parents are getting more careless as well. I'm sorry you had to go through that, and I hope your future students can be more grateful for the opportunity to be taught by an expert.

  3. Life on the university campus:
    (Fall Semester 2022, first posting)

    I am looking for an honest man. Education gives sobriety to the young, comfort to the old, riches to the poor and is an ornament to the rich.

    Diogenes Of Sinope
    (about 412 B.C.E. - 323 B.C.E.)

    The new semester is now three weeks old and already full of some interesting observations. Most of the time, when I share my thoughts with you, you are bombarded with my reactions to the bad things I encounter. For much of my life, I have always known that education has been my life's calling; however, it is not without its frustrations. I taught 7th and 8th grade for two in the late 1990s in Allen Parish, Louisiana. While working in that junior high, I decided to get an M.Ed. in educational technology. A few years later, while living in Kentucky, I completed an M.A. in U.S. history, focusing on the early republic years and American foreign policy. After that, I earned a Ph.D. with three concentrations: U.S. history to 1870, U.S. history since 1870, and U.S. foreign policy. I've been teaching at the community college and university level since 2004.

    There's a lot of preparation that accompanies teaching at this level. Sure, most students only see their professor for three hours a week. I spend about six to eight hours a week preparing for that time to prepare for that three hours of lecture time. This semester, I am teaching four classes or twelve hours of lecture time a week. That comes to about 24 hours – minimum – of preparation time for all of my classes. This time is in addition to my advising responsibilities, assignment grading, and other administrative and community relations things that come with being a professor. Please do not think I am complaining. I knew what the duties were when I entered into this profession. I am human, and I grumble, gripe, and complain as anyone else does. I have my good days, and I have my bad days. But I enjoy teaching. There's something about watching someone grasp a topic or concept they didn't understand before. Yes, you really can see it when someone has that "eureka!" moment.

    I am looking for an honest man. If that were the only part of the wisdom of Diogenes, we could stop there. If there is a word of advice I could pass on to every high school or university student, it is this: be honest with your teachers or professors. If you miss class, tell them the real reason, even if it is a stupid one. If you forgot to complete an assignment and you're asking for an extension, then be honest about the reason. Sure, you may get told "no," but you'll walk out of there with respect. There are too many students, both young and old, who want to impress with their great stories of woe. Sure, you may think your great story may play at our heartstrings may get you an extension. And sometimes it works. But eventually, if you're not being honest, the truth will come out. And when it does, we are human. And we get angry. And we remember. When you come to us at a later date asking for help or for some additional consideration, even if it is really needed at the time, we are less inclined to help.

    Education gives sobriety to the young, comfort to the old, riches to the poor and is an ornament to the rich. Ah, so many people don't know this part of Diogenes' quote. They only know the first part about the search for an honest man. George Washington Carver, an outspoken civil rights activist during America's Reconstruction period and the first African American to testify in Congress as an agricultural expert, openly promoted education as the great equalizer. Education is the great equalizer and so much more. But your education is only worth what you are willing to put into it. Sure, your teacher or your professor may not be the best or most effective one out there (and there are some out there who are in the profession who should not be there), but that's not an excuse not to learn. Take advantage of your campus' tutoring programs, workshops, or other services to compensate for the less than ideal professors/teachers. Most universities offer "leisure learning seminars" that, unfortunately, are not for credit, but can introduce you to a variety of new skills, interests, or enrich a hobby. Want to add your education? Read. Reading exercises the mind. Don't just read fiction but include non-fiction, too. Amazon's Kindle (the download app or device) contains thousands of free books of all categories that can meet most interest. Go to your public library and check out a book or two.

    I guess what I am trying to say is this - endeavor to be a better person today than you were yesterday. Never quit learning. Never quit trying.

  4. KNnncgG.png?1Nothing really, just some updates, plans for this week, et al.

    A few of you have sent me a few PMs here, a few on Discord, Steam's messenger, and other social media messengers I use asking me if I am okay or if I have left the forum. No, I have not left the forum nor have I quit being a moderator. The first two weeks of May, the last week of July/first week of August, and the first two weeks of December are extremely busy times of the year for me. I teach at a community college and a university and those weeks are finals and final grade posting weeks. There's a lot of things that goes into what I do for a living.

    Now that the summer semester is about to start, it's fair to say it's going to be a really light term. I am only teaching one class at the university. It's HIS 6301 - Introduction to American Foreign Policy (a graduate course). It's a class I've taught since 2007. The community college schedule is really light, too. Originally, I was scheduled to teach two classes, both of them are HIST 101, one was to be a traditional lecture course and the other is online. The traditional course has small enrollment (under five students) and if four more students do not enroll by the end of the month, it will be cancelled. To be honest, I am hoping it will. I never wanted to teach anything more than one class at each of the two places where I work. But the dean of students at the community college scheduled me a second class anyway, justifying it with the ever-famous statement, "if we build it, they will come." :rolleyes:

    So, this week, I have a lot of time to do the things I want to do. Normally I am more active on the forums and am able to do more moderating (more like playing hallway monitor like we did in elementary school). But I also plan to do some of the projects I enjoy doing on the forum:

    • Write the next chapter in Kerny's Journal. (Yes, it's long overdue!) Done!
    • Clean up the micro-challenge thread, update the leader boards and post a new challenge for those participating.

    If I can get those two things done, I will consider this week a huge success as far as my Kerbal Space Program forum piddling goes. Now, there are other things besides that I want to do, too. Over the course of the last couple of years, I have neglected my own blog, and I want to start doing something new. Here lately, and as a part of my treatment from the VA for my service connected PTSD, I get a lot of free PC games, mostly Steam keys. Some of the games are good, some not so good. So, a few of my real-world friends and family have convinced me to begin doing reviews of the games I play. I'm still trying to work out all the bugs in how I want to do this.

     

     

  5. One of the many Murphy's laws state:

    Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

  6. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    When you seek approval from others, be ready for disappointment. Others will never see the effort you have put into any endeavor. They will never see how much of yourself you've put into anything of value you've set out to complete. Instead, look to satisfy yourself. When you can look at the thing you've done and feel a sense of completeness and satisfaction of knowing it's a job well done, you've got the best approval you can have.

  7. Life on the university campus:
    (Spring Semester, first posting)

    An open discussion during what started as a routine lecture in ancient Mesopotamian cultures

    A few years ago, I had a student leave a comment on a faculty and course evaluation that she hated to miss one of my lectures. But what she said next raised a few eyebrows among the campus administrators, I'm sure. She said, "there's no telling what a normal lecture may be transformed into - and I love the way we can discuss current issues on a backdrop of history."

    It happens. University students, especially first and second year students, want to talk about what's happening now and how it fits into the larger picture of humanity. Yesterday is an example of when the needs of students intersects with a topic of ancient Mesopotamian culture. What happened was unplanned but was certainly a learning moment for the students who were there.

    Yesterday, I was giving the concluding lecture on ancient Mesopotamia. And as a part of that, I spend about fifteen minutes summarizing how today, we are still impacted by those early cultures. And then, as part of that, I was discussing the ancient religions, comparing their various beliefs, and how we still see their impact on our society today. But that's not where the lecture was derailed. It was when I began talking about their laws and legal codes. A student stopped the lecture and asked, "how can people be so dumb to believe that government and forcing compliance through law is the answer to any problem?" Yes, this person has identified themselves as an anarchist in every assignment and every discussion in class. And while being an anarchist is certainly their right, something happened in the lecture hall that wasn't.

    "The highest result of education is tolerance." - Helen Keller (1880-1968)

    What happened yesterday was a demonstration of intolerance and hostility that I've not witnessed in a while. In a reply to his rant against the multiple legal codes, rituals, and taboos of the various Mesopotamian societies (including that of ancient Israel), several students began to contribute by sharing how they believed every society had to have some common law to define what was acceptable and unacceptable conduct. And then the real fireworks began. As an anarchist, he began to promote the concept that humankind is naturally good, that if left to their own moral compass, people will seek to get along. It's society and it's artificial constructs (laws) that create conflict.

    Anyone disagreeing with his view was quickly belittled as not being truly enlightened to understand utopia as created by pure human freedom. He began name calling, no longer discussing divergent views or opinions, but attacking anyone that disagreed with him. For me, I am all for encouraging open, intelligent academic debate. But once the line is crossed and the defense of any opinion rests upon "you're too stupid to understand" or "you're only here because our government says ____ ." No real academic argument other than "my opinion is the only valid opinion that matters."

    After twenty minutes, I did something I only rarely do, and have not had to do in about three years - I again, asked the students to "move along and let's get back to my lecture, but he continued his anti-government/anti-law crusade. Leaving me no choice, I had to eject the student from yesterday's lecture. He did not leave willingly, so I had to get campus security involved.

    Intolerance is an ugly monster that grows inside each of us. The question is do we have what it takes to hold it down?

    After his departure, I had several students visibly shaken by the events that just happened. From the first day of the semester, I always tell my students the lecture halls I teach in are free speech zones. I encourage open and free discussions - as long as the discussion relates to the course materials and disagreements are handled in a respectful manner. So, when a few students began verbally attacking the student I ejected, they were surprised to hear me defending him! I explained it wasn't his opinion that was flawed. It was his belief that his opinion was the only valid opinion which was flawed. His attempt to impose his views on government and law on others - without their consent - is oppression. If we are not careful; in our attempts to demand to be heard and tolerated, if we yell and scream too loudly, we can silence the other voices around us. We, then, become the oppressor as other voices as silenced.

    I was able to salvage what was left of the lecture, but it wasn't about the Mesopotamian cultures.  It was about something more important - about the ability to be who you are - and to be okay with who you are. It was also a discussion on how society, throughout time has functioned. It was interesting listening to the students' exchange of ideas about the speculation of why those early Mesopotamian societies chose to implement laws/codes and civil governments to provide commonality for the good of the community.

     

     

  8. This is my home - seven days a week! :D

    ft220123-foxtrot-comics-bill-amend-early

  9. giphy.gif

    LSU beat Kentucky! Woohoo!

  10. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    In every thing you do today do not take time to do something nice for yourself. It's okay to set aside some time each day for yourself and claim it as your own. Don't neglect the things you enjoy, don't miss out spending time with the ones you love. And don't neglect your friendships. Yes, it's a noble thing to give of yourself but if the well runs dry, the well becomes useless.

  11. Life on the university campus:
    (Fall 2021 Semester, second posting)

    A tale of two students

    Most of the time, you only hear about my rants of either the bad decisions by administrators or low achieving and uncaring students. This post, I decided to do something different. I decided to share two contrasting students. One is a great student and the other, well, you'll get the picture. If it were not for the great and really good students, I would have changed professions a long time ago. I don't care who you are, there is nothing no dehumanizing or demoralizing than to work in a career path and give all you can to people who do not value what you do. We all have a basic desire to be appreciated for what we do.

    The appreciative student:

    Yesterday, I opened my campus email to discover a student had sent an email to me, but included the campus president, the main college provost, and the registrar. She, a 34-year-old single mother of three, wanted to thank me for a great class and the help and encouragement I had given her throughout the course of the semester. She found the comments I left on her assignments to be helpful, encouraging, and great tools for helping her understand what professors expected out of students. She also appreciated my willingness to answer her questions, treating her with respect, and being available through email, text messaging, and phone calls, in addition to my normal office hours.

    She also added that had it not been for my patience, she probably would not have not done as well as she had in my course or the other courses she had. She also wished two of her other professors (she named them by name) would have been as "student friendly" as I am and willing to be there for the student. She said it was easy to tell I was knowledgeable and passionate about the course and my enthusiasm for history was contagious. She said that my one comment at the first of the term - even if you hate history, find the one small subject you like that we discuss in it, and fallow it - made the difference in the rest of her classes. 

    No, there was nothing magical I did. I treat all my students the same way. It is just that each student responds differently.

    The unappreciative student:

    The same week that email was sent, another email was sent not to me, but to the campus president, the provost, and the registrar. The student demanded an "A" in the course and complained I was discriminating against them because of their lack of interest in history. See, this student was in the same course as the young woman above. But instead of attending the lectures, this student has only attended the first week of class - two lectures out of the 28 lectures already held. This student has not submitted any work besides one small ten-point writing assignment on the Code of Hammurabi (and the student did not submit it on time, but two weeks late). Yet, in the mind of the student, the problem is not his attitude, it is mine.

    So, this 19-year-old student, who only attended two classes is demanding an "A," having never done any real work in the course. He hasn't shown up for any lectures since the first week, yet feels discriminated against because he does not like history. The problem is he never gave the course a chance. See, I understand that hardly any student who takes one of my 100 or 200 level courses are history majors. So, I do not teach them as I would a 300, 400, or 500 level course. I teach a general knowledge history course - enough to get you beyond the first round of Jeopardy! (the American television game show). I also teach to a variety of learning and performance styles, too. So, you failed two exams  - it's still possible to walk out of one of my survey courses with a "B." So, you're not good at writing term papers. With a little hard work, and if you're willing to attend a term paper writing workshop I offer, you'll still get a "B" in the course. It takes effort on the part of the student, but the potential to pass with a decent grade (C/B is what I consider decent) is there.

    The moral of the story:

    I am not sure there is one. Most students leave my class and are never heard from again. Some, I run into occasionally. Others, I see on an almost weekly or daily basis in the area. There are some who see me and will turn the other way. There are others who will introduce me to their partner, and now, their young children. Some will say, "this is the professor who taught me about life. No, they may not remember much about the Roman Empire or the Indus River Valley's importance to civilization, but something they learned in my class taught them something about who they are. And to me, that's enough reward.

  12. And now it begins...

    This is the last week of instruction at the community college where I teach. This means:

    • Students who have not cared about their grade for the entire semester will suddenly care.
    • Students who have not turned in any assignments for the entire semester will ask if they can turn in past-due work for full/partial credit (and as stated in my syllabi, no :huh:).
    • Students who have not attended any lecture since mid-terms will suddenly not miss any of the last two lectures.

    Followed by, beginning Friday afternoon's festivities of:

    • Emails asking for extra credit assignments.
    • Emails begging to be allowed to submit those late assignments for partial credit (and as stated in my syllabi, no :huh:).
    • Emails stating I am the worst professor they have ever had.
    • Emails stating I am the best  professor they ever had and plan to take another class with me next term.

     

    1. AtomicTech

      AtomicTech

      Welp, I'm glad I've been keeping up with my work and not stressing my teachers!

  13. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    Being thankful isn't something we should do once a year on a set day. It is a state of mind we should endeavor to have daily. It is not a sign of weakness but of emotional strength, piety, and appreciation of the efforts of others. A little genuine gratitude given when it is due can be the difference between gaining a lifelong friend or being regarded as someone who is simply unappreciative of others. 

  14. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    Avoid growing stagnant in all areas of your life. Get out and go for a walk. Read a book outside your usual and preferred genre. Exchange one of your daily routines for something different. Try a new recipe. Never allow yourself to become too old and settled to experience something new.

  15. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    Never demand more from someone else than you're willing to do yourself. The key to being a good leader isn't in the delegation of every task to someone else. It's in the willingness to lead others by your example.

  16. Life on the university campus:
    (Fall 2021 Semester, first posting)

    The ever-changing environment of the community college campus

    For those not familiar with the American (the United States, as not to offend), there's a big difference between a university and a community college campus. A university usually focuses on bachelors and masters level degrees. Some even offer advanced degrees, such as a specialist, doctorate, and post-doctorate certificates. A community college simply focuses on associates degrees and some will offer trade school certificates.

    Instead of the two systems working together, as was originally intended, community colleges and universities have become competitors in the higher education marketplace. I've worked at four universities and a community college since 2004. The most challenging environment to teach in has been the community college.

    The challenge of the student demographic

    The community college has a more diverse population of students than any university where I have worked. Sure, most Americans are fixated on race, but that is only one area of diversity. There is also socioeconomic status, religious diversity, cultural diversity, educational background, gender and sexual orientation, age, and other more personal issues. This term, as an example, in my traditional lecture course, I have a range of ages from 19 to 47, at the university where I also teach, the age range is 19 to 24. Despite all the efforts made to assure universities are more diverse in their student body population, true diversity happens on the community college campus.

    The challenge of educational background and expectations

    Just as universities have become concerned about the number of minority students failing courses. It's funny since this is something I have always been concerned about when I began teaching seventh and eighth grade in 1999. I always take it personally when a student fails my class. It is agonizing for me and I always go through a series of questions - what could I have done differently to reach the student? Am I asking too much from my students? What can I do differently to encourage students to participate and to complete assignments?

    Over the past two years, the community college mindset has been the problem is obviously what we are doing; we must do more for the student. And the result has been more work for the faculty. For the past year, the amount of administrative work added where I work has increased a lot. About every two weeks, it is now my responsibility to alert students and their advisors of students who are in danger of failing or who are no longer attending a course. As a fellow faculty member has commented, "we are now taking the responsibilities of adulthood from the college student and placing them on the college faculty."

    The problem with this mentality of institutional blame for student shortcomings is it sets low expectation for student achievement. Are there better ways for both the community college and universities to perform their functions? Yes, there are. Do we need to redefine what we think of as higher education? Yes, we do. And do we need to change how we go about higher education in the United States? Again, the answer is yes. 

     

     

  17. Before I begin with the status update, I want to say that I am sorry for tinkering earlier this morning with this update. I was seeing if I could post a status from another website I used (it has a weight loss tracker) here. But well, as you can see, it didn't work out like I hoped it would.

    What's been going on in my world:

    In the academic world where I work:

    Spoiler

    Over the last month, I've not been as active on the forum for several reasons. I'm 51 years old and am looking at the very real possibility of a major career change. Since 1999, I have been involved in education as a vocation. With the exception of three years I spent as a District Executive with the Boy Scouts of America, I have been a public school teacher (seventh and eighth grade history and civics) and the community college/university level teaching courses in both history and foreign policy.

    The university that I teach online graduate courses for has been understanding for the most part. There have been semesters where I have been asked to teach a night class or a Saturday morning class that's more of a once-a-week traditional lecture course on campus. It happens about once every two years. The course in the rotation is one that's required for the M.A. where the emphasis is in American history and the concentration is on the Early Republic (1763 to 1840). Many students who take this course are older and prefer a more traditional setting than an online course. And I am fine with that. There are some semesters I will teach three courses for this university and then there are other semesters where, if I ask, I can have a semester off. They never make me feel guilty for taking a semester off to simply take care of myself. I've been working here since 2005 and have never had any issues.

    In 2009, I took another part-time professorship at a local community college. I've not taken any sabbatical semesters since 2004 because of being a "niche" professor (courses are in high demand, most of them are core courses, and the administration keeps moving the goal line). A "niche course is a course that always has a high enrollment and normally a waiting list for students wishing to get into the course.

    There are a lot of changes which have been brought on because of COVID-19 and the political/social environment on campus. There are other changes in administration, changes in student academic performance, their expectations, and pressures from the administration to find ways to reduce the high failure rate (I currently have a 37% average failure rate in my World Civilization courses). Most of the failures in my courses come from students not showing up or not completing assignments - or a combination of both.

    I'm beginning to lose faith in higher education. I no longer feel as if I am contributing to the greater good. ;.;

    I am starting to brush off my resume/CV and find out what else is out there for someone like me. I'm hoping that my time in higher education will be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

    In my social circle and family:

    Spoiler

    I have a small social circle for a variety of reasons. When I was in the military, I met many good men and women - and a few became friends for life. In August and so far, five of my Army buddies have passed over to Valhalla in the first eight days of September. Three died of old age and combat-related health issues (aged 70 years or above), one died from complications from infections and wounds from Afghanistan in his last deployment in 2014 before retiring. One, the same age I am, died back in the early part of August due to suicide - PTSD-induced severe depression.

    It hits you hard as you watch those who mean a lot to you pass over to the other side. As I share this, my father has been in and out of the hospital with Agent-Orange-related cancers. He, too, is a Vietnam veteran and served four tours in that war. He also has dementia and Alzheimer's, and half of the time either thinks I look like his older brother, Robert, or doesn't know who I am. My stepmother and I have come to terms with it. The hardest part is watching nature run its course. And sometimes, nature can be cruel. When it comes my time to go, I want to go before my mind does.

    PCqTmKg.jpg

    This past month we have a new cat added to our family. We found her on our back porch, and she was nearly starved to death. The picture I'm sharing is from the second day in our home. We named her "Stevie" in honor of "Steve" in the movie, Over the Hedge, and the name fits well. If you know Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, well, Stevie can get loud and cry pretty well! :cool:

    My daughter, who turns 11 later this month, has informed me she either wants to go into law enforcement, become an astronaut, or videogame designer when she grows up. A few months ago, she told me she wanted to work at Wal-Mart to get an employee discount. This is now a good thing. No, one does not work at Wal-Mart just for an employee discount.

    My health:

    Spoiler

    The COVID-19 lock-downs and restrictions have been unkind to me. I do not do well when my schedule is tossed on end. The lock-downs, the mask mandates, and the other COVID-19 related social changes have profoundly impacted my life. I already suffer from depression from my chronic hemiplegic migraines, the depression related to combat-related PTSD, so this just adds to the mental stress I am already feeling from everything else I've shared above. 

    When I get stressed out, I munch. Doritos and Cheetos are my preferred means of self-induced indigestion and uncontrolled weight gain. And I did just that. I managed to gain nearly 8 pounds (3.62 Kg). Not good for someone with Type II Diabetes. So, in the middle of August, I decided to get back to being more healthy. I've now gotten rid of the sodas - I now only drink water, tea, and coffee. And I have quit the binge snacking (as in no more uncontrolled munching on Doritos and Cheetos), and the multiple snacks between mealtime. Since the weather is starting to cool off, I am also back to walking four miles a day (also since mid-August). I've now lost a little over 3 pounds (1.36 Kg) and still have a long way to go. It's funny - it wasn't hard to put the weight on; so why is it so hard to take it off?

    Mentally, I have been in a bad place where I haven't cared about much. The uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the impact it has had on my job, the general frustration I have on the campus, and watching my child's frustration in dealing with COVID-19, watching my wife's frustration with her employer, and COVID-19... yeah, I've bent myself into mental pretzels.

    With all that said:

    I'm the silent type and let a lot of stuff build up before I get tired of things and say "enough." And as much as I hate conflict, I often retreat and withdraw rather than stick around. If you've noticed, I haven't been as active on the forum in the last month as I usually am. In fact, I have not been as active on the forum as I usually have been since COVID-19 raised it's ugly head in 2020. There's been no other excuse than I let things get to me way too much.

    I've let my fellow moderators down by not being active here or on the KSP Discussions page where I also moderate (if you've not friended me there, my user name is the same, adsii1970). Over the past few weeks, there have been days where I have not logged onto the forum at all. It's not right to the team and it has not been fair to the Kerbal Space Program community. It also hasn't been fair for those newbies who have had their posts stuck in the queue for several hours waiting for a moderator - ahem - for me to do my job.

    I'd like to apologize for not maintaining both Kerny's Journal and the sandbox challenge thread. As I move out if my mental funk this will get somewhat better. I will say that Kerny will be making the transition to 1.12 with Chapter 101; once KSP2 comes out, Kerny will not be making the transition but will remain in the original KSP. There's a lot of rebuilding I am doing to bring Kerny into 1.12. I can say I am toying around with doing a new story in KSP2, but it will be stockTM.

    Making the decisions to get off the junk food, to get out and exercise, and to lose weight has helped my mental health some. Making the decision to begin to look for a career change outside of higher education has helped, too. Now all I can do is to see where this new adventure will take me.

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. GuessingEveryDay
    3. adsii1970

      adsii1970

      Yeah, about that.

      .

    4. Spaceman.Spiff

      Spaceman.Spiff

      I don’t think you need to apologize. You’ve had a lot of difficult and important things going on in the real world, and it’s more than fine that you’re prioritizing them. :)

      Spoiler

      That kitten is very cute too. Do you have any more pictures you can share?



       

  18. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    The difference between success and failure is dependent upon failure. Without failure, we cannot learn what does not work. Until we know what does not work we can never experience success. Success without failure is luck. And unlike learning from failure, changing what we do, and earning success, luck never gives the same result twice. 

  19. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    You cannot expect to achieve any great thing if you are never willing to begin the journey. Intending to do a great thing and working towards completing a great thing are not the same. While one is thinking about it, the other is working towards it.

     

     

     

  20. Welcome back! Glad to see you've returned. :cool:

  21. Life on the university campus:
    (Summer 2021 Semester, first posting)

    What was I thinking? I thought college wouldn't be this difficult!

    It is no secret the summer semester is never as difficult as the fall and spring - unless you are taking an online course. For the past three years, I have made it a habit to only offer online courses during the summer semester. This summer, my schedule is really light. I am teaching an undergraduate course in World Civilization to 1500 and a graduate course listed as Seminar Studies - Political Science: Topic in American Foreign Policy (it is cross-listed as Seminar Studies - History, too). For the seminar class, I choose a random topic within foreign policy and build an entire class around that topic. This semester we are discussing the foreign policy tool of last resort - the use of the military.

    In the undergraduate courses, there have been no real surprises. There's the normal smattering of oxygen thieves and candidates for walk-on roles in the show, The Walking Dead. There are also a few who will do well in life because they are driven by their own personal desires, perseverance, and interest in their own future. In graduate classes, where I have the most fun, rarely do I ever have students who are not self-motivated. In April, I was approached by the administration to allow an undergraduate into my foreign policy course. This person is majoring (I use the term loosely) in political science. He's not the problem student. The problem student happens to be his friend - who is a graduate student.

    There is no textbook for the course but I do use a lot of web-based sources including archived newspapers, news broadcasts (both radio and television), and others. Using Zoom, we meet as a class once a week to discuss the readings, the questions I gave them to go along with the readings, etc. For the other 15 students in the course, including the undergraduate, the course is going well. This part of the course comprises 2/3 of the course grade. It is their participation and quality of responses they provide in the course of the discussion which I consider. The other 1/3 comes from a course project relating to the topic but where students are free to explore related issues.

    He graduated in December (2020) with a B.S. in Political Science and is now working on a M.S. in the same field. He took my course, believing it would be a fairly easy course - one that would take very little effort to get a good grade. In last night's Zoom meeting, he decided to (finally) speak up and provide insight to the evening's topic: The Spanish American War.

    While his classmates focused on the failures of Congress and the White House, managing the crisis in Cuba, and how Hurst and Pulitzer, through "yellow journalism," was already driving the U.S. to war with Spain long before the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine, he focused on how the U.S. had provoked the war with Japan and that's what led to the attack on U.S. forces on Cuba by the Japanese. See, it was Japan's surprise attack, disguised as members of the Spanish military, which allowed the entire incident to be blamed on Spain. All of that led to the "First Spanish-American War.' :huh:

    I asked him to stick around after the course ended to have one of those one-on-one intervention conversations.He admitted later on he thought the Spanish American War was something I made up and never really happened. He then said he didn't bother to read the assigned materials for this week - or the past three weeks because "what was I thinking? I thought college wouldn't be this difficult!" He then told me that except for me, he could normally become friends with his professors and they helped him pass his courses. This was why he had As and Bs in all of his major courses; he also said the more difficult professors gave him Cs or lower because, well, they just weren't good human beings.

    I recommended he drop my course now because of several reasons:

    • Just because I like a student as a person does not guarantee they will pass my course without effort.
    • Professors who pass students based on their personality or likability are not doing the student any favors. They are actually committing an act of educational malpractice.
    • The undergraduate professors who gave him "Cs or lower" were probably accurately assigning grades based on his academic performance. He needed to consider that maybe the problem wasn't them not being good human beings, but he wasn't being the best student he could be.
    • In an eight week course, four weeks of no gradable performance/bad performance could not be overcome by four mediocre weeks of performance. It would be in his best interests to drop now before he gets a grade which will become permanent on his transcripts.

    So, this morning, I received an email from this member of the brain-trust informing me I am a horrible human being and he will be working to get me fired. Too bad that I recorded the entire Zoom meeting - including his response to the course topic last night and our conversation afterwards, and have forwarded it to the university's Dean of Liberal Arts. Yeah, I am that horrible of a human being.

  22. And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    Want to change the world? Begin by changing how you treat others - from the bully who taunts you to your best friend. Be the person to others you'd want to have as a friend. Lasting change never happens from the top down but must begin with us.

  23.  

    And now a bit of philosophy from adsii1970:

    Never be willing to demand something to be done by others if you're not willing to the same thing for others.

  24. Wait! We are creating real Krakens?!


    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57339989.amp

    1. Admiral Fluffy
    2. adsii1970

      adsii1970

      Yeah, that's what I thought with a slight chuckle. We see the problems Krakens cause with Kerbals in space. Do we want to really create real Krakens to... :o

  25. A public service announcement about animated GIFs and photosensitivity:

    Until today, I have been relatively secretive about a topic near and dear to my heart. While I have, in the past, made an effort not to be offensive or demanding in the past, I have also neglected my responsibilities to speak out for the few forum users, and myself, who have a health condition which is triggered or made worse by animated GIFs that rapidly change colors or brightness.

    Photosensitivity, in its purest definition, is the noun form of an adjective, photosensitive. And until the mid 1980s, most of the people who were regarded as photosensitive were those who had a physical reaction to sunlight and ultraviolet light.1 But by the mid-1990s, and thanks to the continued development of personal computers, there was a new condition where photosensitivity took on another form - it caused a physical and/or mental reaction when certain light types and stimuli are present.2 We now know more about photosensitive epilepsy now than we did in the mid-twentieth century. While the exact numbers are unknown it is expected that nearly 5% of those who have epilepsy may have seizures triggered by visual stimuli.

    I do not have epilepsy but I do have chronic hemiplegic migraines. In recent years, I have developed a photosensitive component to my migraines. While I do not have epilepsy nor any of the markers which aid in the diagnosis of epilepsy, the photosensitive component is very real.3 While I do not experience an externally visible seizure, nevertheless, the very nature of a hemiplegic migraine will trigger a reaction that is best described as a combination between a seizure and a Transient ischemic attack (TIA).4 In my own experiences, I have had seven such episodes since January 2021. Of the seven, six have been triggered by GIFs shared on forums, such as this forum and Simtropolis.

    I have been hesitant to share any of this publicly and did allow a few other members of the moderation team in on this problem I have. This is the first time I have shared on any of the forums where I am a member of that I have this problem. Yes, there are times the GIFs do not bother me; there are times the GIFs will trigger an episode and usually it is when I have already had a migraine that has lasted longer than three days and on a scale of 1 through ten, the pain level has been about a five or higher.

    The GIFs that are the worst offenders all have a singular feature - they flash from light to dark colors at an extremely fast rate of speed.  So, with that said, while I do not wish for the moderation team to become the GIF-gestapo, I do ask that for the sake of those of us who do experience photosensitivity, a little caution and self-reflection be applied when sharing GIFs. By all means, continue to share whatever image desired, but maybe tone down the animated GIFs that change and are designed to emulate flashing lights. :)

    References:

    1. Pietro, MaryAnn De. 2018. “Photosensitivity: Definition & Patient Education.” Healthline. Healthline Media. March 30. https://www.healthline.com/health/photosensitivity.

    2. “Photosensitive Epilepsy.” 2021. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. March 28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosensitive_epilepsy.

    3. “Migraine Aura and Photosensitive Epilepsy: What's the Link?” 2021. Atlas of Science. Accessed May 8. https://atlasofscience.org/migraine-aura-and-photosensitive-epilepsy-whats-the-link/.

    4. “Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).” 2020. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. March 7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/transient-ischemic-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20355679.

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. adsii1970

      adsii1970

      @Kerminator K-100 and @The Doodling Astronaut - please don't feel bad. I should have said something sooner. :) It's all good.

    3. Rhode_Enterprise_By-Matt

      Rhode_Enterprise_By-Matt

      I appreciate you sharing this, I feel that you’re an important member of this community and I wouldn’t want this to happen again to you or anyone else. (And I think a cool screenshot is better than a color blasting GIF anyway)

    4. Spaceman.Spiff
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