Monday, September 28, 2009

The Age of Stupid

I attended the "Age of Stupid" global premier on September 21st with 32 countries around the world participating. This is a 2009 film by Franny Armstrong, director and Lizzie Gillett, producer with Peter Postlethwaite starring as a man living alone in the devasted world of 2055, watching archive footage from 2008 and asking "Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?"

What stood out for me was the comment that WE (adults living in 2009) have the ever-narrowing chance to save the planet from global warming. Armstong points to grassroots initiatives that have led to major changes: the US civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, investment boycotts that helped unravel South Africa's apartheid regime--so we can get involved and make a difference now, too.

Science is clear on what needs to be done--keep global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit compared to pre-industrial times, and make sure greenhouse gas emissions peak no later than 2015. World leaders will be meeting in Copenhagen in December. So our job is two-fold: contact our US leaders so that Copenhagen does not become another Kyoto and (2) reduce our carbon footprint ( I produce 55 tons of CO2 annually --what about you? Dr. O

Thursday, September 24, 2009

100 Awesome Open Courses for Those Who Want to Change the World

Check out the courses on the list from "Select Courses: It is never too late to learn." The list is divided into nine sections spanning topics from health to environmental science to engineering, politics, religion, and education. Some amazing ideas for courses and topics to pursue.

100 Awesome Open Courses for Those Who Want to Change the World

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fraternities and Sororities

I was pondering on the issue of fraternities and sororities and how they seem to have a bad reputation; I would like to know (based on facts and data) the reasons why they have such a bad image? Some say all they do is drink and party, and that you pay for the friends you have. However, from the people that are part of fraternities and sororities I have been exposed to a completely different side of the story. Yes, they admit they like to have a good time, but doesn't everyone else outside of them too? They have stated to me multiple times that they are men of commitment, respect, integrity, and the like, but nonetheless they are still college students. I think these groups get stereotyped horribly, mainly due to the media, but from what I've been witness to, these guys and girls seem to be just like any other student, but having more of a social life. Can anyone tell me, based on cold facts, why they are viewed as "partiers", "drinkers", etc?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mac users can be very strange

This documentary is funny, strange, historical, cult-like, and bizzare. It tracks the strange cult behavior that emerged and survived decades from the birth of Mac computers. Some people are way too into their computers don't ya think?

Robby Ortiz
Peer Advisor

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Preview Night Debate

One, two, three, four: I declare a debate war!

Other Honors Colleges across the U.S. who also have Banner are experimenting with year-long scheduling, meaning that each March (for example) students register for their Fall, Summer AND Spring classes.

So this post is two-pronged. Presidents and Provosts at these campuses say it will help them provide better course offerings (more of what students want) and more sections of what students need. To me, it feelsl ike going into the grocery store and buying everything I'll need for the next year for which the store manager will then make better selections for when I come back (in 365 days)...but if what I need is not one shelf, how would I ever buy it? So I'm curious if UNM ever moved in this direction (and I'm not saying we will as UNM tends to do things differently from the rest of the country), would this be helpful to anyone making their schedules?

My other thought directly relates to Honors on a year-long schedule. Every semester we have Preview Night so that students and faculty can come together as a community and get a look ahead at the next semester's courses. It takes about 2 hours to go through 1 semester of courses (with each teacher speaking for a max of 2 minutes!). So if we were on a year-long schedule, we could then presume Preview Night would take 4-5 hours!!! Holy Cow! Thus I open up the topic of Preview Night for a fun hypothetical debate. If you, the UHP student reading this post, were the new "Dr. O-director" of Honors, what would you do with Preview Night? Put teacher presentations online for students to watch whenever? Do away with it completely? Span it over 2 days? This is all hypothetical. Pretend there are no limits to technology or money.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Senior Exit Packets Are Now Available Online

Honors students who are graduating in December now have the opportunity to download the senior exit packet from the Honors website. Just click on the "Senior Exit Packet" link and you will be able to download the packet as a Word document.

A senior exit packet is required for all graduating Honors students who wish to receive a designation of Summa, Magna, or Cum Laude. If you are not sure whether or not you qualify to graduate with Honors, take a look at the Student Handbook on our website to review the graduation requirements.

Packets are due in the UHP main office (Rm 21) by Friday, November 6th at 5 pm.

Please be aware that the senior packet consists of several pages and requires a meaningful reflection of your experience in the Honors Program. It will be to your advantage to start this packet EARLY in order to complete all requirements by the deadline. If you have any questions, feel free to call 277-4211 or e-mail

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream

UNM's Provost chose Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream by acclaimed Los Angeles Times journalist Sam Quinones as this summer's inaugural work for the Lobo Reading Experience, a summer reading program for UNM Freshmen. So, who read this book over the summer? What did you think about it? What did you think was most successful about the book? Least successful? Was it a good selection for UNM students? Why or why not?

Literature-- Why do we bother?

Not that I don't love Frank's math videos, but it seems time to get some discussion going about non-math topics. So, what about literature? Why do we bother with it? What makes a classic a classic? And why should we read classics at all?

One of my students recently raised this issue and I believe it is an important one-- central in fact to the role of humanities education in this century. Most "great" literature is so far removed from our lives in the 21st century as to be almost in another galaxy. Those of us who teach literature talk about relating it to our students' lives and those students may even tell us that they learned a lot from a text they read. But what do we actually learn about our own lives when we read "classics"? Why is it "good for us" to read such literature? Why does having that kind of background still make people consider us more educated?

In other words, what would we actually lose out on, if we just started studying and/or teaching books we enjoy rather than those works that others have stamped as works of great literature? How many of us actually enjoy the classics and would pick them up to read on our own, without being required to read them for a class assignment? To get specific here, how many of you read Shakespeare before you go to sleep or on a plane trip? Beowulf? Steinbeck, maybe?

Math Made Almost Bearable: Statistics (Made Almost Bearable)

In this episode of Math Made Almost Bearable Frank Kelly explains some of the mathematical AND philosophical techniques employed by statisticians in order to make statistics almost bearable!