This is what I’m looking for. When Georgia freakin’ Tech gets into the MOOC game with an inexpensive and accredited program — this one in Computer Science — other schools will have to adapt or close: “All OMS CS course content will be delivered via the massive open online course (MOOC) format, with enhanced support services for students enrolled in the degree program. Those students also will pay a fraction of the cost of traditional on-campus master’s programs; total tuition for the program is initially expected to be below $7,000.”

Given tuition rates that can go up to $50,000 and more for a single year at a four-year private college, I won’t miss ’em when they’re gone. Note to colleges: the real world is still here. Join us. Please.

College Search

We subscribe to a service through the CollegeBoard which allows us to receive information about colleges since our eldest is currently on that route. Today, we received information about a school called The Boston Conservatory, which makes sense since our eldest is a pianist. All looked well, until I checked their FAQ:

What should I do about transcripts if I have been home-schooled? Continue reading

Google Scholar

If you are looking for something a bit more in-depth in your web searches, especially for research papers, try Google Scholar. To give you an idea of the difference in the search compared to ordinary Google, the first search item from a typical Google search for boom latinoamericano produces a Wikipedia article, while the same search on Google Scholar produces a bibliographical entry for an article by Jaime Augusto Shelley, published in the scholarly journal La palabra y el hombre en 1972. I know, I know, I haven’t heard of it either. But once you get the hang of it, you notice that the actual article is available via PDF link from the same page. In the old days, you would have had to purchase a plane ticket to Mexico City. Upon arrival, the 8th or 9th taxi driver you talked to would know where to find the Hemeroteca Nacional. And after a quick three or four hour spin around the city, you’d find the place — it would probably be closed. Continue reading

History Lesson: Mexico

Three years ago, I wrote a series of articles for Catholic Exchange on the roots of Church-State tension in Mexico. That was my last major foray into writing. Looking back, there is a lot of good in that series of five articles, and a few things I might change. For Greater Glory was still a film project at best; I had never heard of it. The point of departure for the article was a debate in Mexico on whether to formally define the country as a secular republic, by amending the country’s ever-fluid constitution. It might be worth a read:

Sixteen Seconds of Mush

That’s all it takes. Really.

Today, the eldest competed in the Cypress Creek Music Teacher Association’s Young Artist Competition. Two years ago, he finished third in what was then his first competition. Last year, he won. This year, he came in fourth, and that prompts another post from his father.

Sixteen Seconds of Mush.

I was initially disappointed for him. Proud of him, absolutely. Continue reading

On Intrinsic and Extrinsic Meaning in Language

Another post I initially wrote as a comment on another blog, this one over at Calah Alexander’s Barefoot and Pregnant, which is really worth a visit. The question that had arisen was whether language has meaning in and of itself — or not. The answer is rather simple: not. But that does not mean that language has no meaning. The whole question revolves around the notions of intrinsic meaning and extrinsic meaning. Jesus has intrinsic meaning*. When the Gospels say that Jesus is speaking with authority, the original Greek often means that he was speaking with authority that quite literally emanated from himself Similarly, human beings have intrinsic meaning for the simple reason that each person is made in the image an likeness of God. Extrnsic meaning comes from the outside, and even if it comes from an outside that is so removed from us in space or in time, it still comes from the outside. Thus, none of the words I am writing in this post has any intrinsic meaning. All of the meaning is gathered into them via cultural, economic, philosophical, political, and — especially — religious sources. Upon acquiring this extrinsic meaning, the meaning is no less real than if it were intrinsic. It’s really a subtle question, but one which has fascinated me over the years.

Thus, in response to the post, I wrote: Continue reading