Blog Update – New Host, New Look and Feel at

March 27, 2012 2 comments

Dear Blog Readers,

Thank you for following my blog!  The last couple months have been a lot of fun and I’ve decided to upgrade my blog from to a hosted site with a new theme.

Please visit the new blog site at

I hope you like the new look and feel but please let me know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for improvement.

In the transition some of my links to you may have been broken.  So I apologize if you’ve needed to re-subscribe or reconnect to a particular comment thread.  Please feel free to leave a comment on this post if you’re experiencing any problems.  Also, this WordPress theme has many more options for displaying images, etc.  So I’m sure things will get shuffled around a bit for at least a few days.

Thanks again for reading.  Please let me know if you have any questions or ideas for new blog posts!

All best,


Categories: Uncategorized

Schools are Teaching our Children to be Sedentary and Obese

March 27, 2012 Leave a comment

I recently read an interesting article in the New York Times entitled “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity“?  While I was reading the article it occurred to me that most schools are rewarding the most sedentary children and punishing children whose bodies are doing everything they can to get the exercise they need.

My son is one of those “wiggly” kids.  He’s a 2nd grade student, “all boy”, and he has always struggled in school to “keep still” and “sit quietly”.  Things are better this year because we enrolled him in a Montessori school where he has more freedom to move around but it’s still an issue.  In the public school he attended for Kindergarten and 1st grade we were always hearing from his teachers, even his gym teacher, that he needs to exercise better self control in class – meaning he has trouble sitting still and listening to them lecture.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if his “problem behavior” was actually a much healthier way to conduct himself?

Read more…

How I Deal with my Fear of Public Speaking – 10 Steps that Help me Stay Cool During Presentations

March 26, 2012 Leave a comment

In college I was terrified of being called on during class discussions.  In grad school, I would be a nervous wreck before presentations, even in small seminars.  It didn’t get much better until I figured out a preparation process and an approach to presentations that worked for me.  Probably the biggest thing is just doing more presentations in general to become more practiced and comfortable.  Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to gain experience.  I still get nervous, maybe more than others and especially if it’s a big deal or a big crowd, and I don’t think that will ever go away.  But I’m no longer terrified because I have a routine that, when followed, allows me to be far more comfortable and typically do a reasonably good job.  Here’s the set of steps I take to prepare for a big presentation. Read more…

The Academic Peer Review Process in a Nutshell

March 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The peer review process is an integral part of academics.  Professors are told to “publish or perish” and they must do so in highly regarded peer review journals to demonstrate the importance of their work.  In order to get published in one of these prestigious journals they must make their way through a grueling gauntlet called the peer review process that looks something like this:

1. Read through a complicated set of instructions for authors and conform to unique and obscure formatting requirements that resemble the awful “Turabian” guidelines that keep hundreds of thousands of students from completing their thesis on time each year.  [I wonder what the cost of Turabian is to annual GDP?]

2. Submit your article in the proper format to the journal editor.  At this point you can add the article to your CV but you have to say “submitted” as part of the citation.

3. Wait several months for a reply.

Read more…

Banks are Destroying America’s Neighborhoods Part 2 – Response to Comments

March 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Wow – I never expected that my post about Banks Killing America’s Neighborhoods would attract so many readers.  I want to thank Daniel Roth for highlighting my thoughts on LinkedIn.  I also really appreciate all the comments that were left here on my blog and on the LinkedIn Residential Real Estate discussion board.  I’ll try to respond to a few comments here but I may need a few separate replies to cover all the topics.

1. Several people pointed out that if the banks sold everything at once it would, in fact, drive down prices further.  Of course it would (although I don’t think it would cut prices in half as someone suggested). I didn’t mean to argue otherwise although I think there’s so much inventory being held up that it would take a long time to push it through whether it was all listed at once or not. But, when banks hold on to these properties it is definitely causing the problems I mentioned with deteriorating structures and crime.  I’ve seen it first-hand. So the banks are going to lose money either way – whether they hold on or sell quickly.  Frankly, I think they’d be far better off selling before the houses in their inventory are damaged due to neglect or vandalism.  When a house sits empty for over a year people notice and some will take advantage, often to the detriment of the property.   Read more…

Time to Clean House at Claremont McKenna College

March 21, 2012 2 comments

I graduated in 1990 with a BA from Claremont McKenna College, known to those at the Claremont Colleges as CMC. Yes, that’s the college that was recently caught cheating.  CMC reported inflated SAT scores to US News & World Report and other publications who were ranking and profiling liberal arts colleges.

I guess I’m far enough along in life that it won’t really hurt me in any meaningful way but it’s not fun to have your undergraduate degree tarnished. Sort of like having Enron on your resume.

I  read the article in the New York Times and felt very disappointed.  I also received an email from Pamela Gann, the current President of CMC.  It was thoughtful and contrite and made me think the right things were happening.  At the end of her email she stated: “While I am sorry to report this to you, I remain deeply committed to ensuring that Claremont McKenna will respond to this matter in a manner that is accurate, honest, and that will reflect the longstanding integrity of our great college.”

In the NY Times piece it was announced that Richard C. Vos the Dean of Admissions had taken sole responsibility and resigned….so apparently no one else was involved or did anything wrong.  Really?  One scapegoat after 6 years of cheating?  How would Wall Street react if a publicly traded company misrepresented earnings for 6 years and then fired only the CFO and hoped that investors would see this as a sufficient response. Read more…

Spatial is Indeed Special…but GIS Software Skills will Soon be Obsolete

March 20, 2012 22 comments

I’m fairly new to the blogosphere and Twitter and most of the other forms of social media so I hope you’ll forgive me for arriving late to the party and digging up relatively old posts.  I read a recent post by James Fee on his Spatially Adjusted blog that referred back to a 2009 blog post arguing that “Spatial is not Special“.  Sorry to be 2.5 years late to comment but if no one else has formed an opposition to this opinion, please allow me to be the first.

If James had titled his post “GIS is not Special”, I wouldn’t have felt compelled to debate, because GIS software is not special, but “spatial” is indeed special.  Here’s why: Read more…

Categories: Geography Tags: , ,

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