Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stories I tell my students from the third year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

My teaching has informed my blogging throughout the past three years and vice versa, but according to the top twenty entries of the past year compared to the year before, the interaction between the two seems to be having more of an influence.  First, Student worksheets for the second and third year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News listed assignments I have written for films I show my classes.  Now, a series of entries from the past year contain stories I tell to my students as well as items I have later incorporated into my lectures.

First among these is the eleventh most read entry of the third year of the blog, Science confirms my opinion of life in the country posted on August 3, 2013, with 338 page views.  This is another entry that gained its readers through my promoting it at Kunstler's blog.
I have a reply of sorts to last week’s passage about the “the millions of unemployed Ford F-110 owners drinking themselves into an incipient political fury,” who are presumably living in the country. I lived in rural and exurban ares for eleven years and I have more harrowing tales of criminality and depravity from life in the country than all the years I lived in the city (this includes the inner suburbs of Detroit as well as Los Angeles). I had enough of the country and moved back into the city three years ago. I feel much safer.

Last week, science confirmed my impressions by showing that people are less likely to die of violence of all kinds in urban than in rural areas. I have a video summarizing that research as well as my first hand tales of life in the country at Crazy Eddie’s Motie News.
As I wrote in the original entry, which was itself a quote from my LiveJournal:
When I tell my students from Detroit about all that, they're appalled. All of it as as bad as anything that happens there, and some of it is worse.
Four years after first writing that, my students are still amazed, and I still feel safer four miles away from Detroit than I did in rural Lenawee County and exurban Washtenaw County.  As for the point of the story, it's not that the city is better than you think while the country is worse, although that comes across to my students, it's that even the worst neighbors can be useful at times--and I had some terrible neighbors out in the country.

Follow over the jump for more top entries of stories I tell my students.

I mentioned the next entry that has become a story I tell my students in Poverty and austerity for the third year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, but I made a mistake.  Here is the corrected version.
Suburban poverty north and south of the border posted January 13, 2014, is tied for fourteenth the fifteenth most read entry of the past year with behind Discovery News and PhysOrg on colony collapse disorder at 290 page views.
Yes, Discovery News and PhysOrg on colony collapse disorder posted May 15, 2013, is actually in sole possession of fourteenth place with 291 page views.  I made the mistake because I made my first pass through the third year's entries a couple days before the 21st and then misread the corrected numbers and placements when I composed the prior entry.  As I tell my students when they ask me a question about their health, I may be a doctor (Ph.D.) but I'm not that kind of doctor (M.D.).  Just the same, I have doctor's handwriting and this is one time when even I couldn't read it.  

As for how this entry got this many page views, it's a mystery to me, as I couldn't find any evidence of my linking to it at Kunstler's blog or Elaine Meinel Supkis (and a good thing, too) and I don't see any search terms in the top ten that would lead to it.  On the other hand, I can say why it's a story I tell my students.  I show the video in the entry during the second lecture as an example of the importance of natural capital providing ecosystem services.  It certainly gets the students' attention.

The final entry that qualifies as a story I tell my students is CNN and Russia Today cover the March on Monsanto posted May 26, 2013 with 262 page views, good enough for sixteenth place.  I didn't get to promote that over at Kunstler's blog until August. when Beantown Bill left a comment that simply read "RT."
RT? Do you want some news from Russia Today? Here is a side-by-side comparison of RT America and CNN covering the same event, the March Against Monsanto.
I don't think that was enough to propel this entry into the top twenty list by itself.  I was probably my posting the link to Twitter and then having it retweeted by activists who were looking for the first coverage of the protest by CNN.

As for how it qualifies, I show the CNN video to my students as a relatively even-handed report on the controversy around GMOs at the end of my lecture on evolution and biodiversity.  After all, artificial selection (and one can't get any more artificial than GMOs right now) is still evolution and has a definite effect on biodiversity.

I have one more retrospective to write about the third year of this blog and it's about social media.  After that, I have one or two retrospectives remaining to mop up the second year and then I'm done until next March.  I see a light at the end of this tunnel, and it's not an onrushing train!

Previous entries in this series.

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