Battlepanda: NPR Blogging


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

NPR Blogging

I feel like I must be prematurely old. In addition to old-people hobbies like sewing and knitting (alas, neither of which I have the leisure to do much of anymore), my primary addictions are Oolong Tea and National Public Radio. I don't know if I've mentioned thison the blog before, but I fall asleep most nights listening to Morning Edition streaming on my computer. Air America is too abrasive, the BBC is too British, Podcasts are hit and miss. NPR is perfect. In fact, I think it is the Oolong tea of radio -- flavorful, yet soothing. No sugar or artificial sweeteners required. Make no mistake, they take on diverse topics from the hard-hitting to the zany, but somehow, once it becomes packaged by the NPR machine, it all becomes so consistently easy to listen to yet informative. It's quite appropriate that they've made their ad tagline "I heard it on NPR".

Anyhow, since I'm quite sure I listen to more NPR than just about anybody, say, not working in a pioneer valley bookstore where they keep WFCR cranked up all day, I've decided to start a semi-regular blog feature where I just throw out links to some of the more interesting stories I've heard on NPR recently, along with any commentary.

Finding Pop-up Prizes on the Internet
-- Yes it's true! All those pop-up ads promising free stuff actually do deliver...but they make you jump through a lot of hoops first. This is an oddly fascinating story of a Johns Hopkins resident who has made a hobby out of applying for those prizes. Makes you think...from an opportunity-cost point of view, I'm not sure this is the most efficient use of his time. Why wasn't I doing this while I was unemployed with scads of time on my hand? Oh, I was blogging.

Students' View of Intelligence Can Help Grades
-- also a very good New York Magazine article under the more inflammatory title "How not to talk to your kids -- the inverse power of praise." Basically, if you believe that the key to success is hard work and follow-through, then you do better than if you believe the key to success is intelligence. Duh, on one level, but it goes against a lot of conventional wisdom (and parental instinct) to praise your kids by telling them they're so smart.

Budget Would Trim Funds for Even Start -- The program teaches immigrant parents how to read English in a kid-friendly environment. Costed $225 million in '05, slashed to $99 million in '06 now proposed for elimination in Bush's latest round of budget cuts. If you take the cost of the Iraq war as $100,000 a minute (as estimated by this 2006 story) , then the equivalent 37.5 hours of the Iraq war would fund Even Start for the whole year at the '05 level (16.5 hours at the reduced '06 level). Hmm.