Category Archives: Uncategorized

Can We Still Get an Education in College?

Jonah Lehrer writes:

If nothing is learned, why are students and parents so desperate to get into the best schools? Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University and author of the forthcoming book “The Case Against Education,” argues that colleges are more about certifying their students than actually teaching them useful skills. Their primary function is to provide “signals” of intelligence and competency, which is why they put students through a variety of mostly arbitrary and useless academic hoops. “Good students tend to be smart, hardworking and conformist—three crucial traits for almost any job,” writes Dr. Caplan. “When a student excels in school, then, employers correctly infer that he’s likely to be a good worker.”

This is discouraging and challenging. I will likely not have the money to send my children to my alma mater or another suitable school, and I have begun to fear that it would a waste of money to do so. I loved my college experience, but I don’t know that I can offer a similar one to my children.

My name is Lars, and I’m a cheater

My great achievement this weekend was building a table, for my Viking setup. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a “Viking table,” because it doesn’t actually much resemble any known table from archeology, and is a cheat in any case. This is what I did, and why:

The table I’ve been using for book selling for the last several years was a random thrift store find—a table apparently designed for some kind of display, consisting of a circular pressed board top and three dowel legs which screwed into flanges. It wasn’t even close to authentic, but when I threw a sheepskin over it, it looked OK, because the round legs did look like known Viking table legs.

Vikings,mail,Decorah,Nordic Fest

That table had been working itself loose for a while, though, and it finally died in Minot last fall, when a heavy object (me) fell on it. So I needed a new table.

My plan was to try to do something like the actual replica table described in this article, but with longer legs. However, I couldn’t find the article while I was working, so I worked from memory, which was (as is so often the case) unreliable. The table I constructed looks like this:

Viking table Continue reading My name is Lars, and I’m a cheater

Lars’ Popular Thanksgiving Post

One of our most popular posts, not by the comments it drew but by the traffic it has attracted over the years, is this story from September 21, 2006 about a microwave and a turkey. It’s linked from an urban legend page which talks about a pregnant turkey prank, which may or may not have happened despite being believable (but that page has been removed in the ever-changing Internet).

If you haven’t read either story, here’s your chance to catch up.