Getting What Students Pay For In College

From this, we learn of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) has a report out evaluating the best public universities in the States. Among other problems the report looks into the following: watering down curriculum, grade inflation, and cost control. Unsurprising (to us at least) it gives failing grades in all areas to most schools and some areas to all schools. That is not a single public university in the States maintained academic standards and grade value while controlling costs.

An example of the depths to which some have fallen is Indiana University actually offers a course titled “The Cultural Politics of Lady Gaga” in which the most common grade is an “A+.” It is likely the course does more harm than good. But no doubt the grade is counterfeit, which adversely effects the whole grade ecosystem. It is akin to printing dollar bills in your basement.

The post cited above, concludes with the following dismal assessment.

But too many schools are still trapped in old mindsets, increasing tuition and competing for reputation. They fixate on the U.S. News rankings, which purport to tell the public which schools are “best.” But is the best school the one with the most prestige and highest incoming SAT scores? Or is it the one that fulfills its mission to taxpayers by providing a high-quality education without breaking their budgets?

The Curse of the Excluded Middle

Erik Meijer, a prominent language designer, has a thought-provoking article in ACM Queue. His thesis is that a language cannot be partially functional: “The slightest implicit imperative effect erases all the benefits of purity.” He calls this the curse of the “excluded middle.” One must either (a) except that programming is about mutating state or (b) “abolish[…] all implicit imperative effects and mak[e] them fully explicit in the type system.” He makes a strong case but I need to noodle on it before I will claim it as mine.

The article is good for introducing the issues. Such as the inherent disconnect between the static program and the runtime environment that arises with lazy or deferred execution.

SSDs may not catch up with HDDs

We all know SSDs are more expensive than HDDs. Although, SSDs out perform HDDs  in IOPS/$, they are far behind in other dimensions, especially, GBs/$. However, it has been predicted that SSD cost-performance will pass that of HDD in all dimensions soon. According to a new report this may not be true.  “Most of these assumptions were made in early 2012. So far they have turned out to be partially true at best and wrong at worst.” Read the whole thing.