Forget what your mama told you, the RIAA says sharing is Illegal…and they’re coming after you

August 22, 2006

A must-read review from Boing Boing of the new RIAA back-to-school propaganda video.

This is such a steaming pile that it desperately needs to be remixed. Someone out there needs to make a version where every lie is interrupted with an explanation of the real story, to be shown alongside of it.

Read the article at Boing Boing: RIAA propaganda movie for students in desperate need of remix


Ad-Supported Textbooks Saving Students Money

August 22, 2006

According to some studies, students spend about $900 per year on textbooks and textbook publishers are under intense scrutiny over prices that have risen at twice the rate of inflation since 1986. Minnesota-based Freeload Press is looking to fix that by offering free textbooks. The model: instead of trying to get money out of already cash-strapped college kids, get it from companies’ marketing and advertising budgets.

Students, or anyone else who fills out a five-minute survey, can download a PDF file of the book, which they can store on their hard drive and print.

Freeload will start this fall offering about 100 textbook titles, free of charge to the student. It sounds like a good idea, but will it catch on?

The model faces big obstacles. Freeload doesn’t yet have a stable of well-known textbook authors across a range of subjects, and it lacks the editorial and marketing muscle of the “Big 3” textbook publishers (Thomson, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill). Its textbooks don’t come with bells and whistles such as online study guides that bigger publishers have spent millions developing in order to lure professors _ who assign textbooks and are the industry’s real customers.

This Washington Post article is full of interesting textbook-related facts, like these:

A new Connecticut law requires that textbook sellers tell professors what their books will cost students, and other states are considering similar measures. Cost complaints come not just from students and parents but also teachers. A 2005 study by the National Association of College Stores Foundation found 65 percent of students don’t buy all the required course materials—which means many probably aren’t learning the material, either.

Freeload claims that they will have over 250,000 textbooks and study guides available by next year.

Read the Washington Post article: Ads Coming to Texbooks

Gentlemen, Start Your…Legs?

August 22, 2006

Erik Balsbaugh ’01 and Jon Natkin ’01 are have embarked on their 6000 mile fund-raising trek  (see here, and here) for Reach Out and Read. They are more than half-way to their financial goal of $6000. If you would like to make a donation, or just check out what they are doing, visit their Ride for ROR blog.

We here at Not the Cheese wish them the best of luck.

If you’re going to be in Hawai’i this week…

August 21, 2006

…Mark Panek ’90 will be autographing copies of his new book, Gaijin Yokozuna: A Biography of Chad Rowan, at several locations around Honolulu. The Honolulu Advertiser has a review of the book, along with a schedule of Mark’s appearances.

Of the book, the article says:

Not content to simply chart Rowan’s rise to the highest rank of the sport, Panek presents an intriguing study of Rowan as a outsider whose deft cultural performances evoked the Japanese identity so central to sumo’s ages-old identity.

The article gives an interesting look into Mark’s post-Colby life, as well:

After earning a degree in history from Colby College in Maine, Panek bought a one-way ticket to Hawai’i, arriving in Honolulu with just $500 and a surfboard.

Panek spent his days at the beach and worked nights as a waiter. It was a comfortable life for a 23-year-old college graduate, but Panek knew it wasn’t what he wanted to be doing in 10 years. When a friend from the bar circuit who was moving to Japan asked Panek if he wanted to come along, Panek jumped.

Read the article: Gaijin connection

Gaijin Yokozuna
is also one of the books by Colby College authors featured in the upcoming issue of Colby magazine.

Lena Barouh ’07 knows how to spell “erubescent”

August 14, 2006

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a trend of rejuvenilization (don’t bother looking it up—it’s not a word) has hit the Seattle, Wash. area. With everything from kickball leagues, Scrabble tournaments, and flag football, adults are spending their leisure time trying to recapture their childhoods. The first Monday of every month brings a spelling bee to Seattle watering hole Rebar.

“It’s kind of post-juvenile,” said Josh Malamy, co-host of the monthly spelling bee that drew more than 100 people last Monday night. “Some people do this because they have a history of this. Some people do it as if to right past wrongs, to make up for the kid who didn’t make it to No. 1. Other people are doing it to meet people and socialize.”

Colby senior Lena Barouh, former middle school spelling bee champion, came in second in the August bee. The word that did her in? “Alectryomancy.”

“It’s the only spelling bee I could ever conceive of where saying, ‘Yeah!’ and showing metal devil horns would have been OK and I wouldn’t have gotten thrown off stage,” said Barouh.

Read the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article: Re-bar toasts those who are spellbound by childhood memories

Maine Birds: Biology Professor Herb Wilson’s Blog

August 14, 2006

Biology professor Herb Wilson, who writes a biweekly column called “For the Birds” for the Maine newspapers has a blog about Maine Birds called “Maine Birds.”

Read Herb’s blog: Maine Birds