May 21, 2007

Audible Althouse #84.

It's a podcast. Evil birds, where not to meet men, using nonfiction books to teach kids to read, Mad Magazine, finding the mummified body of the previous owner in the house you just bought... and screwing around with the theme song.

You don't need an iPod. You can stream it right through your computer here.

But all the rebels subscribe on iTunes:
Ann Althouse - Audible Althouse


Howard said...

Meeting men or women: Never pick one up in an art gallery (this can only mean financial ruin when requests for a Picasso and stuff happen), never pick one up in a library (you will end up with an unsufferable and pretentious social snob, and (unless you are an alcoholic) never pick one up in any drinking establishment. Best: flipr with someone on the street outside of a bank. Just a tip, Ann.

jane said...

Re meeting someone in the library-

Actually, it is a great place to bump into someone special. Spent my HS years doing research papers in the Rice U Fondren Library, and once I met the most genius, funniest and coolest guy ever- he was the personification of anti-pretension, which I love and adore. Perry was eleven years older than I, and I had a boyfriend and so no dating, but we were good friends for a long time.

Also met the scariest male ever, there. He trapped me in the stacks and started lecturing me on how Picasso and daVinci were good pals and would I like to marry him.

Looking forward to the podcast.

Ann Althouse said...

Doesn't it depend on the library? I would think once you're beyond the college library, you're going to run into people who are too poor or too cheap to go to Borders and buy their own books.

Ann Althouse said...

Jane: The stacks are a pretty scary place, especially when they have those moving shelves.

StephenB said...

...once you're beyond the college library, you're going to run into people who are too poor or too cheap to go to Borders and buy their own books.

I had this very thought the other day while at my public library. But then I thought But I go to this library sometimes, and I'm neither too cheap nor too poor to buy my own books. I just come here to look at a book that I wouldn't otherwise buy for one reason or another.

jane said...

I don’t remember the moving shelves, Ann, (it’s been a while for me if they’re a late 20th C. innovation), but at Borders the only research I ever see going on is when some not so subtle types investigate the style of coffee and genre of lit a “potential” drinks and reads. I like to throw ‘em with regular ‘house’, a French Vogue and gun books.
Or did you already say something like this in your podcast? Am going to listen now

AJD said...

Correction: all the FAUX rebels subscribe.

Actual rebels don't read your blog, Annie.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm sure they're all checking in with you, you humorless old coot.

Emy L. Nosti said...

Wow, I had no intention of writing this much, but here goes.

I was ridiculed by other girls…on my basketball team no less…for reading Astronomy Magazine rather than Seventeen. When I mentioned cosmology, they asked why I wanted to go into makeup (cosmETology) when I showed so little interest girly things.

Would it have helped to have had to read science books? I don’t know. In my History of Science classes, that’s all we did, and very few of either the primary or secondary source readings were interesting or approachable; Evolution of Species bored me to tears, and Galileo’s Dialogue was sufficiently interesting but very cognitively taxing (not in a useful way; his arguments were rather circuitous). On the other hand, I enjoyed Brief History of Time in eighth grade and found Sagan’s books truly awe-inspiring in grades 5-9. So it’s hard for me to decide whether it was the subject I found interesting, if Sagan and Hawking are great writers, or both.

I do know that reading fiction with Mom (NOT in school) taught me to love to read, and it taught me to read quickly (I remember seeing a study that showed people accustomed to reading science texts read more slowly than the norm, which also might be a critical point to consider). I know it did not discourage me from science books and magazines. I know I hated being forced to read things and write book reports in school—indignantly rebelling using Cliffs Notes, or even sometimes just taking the D. But I also would never have bothered reading the classics on my own or learned to appreciate their depth without my college lit classes.

My (attempt at a) solution? Separate the kids who clearly read on their own and without trouble and let them spend their academic hours on subjects and skills—like the sciences and critical thinking—that they won’t master effortlessly. Making the struggling kids read science texts would be unnecessarily challenging and make good comprehension too daunting a task. Those who can read but won’t practice/improve on their own? Well, forcing them to read stuff that is (9 times out of 10) drier than fiction won’t make them like it any more, but maybe nothing will. Personally, I’d rather see them learning how to write well, argue, and critically analyze shorter texts (scientific and historical arguments are a great place to start) than waste time trying to appreciate the finer points of things they can’t even appreciate superficially.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Emy. I don't disagree with you, but I think science and history readings that are easy to read and exciting and interesting can be writtern for very young readers.

Emy L. Nosti said...

It's hard for me to disagree with that; I guess I was thinking more about the science readings I've encountered in school which were usually dry or overly complicated.

What I most objected to was students being forced to take "reading classes" in 6th grade and read 6th-grade-level books with the class, when they were already at a "beyond HS level." I personally could've benefited from more help in math (even though I would've despised it). Maybe Kettle Moraine just sucked.

But, yes. I won't say there aren't good beginning science books out there because I've seen some. (Upon review, maybe Science Made Stupid is a bit heavy on the satire for some impressionable readers.) They just aren't getting in to students' hands unless parents put them there. Maybe English teachers ARE the problem.

But you know, your post about playing outside and hyper-cautiousness makes me wonder too; I think I'd be a different person if I hadn't spent hours playing in the woods and building and discovering. Unguided exploration--IMO a cornerstone to developing scientific interest--doesn't seem to be very encouraged anymore. Why be curious about how plants grow if you're too busy playing Halo to ever notice them? We might be killing off the few who would read such books on their own.

I digress, yet again. Great topic though--you've definitely raised some hackles, which is always a good sign!

Jim Her said...

Thank gods you've removed the annoying theme song.

My daughter picked up a husband along with a night school master of liberal arts degree. He evidently thought that the place to find educated women was in a degree program. He didn't finish the degree, my daughter did.

In my experience most men take how to courses. Instead of wine tasting take wine making. Auto mechanics, wood working, machine shop courses all have men in them due to access to power tools that you may not be able to afford or store.