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Ardipithecus and David Letterman

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  • Bob Muckle
    The pr machine behind Thursday s media blitz on Ardipithecus did some wonderful job. Wonderful in the context of getting publicity I mean. Within 24 hours,
    Message 1 of 34 , Oct 3, 2009
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      The pr machine behind Thursday's media blitz on Ardipithecus did some wonderful job. Wonderful in the context of getting publicity I mean. Within 24 hours, some 600 plus articles appeared in the popular press. Kate Wong of Scientific American was tweeting from the press conference. Some science journalists blogged about it, videos were released, on-line discussions were occuring on facebook,...and more. Now it is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out, critically I mean. Now we wait for the critical evaluation of the interpretations. The hobbit (H. floresiensis) was pretty big back in 2004, but not Ardipithecus big. I can never recall any kind of scientific report being so hyped, in any science.

      (On an aside, it is kind of interesting to see some old ideas re-appearing...like Owen Lovejoy of the Ardipithecus team re-invigorating the male-provisioning hypothesis ....and Elaine Morgan on ted.com and elsewhere bringing back the aquatic ape hypothesis. It rather reminds me of the rock groups of the 60s and 70s that disappeared for a few decades and now have found new life on the casino circuit).

      David Letterman's revelations on Thursday of his own sexual indiscretions, and experience with extortion and blackmail had nothing on Ardipithecus. I don't mention Twitter much in my classes and it is not required that students read any of the things I tweet either on my own twitter account or the one I set up specifically for Anthropology students at my institution. So, I was somewhat surprised when I went in to my Friday class and there were far more students that were aware of the Ardipithecus reports than the sexual life of David Letterman.

      I sense that there was quite a bit of excitment in the world of biological anthropology on Thursday. It will be interesting to see, this time next year...how many infants will be named 'Ardi.'

      Bob
    • Monica Bellas
      I didn t get a chance earlier to thank everyone for your suggestions. I am incorporating a few ideas for my syllabus, and will also be speaking to them the
      Message 34 of 34 , Dec 20, 2009
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        I didn't get a chance earlier to thank everyone for your suggestions. I am incorporating a few ideas for my syllabus, and will also be speaking to them the first day of class about how I managed to get through college despite marriage, two kids, and working.

        Thanks again!

        Monica Bellas

        Cerritos College

        Norwalk, CA




        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
        From: lloyd.miller@...
        Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 17:02:34 -0500
        Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Suggestions for student/prof expectations





        Monica,

        I did almost the identical thing some years ago (I retired in 2000).
        I scolded the entire class for a total of about 15 minutes, then
        walked out, telling them that if they wanted to talk to me, I'd be in
        my office for the rest of the class hour. I guess they were somewhat
        stunned; the few who did come by said as much and something to the
        effect of, "Gosh, we didn't know you cared that much!"

        So in subsequent syllabi, I included a section of what I expected of
        them (courtesy toward me and each other, attentiveness, preparation
        for class--I can't remember it all, but something like if you're not
        going to at least show good student behavior, don't come to class. I
        offered extra credit for good attendance). They could expect from me
        that I would also be prepared for class, that I would grade and return
        to them promptly tests and other assignments. I would show them the
        respect due them and treat them fairly and equitably; again, I can't
        remember all I had, because in later years I changed my message to
        them somewhat, but kept the same intent and spirit.

        I will send you a pdf of several pages of a syllabus by separate email
        because the listserv doesn't accept attachments. One item on it is
        titled, "Some Characteristics of Successful Students" that I got from
        a colleague in psychology. It presents good student behavior to them
        impersonally as a study rather than as a direct exhortation from me to
        them. I'll also send you a pdf of Tom Wayman's delightful poem, "Did
        I Miss Anything?" that we reprinted in SACC Notes, Vol. 12, No. 2 2006
        (in case you didn't save all your issues of SACC Notes in gold-
        embossed, leather-bound volumes). :)

        Lloyd

        On Oct 29, 2009, at 3:39 PM, Monica Bellas wrote:

        >
        > I have a question which I'm sure the many experts on the listserv
        > can answer. I just scolded (very strongly) my students in one of my
        > sections for not reading their textbook and not studying for their
        > exam. I'm seriously thinking about included a list of "expectations"
        > for future students, which would be part of my syllabus. (I would
        > also include a list of what they should expect from me.) Has anyone
        > done this before? If so, what did you include? (Please note I'm not
        > talking about an "Honor Code," but what I expect from them.)
        >
        > Thanks so much,
        >
        > Monica Bellas
        >
        > Cerritos College
        >
        > Norwalk, CA
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >

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