Archive for February, 2008

The Silliness of Bottled Water

A naked street is simply one that does not have street signs or markings for automobiles (e.g. stop signs, painted lanes, speed limits). The idea behind naked streets is that if automobile drivers are disoriented then they are more likely to slow down and pay attention to their surroundings. Naked streets are designed to allow pedestrians and drivers to occupy a common transportation space.

Naked streets usually look like giant sidewalks.

One Laptop per Child

William “Bill” McDonough speaking at the World Future Energy Summit in January 2008.

According to Dustin Dopirak at the Daily News Record, JMU Men’s Basketball Coach Dean Keener will resign after the completion of this season. Keener will continue to lead the team for the three remaining CAA games and the post-season conference tournament.

Keener’s resignation is not a surprise to me. Last March I thought that the 2007-08 season might be his last at JMU. Before this year Keener hadn’t won more than 7 games in a season. This season the team’s win total hit double digits for the first time in four years, but the Dukes’ winning percentage is still under .500.

So, let’s throw out some names of some possible replacements:

  • Kelvin Sampson – Sampson is currently the coach at Indiana, but his job security is on the line because of some recent recruitment violations. Should JMU take a risk on Sampson?
  • Steve Lavin – Former UCLA coach is a commentator for ESPN, and I seriously doubt he would take a job at a low-level mid-major school. But who knows?
  • Steve Wojciechowski – He’s an assistant at Duke under Coach K, and as much as I hate Duke I think Steve might be a good college coach. He has the passion to win, he’s very knowledgeable, and he’s been serving under a hall-of-famer for multiple years. However, the chances of him starting his head coaching career at JMU are slim. Duke assistant Coaches don’t like to leave Coach K.’s side. Although, Mike Brey was a former assistant and he coached the University of Delaware (now he’s the head coach at Notre Dame)
  • Bobby Knight – Maybe if we throw enough money at him he’d come. However, he wouldn’t stick around long, and his reputation and ego might be too big for JMU.
  • Jim O’Brien – This is the candidate that I really want. O’Brien coached at Ohio State and Boston College, and he’s a former National Coach of the Year. He was fired for allegedly giving cash to a recruit in 2004, but O’Brien’s hiring restrictions have been lifted by the NCAA. He’s a great coach that needs a fresh start.

Bottom Line: We can go two directions. Hire an unproven assistant coach (like we did with Dean Keener) or hire an older, more experienced coach with a troubled past (like we did with “Lefty” Driesell). I say that’s go with the Lefty approach.

Staunton’s New Logo

In August I had a post about the City of Staunton’s initiative to find a new logo for the city. In January, the South Carolina planning firm Arnett Muldrow & Associates revealed the new logo, and a few days ago Jim McCloskey, the political cartoonist for the Daily News Leader, analyzed the new graphic.

Personally, I think this logo is rather dull. I don’t understand why the firm didn’t emphasize any of Staunton’s historic elements. I guess that was too easy.

However, I do find it funny that they put so much emphasis on the “U” in Staunton. People are constantly mispronouncing “Staunton” — the “U” is silent — Legend has it that the current pronunciation dates back to the Civil War. Southerners could identify northerners based on how they pronounced the city’s name. Ingenious.

Here are 10 ways to keep your refrigerator energy efficient from Green Daily:

  1. Keep your fridge and freezer as full as possible. An empty fridge will cycle more frequently than a full one. If you live alone or are a light eater, simply fill jugs with tap water and keep them in the fridge.
  2. Allow foods to cool before putting them in the fridge. It takes more energy to cool hot food than cold.
  3. Try to keep all foods and liquids covered. Uncovered food and drink means more moisture, and the appliance has to work harder to defrost itself.
  4. Defrost the freezer regularly to remove frost build-up.
  5. Disengage your automatic ice maker and freeze ice cubes in trays instead.
  6. Clean the door gasket and replace the rubber sealing strip, preventing excess air from escaping
  7. If you have it, turn on the power-saving/summer-winter switch.
  8. Set the fridge temp between 35 F and 28 F, and your freezer between 10 F and 15 F, for optimal energy use. Don’t rely on the fridge thermometer, though – go out and buy your own.
  9. Once a year, move your fridge out from the wall and vacuum the condenser coils underneath, which will help the fridge to transport waste heat more quickly, resulting in shorter cycles.
  10. Make sure your fridge is as far from the oven as possible. It will have to work harder if it’s next to a heat-producing appliance.

In today’s New York Times Karen E. Arenson reported that Princeton University is “working to create a program to send a tenth or more of its newly admitted students to a year of social service work in a foreign country before they set foot on campus as freshmen.”

Princeton’s President Dr. Shirley Tilghman “said that she hoped to begin the program in 2009 and that Princeton would not charge tuition for the year abroad, and would even offer financial assistance to those who needed it.”

Princeton officials hope that it will entice service minded students, and those interested in taking a gap year (a year off) before starting college.

Similarly, Brian McNeil of the Daily Progress reported that the University of Virginia is concocting something called the “Jefferson Track.” According to McNeil UVA officials are “considering a public service track in which first-year students would identify a problem in society – anywhere from Charlottesville to Uganda – and then lead a team of three to 10 classmates to tackle the issue over the next four years.”

It looks like public service is the “next big thing” in higher education. I think it’s great. On a similar note many countries around the world require mandatory military education before higher education. This mandatory year (or two) of service helps young adults mature and develop a global perspective. Maybe the U.S. is finally catching on…

Michael Jordan Interview


March Madness is right around the corner, and I’ve already caught the fever. As an emerging UVA fan, this season has been rather disappointing. The Wahoos started off the season strong, but they couldn’t get their act together in January and February, and they currently sit in last place in the ACC. Furthermore, JMU’s basketball team has been rather lackluster as well — although the Dukes win total has hit double digits for the first time under Coach Dean Keaner.

Fortunately, UNC has had a superb season. The injury bug hit the Tarheels hard this season (Bobby Frasor, Ty Lawson, and other illnesses), but the Tarheels have maintained a steady position in the ACC and NCAA rankings. So, to celebrate the copious amount of basketball that is about to inundate our lives I present this interview with Michael Jordan. In this particular interview MJ talks about current (and former assistant) Coach Roy Williams, his former Coach Dean Smith, and his career at UNC.

Enjoy.