The always-great Chuck Klosterman writes about time-shifting and sports events. I tried to timeshift some of the Southern Tech football and basketball games I watched last year. It’s nice to be able to skip through the commercials. But it means that I can’t find out the scores on any other games, lest I find out how the Pack is doing.

The notion that modern medicine has failed us in the areas of heart disease and cancer is wrong. Well, at least on heart disease. But even on cancer, we’re improving a little. That might say something about how everything might not be giving us cancer after all.

Nothing garners appreciation of Windows like using something else (that isn’t Apple, anyway). I’ve more or less stopped my annual experiments with Linux. Windows does what I need it to do. OSX and Linux do not. At least not easily. I still don’t see the appeal of Chrome.

In the past we have discussed interracial dating as it pertains to black women and white men. Basically, asking if the rarity of these matches are due to the preferences of white men or black women. This article looks at interracial dating on the Internet and spits out all kinds of statistics except that. It does imply that black women are more likely to reach out than whites are, and also that men reach out more than women. But it doesn’t compare the two. {comment with care}

Life expectancy by county, sex, and race (US), 1987-2007

Somehow, Utah is not on the ten scariest states to be an atheist. I guess it’s because Utah is the only place in America where the atheists have fundamentalists to make common cause with.

Why the Blackberry is screwed. It wasn’t that long ago that I scoffed at the notion. It’s amazing how the top of the heap were Nokia/Symbian, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile. Now all are headed towards irrelevancy (and two of those three had to join forces just to stick around).

I’ve mentioned it before, but somehow I never came across this website about Pensacola Christian College, the school that makes BYU look like LSU.

Definitions: Values, Directions, & Optimums.


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19 Responses to Linkluster XLVI

  1. Kirk says:

    From the rules of PCC:

    “You may not go to a public library.”

    WTF? Many of the other rules are weird, too, like the one where a guy can’t allow his date to wear his jacket.

    Cooties prevention?

    I love that the college is apparently “cracking down” on wiping boogers on walls. Ah, those Christians are a rebellious group after all.

  2. trumwill says:

    Public libraries may contain books about evolution. Not sure about the jackets. Probably considered a public display of affection.

  3. Kirk says:

    And the boogers represent aborted fetuses!

  4. Maria says:

    I’m an athiest, and I don’t feel discrminated against. IMHO, athiests who proselytize aggressively are just as annoying as religious folk who proselytize.

    Athiesm is an absence of belief in god; it’s not a substitute religion, but some “athiests” seem to think that it is. I have no desire whatsoever to “convert” anyone to my way of thinking, and couldn’t care less if the separation of church and state isn’t always “perfect.” (I like the White House Easter Egg Roll and the White House Christmas Tree Lighting, for example.)

  5. Peter says:

    I remain unconvinced as to the authenticity of that Pensacola Christian College site.

  6. trumwill says:

    The PCC site is not the university’s official site, which is here. The part about boogars is weird, but most of it is in-keeping with what I do know about the school. The Chronicle of Higher Ed did a story about it a while back. The CHE limits access to the archives to subscribers, but I read it when it was new. Here’s a discussion about the article.

    It’s truly a bizarre place. I am thinking of going there, sometime, when I’m next in Pensy. I’d probably get arrested, though.

  7. trumwill says:

    Maria, I tend to view atheist complaints as a bit overwrought. But it’s easy for me to say since I am at least nominally a member of a church.

  8. Mike Hunt says:

    The notion that modern medicine has failed us in the areas of heart disease and cancer is wrong. Well, at least on heart disease. But even on cancer, we’re improving a little. That might say something about how everything might not be giving us cancer after all.

    As macabre as this sounds, as a nation we can’t afford to keep extending life expectancy.

    I would prefer that medical research go to improving the lives of the young, rather than extending the lives of the old. Ideally, the concept of the Seeing Eye dog should become obselete. If we could unretard people, that would be nice too.

  9. trumwill says:

    I would prefer that medical research go to improving the lives of the young, rather than extending the lives of the old.

    Spoken like a young person! 🙂

    I agree. But we’ll see if I still agree when I’m 60.

  10. ? says:

    To a first approximation, PCC’s rules read exactly like the rules at USAFA.

    But PCC’s rules are motivated by Christian virtue, and thus held up to scorn, while USAFA’s rules are motivated by preventing sexual harassment, and are therefore approved.

  11. trumwill says:

    Phi! How ya doin’, man!

    The AFA is something of a different bird because it feeds into an institution where rules can be rigid*. I would view a seminary in much the same way. I do look at the rules of Antioch College with a similar horror as with PCC, though.

    I would also add that the PCC’s rules on “social interaction” are only part of the oddness. BYU has some pretty rigid rules, too, and while I look at it and think “Man, I wouldn’t want to go there!” (nor would I want to go to the AFA), I have a greater understanding of its mission and how the rules coincide with that mission, as well as more respect for it as an academic institution. The kicker for me is that the PCC is not even accredited.

    * – Law & Order had an episode a long while back about the Air Force and the sexual conduct rules, where it came down pretty hard on the USAF for rules that it believed treated women like infants.

  12. ? says:

    Busy. Finding a job is full-time work! But my dissertation defense is scheduled, so the light is definitely at the end of the tunnel.

    BTW, I’ve been meaning to say: it would be nice if Web could add a feature to Hitcoffee.com that emails commenters when the thread is updated, like Blogger does.

    I think the issue of accreditation is orthogonal to the rules of an institution. But yeah, respecting the mission is exactly the point. I speculate that PCC sees mission its mission as developing Christian character, which in the present context entails being faithful to one’s future spouse.

    I have greater respect for that mission than for USAFA’s, which as near as I can tell is: staying out of the Denver Post.

    I missed that L&O episode, but women at USAFA are like women anywhere: they’re all about being treated like grownups right up until something bad happens. Then they’re all about avoiding any personal accountability for their own actions. The administration is wise to how this works, and knows perfectly well that no general gets fired for making too many rules. Generals do get fired for saying, “well, what did she think would happen when she got drunk and stupid?”

  13. trumwill says:

    We’re running a really old version of WordPress and I plan to upgrade at some point (making the transition from hitcoffee.net to hitcoffee.com along the way), at which point we will make something available. If you’d like, I can shoot you an email when I see a response to something you’ve said.

    I speculate that PCC sees mission its mission as developing Christian character, which in the present context entails being faithful to one’s future spouse.

    No doubt, but it is also supposed to be an institution of higher learning. Thus making it different, in my view from BYU. Whatever else I can say about it, BYU will give its students a degree that’s worth something. And will allow students a very particular atmosphere along the way. Without a some degree of worth, the other things that PCC provides become more salient. And more worthy of criticism. I still don’t like the rules at BYU (or, from the sounds of it, the USAFA), but I still have more respect for the institutions as a whole.

    Though the mission of USAFA’s sexual harassment policy may be to avoid the Denver Post, I would assume its mission as an institution has to do with feeding recruits into the Air Force. It’s the larger mission, rather than the motivation behind specific policies, that I refer to.

    There are various left-wing institutions that I would also roll my eyes at, including Antioch College (specifically for their sexual harassment and feminism policies) or the late, great Sangamon State University (which still exists as Illinois-Springfield), but not as it was) for being silly in a number of respects

    Which brings me back to another point, which is that my criticism of PCC is not limited to its male/female interaction policies. Banning use of public libraries, Columbia House records, playing cards, and so on. While BYU is preparing people for the larger world (particularly in Mormon Utah, Mesa, eastern Idaho, and segments of California, but where they will have a strong support network wherever they go), and the USAFA is preparing people for the armed services, the PCC is preparing people for lives of extreme awkwardness and social segregation outside of a very narrow segment of society.

    The PCC offers a service to kids of parents of a certain stripe, but so do a lot of people and businesses worthy of condemnation. I’m not denying that my subjective viewpoint plays a role here. I am more likely to withhold criticism of entire institutions for particular policies when I see a greater good being achieved despite said policies.

  14. ? says:

    Lest there be any confusion on this point, I am not offering a full-throated defense of PCC. I would say that a lot of their rules — the ones you mention, for instance — go past the point of net-negative returns, given both the short and long term tradeoffs — which you also mention.

    And I appreciate that your jaundiced eye looks both left and right.

    But to launch an attack on the silly rules when the real issue is the mission and worldview behind them strikes me as bad faith. It would be like me (and I will admit that some conservatives have done this) launching an attack on Muslims for their treatment of women, when in fact I oppose Islam for other reasons.

    And I’m not sure your defense of USAFA and BYU does you credit. Yes, their missions are more respectable and thus they enjoy (especially in the case of USAFA) extraordinary status. But that’s just it: these are, in their way, powerful institutions, whereas hitcoffee has more readers than PCC has alumni. Picking on PCC is like, I dunno, picking on the Amish. Neither of them threaten anybody. They have no power. They are not a harbinger. They attract the attetion of nobody except bullies who want to get in one last kick at an imaginary past.

    If we’re going to pick on somebody, let’s pick on any number of “institutions of higher learning” whose product is every bit as dubious as that of PCC. And whose moral environment (everybody the same age, everybody living on someone else’s dime, everybody screwing everybody else) is also not especially good preparation for the wider world.

  15. trumwill says:

    I take your point about the relative powerlessness of PCC, with a couple of caveats: We’re talking about a university of thousands and not hundreds*. Larger than the University of Tulsa (significant enough for a Division I-A football program) and not about a thousand shy of Rice, and we’re talking about a school with at least some measure of influence beyond its walls as a major publisher of learning materials for Christian homeschoolers. But I can agree that their influence outside their own subculture is going to be more limited than that of, say, Regent University, even if Regent is not as big a school

    I don’t write about PCC because I consider it an existential threat to the Republic, but rather because I consider it to be an oddity. Am I picking on the little guy? I suppose so. But they’ve marginalized themselves. I posted the link without much in the way of comment because, for most people, I think it speaks for itself.

    I could write a rather lengthy post on the subject of the legitimacy of their concerns (or possible lack thereof), the Northwestern University sex class, and so on, but it’s beyond the scope of Linkluster linksharing. Maybe I will write about it at some point. I can already tell that part of the disconnect is how we’re going to define “everybody screwing everybody else.” I have written about high school being terrible preparation for the wider world. But the college experience, as I experienced it (somewhere less than everybody having sex with everybody else, but enough to get me kicked out of BYU), didn’t prove to be nearly as harmful as high school, even if I did have sex in dormitories.

    I do have a post coming up this week sometime on the University of North Dakota and their sexual harassment/assault policy. I will probably not be digging into some of the underlying factors as much as you would like, however.

    * – The university actually caught my attention because I drove past it one day and wondered, “Woah, what school is this?” and looked it up. They have a really nice campus.

  16. ? says:

    Okay, I just spent some time trolling the PCC website. Evidently, they’re a bigger deal than I gave them credit for.

    The actual student conduct standards are on pp 31 – 33 of the student guide. My reading is that they are on the right side of the bell curve when it comes to evangelical Christian colleges, but they’re still on that curve. And now that I think about it, I’m not sure they would have made much difference to me personally. Restrictions on music? I already listen to classical and Christian contemporary. No movies? I didn’t see many anyway (I couldn’t afford them either in time or money.) Don’t dress like a slob (or a slut)? This is just the grown-up dress code we all follow now without being told, so I might as well have got started in college.

    No touching? A nerd’s paradise! Seriously, nothing sux to a guy without a girlfriend like watching that guy flaunt his higher status.

    So maybe the don’t-pick-on-the-underdog rule doesn’t apply. But then, nor does your criticism about how PCC leaves its graduates socially unprepared for the real world? They’re probably better adjusted than we give them credit for.

    The accreditation thing bothers me, especially since they advertise “Bachelor of Science” degrees. Why are they not pursuing ABET accreditation?

  17. trumwill says:

    Doesn’t that campus look awesome?

    I’m not sure the SRG really captures what a lot of the complaints are about. Perhaps they’re in the Honor Code, which they won’t show you until you’ve been accepted. If you start at #6 here, you can read the Chronicle of Higher Ed article on the place.

    I have a lot of thoughts on other aspects of your post, but I’m going to save them for now as I have a meeting in the morning.

    What’s interesting to me about the accreditation is that they’re even trying for it. Their previous stance was that they didn’t want it and didn’t need it. As for why they’re not pursuing ABET certification, I have a cynical and charitable explanation.

    Cynical: They wouldn’t meet ABET’s standards and know it. There are apparently some questions about TRACS, how thorough their process is, and a sort of semi-accreditation they have.

    Charitable: They want accreditation that will give them the most amount of institutional control over what they teach, and they’re more likely to get that from one that accredits from a Christian perspective.

    —-

    Tangential: A while back, BYU suspended its star basketball player for having sex. That really impressed me.

  18. ? says:

    ABET’s accreditation standards aren’t really that onerous. I wasn’t directly involved in my department’s periodic review, but the word was that we had broad latitude to define our own educational objectives.

    Put another way, here is a line from the “Qualifications” block for a computer engineer on USA Jobs (a website with which I have growing familiarity):

    Basic Requirements GS-9/13

    A. Degree: professional engineering. To be acceptable, the curriculum must:

    (1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or

    (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

    The “Electrical Concentration” program of study at PCC seems to meet the option (2) criteria.

    On the other hand, I kind of get PCC’s paranoia about accreditation games. I remember a while back when one of the medical accreditation boards tried to mandate abortion training as part of its OB/GYN standards. I don’t remember how that ended up, but it’s those kind of stories that create PCC’s attitude.

    On the other other hand, there is nothing Christian about a lack of accountability. If accountability is good enough for PCC’s students, then it should be good enough for PCC.

    Which brings me to the article. On the one hand, I am reluctant to take anything appearing in the Chronicle at face value, especially when they rely on equal parts named and unnamed sources. But let’s proceed on the assumption that the accounts the article contains are true as far as they go.

    A couple of things jumped out.

    It doesn’t make much sense for PCC to say “there are so many non-physical things to get to know about a person” and then put so many restrictions on talking to members of the opposite sex. (Although, reading between the lines, it appears that the college does provide “chaperoned areas” where this can take place.)

    The lack of due process for expulsion bothers me, especially for rules “made up on the spot”. This ought to bother the college more than it does. Due process ensures that discipline supports PCC’s objectives and not private vendettas (for instance).

    On the other hand, out of a student body of 5000, the article only managed to produce 10 or so students with tales to tell. It seems the overwhelming majority of students get with the program, in body if not in spirit.

    But, okay, I will concede that if the article is accurate, then I would not have wanted to go there. Really, how hard would it have been for PCC to just build two single-sex campuses?

  19. trumwill says:

    I will bow to your knowledge of ABET and go with the more charitable explanation, then. Maybe the accountability you refer to is why they’re going the TRACS route. It gives them a way to demonstrate accountability, but to an organization that shares their goals.

    In my mind, I don’t know that the chaperoned areas count. Given the givens, there are so many things that they would probably be reluctant to say or talk about. It’s hard to really get to know someone under those circumstances, in my view.

    With regard to the expulsion process (and the article in general), I think I am inherently mistrustful of organizations that have the kind of power that this institution exerts over its student population. I think “my word is law” lends itself to believing in the absolute authority of “my” word, and the subjective way in which individuals and close-knit groups see things. Combined with the belief that any sort of balance is the road to ruin. Due process is a sort of balance.

    In addition to those from the article, you also have the website I link to in the post, which started as “Student Voice”, a collection of disaffected students wanting to register their protest. I agree that a strong majority of PCC students probably have no complaints and a non-trivial number are probably getting what they want (or what they think they want).

    What makes the accreditation such a big deal for me is that it makes things nearly impossible for anyone else. “Why don’t you leave?” becomes a much more difficult question when no other colleges will recognize what you’ve done there. And students kicked out, potentially (though not necessarily) for frivolous reasons have suffered a degree of harm they wouldn’t have suffered from similar expulsion from Abilene Christian University, Union University, or some other similarly (though not quite as) conservative school.

    That’s why I view the two as being not entirely unrelated. To me, it’s at least potentially another form of control: you will suffer if you leave.

    On the other hand, I kind of get PCC’s paranoia about accreditation games. I remember a while back when one of the medical accreditation boards tried to mandate abortion training as part of its OB/GYN standards. I don’t remember how that ended up, but it’s those kind of stories that create PCC’s attitude.

    This is kind of a tangent (my comment, nor yours), but…

    I believe it’s required in New York State, but I don’t know that it is anywhere else. There is an exemption for docs with religious or moral objections (so they don’t have to perform any), but I can definitely see how that wouldn’t matter from an institutional standpoint.

    Clancy worked from a Catholic hospital in Estacado. The church couldn’t abide by tubal ligations and the like, but such was required to house the program that they housed, so they basically rented out a floor of the building to the university where they could wheel patients up and do it.

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