Monthly Archives: February 2015

againKyle Smith says that Scandanavia isn’t all that as they have high depression rates, but Scott Alexander says that depression is not a proxy for social dysfunction.

Sorry I missed this during the holiday, but apparently some single Japanese men were busy spending their Valentine’s week protesting Valentine’s Day.

I would love to take the advice of Joseph McCabe, and forego Disneyland in favor of a Hayao Miyzaki theme park.

Some of the proposed changes to the Japanese constitution seem disturbing. It would be helpful if they had more than one major political party.

Android watches have not taken off as Google might have hoped. I’m pondering getting a Pebble.

You might think of Batman as a superhero, but tell that to the ghost of Stephen Merrill, who was killed by an uppercut from this alleged hero. (It’s actually an article about obituaries requiring a cause of death, and so Merrill’s became that uppercut.)

As we continue to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall, photographer Stefan Koppelkamm presents the contrast between East German and eastern Germany.

Professor Tom Murphy (UCSD) argues that the oil boom has bought us a couple of decades to move away from oil, but there’s still reason to worry.

Daniel Gross looks at American Oil Production, and why it isn’t (yet) cratering like it should. Can it survive $10/oil?

The New York Times looks at prosthetic hands and Deep Stuff looks at nursing care robots.

It’s outrageous when Big Money boasts of its ability to buy influence. On wait, they’re talking about immigration! Nevermind, then.

Category: Newsroom

Tennessee’s high school athletics authority has suspended two teams for an unusual reason: They played in competition to lose.

The TSSAA removed Riverdale and Smyrna from the high school girls basketball postseason on Monday following a report from a high school referee in charge of their District 7-AAA consolation game held Saturday where he said that both schools “played to lose the game.”

Both Rutherford County schools were placed on restrictive probation by the high school association for the rest of the school year and probation for the 2015-16 school year.

Both schools were fined a total of $1,500 apiece.

Over There, Sam Wilkinson objects:

Both coaches had instructed their players to do what they did because both coaches realized that winning that night’s game put themselves in a worse position in further tournament play. Because of an odd quirk in the Tennessee seeding mechanism, either team winning the game would have been punished by being put in a bracket that included Blackman High School, a regional powerhouse, a team ranked first in Tennessee basketball and fourth nationally. Blackman had beaten Smyrna by 23 points in January, and, a few days later, beat Riverdale by 8.

Both coaches rightfully recognized that being on Blackman’s side of the bracket would almost certainly involve getting beaten, and presumably thought that being on its opposite side might mean having a better chance to advance further in the tournament. There was no way to know this for certain of course but there is rarely a way to know anything for certain, so both coaches preceded make the strategic decision to encourage their players to understand that losing might be more beneficial than losing.

When I played football in middle school, we were playing a team, ahead 8-0. At the middle school level, place-kicking is non-existent. Even punting will only move you about 20 yards or so. That we were on their side of the field was a really, really big deal. We were on our own five yardline or so. Turning the ball over meant that they would get the ball right in scoring range. In order to avoid that, we gave the ball to our fastest running back and he was told to evade the defense for as long as he could in the endzone. It was essentially a self-inflicted safety. But it meant that we would be able to kick the ball off from the 20 instead of from the 5, and kicking from a tee meant that the kick would go further than a punt, with less possibility or error. It was a genius move, and we won 6-2.

The coach gave us a lecture after the game, though, about how you should always try your best, but “best” can mean different things under different circumstances. I knew exactly what he had done, and I thought it was awesome that he won us the game.

Despite that bit of strategery, though, I come down against the coaches in the TSSAA case. It’s one thing to sacrifice a play (or three) for strategic advantage in a game, but another thing entirely to throw a game for playoff positioning. I just can’t get on board with that, and would be embarrassed and angry if I went to watch my daughter (or future son) intentionally lose in order to avoid a tougher game next.

There is some flexibility here. Such a game, where you’re not worried about losing, is a great time to give kids that don’t get as much game time an opportunity to play more. I can also forgive missing free throw shots because you’re trying some fun things (underhanded, etc). These are things that can add fun to a game. Intentionally getting ten second penalties isn’t fun. It isn’t enriching. At best, it’s exploiting a loophole. At worst, it undermines the points of playing the game to begin with at that level: having fun, and learning teamwork and competition. Sam and others might argue that two teams trying to lose together are engaging in a competition, but it’s not a meaningful one.

It makes me think, just a bit, of how sometimes a part of me will actively wish that Southern Tech (or some other team I am rooting for) will lose out so that our coach might be fired and replaced with someone better. I have to actively tell myself that’s a bad mentality to have (there are debates on the message board). But I’m just a guy and if I hope we lose that makes me a bad fan. If players were to actually try to lose a game with the hopes of replacing a bad coach, I’d want the new coach to replace as many players as possible, such would be my embarrassment.

Play to win. If you’ve already effectively won, or don’t care about winning, play to have fun.

Category: Theater

I’ve been watching the Amazon Original TV show Bosch, which is based on Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch book series. I will tack on some thoughts on the show at the end. But for now, I am reminded of something that Connelly did that sort of left me rolling my eyes. It’s something that multiple authors do. It is an understandable temptation for each book to have a sense of finality behind it. But if you’re writing a series of books with a single protagonist, it… doesn’t work so well, often as not.

At the end of one of the books, Harry Bosch leaves the LAPD. Done! Finished! Finito! Except… Connelly still has books to write. There’s only so much you can do with Bosch working freelance, or as a private investigator. Connelly actually said as much himself in and afterword on the later book when Bosch rejoined the force. Well, duh Connelly.

In another series (which I won’t name because it is spoilerish, but I will call S2), the sense of finality was the main character Finding Love at Last. The end result is that his wives kept having to die.

There is actually some crossing between the two of these. Bosch fell in love in one book and then out in the next a few times. And at the end of the first S2 book, the character Quit The Police Force to require peacefully at a shrimp hut. In the second book, he joined another force, which he quit by the end. Finality! He was back in the next book, and the author didn’t have him quit again after that.

There are actually more I can name, but you get the idea.

As far as I have read, Stephen Cannell has kept his Shane Scully character faithful to the Love Of This Life from the first book, and she hasn’t died yet. It can be done! It does require a fair amount of discipline, though.

Another series (S3) had the woman from the first book throughout until the second-to-last book, where she died, and her shadow hung over the last book. Very well done. Especially since it was sort of a Match Made In Hell. In the last book, when dealing with the rubble of the Love Of His Life that had been unfaithful to him twice in the last few books, literally said “{$%@ you, [wife]” at a point in which it was warranted. And he meant it.

The Jason Bourne series also did this right, at least when Robert Ludlum was writing it. That was only three books, though, but the Love Of His Life from the first book was there throughout, and they made it work. When Ludlum died, though, another writer took over. Killing her off was the first thing he did. He didn’t even bother killing her off. He just announced that she had died. (The same character died at the very beginning of the second movie.)

You can have characters quit, or fall in love. That’s no problem. But seriously, you have to have a plan for what to do next. There’s only so much dramatic finality you can have in a book that is part one of a series.


Some thoughts on the Bosch TV series:

The TV show is okay, intersecting a couple of plots from a couple of books. Which is a good move, because those of us who have read the books get both familiarity and the uncertainty of not knowing how they are going to intersect.

Titus Welliver is an awkward age for the role. Being a Vietnam vet is a significant part of the Bosch character, but he’s too young to have served in that war (and the budget doesn’t support fitting it 20 years back when the books were written). Rewriting it to Afghanistan, which they did, doesn’t particularly work… but there’s also the fact that he’s too old for Afghanistan.

Apart from that, my only real complaint is minor: too much exposition. It’s like the writers felt the need to try to tell us everything about the character as quick as possible. I don’t think we need to know everything about him right away.

But I like that it’s a mystery over a season. Which something like Amazon (or Netflix) is perfect for, since all of the episodes are released at once. It’s my dream that someday there will be a Kindle County TV series, wherein each season will have a different court case or investigation (and a largely different cast). I thought of that before Netflix and company started making TV shows, but it’s actually perfect for it.

Category: Theater

peecolaPolitical scientists and reporters rank states by corruption. New Jersey came out as the most corrupt, though Louisiana didn’t participate.

Ben Domenech (I assume, with caution) wrote a piece in The Federalist arguing that feminists should get some of the credit for the falling abortion rates.

Britain is expanding the definition of child abuse. Widely. As skeptical as I sometimes am of our own system, I can always say “At least we’re not Britain.”

Clickhole tells the inspiring story of young Alex Lambert, who overcame bullying by changing those aspects of his personality that were causing other kids to pick on him.

Even as we experience the Golden Age of Television, we’re also experiencing a sitcom recession. Josef Adalian considers what can be done about it.

Nuclear power is making a comeback in China, and an Airbnb-type company is making a splash.

Randal Olson looks at unique American baby names, and wonders what caused the upsurge in the 1970’s.

Can text messages be used to increase med compliance?

With budgets being tight and crime being low, it’s no surprise that states are re-evaluating expensive incarceration options. It is a bit of a surprise that Texas is one of the states leading the way. Perhaps they hate taxes even more than they hate criminals!

Biblical literalism doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means.

Kevin Drum explains that yes, in fact, some people do love Facebook (and Walmart!), and it speaks questionably of the person who doesn’t recognize this.

Why dogs kick when you scratch their belly.

Category: Newsroom

CaptainPowerJetFor those of you who may recall, Captain Power was a TV show slash game back i the 80’s. Depending on who you asked, it either rocked or sucked. I can’t speak to how good the TV show was because I never saw it. I did have the game, however, along with a VHS cassette.

The game primarily consisted of pointing at a screen and trying to hit bright red parts of the opposing fighter planes. There was also yellow, and if you didn’t “dodge” it by turning your plane-gun away, you’d get hit. Get hit enough times, and the plane ejects.

I didn’t know what to expect when I asked for it, but I should have expected what I got even if I was young. Of course you wouldn’t be able to maneuver. it was a VHS tape! and whether you were doing anything or not, the game would go on and (on the VHS anyway) you would win. Your participation wasn’t actually necessary.

Dora_and_BootsI have a bit of a flashback with that when Lain watches Dora the Explorer. I give myself two episodes of “Dora time” a day, where she watches the show while I get various things done in absolute piece.

For those unfamiliar, the formula for Dora episodes is that Dora and Boots have to go somewhere. They consult a map, avoid Swipey the Squirrel who wants to steal something, and so on. Dora is always asking “you” (the viewer) for help. It’s interactive as far as that goes. Lain participates sometimes. It’s pretty great.

At some point, though, Lain is going to figure out that her participation is not necessary. Dora will get where she wants to go with or without her help.

Category: Theater


Over There, I posted about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s college career, and whether or not it should be considered in his run for the presidency:

There are a lot of professional positions that do not require a college degree. Ultimately, most don’t, because if they did, they would go unfilled. There is also an argument to be made that a lot of jobs that do require college degrees probably shouldn’t, though no doubt Okeem would disagree with that.

To be sure, there are jobs where college degrees matter a great deal. If I’m going under a scalpel, I probably want the scalpel-wielder to have either an MD or a DO or its equivalent. Engineers should demonstrate formal training in engineering. With rare except, teachers and professors should have their appropriate degrees. There is nothing elitist or snobbish about saying so.

It is perhaps ironic that executive positions are not always among that. He mentions, but dismisses the Bill Gates example. But after becoming an entrepreneur, Bill Gates did represent a gargantuan enterprise. Nobody thought that Microsoft’s Board ought to have replaced him so that their company could be represented by someone with a degree. And if Bill Gates were to want to get back into the business world, he would be (and should be) judged entirely on what he accomplished in business. As far as hiring goes, the importance of a college degree is that it gives employers a greater degree of confidence that you can achieve. If you have already achieved, then it’s beside the point.

I’m honestly a little bit (but only a little bit) surprised by the number of people who really stick to “it matters” and believe that a college degree confers something in accord with experience.

I think it can matter as a brick in the wall of a larger argument, that he is intellectually dim, lacks knowledge really important to the presidency, or doesn’t follow through. To date, I don’t find any such arguments convincing. In large part because of what he has accomplished since college. That’s not an endorsement. You can look at what he’s accomplished and say “There is no way I am ever voting for the guy!” but he’s not a mayor of Wasilla and a governor who has barely gotten their feet wet. There’s a record to look at that, in my view, has to be far more illuminating than the decisions he made twenty years ago with regard to his college education.

There also seem to be people who really believe that Obama’s life and experience equipped him to be president more than Walker, including the part about Obama’s BA and JD but also because the Senate is a better launching pad to the presidency. We’ve had a strong bias towards governors for quite some time, and I think it’s quite possible that the pendulum has swung. I think the argument is actually quite solid that we’ve put too much stock in governorships. But I think four years as governor of a mid-size state is always going to trump two years as a senator, and there is little else in their background to strongly distinguish between the two.

Though this is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, I do think we overloop cabinet appointees too often, particularly Secretaries of State and Defense, and maybe Attorney General. I’d add Treasury, but it would probably do a disservice to the position for it to be considered a launching pad to the presidency.

Anyway, lots of comments over there. Feel free to leave your thoughts here.

Category: School, Statehouse

arrestedWhile law school grads are suffering, MBA values are expected to rise.

American exceptionalism at work! We are exceptional at creating fear and acting on said fear. And we can’t even blame the lawyers! They’re certainly not responsible for hospitals refusing to name New Years babies for fear of kidnapping.

Dave Schuler argues that we have no existential threats to the US… except ourselves.

The egalitarian in me agrees with this Kriston Capps article: Airline pre-check status is bull&@#$.

Kansas is the best state.

Noah Charney has cracked the sitcom code. Is this the medium perfected, or the reason why sitcoms have become stale and unpopular?

While they are cited as a reason for the reduced smoking rates, further cigarette taxes hikes are unlikely to lead to much improvement.

Vaclav Klaus, the Czech leader who is a hero to some libertarians, has gone rogue.

The strong stance by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC backfired. The increased risk was actually minimal, and the resulting behavior of people trying to avoid it was to engage in even riskier behavior.

When I created my abortion map a year or two ago, I was really surprised by Delaware’s astronomic abortion rate. It turns out, it’s the product of a really high number of unexpected pregnancies.

Nafeez Ahmed argues that solar power will destroy fossil fuels by 2030. Though I hope I’d lose, I would take the other side of that bet.

Waze is starting to piss off residents by directing drivers through residential zones. The great part (for drivers, not residents)… Waze can’t be gamed to prevent it.

What will falling oil prices mean for the Great State of Texas? According to Erica Grieder, less than one might think.

Bad news! Teddy Roosevelt never rode that moose. Also, that picture you may have seen of yesteryear’s economy (airplane) cabin is totally fake. Relatedly, if you’ve seen that image showing the alleged browning of earth from 1978 to 2012, very misleading.

There’s still one of these coin-operated kiddie rides at the local supermarket. I never got to ride on them when I was younger. I hope they stick around long enough for Lain to be able to ride one.

New links:

A new directive in Sweden is that police guarding synagogues need automatic weapons.

VoA looks at weapons in the animal kingdom and what they tell us about human weapons.

Big tobacco and “health experts” agree: Those ecigarette things are dangerous.

Category: Newsroom

I was looking up whether we’re supposed to call the organization running rampant in Iraq by the name IS(IL/IS) or DAESH. The latter is a derogatory term from the region, and France and Australia have chosen to use it over IS/ISIL/ISIS on the basis that DAESH doesn’t get to “represent Islam.” I prefer Daesh for a couple of reasons. First, because it gives us a demonym (Daeshians). But mostly because they hate it and that works for me.

Anyway, this Guardian article reminded me of what I like about British English. I am not a fan of the superfluous ‘u’s, but there are a couple of things I really do like. For example, they drop the period on initials like Mr and Sr. You’ll notice that I tend to do the same, because I think periods should generally go at the end of a sentence. So I’ve adopted that, when I can. I also think some of their uses of “s” over “z” are better, and they don’t eliminate the “e” on judgment, which would be preferable (though not so much that I bother flouting our convention. Also, we switch “re” to “er” when their spelling is cooler (spectre is cooler than specter, and theatre to theater). Also, we eliminate duplicate “l” when we shouldn’t, like traveler vs traveller, or cancel vs cancelled.

Pertaining to the opening paragraph of this post, if an acronym is pronounced, they don’t use all-caps like we do. So the FBI is the FBI, but NASA is Nasa. I think this is better. Not the least of which because of the demonym thing for Daesh (Daeshians works better for me than DAESHians), but mostly it provides a cue as to whether it’s supposed to be pronounced or spelled out. The downside is that you don’t necessarily know when something is an acronym. But how much does etymology matter? And it’s something that can be clarified. I will honor our convention when it comes to Nasa, but not Daesh.

Category: Coffeehouse

So what universities should call themselves is something I have strong opinions about. So when a conversation broke out on the subject last week, I knew that I would have to write a very long post on the subject. Now, I fear that universities will not actually take my advice here. Often, there’s a fair amount of history behind the name. In some cases, though (like UNLV and UN-Omaha) one proposed name or another (Nevada State or University of Omaha) has historical ties.

Franchise universities (University of State at City or SSU-City)

I’m not a big fan of the concept of franchising universities. University systems are fine, but the constant refrain of University of State at City gets to be pretty obnoxious when the only thing that the Universities of State often have in common is the name and a chancellor. Other than that, different location, different professors, different admission standards, and different reputations. I know that faculty at the franchise schools often like the association, but the benefits seem largely illusory to me. I’m not sure anybody confuses Colorado State University at Pueblo with the real Colorado State. The cost of which is that the sidekick school lacks identity. The University of Southern Colorado may be a regional state school, but it’s at least a school and not an appendage. For the flagship university, it dilutes the brand. Once the University of Texas becomes the University of Texas at Austin it is no longer the University of Texas. It is the best of many, but only one of many.

It gets even worse in states that have no flagship University of or even University of of note.. Seriously, Alaska? You have like three universities and all of them have to be University of Alaska? Alaska State University is available! University of Anchorage would be an improvement! I understand why Louisiana has more than one University of Louisiana with neither being a flagship, but that represents petty politics and a failure of the imagination more than anything. Other states of interest are Nevada and Nebraska.

There are exceptions to this, one of which was hit on in the post: California. The University of California system is what it is, and a school would be nuts to not want to be associated with that (assisted in great part by the willingness of UCLA to be a franchise school, albeit a premier one). The other exception is if you have a strong academic institution without much desire to be its own brand. Having a University of Texas at Dallas doesn’t particularly interfere with UT or UTD, because the latter can really succeed as an academically impressive satellite school and the former isn’t particularly diminished by having a satellite school of UTD’s caliber. The shorthand for this is that if a school doesn’t want its own mascot and its own sports teams, then maybe it doesn’t actually need its own name. Or put another way, being a franchise school is something you should grow out of – if you choose to – rather than something you grow into.

Bidirectionalism (DirectionDirection(ern) State University)

If there’s one thing that’s worse than the sidekickdom of being a franchise school, it’s being a bidirectional school. Then you don’t even have a name suggesting that you may represent up to half of the state, you’ve got a corner of it. The names are also invariably long and clunky.

And there are almost always better names available. Such things are subjective, of course, but if I’m wanting to tell people where I graduated from, all other things being equal I’d prefer a vast number of alternatives to University of State at City, and especially DirectionDirectionern State University.

Modifiers (State Modifier University)

Modifiers run the gamut from good to bad, though I generally place them above franchise and bidirectional, and often but not always below directional or city-based names. I list it first because it contains some of the best alternatives, even if they’re often not available, and some of the worst alternatives, which themselves need alternatives.

Ever since Pennsylvania had to figure out what to call it’s public university (with University of Pennsylvania being taken and all), State has become the default modifier. Mostly used for land grant schools (Oregon, Montana, North Carolina), sometimes used for HBCUs (South Carolina, Delaware, Alabama), and occasionally a regional university gets promoted to the name (ID, TX, MO). It’s a staple of university namage, which means that few are available (the exceptions being states with nigh-universal franchising). State is available for one of the Alaska schools. Also for UNLV, which could have changed its name from Nevada Southern to Nevada State without so much as changing its NSU initials. It’s a bit more complicated now, though, that there is a Nevada State College. And lastly, Nebraska State University is a more impressive sounding name to me than the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

It might have been preferable had more of the land grants either stayed A&M’s (like Texas A&M did) or gone with Tech, as they did in Virginia, leaving State open for other schools. Given the mission of land grants, it would make sense. Tech has also been used for mining schools (Montana, New Mexico), and some general purpose technical schools (Arkansas, Louisiana) or former technical schools (Texas). Some land grants, of course, still use the A&M name for their land grants (or, more commonly, their HBCU land grants). For those that have university missions that correspond with A&M or Tech, but need another name, the school known as University of Missouri-Rolla became Missouri S&T (Missouri University of Science and Technology), which is a good one.

As an exception to the California exception, though, I think UC-Davis – the state’s designated “ag school” could benefit from being called California A&M. That school is impressive enough that it could carry its own brand.

Nobody has done more modifier names than Florida. This is due in part to Florida being the largest state without any franchising whatsoever. It’s also a state with an unusually low number of (very large) universities. It has stretched the ability to use modifiers, thus leading to names like Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University, both of which we should consider alternatives for because their names make them sound like for-profit strip-mall schools. Okay, that’s going a little far, but for major schools – as those two seek to be and both of which have over 25,000 students – they should aim for something different.

So let’s explore the alternatives!

Directionalism (University of Direction(ern) State)

The bigger a state, the more appropriate directions in school names are. The existence of a Southern Connecticut State is kind of weird to me, and is not much more notable to me than West Rock University would be. On the other hand, Southern California! South Florida! North Texas! Northern Illinois! All of those make sense to me as representing a significant chunk of land, people, or both. This is particularly true in states that have natural divisions, which the larger states tend to.

The word “bigger” here is more direction at geographical size than population, though is some degree a reference to both. It was good of Idaho (geographically large, but not population large) to avoid regional markers even though the state does split into directions pretty cleanly. With few enough universities, though, you don’t need to go that route. Montana has a larger number of schools, and some of them servicing areas with little population, so throwing in Western and Northern is less of an issue and preferable to the franchising they ultimately did.

I tend to prefer hard directions over positional directions. South Florida being better than Southern Florida. Except in cases like California, where SoCal is referred to Southern California as a region and not just as a university. (The same can be said for Middle Tennessee, which I will mention shortly.)

Directionalism can often work for the bidirectional schools. It’s easier for Louisiana than it is for Missouri. Northwestern is mostly Western, Southeastern is mostly eastern, Northeastern is mostly Northern, and Southwestern is mostly Southern. And since Southwestern and Northeastern are UL-Lafayette and UL-Monroe, you could just go with South(ern) and North(ern) if you were so inclined (Louisiana Tech might object to Northern, though, as they consider themselves the college of NorLa, but it would allow Northwestern State U to at least keep their logo and LaTech might not be as threatened by Northwestern State as they sometimes act with regards to ULM. Two of Missouri’s four bidirectionals have also taken on new names (Missouri State and Truman State), so theoretically you have some versatility unifying the directions on those. Or you can use city designations. Oklahoma has multiple bidirectionals, most of which could be tacked with a unidirectional name (Southeast to South, Northeast to East, Panhandle State to West or something incorporating the Panhandle but not the State)

In the case of the Florida schools, there is one unused direction, so a consideration for Florida Atlantic would be East Florida University or the University of East Florida.

Exceptions, we have some. The University of Central Florida, for example, would probably do well to move down the list to a city designation (University of Orlando). Notably, UCF is one of those schools that asks to be referred to by its initials instead of its full name. That’s a sign of changing to something else is in order. Middle Tennessee State has allegedly been trying to change its name to the University of Middle Tennessee for years, without much success. University of Direction State is almost always better than Direction State State University, even if its a non-direction like middle. But it would be better if there were either a good modifier or a city designation for it to use. Unfortunately, it’s in a town called Murfreesboro, and that won’t do. The only possibility is to skip to the People Names section.

On the other hand, the non-directional name would still be an improvement for bidirectional states. Northwestern State in Louisiana, for example, is technically in Central Louisiana and UCL would be an improvement (albeit one that might jinx them for sports injuries).

City Designation (University of City, City/County University, City/County State University)

The larger the urban area, the better University of City works. If the city itself is less remarkable, City University also works. Sometimes that’s not available, though, City State University is a possibility (though not always the best one). (Where applicable, you can insert County instead of city.) No matter what you’re looking at, though, the more noteworthy the city, the more you want to identify with it. University of City is the tightest identification, followed by City University, followed by City State University. So if it’s Charlotte, you go with University of Charlotte. If it’s Greensboro, you go with Greensboro University. The only reason you would go with City State is if the lack of state is already taken (like San Diego) or if you’re bound and determined to try to keep some sort of association with State State University (see exception below).

Relatedly, I’m rather dumbfounded that Boise State University is still named Boise State University. Even if I’m glad they aren’t the University of Idaho at Boise.

University of City designations would work for Central Florida (U of Orlando), UNC-Charlotte (U of Charlotte). On the other hand, if you want to go with Boca Raton for FAU, Boca Raton University is probably better than the reverse, and Greensboro University is probably better than the University of Greensboro. For the same reason that Auburn University is better than the University of Auburn would be (though Alabama Tech would have been better than both). Miami State University is the solution to the FIU problem, in my opinion. The University of Miami is taken, as is Miami University. But Miami State University is available.

For the Missouri bidirectionals, Cape Girardeau University has a nice liberal arts university sound to it, though Maryville University is taken (by a university in Saint Louis, interestingly enough).

In the case of Nebraska-Omaha, I should point out that the university was originally called the Municipal University of Omaha, University of Omaha is the original name minus the word Municipal).

Exceptions, we have some. Fresno State may benefit from an association with San Diego State more than it would be helped by being Fresno University or the University of Fresno. Just as California is an exception for University of franchising, Going uniformly with City State University might be advantageous in that particular case. That would be Sacramento State University, though, and not CSU-Sacramento. (Likewise, Texas schools in the Texas A&M system might benefit from being Corpus Christi A&M instead of the University of Corpus Christi… maybe.) There is also a general exception if the city name doesn’t work. Murfreesboro is an example. Hattiesburg is probably another one.

People Names

Northeastern Missouri State changed its name to Truman State, and that was definitely an upgrade. James Madison University is a better name than any I can think of that’s left in the state of Virginia. Ditto George Mason. If you have a good president’s name to use, that might be something to consider. Tennessee has former presidents of significance in the form of Andrew Jackson and James Polk, so those would be possibilities. Both would be controversial, though, and neither are probably as good as even the mediocre Middle Tennessee name (if they could get the University of Middle Tennessee name, at any rate). It wouldn’t have to be presidential, so theoretically a school in Mississippi could use MLK if they were so inclined.


It is my considered opinion that the University of Southwestern Louisiana should have given up its dream of being the University of Louisiana a long time ago, and accepted the University of Acadiana as its name. Acadiana is the name of the region that it’s in (in Trumanverse, it’s the name of an entire state). I can’t think of any other example, though.

Category: School

God help me, I liked Michael Bolton when I was younger. It didn’t last long, but… yeah. Anyway, my respect for Bolton increased greatly with his participation in this song:

Category: Theater