The professor I TA for dumped something on me today, and I just had to blog about it!

There is a student in our class with special needs, and rather than emailing SSD and setting up things the way other professors would, this one sent me an email to let the student finish his exam in my office if he needed extra time.  Normally I would not have a huge issue with this, but my favorite band is playing in Richmond tonight and I am going to stay with my best friend who now lives there.

I cannot ignore the students needs and have to give him all the time he needs to complete his exam, but I also really want to go see my friend.  I have to be back tomorrow to grade exams, and I only get a small amount of time with my friend.  I found out this morning that some of that time was going to be cut into, and I felt cheated.  I have never felt this feeling before in academia.  I have felt it many times as a restaurant manager, and I put a lot of effort into ensuring that my staff never felt that feeling.  It is one thing to agree to go above and beyond, but it is something very different to be volunteered.  As a restaurant manager if I ever tried not to do what I was volunteered for I would be told something along the lines of: “most any potential GM that was as young as you would jump at the opportunity to go above and beyond… maybe you aren’t GM material after all…”  I was not told that I was going to devolve my career if I did not stay and accommodate the student, but I felt karma would have had something much worse in store for me.

I guess the real substance of this post is my desire to be something better.  I know we have all felt the pressures of being volunteered for something by our superior, and I want to do all I can to ensure that those who study or work under me do not have this feeling.  I hate it when my time is wasted, and I feel there is nothing worse or more selfish than wasting someone else’s time.


Econ 101?

A few weeks ago a friend and I had a rapid conversation about moving virtual currency between emulated Everquest© servers.  Another friend who works for a business school happened to overhear the conversation, and later told me that he felt my friend and I both deserved MBA’s for what we had discussed.  This concept has had my attention ever since.  My friend and I were moving coinage from one market to another in an attempt to increase the value of our coinage and it worked.  I have never really done much “Real Money Trading,” but I know a few people who have been quite successful.  Most of my experiences have centered around simply game play, but I have seen enough people actually make money for me to give anything centered around this concept a worthwhile examination.

I typically play older games that do not have the demand that some of the newer and more popular ones do.  However, one of the latest games Diablo 3© has a built in Auction feature that allows players to interchange in-game gold and USD.  One person claims to have made over $10,000 playing the game.  He has put his story on the internet via reddit.

I personally believe his claims.  I have friends who have made well over $500 from less popular games.

I want to tie this back into what my friend said about the MBA’s.  After all the discussion we have had about the future of education I feel that one day this could be the road to a degree.  In a virtual world economies exist, and they have huge parallels to the economy of the real world.  Below is a link to a description written by someone with a better ability of communicating the complexities of a virtual world than myself:

Although it is not here yet, I feel this is the future.  I have seen people toy with virtual economies, and accomplish their desired ends.  I have speculated on commodities and made virtual money myself.  Just a month ago I was treated to a meal, and told that it was complements of one of my friends avatars that he had sold for USD.  There is much to be learned from both virtual and real economies, and I do feel that they are different beasts, but in the same breath I feel that what is learned in the real world can be applied to the virtual one, and vise versa.  I will not be surprised when the first crop of virtual MBAer’s is awarded their accredited degrees, and I would not hesitate to hire or be a member of its ranks.  My personal experiences with massive multiplayer games had given me all the evidence I need.  I have seen people make money by playing a game, and I have witnessed them learn from it.  I have even learned a great deal from the virtual world myself.  Video gaming is a part of the future of studying economics and business, and should be welcomed with respect it deserves.

Dissipating Ism’s

In a class of mine (therefore political related) we discussed Tools of War.  One of those tools was the dehumanization of the other (the enemy).  Simply put, how we (humans) are able to shoot and kill other people and sleep at night.  For most of history we have called the enemy things like: “Barbarian, Pagan, Savage and Uncivilized” to name only a few.  All of these terms are ways of making the people that we fight against something different.  We cannot condemn the people who have gone to war for using these terms.  The Roman Legions had to sleep at night, and if by calling those that opposed them “Barbarians” allowed the troops to sleep, who are we to judge them for it?  The same has to be true of those who use this antiquated technique today.  It is a way to allow people to engage in necessary, but horrific acts and live with themselves.

Our discussion was of the history of just recent American wars and how our Generation was changing things.  When the Greatest Generation went to war in 1941 they took with them many racially fueled slurs.  They were not killing the people of Germany, they were at war with with the “Krout’s!”  It was not the people of Japan that had attacked Pearl Harbor, it was the “Jap’s!” In Vietnam it was not the people of North Vietnam, but the “Guk’s”with whom we were at  war; today we are once again at war, but not with an entire nation.  Just with a select few that are brining a bad light on the peaceful people of Islam and the sovereign state of Afghanistan.  We do not use slurs against these people in popular media.  Things are different today.  It can be called “Political Correctness” or any other title, but the fact of the matter is things are different.  It was common place in 1942 to blame something publicly on the “Jap’s.”  Today not only those writing the media, but the people consuming it would not stand for a similar slur.  Then the person using the slur would have been championed by those around them.  It was completely normal to do so.  Today if someone uses a slur, even agains our Enemy, they are shunned.  It is simply not the norm anymore.

It was not unusual to call a person of Japanese decent a slur in the forties.  It was less common to call a person of Vietnamese decent a slur in the Seventies, but it still happened.  Today it does not happen.  This is a wonderful and noticeable change.

Our generation is changing things.  I have friends who have been deployed and who have fought in war.  They differentiate between the citizens of Afghan and the terrorists they fight.  They do not have a hatred for all Afghans or Muslims the way my friend’s fathers who are veterans of the Vietnam war feel about the Northern Vietnamese people or that my Grandfather felt towards the people of Japan.  Where two generations ago the entire nation of people (not just the combatants) were made into the “other,” and placed in a subhuman place, today things are different.  By the next major historical skirmish (Vietnam) it was not the entire nation of Vietnamese People that was othered, but just those on the Northern part of the peninsula, and engaging in warfare with the United Stated.  Today, dehumanization happens, but it is different.  The government and the people and therefore even the soldiers do not have issue with races, religions or nationalities, but with individuals and small groups of people.  We do not fight these large groups, but “Sick” individuals who are not the norm and therefore different.

We do not live in a perfect world, but we do live in an organic one.  Though the place is the same and it has not been but a few generations we can see improvement in our own streets.  The improvement is so drastic it is visible to nearly all.  Something as serious as war, and the necessary dehumanization of the enemy has improved leaps and bounds in the last century.  Warriors see things differently than they did a few generations ago.  Because of this visible transformation we can have hope for a better future, one with less Ism’s and less otherness!