What I Love Best About My Program At UNL

Moving to Lincoln was one of the best decisions of my life. Husker Hall is amazing and well run by the RA; my friends are amazing; my life is amazing. But what about the political science program itself? What is the best part of PoliSci@UNL?


I loved teaching computer-y classes before with my MA in CS, but teaching political science is a blast. Students are very involved, there are many opportunities for discussion, and I can apply things I learned from the blogosphere into the classroom. The ideas of Barnett, Boyd, Robb, and Safranski, in particular, have made great discussion fodder.

Again and again in recitations, the question of Why are we in Iraq? has come up. Without giving a definitive answer, I can summarize the Scythian/Flypaper Theory and relate it to concepts we have gone over. Additionally, some students are 9/11 conspiracy theorists. While expressing my doubts about that hypothesis, I can answer their comments with an introduction to 5GW and the meanings of “power.”

Plus, I love helping people learn. The professor I am working under has been very helpful to me, giving me direction and the freedom to teach to every recitation’s individual interests and capabilities.

Woot teaching!

Forgetting and Representing

Rules for Remembering Names and Places
– modified keyword method
– 1. form a substitute word, phrase, or thought that will remind you of the name (use a visual with a story)
– 2. find one outstanding feature on the face
– 3. associate the two things (visual story)
– name / face / thought in mental triangle
– called the “Zip” method

Construction and Reconstruction
– a process of distortion to make an easy pattern
– part of learning and forgetting
– “We fill in the lowlands of our memory from the highlands of our imgination”
– example: a story is told about an engaged couple who quarrel. A week later, if the group is told the engagement is off, they remember the fight as worse. Else, they remember the fight as minor.
– implications for early Christianity?
– when you assume a fact in a question, you can make someone “remember” (reconstruct) the assumed fact
– Cathecism / Christian FAQ implications?
– reconstructed narratives == “framing” ?

“Failure to Construct” / “Failure to Encode” as “forgetting” — “I forgot your name” — did you ever remember it?
– without correct context, narratives are very hard to remember
– reason titles are important: it actives prior knowledge

– “good students test themselves, so there’s nothing the teacher can ask them that they haven’t asked themselves”
– Clausewitzian? slow OODA? scientific or “zero-defect” strategy?
– importance of being flexible, able, to deform an environment (by applying friction) into more easily conquorable battlespace
– (how did early Christianity deform Roman “regime ” to make victory easier?)
– for example, deforming a story problem into an algebra problem
– “application skill,” Boydian, empowerment, Sun-Tzu
– “metacognition it not just an academic skill, it is a life skill”
– self-awareness and self-questioning
– works with situational memories
– “visualization as form of metacognition”
— people who visualize freethrows imporve almost as much as those who actually practice
— so could universities be an example of harmful visualization / learning, where “thought experiments” that provide non-real outcomes impede understanding?
— competence and domination, pecking order visualization, Howard Bloom’s “Lucifer Principle”
— “breaking confidence” as cognitive/metacognitive/visualized battlespace?

You need skill (metacognition) and will (desire) to learn — true????

Memory and learning strategies decrease in importance as general knowledge increases

– importance of non-sequential learning (not “reading” or “listening”)
– semiotics implications

Introduction to Knowledge Representations
Compare Outline v. Matrix
Localization Seperated v. Together
Clutter Repititious v. Efficient
Missing Info Obscured v. Apparent
“Big Picture” Obscrued v. Apparent

Matrices are better/faster than outlines
– (because of human visual processing / pattern recognition?)

only good reason to use representations is to know patterns and relationships, otherwise useless

Representation Systems
– superordinate/subordinate
– rule of thumb: if you have 7 or more of anything, you have nothing (sheik system?)
– every hierarchy can become a matrix
– think above, below, lateral
sequences – temporal
matrices – coordinate/comparative
diagram/illustration – static/dynamic

Cherry Coffeecake/Bars

tdaxp comment: Half gone in half-an-hour. Two-thirds gone shortly thereafter.

1 Cup Butter or Margarine (if margarine use Fleischman or Blue Bonnet Brand which also says something specific about ‘for baking’)

1 1/4 Cup Sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Cups flour

1 can cherry pie mix (blueberry is good too)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Blend in remaining ingredients. Put 2/3 of the batter in a 10 x 15″ pan or larger. Spread 1 can pie mix over the batter. Drop the remaining dough by teaspoons. Spread over the top of the pie mix. Bake at 350 degrees 25 – 30 minutes. Drizzle glaze over bars while hot.


1 Cup power sugar

1 Tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoons milk

(Apple) Fruit ‘n’ Cake

1 package (regular size) yellow or white cake mix
1/4 Cup cooking oil
2 eggs
1/2 Cup water
1 Can pie filling (20-23 oz. size)

Pour oil into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan; tilt pan to cover bottom. Put cake mix, eggs and water into pan; stir with a fork or spoon until blended (about 2 minutes) Scrape sides and spread batter evenly in pan. Spoon pie filling onto batter; use a fork to fold into batter just enough to creat a marbled effect. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes (until toothpick (or a thin knife) inserted near center comes out clean) . Let cool a little bit before serving.

Suggestions for pie mix: cherry, apple, blueberry, peach