Wednesday, April 13, 2005 just came out with a fascinating new feature-- "Statistically Improbable Phrases."'s Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", show you the interesting, distinctive, or unlikely phrases that occur in the text of books in Search Inside the Book. Our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to how many times it occurs across all Search Inside books, that phrase is a SIP in that book.

I'm really fascinated by this kind of 'smart searching' as one might call it-- seeing patterns or hiccups in data would be extremely useful in my work and raises a lot of intellectual questions with me too.

Anyone know of similar projects and/or research elsewhere? I'd be curious to hear about them!
Wow-- I just came across an address for a person in Bayonet Point, FL.

What a terrible name!! I'm not sure I would ever want to live in a town named that, just on principle!
Very interesting....

And a breath of fresh air since it seems the clout of the big consulting and financial companies that was so stifling when I was at Dartmouth has been broken. More power to my fellow alums who have broken out of the corporate mold-- though I am surprised that 11% of this year's class went into a single program, however worthy.

Teach for America Attracts Record Number of Graduates
NPR Morning Edition, April 12, 2005


More college seniors than ever before are applying to Teach for America. That program is a little like the Peace Corps. For the past 15 years it has recruited top college graduates to teach for two years in low-income rural and urban schools. NPR's Anthony Brooks visited Dartmouth College to find out why applications to the program are up.

(Soundbite of voices)


This past week it was warm and sunny as the long New England winter finally released its grip on Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Students in T-shirts and flip-flops played Frisbee on the campus green while a campus tour guide made the most of this spring day.

Unidentified Woman: Yeah, welcome to Dartmouth. This is clearly an amazing day to see the school.

BROOKS: As the guide welcomes this group of prospective students, another class of Dartmouth seniors is preparing to leave.

Mr. ALEX DOMINGUEZ (Student): I'm from Brooklyn, New York. My focus is international economics and international relations.

BROOKS: But Alex Dominguez says what excited him most about the last four years was volunteering as a mentor for an underprivileged boy from a nearby town, so he applied to Teach for America, was accepted, and for the next two years he'll be a special ed teacher in a Newark, New Jersey, elementary school.

Mr. DOMINGUEZ: A lot of my friends necessarily didn't go to as good a college or even go to college, and I felt that I owed it to society, you know, to give back a little bit.

BROOKS: That's a common theme here. Senior Julia Hildreth wants to go on to law school, but first she'll spend the next two years teaching urban schoolkids. Hildreth, who comes from New Hampshire, says she's committed to Teach for America because of the inequities she's seen between rich and poor schools.

Ms. JULIA HILDRETH (Student): It just seems so unjust for those children in the lower-income schools, and that's a driving force behind my excitement about the program and my reasons for wanting to do it.

BROOKS: More than a hundred Dartmouth seniors have applied to Teach for America. That's 11 percent of the senior class. Surprising, perhaps, given the many lucrative career opportunities available to these Ivy League grads.

Ms. CHELSEA NILSSON (Student): There's a desire to make an impact, there's no question.

BROOKS: Chelsea Nilsson is a senior from Pennsylvania who applied to Teach for America. If accepted, she wants to teach English in an urban high school. It's hard work for relatively little pay, but she says it offers immediate responsibilities that most first jobs don't.

Ms. NILSSON: So many recent graduates feel that you have to commit this obligatory time to being someone's photocopying assistant or someone's coffee runner. I want to find a way to make an immediate impact.

BROOKS: This year, Teach for America has attracted some 17,000 applicants to fill just 2,000 openings, a jump of almost 40 percent over last year. The numbers are up at many schools, from Dartmouth to Yale to the University of Michigan. Elissa Clapp, who heads recruitment at Teach for America, says she's not surprised.

Ms. ELISSA CLAPP (Teach for America): I do think that this generation of leaders is outraged by what they're seeing, and the gap in educational outcomes that continues to persist along racial and economic lines. And at the same time we have ramped up our effort to reach the top graduating seniors on campuses.

BROOKS: A survey by The Brookings Institution two years ago found that more than a third of college seniors were interested in public service work, though many didn't know how to find it. Dan Kessler of, an online clearing house for the non- profit sector, says Teach for America has successfully tapped into that interest in public service. He says the program is highly visible on campuses and employs young recruiters who compete aggressively with the private sector to attract the best and the brightest.

Mr. DAN KESSLER ( It's prestigious and it's intensely competitive, so one of the things that they've done incredibly well in addition to the program itself is simply have absolutely brilliant marketing.

BROOKS: As one professor put it, Teach for America is cool. Senior Alex Dominguez agrees with that and says he looks forward to a new challenge, even if he'll be sad to say goodbye to Dartmouth.

Mr. DOMINGUEZ: I think it's time that, you know, I go and venture out into the world and, you know, start to make my place out there.

BROOKS: Next fall, Dominguez will take his place in a classroom in Newark, New Jersey.

Anthony Brooks, NPR News.

MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
My apologies-- I misread the dates for my previous post. This year's American Library Week is actually this week (April 10-16)-- Sorry Tricia...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Next week (April 18-24) is National Library Week, according to the American Library Association.

Must..... resist..... using.... 'check out'.... pun.........(gasp)
Here's a story Symi sent me:

In Steinbeck's Birthplace, A Fight to Keep the Libraries Open
New York Times
by Carolyn Marshall
April 4, 2005

An absolute travesty!!

A bit of a laugh for all of you who are part of fantasy sports leagues.... (Washington Post 040305) Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bleagh! The 'n' & 'delete' keys have died o my home keyboard. Likely the
begi i g of the e d for the whole keyboard-- the same thi g happe ed to my previous keyboard.

Tha kfully, I thi k it is still u der warra ty.

(btw-- if you have a problem with how I typed the letter I was missi g above, realize that I copied it from a other page & pasted it here.)
For those of you interested in a deeper look at current issues, I highly recommend PBS' program Frontline.

I have just finished watching one of their reports on the issue of prescription drugs in the US, entitled The Other Drug War. There's a wealth of background information on the site, in addition to a full video copy of the program, divided into six parts for easy loading.

Other topics I think they do exceptionally well are as follows:

Beyond Baghdad

In the summer of 2003, as violence against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq spiked alarmingly, the top U.S. administrator there, L. Paul Bremer, told FRONTLINE producer Martin Smith that the press was doing a terrible job of covering the story. He said they needed to get out of Baghdad to see the kind of progress that was being made.

Accepting Bremer's challenge, in November FRONTLINE went back to Iraq to see how the U.S. plan to turn the country into a showcase for democracy in the Middle East was faring.

The Secret History of the Credit Card

In "Secret History of the Credit Card," FRONTLINE® and The New York Times join forces to investigate an industry few Americans fully understand. In this one-hour report, correspondent Lowell Bergman uncovers the techniques used by the industry to earn record profits and get consumers to take on more debt.
Some of you are aware that a friend of mine is involved in a legal dispute with George Washington University regarding housing there. The following is an article published in the GWU newspaper, The Hatchet

Student Vows to Continue Legal Battle Against GW
by Larry Adler, Hatchet Reporter
Published 04/11/05

A GW student who unsuccessfully sued President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg over health code violations in his dorm room said he plans to continue with his case even though it was dismissed.

The violations, which were identified by a city agency last semester and have since been fixed, included cracks in the ceiling and walls, defective doors, loose paint, broken floor tiles and missing caulking in his 2109 F St. room. Mike Strong, a senior, also unsuccessfully sued Tom Dwyer, managing director for Property Management, and Walter Gray, director of Facilities Management. He was seeking damages of $4.5 million.

On Aug. 30, Strong went to the basement of his dorm to do laundry and placed a call to Fix-It upon finding roaches there. He then left his dorm for two days, and returned to find a padlock on his door.

After being locked out of his room for hours, he said he was finally allowed back in, and found that the room had been left a mess and was mistakenly fumigated.

Strong said that inside the room was a sign warning that it had been treated for roaches. He said there was no indication that he was in any danger because he did not smell poison. A few days later, Strong started to feel sick and went to GW Hospital, where he was admitted for insecticide poisoning.

Strong also said he noticed other safety problems in his room and asked Dwyer to come take a look at, among other things, a door he was able to unlock with a plastic knife.

"I called in Facilities Management, but they didn't do anything for six weeks, so I called in (the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs)," Strong said. "The day I got the report, I filed the lawsuit for $4.5 million dollars in D.C. Superior Court."

DCRA documents obtained by The Hatchet indicate that on Oct. 4, 2004, the city served GW with nine housing violations for Strong's room plus one for an infested basement.

Facilities Management director Peter Comey referred calls for this article to the University's media relations department and its lawyers. Media relations could not be reached for comment. Linda Schutjer, GW's associate general counsel, said the University was not concerned with the suit.

"He serviced the wrong people," Schutjer said. "He should have sued the University. On these kinds of technical ground they typically try and give them another shot at filing it correctly."

In response to the lawsuit, the University made three petitions to have the case thrown out. One said Strong did not properly serve the University with the lawsuit, and the other two were that the case was moot.

The case was originally thrown out and later dismissed without prejudice, meaning Strong could re-file the case. Strong believes he still has a case and is hoping to make the University aware of the problems with its dorms.

"The lawsuit is not about me, it's about bringing change. It's to ensure students' safety in the future. The University has a rank for their house," he said, referring to the widely held belief that GW offers some of the best college housing in the country. "It's time to live up to their rank."