Thursday, December 22, 2016

"The local library needs to become that place of congregation. It should combine coffee shop, book exchange, playgroup, art gallery, museum and performance. It must be the therapist of the mind. It must be what medieval churches once were." Simon Jenkins in the Guardian on libraries

Friday, June 17, 2016

Zlatan and Chiellini on the roller coaster!

Zlatan and Chiellini having the time of their lives on the roller coaster at Liseberg! In the Knowbodies series "Footballers enjoying themselves off the field" see also Zlatan and Pique sharing a tender moment, and Pepe and Ruben getting real rowdy on the dancefloor.

Friday, October 16, 2015


There is something deeply repugnant about Linked-in. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but Ann Friedman certainly captures some of it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

NPR on do we really need libraries?

NPR on do we really need libraries?

"A library outranks any other thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Data visualization and demographic tools

Heather Bandeen, a Fulbright Roving Scholar in Norway, has compiled a wonderful collection of data visualization and demographic tools - check them out at Heather's blog:

Friday, January 23, 2015

I was playing with the New York Times Chronicle tool, and rediscovered to my delight (rediscovery is one of the few delights of old age) that Knowbodies received honorable mention in the New York Times City Room in 2007. Here is what Alexis Mainland found.

Monday, August 18, 2014

U21 Higher Education Rankings 2014

Universities eagerly await the Shanghai and Times Higher Ed rankings each year (the Shanghai rankings were released earlier this week), always playing down their accuracy and significance - unless of course they're at the very top of the list - but also citing them to best advantage. 

The U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems prepared by the Melbourne Institute of Australia offers a different kind of ranking that "aims to highlight the importance of creating a strong environment for higher education institutions to contribute to economic and cultural development, provide a high-quality experience for students and help institutions compete for overseas applicants."  

Norway was ranked 7 in the world in the U21 survey for 2012, then dropped to 11 the following year where it remains in 2014, lagging well behind Nordic neighbors Sweden (2), Finland (4) and Denmark (5).  The US tops the list, with Canada  in third place. But the ranking  would indicate that Norway has much to offer beyond the comparative of its institutions, since only the University of Oslo ranks among the top 200 in the THE and Shanghai rankings (at 185 and 69 respectively.)  

The U21 rankings seek to a address "a longstanding need to shift discussion from the existing rankings of the world’s best universities to the standing of the whole higher education system in each country" - and assess the national education systems according to resources (investment by government and private sector), output (research and its impact, as well as the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs), connectivity (international networks and collaboration which protects a system against insularity) and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities). 

(for what it's worth -  the 2014 
QS World University Rankings have the University of Oslo and the University of Bergen at a respectable 89  and 145 respectively, with the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim and University of Tromsø at 251 and 306) 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Too much reading going on

I think it was Steve Jobs who said "people don't read anymore," but in fact people are reading way too much In the old days people had the decency to leave their books at home when they went to the pub. Here's help..

The Offline Glass from Mauricio Perussi on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's always a good time to read

Nice picture, reminds me of that memorable scene from Dylan Thomas "A Child's Christmas in Wales" 

"And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?" "

Friday, December 6, 2013

Annual Christmas decoration

Such a truly outstanding Christmas decoration should be revisited each holiday season!  And testimony by the anonymous prankster about the response to his lifesize yuletide ornament (read it at Traveling Librarian) inspires faith in the goodness of mankind!

Help from the National Archives

How heartening! In November, 2003, I posted some hearsay about a useful resource-to-be at the National Archives, and 10 years to the month later a helpful anonymous commenter pointed me in the right direction:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What's important and what's not

From NPR: a nice graph showing what's important and what's not.  Petroleum Engineering most important, Early Childhood Education, Human Services and Community Organization, not so important. From

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hechinger report on ranking universities

The Hechinger Report on the challenges of ranking universities. 

The Rankings

U.S. News & World Report, national universities
  1. Princeton
  2. Harvard
  3. Yale
  4. Columbia
  5. Chicago, Stanford (tie)
Times Higher Education
  1. CalTech
  2. Oxford
  3. Stanford
  4. Harvard
  5. MIT
Shanghai World University Rankings
  1. Harvard
  2. Stanford
  3. Berkeley
  4. MIT
  5. Cambridge
QS World University Rankings
  1. MIT
  2. Harvard
  3. Cambridge
  4. University College London
  5. Imperial College London
Forbes, America’s Top Colleges (based on such results as graduation rates and student satisfaction)
  1. Stanford
  2. Pomona
  3. Princeton
  4. Yale
  5. Columbia
Washington Monthly, (based on social mobility, research, and service)
  1. UC San Diego
  2. UC Riverside
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Case Western Reserve
  5. Berkeley
Washington Monthly, (best value)
  1. Florida
  2. Georgia
  3. UNC Chapel Hill
  4. NC State
  5. Texas A&M
Princeton Review
Best-Run: Claremont McKenna
Best Food: Bowdoin
Best Dorms: Smith
LGBT-Friendly: Emerson
Top Party School: Iowa

Parchment electronic transcript service Student Choice College Rankings (based on admissions acceptances)
  1. Stanford
  2. MIT
  3. Harvard
  4. Princeton
  5. Duke
U.S. Department of Education (most expensive)
  1. Columbia
  2. Sarah Lawrence
  3. Vassar
  4. George Washington
  5. Trinity

Saturday, September 7, 2013

An Escher staircase masquerading as a career ladder

More good stuff from the Baffler: Ann Friedman discusses the uselessness of Linked-in in "All Linked-in with Nowhere to Go". Choice quote: It’s an Escher staircase masquerading as a career ladder.

Friday, September 6, 2013

What's the matter with higher ed

The Baffler's business is debunking (theme for the current issue is "A Carnival of Buncombe"), and Thomas Frank's  is not concerned with balanced argument in this screed on the state of US higher ed, Academy Fight Song. He makes good points though, and the article is a fine example of what the Guardian (describing the Baffler) calls "Beautifully discontented prose by people who'd rather be out scrapping."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Ylvis brothers

Norwegian duo the Ylvis brothers do a fine job of parodying the banality of pop music.....

Friday, August 16, 2013