How Vitamix Sells Pricey Blenders to Affluent, Health-Conscious Foodies

Having recently joined the Cult of Vitamix, I enjoyed this piece in BusinessWeek on the company that makes these awesome machines. Although I wasn’t the one driving this particular purchase, this pretty much sums up my burgeoning relationship with it:

For all its appeal to celebrity chefs and extreme athletes, a Vitamix is tailor-made for the semi-enlightened male vaguely inclined toward better nutrition yet still rooted in his natural state of couch-bound torpor.

On a somewhat related note, it also makes a mean whisky sour.

MOOCs: Corporate welfare for credit –

Smart article on Salon about the apparent strategy adopted by the big MOOC providers, which echoes that of the voucher/charter school proponents of the last two decades:

The plan is simple. First, declare a crisis in education that doesn’t actually exist. Second, declare that a for-profit model can fix the crisis. (This is easy when you get to invent the particular calamity.) Third, rather than starting small and building empirical support from experts in the field, seek sweeping legislative changes that lock your position into the system.

This isn’t, however, a head-in-the-sand piece about how everything is fine in higher ed. They point out that the MOOC providers have fabricated a story about how the problem is about access to college due to costs, when the real problem is about retention and degree completion.

The equivalent of U-scan groceries?

Patrick Bigger and Victor E. Kappeler in Neoliberal Education: From Affordable Education to Expensive Training:

These flipped classrooms are the educational equivalent of scanning your own groceries at the supermarket —shifting aspects of the labor of education from faculty to student.

See the rest of the essays on related topics in issue 16 of anthropologies.

AutoRip for Books

Amazon AutoRip For Books

How great would it be if, whenever you bought a printed book, you also gained access to the digital version? I hate having to decide between print and digital, between Kindle and my local bookstore. Sure, there are titles I would still buy as digital-only, but I bet that most people who buy books would love to have both.

(see also this post on One Foot Tsunami.)

On running out of helium

On running out of helium:

We mine it, but once we mine what’s there, it will take either hundreds of millions of years to make more, or we need to find a new source of Helium, such as through mastering terrestrial nuclear fusion or perhaps mining the Moon.

In the meantime, we should be aware that every time we fill a Helium balloon, we’re taking something that it took the entire natural history of the Earth to create and basically banishing it from our planet.

Khan Academy Founder Proposes a New Type of College – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Khan Academy Founder Proposes a New Type of College – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Existing campuses could move in this direction by de-emphasizing or eliminating lecture-based courses, having their students more engaged in research and co-ops in the broader world, and having more faculty with broad backgrounds who show a deep desire to mentor students,” he writes.

Hmm, practical, hands-on experience with strong mentoring through relationships with faculty. Sounds familiar, but can’t quite place it.