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2012-366 Day 68 – Perspectives

One of the projects I give my class every semester is an online scavenger hunt, since one of the areas we cover is how things like Google and text searching work. There are twenty questions ranging from “What Miami Vice episode did Liam Neeson appear in?” to “How many days must a cat that has bitten someone in Worland, WY be detained?” (Yeah, that’s the hard one, see if you can find it.) Every semester so far, at least one student has a different perspective on a question that makes me laugh, shake my head, and give them the full credit.

The first semester (and every semester following since I’ve refused to make it more specific) I gave the assignment there was mild confusion over who won Best Actor in 1957 (since you could either cite who won the Oscar in the ceremony that year or who won for that year in the ceremony following). I’m nice and will take either answer, since the point of the assignment is to look up where the information is (obviously they found it and could pick any year I asked for). I do feel old when I tell them to look up a Time Magazine cover with a person holding a floppy disk (one of the actually floppy ones) and have them tell me what it is, and I get things back like “CD holder,” “hard drive,” or “I don’t know.”

This year’s perspective shift came on one of my favorite questions, “How many strikeouts did Charlie Hough have in 1976?” It’s one of my favorite questions because I’ve found out that, when you do the search, if you look at the webpage synopsis that comes up it will actually give you the wrong answer because the synopsis is from a different part of the article referring to a different year. This way I know who is clicking through to the websites and who is just looking at the search results and just writing stuff down. This year, however, I started getting a different response which didn’t make much sense, and it showed up on about a 1/5 of the students papers (obviously there might have been some sharing, but someone had to make this connection). It wasn’t until half way through the stack of papers that someone wrote it out explicitly, while Hough had 81 strikeouts pitching in 1976, the answer I was going for, he had 5 strikeouts batting in 1976. No one had ever looked at it that way before, and since I’m a baseball lifer, I always assume the pitcher’s strikeout totals are not from their batting stats. I went back and gave them all credit, but apparently I’m going to have to be more specific next year.

Last semester one of my students found this blog. We’ll have to see if any find this post in the future, as they could save themselves some searching time. I will actually be pretty amused if they reference this site on their homework.

Weight: 233.4 Max: 240 Min: 233.4 Body Fat %: 24.7
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  1. Dad said

    i got 15 to 20 days unless the owner has a valid rabies certificate and then they do not have to be quarantined.

  2. Tony Lewis said

    it’s impossible to detain a cat. Handcuffs are too big for their little paws.

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