Monday, October 31, 2005

Qualifying Exams

I just got the questions for my qualifying exam. The written work is due this Thursday, with an oral defense the following Thursday. Well, in case you're wondering - and I know you are - I'm including the questions below. I mean, why start on the exam when I can just blog about it...

1. Peter Hall, in the book “Cities of Tomorrow,” states that in the U.S., social pathology has been divorced from any discussion of urban design solutions. What role could design, as conceptualized by both current and earlier generations of planners, play in addressing social problems like urban poverty and the permanent “underclass”? Discuss the various theoretical viewpoints about the role and limitations of design in addressing social problems. What are the methodological and empirical factors that complicate the attempt to use design in solving social problems? Discuss why solutions that have to do with city design are controversial. Construct a framework around which the many complexities can be organized and understood.

2. You have identified several approaches to design inquiry ­ rational models, problem solving, conversational description, abductive reasoning, sense making ­ that focus primarily on how design happens. Other normative approaches ­ classical, modernist, new urbanist ­ focus on content and form, on what should result rather than how it is designed. If your intent is to influence urban design ­ through teaching, advocating, designing, or meta-designing ­ which of the approaches to design inquiry and normative outcomes will be useful, in what ways, and why? What do we not know about any of these approaches that might be knowable and ease your task of influencing urban design? In other words, what can an urban design scholar add to what we know?

3. In addition to the scholarship on inquiry in design, which considers design as a process of inquiry, there is also a substantial body of work that is inquiry about design itself. As a complex, messy process, much of which is hidden from view, design represents a challenge for those seeking to study it. What are some of these challenges and how have they been addressed in the methods used in these studies? To illustrate how choices about methods might be made, please identify a very simple (even simplistic) question about design and discuss how you would deal with methodological choices in an empirical study of that question.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

BB on DD

who would have guessed that wysp, as good as it is already, could possibly eclipse itself? sure howard stern is pretty good, but soon we'll get david lee roth, and diamond dave is a kind of god among motrals. finally a radio format with the potential to be free -- free, people, truly free! infinity answered the prayers i never knew i had...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Russian proposal spam

I just got this email through Friendster. The capitalization is the best part...

I searched here for you very long and already thought, that was not existing for I suitable person. But when I saw your profile, me At once it became interesting and that it in my heart has pricked. I thought, That it - the mark from above also has decided to write to you this letter...

My name - Maria. I still very young, but very much restriction of the girl. Life of me checked up very much and now I write you this letter. Who knows, what with us will be tomorrow? But I want to get acquainted with you and Is simple to continue a stream of life. I very lonely girl also search for the same The lonely person who will steal my heart and will open for me doors In heart. My very serious purposes. I believe in love in, and I believe this The love always will spend fortunately and to creation fine families. Certainly, the love may bring and is torn, but I want it, these tears were only Tears of happiness. Probably you may represent me happiness, and I shall answer you The same happiness. I have chosen you from a set of people because you seem to me such person, With which it is possible to continue edge of light and to not be afraid for life. You seem To me very interesting and very clever person. I think, that you have feeling The humour and with you it will be never boring. The same as well as with me...

I shall look forward to hearing from you very much. Please, write to me on mine e-mail: [I deleted this] I necessarily shall answer you, and I shall inform more about me directly, and also I shall send Photos. I have made a choice and it - YOU. Now you make a choice and Do not leave my letter without the answer. Will entrust to heart, and listen only Directly.

Have good time of days, it is sincere and with
the big interest, to you - Maria.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I'm a new Netflix customer. I love it! I love the convenience, I love what I'm watching, and I love the packaging. Those envelopes are cool!

Netflix has helped feed my West Wing obsession. I watch it in three hour, four episode marathons. I think like Sam Seaborn and Josh Lyman, in smart and biting tones. I've even started dreaming in West Wing: the content is the same - I still lecture to my students and question the authority of science, but now I dream about lecturing to my students and questioning the authority of science in the confines of the White House, and its the chief of staff's daughter I'm kissing instead of, well, nevermind...

Do you run Netflix? We should exchange reviews and whatnot.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Speaking of, I'd like to recommend the music oriented blogs of a couple of friends in case you don't know them or haven't checked out their blogs before. Links to Dough and Anne's blogs are on the right. They're good! Informative! Suitably knowledgeable and esoteric! I especially like Doug's recent post making fun of rockers with bad teeth...

Birth of an aesthete

I've been thinking about the first songs that I ever picked out as liking on my own. I mean the very first songs here, even before I got a sense of what kind of music I liked, long before I had favorite bands. When kids are young - say in third or fourth grade - they haven't yet formed a personal identity, about anything really. So there are worlds to be explored. Because my parents hadn't yet gotten cable, I had to test the waters of Philadelphia radio: WMMR, WYSP, that pop station that was at the top of the dial (I forget its name - I think it went oldies or talk radio by junior high).

Anyway, here are the goods:

1. I wanna dance with somebody/Whitney Houston
2. Aqualung/Jethro Tull
3. California Girls/David Lee Roth... Okay I'm lying on this last one. (Would that I had been so cool!) Acutally its more like Taco's Puttin' on the Ritz.

This goes a long way to explaining my curiously bad taste w/ certain things...