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Unlearning the Midwest in India

I still remember the day I landed at the Minneapolis airport three years ago and I went into a time machine where I felt unfamiliar and out-of-place but not uncomfortable or unwelcome.

The polite cab driver’s “you bet” in reply to my “thank you” kept me wondering whether I was invited to join him in a casino or not.

I was shell-shocked after learning that in a small town with a population of 9,000, people don’t even bother to lock their front doors in Minneapolis.

“Robbery? Burglary? That happens in big cities – not here in the Midwest – this is a very safe and peaceful place,” was my landlord’s loyal reassurance.

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Of Cats and Colleges

“C” as in “Cat.”

That’s how I was introduced to the English alphabet when I was a kid living in India: Two curious glittering eyes protruding from a bundle of fur had a whole new meaning for me!

But I am sure, it is going to change as “C” as in “College” pretty soon – with a picturesque, bright, “come hither” image of a prestigious ivy league institution, along with a promise of making a dream come true.

According to this report, as of October 2006, 65.8% of high school students are enrolled in colleges or universities in the USA and the trend seemed to be going higher.

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Football, Soccer and One Day Cricket

I was recently watching a football game on television. A player was running freely with the ball towards the opponent’s court, without being stopped violently. This freestyle running was a very familiar and comfortable scenario to me but it made my roommate extremely irritated — “God****t, get the guy down!”

I then realized I was watching “football” in the USA, not the “football” I grew up with.

“A tie game? What’s the point of playing? It doesn’t make sense! And, why there are so few scores! How come the player can run around with the ball without being stopped…!”

My roommate’s expression was priceless.

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Important and Effective

In David W. Boles‘ article Competitive Anger and the Rising Insult we talked about many things in the comments area from Road Rage to People Who Keep Score to the Civil War to Economic and Spiritual Slavery.

I asked David the following question:

Which one is more important and effective, being passionate and endearing or being politically correct, shrewd and stable in the long run?

David deferred his answer.

He wanted to open up this question to everyone.

What do you think?

Bridge Building Between Arts and Sciences

How is higher education in United States going to look like a decade from now?

The educational system is going to face some radical changes as any other profit or non profit sector with this rapid collapsing of the global boundary would — what are the main issues that need the most attention?

I came across various articles while preparing this article that spoke about the demographic changes of future students, the transformation from a brick university to a click one, adapting more of a business model than of a public school and a shift in students’ mentality that might encourage them to obtain a degree in exchange of the price rather than real learning.

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