I’m disappointed to see that there are no new posts on the blog this week. I guess the most likely explanation is that most of the students are waiting until the third and final blogging period to try to raise your grade on the blogging component of the course. The good news is that the blogging grade is the best score that you achieve in each of the three periods, so that there is still everything to aim for even if things have not gone well with your blogging so far. On the flip side, the blog contributions make up 35 percent of your overall grade, meaning that quality blogging is vital if you want to succeed in this course.
This Wednesday in class we will run a workshop on blogging. We’ll review the grading rubric, discuss a sample post, and look at ways to improve it. Please also remember that you are welcome to discuss your blog posts in office hours at any time. You may also revise any of your posts for blogging period 2 up until the deadline of Friday midnight; the final version is the one we will use for grading purposes.
As you know, you are free to write on any relevant subject in the blog. I’ve listed past “theme” posts below. For a new theme this week, I suggest that you might look at environmental justice. If this phrase is not familiar, you can Google it, or ask yourself the following question: what one factor about a US community would you think best predicts whether or not it will be the site of a toxic waste dump? The answer given in this 1987 report was a shocking one. See also the twenty-year update given in 2007.
From the point of view of this course, the mathematical content of such a post could focus on the probabilistic or statistical techniques needed to show a correlation between the location of toxics facilities and the social/demographic profile of the neighborhood. You can also ask what is the evidence for causation here (as opposed to correlation), and how relevant causation is to the justice question that these reports raise.
Here are the links to past weeks’ blogging themes.