Just Who is Affirmative Action Helping?

I just came across a post that really struck a chord with me. Here’s a snippet:

“You have to look under the surface,” my young friend cautioned. “Many students are black, it’s true. But where did they really come from? Are these the descendents of slavery? Are these students, like me, who couldn’t afford to go anywhere but the “historically black college”? And are these the people who, like me, are going to go back to their communties and teach, or be doctors, serve as models for other youths who see drug-dealing or ball or rap as better ways out of their situation? You have to ask, what is the real goal of the educational system?

I had similar observations while I was a student at Stanford. A good proportion of the Black students there were either upper class, offspring of at least one immigrant (like myself), or of mixed race (and usually grew up with their white parent). It just makes me wonder what the representation of truly ‘urban’ (I hate that word) kids was.

Google’s Pretty Shrewd

Google’s starting to remind me of the megalomaniac Brain, from Pinky and the Brain. They’re recently made a new push into the advertising game with their AdSense program:

Google AdSense is for web publishers who want to make more revenue from advertising on their site while maintaining editorial quality. AdSense delivers text-based Google AdWords ads that are relevant to what your readers see on your pages — and Google pays you.

So that program allows little guys, like me, to earn a few nickels by placing some unobtrusive ads on their sites. (This program was attractive enough for me to try it out. I figure that maybe I can cover the cost of my web server hosting.) But some of the implications of Google’s program are what really interests me. I’ve posted before about the companies that are gunning for Google. Well, it appears that Google is fighting back just as hard. Google has become well known for its pay-per-click text ads along side their search results. Well now that they are serving ads for all these other (small) sites through AdSense, they’ll be serving ads for people using other search engines as well. (The big guys, who get over 20 million hits/month can use a different Google program to serve ads.)

For example, I’ve recently noticed an increase in the number of hits to my sites from Yahoo! Search. Yahoo is making a serious run at Google. Even though they currently rely on Google for their results, they’ll likely switch over to Inktomi soon. I also noticed that Yahoo! has added a little search box to the top of their Mail, Address Book, Calendar, and Notepad pages. But here’s where it gets interesting – the people that hit my site from Yahoo! will see ads by Google on my site. (My ads are only on the pages for individual posts, which is where the search engines usually send people.)

In addition to that, Google has added a pop-up blocker to their Google Toolbar. So that’s a way for them to stop some competing (and annoying) ads, while directing more traffic their way. Like the AdSense program, Google is making it attractive for the end-user to use their products. Interesting times.

Ichiro Suzuki Interview

There’s a very interesting interview with Ichiro Suzuki on this week’s episode of ‘On the Record with Bob Costas’. Ichiro has a very interesting philosophy on the game, and life. He talks about why he’s so respectful of his equipment. Here’s an example of how he treats his equipment, taken from an old Sporting News article:

Suzuki takes more care with his bats than some folks do their pets. Each bat arrives from Japan shrink-wrapped to avoid moisture, and Ichiro will only unwrap a handful at a time — and then carries them in a specially made humidor that keeps them dry.

He won’t throw a bat after an at-bat, usually carefully dropping it as he runs toward first base, and he insists that any moisture, from humidity to air-conditioning in the clubhouse, effects his bats.

In pre-humidor days, Ichiro used to hang his bats in the sun to keep the wood dry. The special care doesn’t end with bats. Before and after each game, he sits at his locker and uses a small sponge to keep the leather of his glove soft and supple.

On the show, he compares the care of his equipment to a chef’s care of his cooking utensils. I think all kids, and adults for that matter, could learn something from Ichiro’s philosophy. The show is re-airing a few times this week.

The Fallacy of Race

I’ve recently come across a few articles related to the PBS series Race – The Power of an Illusion (there’s a wealth of information on that site). I wrote a bit about that powerful documentary over on my Trader Mike blog. I thought I’d highlight it again over here. That documentary should be required viewing for everyone on this country, and the world for for that matter. Here are the recent articles on the subject: