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Lake Lanier Duathlon

bike_end.jpg Last Sunday (April 23rd) was the Lake Lanier Duathlon. Here’s a pic of me nearing the end of the 16 mile bike course. Coming into this turn I could see 3 ambulances at the driveway that takes you to the transition area. Scary stuff – I have no idea what happened. All I saw was 1 bike in the grassy area and someone that I presumed to be its rider strapped onto a stretcher. I don’t know who it was but I hope they’re alright.

This duathlon involved a 3 mile run, 16 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. My time was just over 1 hour 50 minutes. Not bad for a newbie. Plus, I had a lot of fun at it (although the pictures from the last run leg don’t look like I was having fun).

What’s next? The Mountain Ranger Duathlon. It’s off road – a 5K trail run, a 34K mountain bike leg, and a 2 mile trail run. It’s taking place at Camp Frank D. Merrill – home to the 5th Ranger Training Battalion and the Mountain Phase of the U. S. Army Ranger School. I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into but I can’t wait to find out! After that, the Peachtree Road Race is the next known event, but I’m looking for a good sprint distance triathlon to throw into the mix.

“Good Technology” Sold Separately

I am a gadget guy – no doubt about it. I do not buy every new thing that comes out, but I try to look at the market and keep up. So tonight I clicked thru an ad for the HP iPAQ hw6515. Looked pretty interesting, but probably a bit of overkill.
What I couldn’t help but notice was one of the bullets under the “At Work” features. It says:

• Good Technology (sold separately) provides two-way synchronization of all Microsoft Outlook functions

So it comes with crappy technology out of the box? Do they actually have a product called “Good Technology”?? How stupid would that be? It would be like a car having optional equipment called “Reasonable Safety”.
Go see for yourself –> The latest in mobile technology – ADA version – HP Small & Medium Business
Admittedly, I am familiar with the software competing against Blackberry. But most people aren’t – shouldn’t this marketing slick somehow indicate that “Good Technology” is a product, not just an enhanced state of being?

More on Grades

Yesterday I wrote about the new grading policy at Georgia State University. One of the oddities I experienced on my day off yesterday was a minivan exiting my subdivision. That is not that odd, but the bumper stickers and license plate frames were. Here’s a sampling:

“Grades are for meat and eggs, not for children.”
“Schools are for fish”
“More babies prefer to be born at home.”

I don’t know why people think keeping score or grading performance is detrimental to children. One would think that the earlier you expose people to how real life is, the better equipped they will be to deal with it when their food/clothing/shelter depend on it.

As for the babies being born at home – I would prefer to have my teeth cleaned at home. It would be much more comfortable and convenient for me. I would have preferred to have my wisdom teeth removed at home. But what kind of sense does that make? If something went wrong, would you have to the wide breadth of experience and equipment at your disposal in your house? That’s unlikely.

I have no idea who this ‘neighbor’ of mine is, but I am not sure we would get along too well.

New Plus / Minus Grading at Georgia State University

For years (perhaps decades), professors at Georgia State University have requested the ability to give more meaningful grades than simply A B C D or F. According to this announcement, they have gotten their wish. Overall I think this may have a positive outcome in shaping the competitive nature of grades. Unfortunately, it appears students are getting the shaft by not having an A+ in the grade scale. An A will be a 4.0, an A- a 3.7. In all other ranges, there is a + to offset the -, but not in the A. What gives?
The other question I have is how will this affect recipients of the Hope Scholarship? I have long argued that the Hope scholarship has led to grade inflation at the high school and collegiate levels in Georgia. As I understand the requirements, a student must maintain a B average. My gut reaction is that there will be no impact. Professors will be afraid of giving a student a B- because that may be the one class that disqualifies the student from the scholarship. My hunch is that they want to differentiate between the solid A and the just skirting by A. Thus, there is no A+ to allow a student to offset his A-.
This new policy will go into effect starting the Fall Semester of 2006. If my life stays on its current path, I will earn my MBA in Finance on August 5 and will thus not gain first hand experience with the new system. To everyone who is left – good luck! If it’s anything like the curriculum change in the MBA program, you’re going to need it!

Protests in America

In scenes reminiscent of the student protests in France, hispanic protesters flooded the streets in cities from my hometown of Atlanta to Los Angeles. At issue is tighter immigration laws that would withhold services from those people who are not in the country legally. In large part, the proposed measures at both the state and federal level make sense. It is almost simply a restatement of existing law.

It is bad enough that I am currently paying for services that are provided to people who have chosen a different path in life than I have. Our capitalist society has bred a new type of consumer who just sits at home, watches Oprah and Judge Judy all day, and sponges off the hard work of people like me. Granted, this is a minority of America, but it is a burden. Now we have migrant workers who come here, use our healthcare system for free, pay no taxes, and send the bulk of their earnings back to their home country. This helps our economy how?

Many people will point to the fact that American workers don’t want these jobs. I say they do – they are just not willing and able to work for $10 a day. I heard somewhere (probably the radio) that the average worker in Mexico makes $5 a day. Why not focus on fixing that situation, rather than flee and come here. It’s not like you’re being persecuted for religious beliefs or speaking out against your home government (acceptable reasons to allow immigration to the U.S.). In fact – these people love their home country. They were holding up their flags and writing signs in spanish at the first round of protests.

They should fix their problems at home rather than running away from them. That is the American way. And until you understand that, you will never be an American.

Read More -> Immigration marches put charge in Hispanic power – Yahoo! News