Presidential Disapproval Ratings

Answer after the jump…

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Zimbabwe Update

Tsvangirai may be hoping to force the hand of African leaders like Mbeki but there is little to indicate that they want anything but the status quo. The only thing worse than what is happening in Zimbabwe right now is the silence that African leaders are giving Mugabe. If anyone in the world should know about the horrors of corrupt totalitarian dictators, it should be African leaders who in modern history have been in the front row seats while it happened.

Mr. Tsvangirai’s decision to quit the race seems intended to force Zimbabwe’s neighbors to take a stand. There are growing cracks in the solidarity that African heads of state have shown for Mr. Mugabe, an 84-year-old liberation hero whose defiant anti-Western rhetoric has long struck a resonant chord in a region with a bitter colonial history.

[From Mugabe Rival Quits Zimbabwe Runoff, Citing Attacks –]

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Plagiarizing Wikipedia and Still Getting it Wrong

I’m having a hard time fully wrapping myself around this notion that wikipedia or any other online source is to result for student’s falling exam scores. I generally recoil at the notion of blaming anything technology for what is effectively a human condition, it strikes me as lazy and weak minded to point the finger and say “it’s all Wikipedia’s fault!”.

I am not suggesting that Wikipedia should not do more to improve the accuracy of the material on the site. I also fault technology advocates who handle the subject of Wikipedia with velvet gloves and bubble wrap because their own biases and self-interests would be harmed by calling out Wikipedia for it’s faults. The Wikipedia Foundation simply must take this issue more seriously than they have demonstrated they are willing to.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) said pupils are turning to websites and internet resources that contain inaccurate or deliberately misleading information before passing it off as their own work.

The group singled out online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows entries to be logged or updated by anyone and is not verified by researchers, as the main source of information.

[From Falling exam passes blamed on Wikipedia ‘littered with inaccuracies’ – News]

Wikipedia and other online resources are not going away and while academics love to whine about them they also have come to use them for their great utility. What academic organizations should be doing instead of banning Wikipedia and their ilk is rushing to make available online the great collections of research material and resources that academic organizations have in their libraries.

Secondly, the great and small libraries of the world should be leading the charge to a new user experience that goes beyond what the search engine, even Google Scholar, offers. What is often lost in the Wikipedia critiques is that it’s so popular not because of the collaborative editing ideology but because it’s so damn easy to get a useful result the first time you search for something.