• Habits in College and the Real World

    DePauw University, East College, photo by Larry Ligget, 1 Oct. 2012

    Last Friday our student newspaper, The DePauw (which has been in operation since 1852) published an opinion piece by a first-year student essentially arguing that professors should not require attendance of their students. Part of the argument said that if students want to waste their tuition dollars, it is up to them; another part suggested that not requiring attendance would elicit positive self-motivation to be in class. In closing, the piece said that the university should have a universal policy that students, not professors, should get to decide about the value of their class attendance. The whole piece is below (note that I am going out of my way not to advertise names). [Note: a few editorial clarifications appear in brackets]. My purpose here is to consider the dialectic that has resulted.
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  • Translating Pliny’s letters about Vesuvius, pt. 4. A Strange Cloud

    Strange Cloud: non alia magis arbor quam pinus

    6.16.4-6: A Strange Cloud

    This post belongs to a serialized translation and commentary of Pliny the Younger’s letters (6.16 and 6.20) to the historian Tacitus about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. This is the second installment for letter 6.16.

    The Younger Pliny now begins the tale that Tacitus has asked him to share. It is critical to remember that the real subject of, and reason for, these letters, is to honor the life and memory of the Elder Pliny–not to describe a volcanic eruption and its effects–though it was the latter that the Elder Pliny was interested in recording that day, as we will see later on.

    This post will also consider the date of the eruption in some detail.

    4 Erat Miseni classemque imperio praesens regebat. Nonum kal. Septembres hora fere septima mater mea indicat ei adparere nubem inusitata et magnitudine et specie. 

    4 He (Elder Pliny) was at Misenum and he was in command of the fleet. On the ninth day before the first of September at about the seventh hour, my mother indicates to him that a cloud of unusual size and shape is appearing. Continue reading