The College-Loan Scandal
This is a very important point. And the current set of changes is not the first time there has been a cost shift because of a reduction in government support. This also occurred in the late sixties and early seventies when the DoD was forced to reduce their (rather large) support to university research programs.
Since tuition is a fraction of actual cost, a shift in the external support produces a disproportionate impact on tuition. When I started teaching at a state school 20 years ago, tuition was ~25% of cost at our institution. It is now a bit more than a third because of the reduction of external support. That means that even if there were no change in costs and no inflation, tuition would go up by 32%. Add to that inflation (and that means real inflation of the goods and services that a university uses) and you can see a serious increase in student cost.
But as they say, it is worse than that. Over the last 20 years there has been a steady stream of legislation at both the state and federal level that has introduced new tasks and concomitantly new expenses. This is over and above inflation and has little positive effect on actual instruction. I would also add clear increases in bureaucratic processes associated with accreditation. The bottom line is that student tuition and fees (don't forget fee escalation) has gone up scandalously. At the same time, I am teaching two to three times as many students (who accordingly get less of my time) than I did when I started. And it is similar for most of my colleagues.
I will be the first to agree that we should be looking at different and more efficient modalities of instruction. But we also need to be thinking clearly about all of the factors influencing tuition. --- not that thoughtfulness is a hallmark of slashdot
Best Mouse For Programming?
I use a Contour Roller Mouse and like it very much. It takes a bit of getting used to since its motion is somewhat different than a conventional mouse or trackball. This keeps my hands close to the keyboard at all times. The newer models have a number of buttons. I originally got it on the advice of an industrial ergonomist to address shoulder and neck pain from long hours at the computer (something that it has, indeed, improved significantly), but now find that I am more productive in all applications except CAD and graphics work. It is a bit expensive, but constitutes an interesting alternative.
Building a Searchable Literature Archive With Keywords?
I have been using an fi-6130 for several months now. It is quite simply the best scanner I have used. It is fast, highly reliable and very seldom misfeeds (1 per 500-800 pages in my experience). I use it for scanning archival financial records and also for technical papers. It includes a copy of Kofax Virtual ReScan, which does a great job of creating readable 1-bit monotone scans of originals with colored backgrounds. There are a number of possible target formats, and it has several automated ways of handling group separator sheets. I highly recommend it. I have seen no evidence of "marketing drone foolishness."
Circuit Board Design For a Small Startup?
I don't work for Plexus, but I am familiar with some of their projects. From what I have seen they are a first class outfit.
Open Source Math
While it is true that fonts may be embedded, it is also true that PDF provides the mechanism for proprietary fonts to decline embedding. This is general feature of some proprietary fonts. I run into this frequently with PDF documents that contain ancient Greek or Hebrew fonts. In about a third of these documents the PDF will not render correctly because they have used proprietary fonts that I do not have on my machine. In these cases, the document is completely unreadable since the Latin font equivalent chosen in no way reflects the underlying text.