Post #135 from Dr. Crankenfuss, The World’s Awesomest Raving and Rapping blogger –

Everybody knows what it’s like to be watching TV and a public emergency announcement comes on. You’re in the middle of your show and you hear a grating BEEP–BEEP–BEEP (like sandpaper against your eardrums) and a red scroll goes across the top of the TV and you’re going, “Well, there goes two or three minutes of my show and I’m never  going to be able to find out what I missed,” and you get TO’d (ticked off). They always run the announcement at least twice and end it with that same BEEP-BEEP-BEEP. Now I’m not saying the announcement isn’t important. Sometimes it’s a tornado watch, sometimes its an “amber alert” (where a little kid is missing) or a “silver alert” (where a senior citizen is missing). Sure, all of those are important! What I’m talking about in this post is the quality of the sound in that announcement. If they fixed that quality, the announcements would be WAY MORE EFFECTIVE.

You know how a police radio sounds? Where the cop in the car might hear something like “All units, there’s a 187 at 500 Sycamore Street,” which is police code for “There’s a murder at 500 Sycamore Street” and the cop listening says something like, “10-4” and speeds off to the crime scene. Let’s face it, the sound quality on those police scanners is pretty poor. It sounds like the guy’s chewing gravel while he talks or there’s a concrete mixing truck near where he’s talking. Now that might be okay for guys in police cars listening, but why do all those emergency announcements on TV sound just as bad?

Why don’t they have the TV announcement so it’s nice and clear? I’m sure a lot more people would bother to listen to it. Right now, most of us just can’t wait till it’s over and that’s partly because our ears get turned off by that irritating sound.

Get with it, people. There must be some way that you could find someone with a good broadcasting voice to give that announcement with some real feeling through some decent sound equipment.  I’m sure way more people would pay attention to you instead of sitting there and going, “Aw, drats, when is this scratchy announcement going to end so I can get back to my show.” (And I bet a bunch of people are saying way worse things than “drats.”)

Who knows? You might even save a few extra lives.

Just sayin.

From Your Dude with the ‘Tude,
Dar. Crankenfuss

A Rule Change Is Needed; There Is No Doubt./ Basketball Players Should Never Foul Out!

Post #134 from Dr. Crankenfuss, The World’s Awesomest Raving and Rapping blogger –

Oh, it’s NCAA Tournament Time and the Doctor has filled out his brackets. I’m gonna win that Warren Buffet guy’s $1 BILLION, I just know it.

Ah, who am I kidding? ESPN’s been doing this contest for like 15 years and no one’s ever won it yet so I think my chances are about as slim as my becoming the starting quarterback on our school’s football team. Which means they are ZERO since I’m not even on the football team.

But I do have a rule change that would help basketball tremendously because it would make it way more fair. And what would that be? Well, I told you in the title: players should not be allowed to foul out.

Quick, name another sport where players get kicked out of the game for committing regular fouls. Now I’m not talking about dirty fouls, like flagrant fouls or really trying to hurt somebody. I got no problem with players getting the boot for that. But in football, if a guy goes offsides or commits pass interference 10 times, he won’t be kicked out of the game. Now of course his coach will probably yank him but the rules don’t say, “Hey, bobo, you made five or six mistakes? You’re outta here!” In hockey, a guy goes to the penalty box for two minutes, then comes back; in soccer, yes, they can get kicked out after two yellow cards, but those are on plays that could have really injured someone. But in basketball, a guy could commit five ticky-tack fouls (like just bumping into someone when he’s not even shooting) and he’s gone. And he could be the best player on the team! Not only that. If the player is within one foul of getting kicked out, he (or she, of course) can’t really play as hard as they want to because they’re scared of fouling out.

“So okay, Crankenfuss, what would you do to fix this supposed problem?” That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? Well, here’s my fix. From now on, if say, LeBron James gets his sixth foul — six fouls and you’re out in the pros — he can stay in the game. But if he commits a seventh foul, the other team gets two (or even three) foul shots AND the ball back. That means Miami might be giving up five or six potential points for keeping LeBron in the game. But it’ll be up to the Miami coach to decide if that risk is worth it. In the meantime, the best player in basketball won’t have to sit down for the rest of the game.

So there’s my solution. Keep players in the game, but make the penalty worse for their team if they screw up.

So let me know what you think. All I know is that it would help every team out there if they knew they could actually keep their whole team in the game for the whole game. And also, it would mean that a bad call (or three) by a ref wouldn’t mean you’d have to sit a player down. Those calls would be unfortunate, yes, but the coach would just have to decide if it was worth it to keep him/her in. But they wouldn’t necessarily LOSE THE PLAYER.

Game, set, and match to Dr. Crankenfuss. Well, I think so, but I’d be glad to hear other opinions. (And yes, I know we’re not talking tennis, but that’s what I came up with, okay?)

Thanks for listening.

From Your Dude with the ‘Tude,
Who for the next three weeks
Is going to be glued
To the tube,
Dr. Crankenfuss

Multiple Choice Tests are Dumb, Dumb, Dumb!

Post #133 from Dr. Crankenfuss, The World’s Awesomest Raving and Rapping blogger –

It’s coming to that time of year when we’ll have to do all those multiple choice End-of-Grade tests. Not that I mind them that much since I usually do pretty well on them. But that doesn’t mean I have to think they’re any good for anything. In my opinion, they don’t show what you know. For most people they’re really a waste of time. Here’s why:

1. My teachers spend a bunch of time every year showing us how to “attack” the test. They call it “test-taking strategies.” Like being sure not to leave any questions out. By eliminating the worst answer or answers first so you have a better chance to get it right even if you have to guess a bit. Some say you should read a selection first. Others say you should look over the questions first so you’ll know what to be looking for. The trouble with all this is IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LEARNING ANYTHING EXCEPT HOW TO TAKE THE TEST! It doesn’t teach you any Reading, Math, or Science– just how to take a test. Is that really education?

2. Since there are four answers for each question, you don’t even have to try in order to get 1/4 of them right. Well, you DO have to fill in the circles. Even a trained chicken could get 1/4 of them right according to probability. (The chicken could be taught to cluck once for A, twice for B, and so on and then a human could mark the chicken’s answer sheet for her.) But a chicken could never get a problem like 54 x 5 if it was a fill-in-the-blank answer. That’s because guessing has almost a zero chance to work unless you’re doing multiple-choice questions. Why do the test-makers reward wild guessing? How often does that work for you in real life? With fill-in-the-blank answers, a student really has to know how to work the problem or how to comprehend the passage. Isn’t that what’s supposed to be tested?

3. I think they use multiple choice tests because they’re cheap. I mean they can be graded by a machine. That’s way cheaper than hiring people to grade the tests. And that’s what you need for grading essays or anything that isn’t “fill in the right circle” kind of questions. There’s a machine in our principal’s office where teachers can scan multiple choice test forms. A teacher can “grade” 25 tests in like 5 minutes or less. That’s a lot easier than looking through a student’s work on a math problem. Maybe she almost got it right and only made one little mistake. That’s way better than guessing. But a machine would never know that. And therefore neither will the teacher.

4. And machine graded tests can never measure how creative you are. Or how hard you’re trying. Or how many different ways you tried to solve the problem. Or whether you show any leadership or not. Or whether you can work in a team to get a job done. THEY ARE VERY LIMITED.

I guess that’s enough for now. Except to say that if multiple choice tests are so great, why don’t they use them all over the world? We have a few students from other countries that I know or have classes with and they say they’ve never had to take MC tests where they come from. Most of them have to write out their answers or even speak their answers out loud to a group of teachers. (Like on an essay question.) Now THAT would show a lot more of what you know.

From Your Dude with the ‘Tude,
Who’s very tired of huffin’ and puffin’
Over tests that prove practically nuthin’,
Dr. Crankenfuss