Friday, September 27, 2019

My blog entry that's both a blessing and a curse

One of the most-visited* and most oft-cited** blog entries in this joint is the analysis of the German educational system that I wrote, viewable here. After having published it six years ago, I feel conflicted about leaving it on the blog.

On one hand, it's a quick read and outlines a somewhat convulated subject that people are curious about. Is it comprehensive? No, it's not, at all, but at least gives an idea of how things work here, and in English. Does it bring a lot of visitors to the blog? Yes, it does, though that's not really its purpose. I had just wanted to share something that I had written for a German Life and Culture class.

Conversely, the article is somewhat of a curse. I am an educator in training and spirit (though not exactly in job tile right now). Information literacy is very important to me and I am disturbed that this article is being used as a research source when it's only appropriate to be used for entertainment/enlightenment purposes. I know of at least one high school teacher who used it as a class assignment (based on web analytics linking to the person's page) and the article was even referenced in conference proceedings of the National Defence College in Bangladesh, which didn't really properly reference it other than citing the article in the bibliography.

I won't call out the high school teacher or school but I will mention the Defence College, because the paper mentions the editorial board and based on the amount of authors and the numerous strings of letters after their names, including PhD, those individuals should be well-acquainted with proper academic research and citation and know better than to use a personal blog as a source. The other ironic thing is that they would have seen the disclaimer at the top of the article and the corresponding blog entry outlining why the article isn't an appropriate source.

At this point, I will still leave the article on my blog and hope that people read the clear disclaimer on it. Maybe it'll hit home for at least some people and they'll think more about the research process.

*by real people, not by spammers; those would be other entries, and I have no idea why the entry Fastnacht in July is so popular with them

**or not, by people who use it as a reference and don't give me credit

Monday, September 16, 2019

Nope, Netherlands, not this time either

It seems as if I've written about the Netherlands a lot recently (or once, but considering that I rarely post any more, that could count as a "lot"), so here's another post about the country since I took a recent trip there again.

I love visiting the grocery stores in the country, especially because they're open on Sundays, which German stores are not. However, not all of them are open; some of the German-owned stores don't join the fun (like Lidl or Aldi). Albert Heijn and Jumbo aren't spoil-sports, though, and we perused their aisles with glee on a Sunday.

The snack aisles are many and plenty, full of exotic chips with Thai and Indonesian flavoring. Plus there are some exotic offerings inspired by the USA -- or, as this popcorn says, "inspired by the USA recipe," which doesn't really make sense from a grammatical point of view. I guess they're trying to avoid calling it "American" because there are other countries on this continent. Or maybe not.

The biggest issue is that this is not a typical concoction for popcorn for us. I'm assuming it's similar to kettle corn, which we do have, but it's not always available. Typical popcorn for a US American would be salty and butter-flavored.Germany seems to also think that we have salty-sweet popcorn and I can say that even that kind of "American" style popcorn doesn't even taste like our kettle corn. More common than kettle corn, but less common than regular popcorn, would be caramel corn, but I have rarely seen that here. Oh well. It's another case of not quite getting our food (and it goes both ways).