Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rankings ...

I'm writing this at the request of Margarita.

Law school rankings recently came out and there seems to be a buzz around the interwebs about this. People I know are upset over their decrease in rank, and I am sure that some other people are happy over their increase.

Honestly,who cares?

Sadly, the obvious answer is: many people. Rankings are a way for people to pass judgement on others, a popularity contest. While there are attempts to standardize rankings, in the end a large portion of a final rank is based on prestige and reputation, something that is purely based on other's opinion. Rankings will never be scientific and are therefore meaningless.

Back at Caltech we ranked the pre-frosh, hell, we even ranked the women (shhhh, don't tell anyone). Sure we had fancy formulas and equations to average voting, but in the end it was based on who we thought was better, something that was purely subjective. Rankings suck, and are meaningless.

Would I be saying this if I was attending a top ranked school? Of course not. Not because I would agree with rankings, but because I would not care since I would be happy to enjoy the benefits of a high rank. I already have a degree from an elite school so I can care less about rankings from any other schools I attend. Unfortunately, not many people are as lucky as me. But in the end, we must realize that these rankings mean nothing. This is a psedo scientific popularity contest. So don't cry or jump for joy when you see your school rank. Rankings are not a true a true reflection of the quality of education you will receive. While useful for employment, this is only because employers are willing to buy into the ranking hype.

I'll end with a quote from a joint letter signed by law school deans around the nation.

"Rankings generate huge hype, which is far more likely to serve the publisher's purpose than the readers'…. Applicants need help in widening their knowledge of schools that may be right for them, not narrowing their choices according to a ranking system."


Friday, March 28, 2008

Never Mind ....

It seems that the LA Times got scammed by some guy in prison.

Last week I posted about an alleged conspiracy to shoot and kill Tupac Shakur. The Smoking Gun recently released a story that describes how some white guy behind bars was able to fabricate the entire conspiracy described in the LA Times article by forging internal FBI documents. He made up the entire story and tried to make himself look important by casting himself as a lead player in the entire ordeal.

So, never mind about that conspiracy I posted about earlier. I guess this reflects my own bias. I have always believed that P. Diddy had something to do with Tupac's death, and I was ready to believe this hoax. I should always try to maintain a critical mind about everything I read, even if from reliable sources. This will also teach me not to rely on opinions created when I was 12.

Techdirt used this opportunity to comment on previous criticism mainstream journalism had against online journalism. Print media has previously claimed that online publishers are suckered too easily into fake stories and that the public should therefore only trust traditional media. Whoops.

The LA Times has also posted a retraction and apology.

The Smoking Gun via Techdirt