MacPorts Updating

Isn’t it time you made sure everything in your MacPorts installations was up to date? It’s just this easy:

sudo port selfupdate

The command updates MacPorts itself. Once you’ve done that, update everything else:

sudo port upgrade outdated

Unlike the previous command, which usually runs quite quickly. Expect this one to take a while. It may even make your computer run a little hot. My CPU usage looks like this while `upgrade` runs:

Not maxed out, but a healthy work out.

Not maxed out, but a healthy work out.

China’s Space Program

China’s space program made the pages of [Foreign Policy](http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/02/photos_china_space_program). Of course the headline was provocative. But the reactions in the comments get really vitriolic. “America sucks!” “No, China sucks!” Really? Is this the best we can do? Having just returned from China, I can tell you that I was struck by the sheer amount of what the Chinese are doing: they have money and they have people, and they seem to be investing that money in ways that benefit people. (If the long-term vision of the communists was to kill off the mandarin, they seem to be taking that mission somewhat seriously. Meanwhile, we seem to be growing our own mandarins here in the U.S.A. at a prolific rate.)

More Higher Education News

Best in bullets:

* Obama continues to disappoint: this time it’s his proposals for [higher education](http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/23/faculty-advocates-react-obamas-plan-higher-ed). Such a gifted public speaker, and so full of promise. And yet, apparently, so vacuous in reality. It’s like a second two terms of George Bush. (And Bush didn’t seem that far from Clinton, to be honest. So I think we are seeing the instantiation of a new power dynamic that’s something like the revolving door of administration officials and industry players and consultants and lobbyists.)
* And then there’s the troubling dean-to-professor disparity as chronicled by [Bloomberg Business Week](http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-21/the-troubling-dean-to-professor-ratio), of all people!:

> The number of Purdue administrators has jumped 54 percent in the past decade—almost eight times the growth rate of tenured and tenure-track faculty. “We’re here to deliver a high-quality education at as low a price as possible,” says Robinson. “Why is it that we can’t find any money for more faculty, but there seems to be an almost unlimited budget for administrators?”

China Travel Notes, Part 1

I was so unprepared in so many ways for this trip. I can’t believe the things I forgot, or, perhaps said better, I can’t believe all the things that I take for granted.

* First, coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. Next time I will travel with some good instant coffee. The Nescafe packets in my room here at the Salt Lake Hotel in Geermu/Golmud aren’t terrible, but at 5 RMB a piece, they are a little expensive. (Nothing compared to the 50 RMB I ended up paying for “fresh ground” but very weak coffee in Beijing.)
* Second, an Airport Express or similar portable wireless router that can work off a wired Ethernet connection. (Or a USB Ethernet dongle for my computer, but a router would let me work through multiple devices.)
* To go with that router, especially in China, a good VPN service. Without it, you are sort of at the mercy of what the great firewall will let through. So, GMail’s web interface is working, for now, but I can’t connect to the iCloud server either from the web or through Mail.
* Cash. I am so used to using my credit card for almost anything that I left the house, and the country, with only $100 in my pocket for a two week trip? Stupid stupid stupid.
* Along those lines, make sure I bring a credit card with a working ATM network setup on it. The card I brought has no networks listed on the back, and, even worse, I don’t appear to have a PIN for it. No cash for me. Cash is still the dominant form of monetary exchange in China, as it is many other places. I am out of the loop for the time being.

Caslon Type Foundry

A great collection of [photographs of the Caslon Type Foundry](http://spitalfieldslife.com/2013/08/05/at-the-caslon-letter-foundry/) circa 1902, I think. One of my personal favorites:

A Room of Clerks at the Caslon Type Foundry, circa 1902. Note especially the number of standing workstations.

A Room of Clerks at the Caslon Type Foundry, circa 1902. Note especially the number of standing workstations.