About socalelectricguy

I'm a 52 year old, married worker bee who sells software to university professors. I have been starting to ride my bike to work and back many days each week, and I wanted to write about it, because I think that unless more people choose bike commuting as an option, getting around by car is going to get awfully difficult in Southern California, and just about everywhere else. Still, it's not for everyone, and there is much to learn and to consider if one wants to make it home safely every day on a bike amidst the hulking Mercedes tanks out there, with their variety of drivers, ranging from very nice and careful to completely oblivious, and everything in between.

Is it OK for Students to Pay Someone Else to Do Online Homework For Them?

How does everyone feel about these guys?

How does everyone feel about these guys?


The Harmful Effects of Racing Culture on Biking Culture in the US

I thought the first week of the Tour de France might be a  good time to talk about a book I love, called “Just Ride,” by Grant Peterson:


This book has by itself completely transformed the way I view cycling.  In the US, I see a very humorous (but also sad) biking culture:  a lot of really old and fat and definitely not elite bike racer types nonetheless ride around on really lightweight (16 lbs!), titanium or carbon fiber, low-slung, delicate racing machines, like this guy, for example


















I’m not trying to be mean, but only to ask a question: what convinced this guy to don the Lycra in the first place?  I would be very happy to see him riding a bike for his health, but does he need Shimano Ultegra components, clipless pedals, and that unfortunate Lycra suit to ride?  Of course he doesn’t.

He’d be much better off riding a bike like this:


But the racing industry has fooled most of my friends into thinking they need clipless pedals and a $4,000 tricked out racing bike.  Grant Peterson exposes the myths and helps regular people enjoy biking again.




Clearing Misconceptions in Distance Ed Enrollments by Sector: IPEDS Reality Check

WCET Frontiers

March 19, 2014

Let’s play a game.  What percentage of all distance education enrollments occur in for-profit institutions?  In private, non-profits?  In public institutions?  Hold onto your guesses as we’ll get to the answers later in this blog post.

The U.S. Department of Education’s IPEDS survey gives us an interesting snapshot of distance education adoption patterns by sector in Fall 2012.  In this blog post we break down the numbers by sector (public, non-profit, for-profit) and by level (2-year and 4-year) of institution.

Phil Hill of the e-Literate blog previously posted his insights on sector-specific data, with details on graduate and undergraduate differences. He also did a great job of explaining the methodology used to combine data fields from the IPEDS data so that it can be appropriately compared to the Babson reports. We are very appreciative of this work and did our best to replicate his methodology.

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Inside Syria: A Personal Experience

Don’t you wish our journalists could get this close to a story?

1001 Scribbles

First of all I would like to say thank you to Ana for allowing me to write this post for her blog. Before I write about my experience photographing the war in Syria let me give you a brief bio. My name is Russell Chapman, I’m 45, from the UK but now living in Lugano, Switzerland. I first got into photography when I was about 10. I was fascinated by the ability to capture a moment in time and loved how the scene in the viewfinder became, for a moment, my entire world. In fact this is something that has always stayed with me. I started off with a very simple point and shoot 35mm film camera, yes I’m from the pre-digital age. I got books from the library on photography in order to learn the science behind the art. It was quite a learning curve for a 10 year…

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How Bike Commuting 20 miles Each Way Affects My Mood

I am by nature a curious mix:  sometimes people call me  an upbeat and sunny-dispositioned fellow, but I also possess a dark, cynical, world-will-end-soon mood at times.  My set point and natural resting state is pretty cheerful, but too many hours of the New York Times or NPR news will put me in a sour mood, as I sit up and take notice of the awful things going on in the real world, a world which I manage to ignore most of the time.  Keep calm and carry on, and all that.

Now that I’ve been commuting to and from work (20 miles each way) for three months, I am pleased to report that my mood has shifted toward sunny me and away from dark, cynical me.  The constant exercising is somehow re-wiring my brain and making me disposed to feelings of contentment and satisfaction a much higher percentage of the day.

If you know someone who suffers from mild to moderate depression, see if they won’t try one month of bike commuting instead of driving (at least a few days a week) and have them report back to you.

My hunch is they’ll notice a positive change that will make cycling worth the trouble.  It’s often the getting started that’s the hardest part.Image