Monthly Archives: June 2011

Topic Lecture from NASA

Here is a lecture from the Emory debate camp given by Susan Kroskey. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Emory University Graduate and former member of the Debate Team and  Russell R. Romanella. Associate Director for Engineering and Technical Operations at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC).


There are some great T discussions someone will no doubt transcribe and read, so be warned.

Expert Topic Lecture from Georgetown Debate Seminar

Wish you could hear a topic lecture from experts in the field of space policy? Thanks to the Georgetown Debate Seminar, your wish has come true. In addition to a traditional topic lecture from one of its debate instructors, the students and teachers at the Seminar were also provided with the opportunity to enjoy a a lengthy lecture and discussion with Charlie Chafer and Alan Ladwig, two men whose careers have been spent on the cutting edge of U.S. space policy.

Chafer, a former high school debater from Oklahoma and a championship debater at Georgetown University, is one of the world’s leading space entrepreneurs. He has frequently testified before Congress and has received many awards for his contributions to the advancement of space scholarship and commercial space leadership. Ladwig is a senior administrator at NASA appointed by President Obama who boasts a decorated career in both the public and private sectors. Together, Chafer and Ludwig have many decades of experience dealing with the issues that students will confront during the upcoming season.

Over the course of the lecture and discussion, both experts provide a wealth of information to help students prepare to debate space. More importantly, they present students with a passionate case for the importance of space policy to their lives and to the future of the planet.

To view the lecture, please head over to Debate Vision. It is also embedded below the fold.

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How to improve at debate camp


This is an article I began writing for the first edition of the last word but was weeded out in the editing process. Several people who read this disagreed with a lot of the advice, so bear in mind this is just my opinion- if your lab leaders disagree with something/tell you to do something a different way you should listen to them.


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A good Hitler Pants card

The classic analytic answer to many K impacts has now become the “Hitler wore pants” arg, and as persuasive as clothing analogies can be here is a pretty good card that says something similar but in a (arguably…) more intelligent way


As a history teacher, I’ve always found it interesting to discuss with high schoolers the complicated idea of ‘causation’ (that is, what caused, what contributed to, past events).


What’s striking about conversations involving this topic is the extent to which students are willing (often through no fault of their own) to attribute events to ideologies – as if Nazism itself were responsible for the Holocaust.


Regarding Nazism (and Fascism, too), I stress that, without Nazis, Nazism (as an ideology) would have been unable to do, well, to do anything.


This, I think, is key: that students confront the idea that systems of belief are not, in and of themselves, capable of destruction. Ideology becomes dangerous – in a historical sense – when individuals activate their core tenets.


At the high school level, conversations involving causation can lead in other directions as well. Most rewarding, I think, are those which involve the idea of ‘attribution.’


Continuing for a moment with the example of the Second World War: students must address in their thinking the notion that Germany (with a capital ‘G’) was not in itself responsible for the Holocaust.


True, that country initiated the events which conspired against Europe’s Jews, but again, a nation cannot act without individuals. To attribute to Germany (as many text books do) blame for the Holocaust seems, therefore, as irresponsible as attributing that same umbrella of blame to Nazism.


After discussions involving ideology and attribution, students, I find, are more effectively positioned to handle the crux of the issue involving causation – that is, that individuals, and individual action, trigger historical events. To get at the Holocaust, students need to wrestle with documents which reflect the mindset, the priorities, of the German people.


New Blog, Forum Offers Travel Tips and Resources for Debate Coaches

“Wisdom gained from 30 years of schlepping nerdy kids from coast to coast” is the subtitle of Lexy Green’s new blog, Debate Travel Tips. Only a few weeks old, the site has already become an invaluable resource for debate coaches seeking to save money on travel expenses—which is redundant, I guess, since that goal is shared by pretty much every debate coach in America. So far, articles have touched on hotel loyalty programs, printing, early hotel booking, and a few other topics that should be of interest to coaches. In addition to the blog, Lexy—the Director of Forensics at College Prep in Oakland, California—has set up a Debate Travel Forum for coaches to use to share tips, arrange room and ride shares, and discuss travel-related issues.