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Walla Walla Aww-shington.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.04.12

I love a heart-warming story like this one which confirms my pre-existing beliefs. In short, relating to troubled teenagers as though they are people who deserve compassion yields miraculous disciplinary results.

Via M/tch


 

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The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.04.12
"Look!" said Sister as they were leaving the mall. "Another Santa!" There, ringing a bell, was a rather skinny Santa with a scraggly beard. Beside him was a big iron pot that said HELP THE NEEDY.
"That's one of Santa's many helpers," explained Papa. "His job is to collect money to help the needy -- birds who need seed, squirrels who didn't put enough aside for the winter."

Those lazy welfare queen squirrels with their iphones and Cadillacs, living off the Bear Country. I hope they appreciate that some bears built their businesses up entirely by their own hands.


 

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Go Kayla Harrison

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.03.12

From J, Robot: Kayla Harrison earns first US gold in Judo. "Harrison's story made me bawl like a baby," writes J.


 

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High Roller Physics

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.03.12

U. Awl sends along $3 million for doing great physics. That's some movie-star bucks right there. Drinks on Essear!


 

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Plastics!

Posted by Stanley
on 08.02.12

Having just taken out the recycling for the evening, I must say: I love curbside recycling, and I especially love the way my little burg does it: a free bin and free curbside pick-up of paper products, cardboard, aluminum, tin, glass, and plastic; meanwhile, all 32-gallon trash containers require a $3 sticker for pick-up.

In other words, the city has chosen to incentivize recycling, so it's cheaper (at home anyway) not to throw away a pop can.

Recycling: how does it work in your neck of the woods?


 

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In the Biblical sense

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.02.12
Throughout the Bible, having a hard and lasting erection is frequently equated with righteousness and Godliness.

...

Anal sex is confusing to many Christians because of the attention paid to the Bible's condemnation of homosexual acts. However, it's important to realize that these often quoted scriptures refer only to sexual acts between two men. Nowhere does the Bible forbid anal sex between a male and female.

...

Before attempting fisting, a Christian husband and wife should pray together and ask for divine guidance. The husband should ask that God guide his hand and work through him, and for the skill and patience to fist his wife correctly and maximize her pleasure. The wife should pray for openness and readiness to receive God's love and grace in the form of her husband's hand.

...

Why can't the man swallow his own seed if the woman does not want to? It would not be homosexual because it is his own, and it would not spill. How can I partake of the spiritual replenishment of the living water without being homosexual?

...

Christians willing to talk openly about sex is basically a good thing*, but this site just has an amazing number of jaw-dropping quotes, ripe for the picking. Pluck away.

*Modulo promoting plenty of homophobia and strict gender roles.


 

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NBC

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.02.12
Wieber was such the favorite that though the Olympics are on hours and hours of tape delay, the NBC announcers didn't even begin to alert the viewing audience that something might be amiss with her chances until soon before the final element, the floor exercise. I choose to believe that this is not a sign of NBC's incompetence, so much as the announcers' incredulousness: Even given a five-hour grace period, the broadcasters could not exactly believe what was going on.

Really? Because I think it's a sign of NBC's incompetence. Along with not displaying the final scores that cemented the US women's gymnastics team gold. Along with not displaying scores of any other team, especially those whose footage isn't being shown. Along with, in one of the diving competitions, graying out scores which were kept and showing the scores which were being thrown out. Along with generally withholding all kinds of important scores and statistics that would help you track what's going on. I think NBC is actually doing a shitty job. But maybe it's just because Wieber was a favorite.


 

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Pop Rocks

Posted by Stanley
on 08.01.12

So Train's "Drive By". Which song does it more closely resemble: Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" or The Wallflowers' "One Headlight"?

Also, the lyrics "Just a shy guy / looking for a two-ply / Hefty bag to hold my / ah ah ah ah ah ah love" are hilariously terrible. Protip: don't compare people to trash bags, but especially don't do it to the person you're trying to woo.


 

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Algebra

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.01.12

Should algebra be required? Should everyone and their brother email me this article? No.

This article is totally irritating. Most of it is dedicated to establishing how algebra is used as a gatekeeper for all sorts of entrances, and how many people can't clear it. Which isn't in and of itself the point. If algebra were super-necessary, then yes, make it the bottleneck.

What the article should be about is: what does algebra serve? and what needs are going unserved? This guy barely touches on that. He kind of swaps in mathematical literacy, which everyone agrees on. Perhaps because he's a poli sci professor, hmm?

There are really big problems with a typical algebra course, to be sure. When it's poorly taught, it dissolves into rote memorization of a series of calculator steps assigned to each problem type. (Really. It often becomes that.) When it's really well taught, probably half the material will never show up in the student's life again - in another course or otherwise.

In my opinion, middle school and high school math should go much more slowly and cover much less material, but more deeply. (Obviously there should be fast tracks for kids who are ready.) Fractions are cursorily revisited nearly every year, because students don't understand them deeply, but are never properly retaught - because there's no time. It's actually a really difficult topic, and should be dealt with, in a time intensive manner, once students are old enough to get the complexity.

A lot of material should be let go, and nobody ever cuts material from a curriculum. That is the fundamental problem.

What should an algebra cover? In my opinion, it should be a service course for biology, econ, physics, chemistry, and precalculus. Only students planning on taking courses in those areas should take algebra. Take algebra when you need it, because otherwise nobody retains anything. (The other students would be better served with a statistics and logic course.) The courses listed above need students to understand function notation, algebraic manipulation of symbols, solving for variables, and sometimes logs and exponents.

Most mainstream algebra textbooks are only loosely serving these future courses, and most teachers stick to mainstream textbooks (for a lot of good reasons). Here's how these textbooks work: First, they isolate one topic - solving radical expressions, say - and breaks it down into bite-size pieces. That part is good. The problem is that they build up to rather difficult problems that terrify the students and still only involve this one isolated skill - puzzle problems that challenge your best students. This is where everything falls apart. The course ends up hinging on the challenge problems in each section, because that's how the teacher separates out their A students. (And because these are the only challenge problems available in the book, or the integrative challenge problems are much too difficult to take on.) The rest of the students retain one thing only: "radical expressions terrify me and don't make sense" when they actually understood the basic material, which is what they need.

There need to be accessible, easy problems which begin - slooowly - to integrate different topics into the same problem. That itself would end up being your challenge problem, because it's really difficult for most students to pull in disparate material. But no one spends enough time on integrating these isolated skills, because there is way too much material to cover. (Again! The curriculum needs to be pared waaaaay down. But all the material is good, and no one is willing to do that.) Anyway, I ramble.


 

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Remembering the Light And Dark Sides Of The American Aristocracy

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.01.12

(Trying to embed a youtube video was failing (any more competent cobloggers who want to fix this have my full permission), but I wanted to embed the Vidal/Buckley "crypto-Nazi"/"queer" exchange from 1968 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYymnxoQnf8 . I do love the way Vidal smiles.)

We don't get WASPs like that anymore. RIP Gore Vidal.


 

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You are like racism.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.31.12

Tomatoes are like racism. Being sleepy is like racism. Your butt is like racism.

(This one is actually from me! Meaning I got it from facebook at some point last week.)


 

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HUGS! Guest Post Lite - Sifu Tweety

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.31.12

Now boys, everybody line up in a row and you'll all get a hug.


 

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Grub

Posted by Stanley
on 07.31.12

This article is a fun read: "Future foods: What will we be eating in 20 years' time?". Short answer: bugs and kelp.

Insects, or mini-livestock as they could become known, will become a staple of our diet, says Gaye.

It's a win-win situation. Insects provide as much nutritional value as ordinary meat and are a great source of protein, according to researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. They also cost less to raise than cattle, consume less water and do not have much of a carbon footprint. Plus, there are an estimated 1,400 species that are edible to man.

Gaye is not talking about bushtucker-style witchetty grubs arriving on a plate near you. Insect burgers and sausages are likely to resemble their meat counterparts.

"Things like crickets and grasshoppers will be ground down and used as an ingredient in things like burgers."

Here, stinkbug, stinkbug...


 

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blech

Posted by Ben
on 07.30.12

I'm too tired to rail about this idiocy as it deserves to be railed about, so maybe you guys can chip in.


 

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More with the guest posts! Nick S.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.30.12

Nick S writes:

I think this article is very well written and worth reading.

It makes some political points about the gaps in our health coverage but I think the most important message is the reminder that there are all sorts of ways in which people end up caught up in the health care system and that it's important to have sympathy for and the ability to imagine the whole range of stories.

"Arijit Guha is a 31-year-old who lives in Phoenix, Ariz. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in sustainability at Arizona State University. He recently got married. And, since February, he has sold tee-shirts to pay for his own chemotherapy.
Guha has Stage 4 colon cancer, a diagnosis that comes with an 8.1 percent survival rate. While he does have health insurance, a student plan through Arizona State, it has a lifetime limit of $300,000 in medical expenses. Guha has spent all of that, largely on chemotherapy sessions that cost $11,000 each."

...

"Poop Strong, launched on Feb. 15, was a quick success. Through word of mouth, Guha raised $20,000 in the first three days. He found himself at the post office a few weeks later attempting to mail out 300 tee shirts across the country. The order crashed the post office's computer system.
These days, boxes of tee shirts are stacked from floor to ceiling in the apartment he shares with his wife. There's medical equipment that takes up space, too.
"In every possible way, physically and and psychically, all this stuff has taken up so much space," Guha says.
The last two years have been a challenge Guha never expected. He has been in and out of surgery. Chemotherapy often leaves him dehydrated and tired; a half hour walk to the nearby farmer's market can be a challenge. He needs a cocktail of five separate medications to control his nausea. It's not the life that an energetic 31-year-old ever expected.
Recent months have started to bring better news. A scan in May showed that his treatment was working. His cancer looked "unsuspicious" enough that Guha has been on a break from chemotherapy for the past few months.
"My expectation, knowing what there is to know about Stage 4 colon cancer, is that it won't last forever," Guha says. "I would enjoy a long break but I do suspect I'll be back in treatment in the near future."

 

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Guest Post - Helpy-chalk

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.30.12

(Ed: I'm behind on guest posts! That is a gravy spot to find myself. Also I'm housed up with the in-laws in Montana for a week, so my presence online is spotty.)

The first is from Rob Helpy-chalk:

Salon is trolling us with some strange excerpts from a seemingly pro-polygamy book from an academic press. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered, which I think is a product of the editing.

Fun quotes:

Ted Mikels's documentary Alex Joseph and His Wives describes how Alex, a former policeman, became a polygamist in the Allred Group, eventually taking on twelve wives (ironically, from non-Mormon families). He and his wives started their own town in Big Water and introduced libertarian ideals to all new citizens.

This is the bit that lets you know for sure that nothing good can really be going on here. Sadly, it is not mentioned again in the excerpt.

She demanded to have a better husband, and the priesthood gave her the choice among all the men. She chose a wealthy man, the mayor, who had two kind and gentle wives

I guess we are supposed to think this means she is empowered, but the whole having to go to the priesthood thing undercuts that.

Since women often control the sexual rotation schedules, they can control the number of children born into their families, making it possible for them to open the gates of heaven to new souls through their wombs.

Scheduling is always a fun job. Scheduling a sex rotation among twelve women and one man must be a blast.

When I asked women why they can't have more than one husband, one woman told me, "Ha! Men could never deal with having to sexually share a woman with another man; they aren't capable of getting beyond their own inflated egos.

The whole time they've been talking about how having more than two adults in the family frees up time for women. The glibness of this answer lets you know how seriously they are about the argument that this frees up time.

Women use the blueprint of Jesus' wives--Mary and Martha--to help guide them

I missed this part. Do all Mormons learn that Mary and Martha were wives of Jesus?


 

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Rockin' and a-reelin', Barbara Ann

Posted by Stanley
on 07.29.12

Oh, good:

The presumptive Republican nominee began a series of meetings with top Israeli officials here Sunday and plans to deliver a muscular defense of Israel in a formal speech delivered near Jerusalem's Old City. Previewing the candidate's remarks, adviser Dan Senor told reporters that Romney would back Israeli military action against Iran.

"It is an existential threat and we in the West partnering with Israel should do everything we can from stopping Iran from developing that weapons capability," Senor said. "And if Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision."

Senor also said Romney believes the option of a U.S. strike against Iran should be "on the table," adding that the threat of military action could push the Iranians to stop enriching uranium.

Because what could go wrong?


 

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Too soon?

Posted by Stanley
on 07.29.12

The cover band with which I play has a list up on our website of songs that we can play, and it's not uncommon for a client to request specific songs. For instance, for an upcoming gig, the event planner has requested, among other things, "Psycho Killer" and "Pumped Up Kicks".

Normally, I'd be reluctant to play either of these songs this soon after the shootings in Colorado, but if it's by request, that's fine. (Which is to say, the songs don't bother me, but I'm worried they might bother someone else.)

But if not by request, what's the proper waiting period for this sort of thing?


 

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