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Grading the Standardized Testing

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.13.13

I'm repetitive on the subject of standardized testing companies. Standardized testing companies wrote NCLB. It's a giant racket. Anyway, read here about the drudgery involved in grading all those stupid essays. (It's actually about what you think - grading is repetitive and boring on a small scale or a industrial scale.)


 

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On Gladwell on Korean pilots & cultural determinism

Posted by Ben
on 07.12.13

Here is a link for you.

I'd like to thank the essear for his helpful comments and, in particular, his suggestion that I make clear that I am not linking directly to Gladwell but rather to a post about Gladwell. I have attempted to carry out that suggestion by prepending "On " to the title of the post. Naturally, any remaining errors are my own.


 

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At-will Employment

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.12.13

This makes me crazy-angry:

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday stood by its ruling that a dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant because he found her too attractive and worried he would try to start an affair.
Coming to the same conclusion as it did in December, the all-male court found that bosses can fire employees they see as threats to their marriages, even if the subordinates have not engaged in flirtatious or other inappropriate behavior. The court said such firings do not count as illegal sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings, not gender.

The woman who got fired had been there for ten years. Wow does this make my blood boil.

Knecht, who sent it in, says: While the outcome offends my sense of justice, I don't see how it's wrong as a matter of law. "At will employment" means what it says (outside of narrowly defined exceptions, which do not seem to obtain here). The injustice is not the court's decision, but a legal framework that makes arbitrary dismissals permissible by default.


 

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Guest Post - A.H. Harvey

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.12.13

The man behind the great Dickens and Dostoevsky hoax

AD Harvey doesn't deny he is the creator of that community. Indeed, he says there are several identities which even Naiman has failed to unearth: Stephen Harvey, author of an article titled The Italian War Effort and the Strategic Bombing of Italy, published in the journal History in 1985; the Latvian poet Janis Blodnieks ("I search but cannot find the key/ Which will unlock the glowing door/ To the life which runs parallel/ To the world in which I am trapped"); and a variety of internet personalities which he prefers not to disclose as he says they might not reflect well on his output and interests.

Minivet asks: So, which of us is it?


 

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Breasts and the Athletes Who Deal With Them

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.11.13

This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart, in both senses.

MINUTES AFTER Ronda Rousey bounded into the Octagon this past February for the first women's fight in UFC history, she found herself grappling with two formidable opponents. The first was former Marine Liz Carmouche, who was suddenly suctioned to Rousey's back, strangling her and twisting her head. The second was her low-cut black crop top, whose elastic spaghetti straps were no match for Carmouche's moves.
In a last-minute mishap, handlers had failed to order Rousey a formidable fight-night bra and instead handed her one of the light-as-air chest coverings she usually wears for weigh-in. Now that teensy swath of fabric was the only thing standing between Rousey's goods and 13,000 onlookers at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. -- and it was inching closer and closer to the mat.
"When someone's on your back trying to rip your head off, things tend to slip around a bit," Rousey says. After one failed attempt at a wardrobe adjustment, she switched her focus to freeing herself from the choke hold "so she wouldn't snap my neck in half." As soon as she flipped Carmouche to the floor, Rousey went straight for her own neckline. Bad move: "I got kicked straight in the chest right as I was trying to adjust my bra."

The whole article is worth reading.


 

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Guest Post - tax breaks for Universities

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.11.13

Nick S. writes: People on unfogged may have opinions about this.

Reading the article, my initial reaction was that it describes entrenched privilege at it's finest (or, if you prefer, unintended consequences -- the tax breaks may have made sense originally but they end up altering behavior, "NYU's expansionism, for instance, is driven in part by the fact that it can extract more economic value out of property than other actors, thanks to all property it buys automatically becoming tax-exempt.")

Heebie's take: I really don't like this argument:

The overwhelming majority of the tax expenditures go to the richest universities -- the ones who need the money the least. Meanwhile, great institutions like the University of California are slowly starved to death: direct fiscal expenditures, it seems, are much, much easier to cut than more-hidden tax expenditures.

It makes it sound like the funding loss in California is tied directly to the tax breaks of Harvard, which is absurd. What he's actually saying is this:

A revenue-neutral abolition of universities' tax exemptions would be a massive gain for pretty much everybody, even if it did have the effect of slightly reducing alumni giving.

So if he's actually saying "abolish tax breaks as a form of government subsidy and give the money directly" then there's nothing special about education anymore. I agree with that in every form - no deductions, no nothing, just tax income, and send a check when someone receives government aid. Stop making it seem like the poor are the only people who receive money from the government.


 

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Armed Teachers

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.10.13

Actuaries have priced the insurance policies unaffordably high for schools considering letting teachers and/or administrators arm themselves.

It had never occurred to me that there might occasionally be a checks-and-balances role for private insurance to play, on politicians. I'm not claiming this extends to anything else, though, and certainly not areas like health care insurance.

via Jammies


 

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Ambulatory Surgical Centers

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.09.13

Is this paranoid or plausible? (That Rick Perry's sister stands to make millions off of providing abortions after the new restrictions go into effect.)


 

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Squeal

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.09.13

I went to the dentist yesterday and got some fancy sonic cleaning, which replaced the sharp little pick for getting plaque off. What a miserable innovation - it squeals like you're pulling the tails off helium-filled mice. Similar to the squeal of getting a cavity drilled, but more relentless. (But without the horror of contemplating your teeth being drilled.) That kind of noise puts me in a near-rage, and I spent the whole time with my eyes closed, trying to concentrate on anything else.


 

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Stereotype Threat

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.09.13

Sifu Tweety thinks girls are just inherently bad at math. Christ.

Or, stereotype threat may be a phenomenon that deserves some skepticism.


 

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Heads On Spikes

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.08.13

You may have a case of the Mondays, but at least you didn't stab a soccer player while refereeing his game, and subsequently get decapitated and quartered by fans.


 

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Lord Castock Sends Links

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.08.13

And I post them unedited, because I am a lazy, lazy blogger. Castock's links, below:

I'm not totally sure which Unfoggedites' bailiwick this story would be, but I do remember the issue coming up... somehow, in... some discussion or other we had a while back, so I thought of you guys when I saw it. It's a study on sibling bullying, which asserts that it can in fact be as serious a problem as peer bullying or even moreso:Link

Which I totally did not find by seeing it mentioned on The Onion.

Speaking of which, a bonus link from the Canadian political news beat: VICE Canada wins for this year's best Onion op-ed not appearing in the Onion.Link

(There is perhaps some amusement to be had in figuring out precisely how many kinds of wrong that article is and whether or not it's meant to be satire. I think it is... but... not sure...)

On the hip-hop beat -- I guess maybe I should send this one to Heebie but I might as well keep it all in one e-mail -- I don't know if Ghostface Killah's annual list of the 10 Softest Rappers in the Game has made Unfogged yet, but it's freaking hilarious and it should: Link

The sibling bullying link is interesting -- I'd love to know if they've come up with any way of distinguishing problematic bullying from the sort of seething conflict that I do, like all the oblivious parents mentioned, think of as perfectly normal and harmless. Because if I'm supposed to be doing something about it every time they snarl at each other (a) I certainly haven't been and (b) there aren't enough hours in the day. Sally does take shameless advantage of being bigger and stronger, which I try to keep a lid on somewhat. I assume physical fighting will stop, suddenly, the day Newt gets stronger than she is, at which point it will become completely inappropriate and beneath her dignity (I have warned her that rugby or no rugby, that day isn't too far off, and she'd be well advised not to build up too much of a backlog of illwill.)

Mostly, though, they seem to like each other fine when not actually fighting, so I don't worry about it.


 

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Various

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.07.13

1. As Oudie put it, "Is she more awesome?" Adventures in charismatic ASL interpreters.

2. If you've got an hour (or a little less), episode #396 of Sound Opinions showcases the Mexican rock scene, of which I know nothing, but I found this episode completely dazzling.

3. I got together with four high school friends, none of whom I've seen since high school itself. They all grew into lovely adults who I would enjoy being friends with, were I closer. Afterwards I got emotional about the vast quantity of amazing people out in the world. I had a similar emotional response from Unfoggedycon - what a concentration of such high quality people. It's not exactly sadness, because it's a really nice recognition, but it's not exactly happiness. Closer to poignancy or something.


 

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