Hey, UCLA, it might be time to put on our thinking caps.
"Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community," Fabienne Roth, a member of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, began, looking at Ms. Beyda at the other end of the room, "how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?"
Nevermind the Times trying to roll this up with divestment, because the absolute obliviousness of this actually is disturbing. If you watch the video, this isn't people maliciously trying to stick it to the Jew, it's people unselfconsciously thinking, "She's Jewish, we should be suspicious of her loyalties." Points to the people in the room who weren't so caught up in playing parliamentarian that they recognized this for what it was: genuine anti-Semitism.
Oooh, if we're posting hot-buttons, boy did this make me irate. The whole premise is that she's apologizing for having been a jerk to working parents, which is good. But her descriptions of when and how she used to be a jerk made me want to punch her. Yes, yes, life's a dance you learn as you go. I'm glad she's learning.
Thorn gets upset about implicit classism in discussions of foster care. Me, it's people talking about why private school is really necessary for their kids: Why I'm A Public School Teacher But A Private School Parent:
I am, however, concerned about the general culture at public schools--at least at the ones I've seen--of disengagement and compulsory learning. So when it comes to my daughter, I opt to invest a little more--to ensure she's immersed in a community where it's acceptable, and even admirable, to show natural enthusiasm for knowledge. I trust this particular private school, one that was created by like-minded parents, will best set her up for success. After all, numerous studies corroborate what teachers and parents have always observed: A student's habits and beliefs are significantly affected by his or her friends. Schools like SLOCA, fantastic as it may seem, are possible as long as the students and their parents are willing to buy in. Unfortunately, the critical mass of engaged students and parents that's integral to creating this environment seems to be lacking at many of today's public schools. And it may be impossible to attain when everything is both free and compulsory.
This thing makes me really disproportionately angry. The writer's claiming the high moral ground because he teaches the worthless dregs in the public schools, but god forbid his daughter should have to associate with them and their lack of engagement with learning. Really, there's no way to assure yourself that your child's classmates are going to 'buy in' to their own education, unless you carefully screen out everyone whose parents can't afford tens of thousands in tuition.
Certainly, there are bad public schools out there, and schools where some students' education is disrupted by other students. And if you're generally in a situation where your public school options are really bad, and there's a preferable private school option that works for you, I'm not going to judge you (unless I know enough about the situation to think you're wrong about your public school options). But this asshole writing in a national magazine, as if it were relevant to educational policy, that the difference between public and private school students is that the private school students really care about learning? I am restraining myself from hoping that life turns out very badly for his daughter in one of many characteristically private-school ways, because she's four and she didn't do anything wrong. (Really, she should do well and be happy. Her father, on the other hand, should develop a painful and disfiguring skin disease.)
He'd probably hate the fact that one can hardly read the beginning of "The Slacker Apologizes" without thinking of Ents, but there you go.
Thorn writes: I really don't want to argue free-range kids again, but articles like this update, which ends
But they no doubt believe even more strongly that they don't want to be at any risk of having their children taken away from them for a second charge of neglect. Why on earth should the state have any right to put them in that predicament
makes me really angry because it's basically saying the state should only be able to make sure THOSE people lose their children or something and argh. (I also know this is the same thing I said last time, but I also decided when we were done fostering I'd have to find some way to stay involved in the system and maybe being disgruntled on the internet is my calling!)
Heebie's take: That is completely the implication of the whole article:
The Meitivs, as it happens, are "free-range parents" who have a very coherent philosophy about giving children more independence. They had let their children walk home alone that day only after practicing and felt the kids were ready.
I happen to believe the Meitivs are both annoying and right in this case, but the "very coherent philosophy" bit is totally obnoxious. You could have a free-range parent who lets their kid camp for a week by themselves, and I'd think that was dangerous, despite the parents being ever-so well-heeled and having the very most coherent philosophy ever. Uber-fundies who want to pray away their kid's diabetes also have thought through their philosophy thoroughly. Thorn gets it completely right, the tone of the article is about not being one of those people, the dirty gross kind with too many kids.
A collection of the Times' expletive-avoiding circumlocutions.
Well, this was dramatic. He has to buy the instructor a beer every day for the rest of his life, right?
I'm bidding on a skirt right now on eBay. I virtually never wear skirts. Part of it is vanity - I feel like they're unflattering on me. Part of it is identity - I am very androgynous, and wearing skirts is feminine in a way that feels awkward sometimes. But I love the idea of skirts, and so I'm perpetually curious to see if there's a skirt that would actually make it into my regular wardrobe rotation.
Let's see if I win!
Nick S. writes: Very impressive.
[S]ince 1988, the Harvard Forest has also been a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, funded by the National Science Foundation. This designation broadened its mandate to observe other aspects of forest dynamics, focusing on its rivers and streams as well as changes in the air that sweeps by.
Aside from signal-sapping foliage, nature has other devilry. Animals chew on cables, ice builds up on metal equipment, and storms knock down trees and cables. But the main enemy is lightning. Every summer, dozens of bolts surge into the towers. The towers are well grounded, of course, so many strikes are not even noticed. However, says Boose, "last summer we had three or four episodes of significant damage. Our insurance company realized that this was no longer a good business model for them, so we aren't able to insure any longer." To keep replacement costs down, the forest now uses hand-me-down switches and access points from the main university campus.
I'm going to have to put Big Kitty to sleep, at some point in the next month, I think. His kidneys are failing, although he doesn't seem unhappy about that yet. His arthritis is pretty bad - every few days, he has an accident, and during the 30 seconds or so that he's having the accident, he is in agony.
I found this - The HHHHHMM Scale - to help you figure out when to put the pet down. It stands for Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, More Good Days Than Bad. If your pet is worse than halfway on at least half of the items, then it's time to put them down.
When I had his brother put to sleep, I opted not to take the body home to bury it. There was a $35 let's-pretend-he's-going-to-the-country-for-a-burial option, and then disposal via medical waste was free. After I had a few months to get some distance from it, I knew perfectly well it was all pretend. Now that's sort of tormenting me - I don't want to take Big Kitty's body home for burial since he can't be next to his brother, so I feel like I must do the fake-out-for-$35 choice, only it's harder to pretend. Mostly I'm just sad about this upcoming fact.
Witt writes: this is linkbait for philosophers. Luckily the NYT readers are on it. The "Readers' Picks" comments are especially choice.
For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation:
Me: "I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?"
Him: "It's a fact."
Me: "But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion."
Him: "Yeah, but it's true."
Me: "So it's both a fact and an opinion?"
The blank stare on his face said it all.
I assume his face said, "My dad is an obnoxious blowhard".
People who do not understand pigeons-and pigeons can be understood only when you understand that there is nothing to understand about them-should not go around describing pigeons or the effect of pigeons. Pigeons come closer to a zero of impingement than any other birds. Hens embarrass me the way my old Aunt Hattie used to when I was twelve and she still insisted I wasn't big enough to bathe myself; owls disturb me; if I am with an eagle I always pretend that I am not with an eagle; and so on down to swallows at twilight who scare the hell out of me.
And something new:
Thus does hawking, as Macdonald practices it in her bereavement, become a zero-sum game: as the bird grows tamer, she grows wilder. She spends her days stalking with Mabel through field and forest, her pockets full of dead day-old chicks, snapping the necks of rabbits the bird would otherwise eat alive. She stops seeing friends, "jumped in panic when the postman knocked on the door; recoiled from the ringing phone."
The most important finding here is that hand-stretched length and erect length are, indeed, effectively the same.
Yates v. US is what might be described as "the fish case" -- Sarbanes-Oxley, in a provision that's obviously about the destruction of corporate records, forbids the destruction of "any record, document, or tangible object". Yates was convicted of destroying undersized fish, and a five-judge majority including Roberts and Alito decided that 'tangible object' was ambiguous as to whether it it applied to objects like fish that really weren't corporate records, and so considerations of the legislative history of the proceeding and the whole law in context means that 'tangible objects' should only be read to mean 'tangible objects that are in some sense corporate records'. As I said the last time we discussed this, I would have gone the other way (what the Court actually did seems sensible and reasonable to me, but not quite what they're supposed to do): while it seems very clear that Congress meant "tangible objects that are corporate records", it also seems completely unambiguous that the law literally says "tangible objects", and by god fish are tangible objects because I've touched them. In the absence of any ambiguity, the Court is supposed to do what Congress said, not what it meant, and I think there's no ambiguity here, and fish are tangible. But, as I said, the Court disagrees, and five justices see enough ambiguity in that clause to look deeper.
You see where I'm going with this, obviously. In King, plaintiffs need to show that there's no ambiguity at all in the much more complex provision, using terms without a clear natural meaning, that arguably denies subsidies to federally established exchanges, and that the Court has no choice but to apply the wording of the provision literally without consideration of legislative history or the goals of the statute as a whole (oh, they're making an argument that Congress meant to deny the subsidies, but it is weak to the point of being almost literally unbelievable). It's going to be really, really hard for the same justices who said that it's ambiguous whether a fish is a 'tangible object', to say that the subsidies provision is so unambiguous that it cuts off further analysis; while Roberts and Alito could do it, it would be really shamelessly openly inconsistent in the service of a desired result, in a way that seems out of character to me.
So, a cheerful thought? (Someone find me a link to where someone who does this for a living has either made or rejected this argument? It seems obvious enough that someone professional should have brought it up somewhere, but I haven't seen it yet.)
Witt writes: I thought this NPR article was interesting, as much for what it doesn't say as what it does. It's basically a marketing pitch for the city of Lincoln.
No mention of weather or inconvenient distance to other parts of the country. And several coded mentions to the work ethic, which at least in my experience is usually a not-very-subtle racial judgment. (Lincoln is 86% white and just 4% black, with small populations of other races/ethnicities.)
Heebie's take: yeah, wow. That reads like a press release. Weird.
Five Lessons Education Research Taught Us in 2014. They're all interesting.
When a teacher's curriculum is perfectly aligned with a set of standards, meaning they're teaching exactly what they're told to, will students' test scores rise?
The answer is:
The results did not show a meaningful relationship between the two. Meaning, perfectly aligned curriculum is no more likely to be associated with gains in tests scores than perfectly unaligned curriculum.
This is one of those things that makes me think that sometimes we need a control that's not in the school system whatsoever. I have this thought about college, too: what happens to the learning ability and knowledge base of 18-24 year olds who are not in college?
Subversive cross stitch is so 2000-and-late, but this one still made me laugh.