[links] Link salad, Midwest edition - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2008-03-25 03:53
Subject: [links] Link salad, Midwest edition
Security: Public
Mood:awake far too early
Music:hotel noises
Tags:awards, books, escapement, funny, iraq, links, politics, science, tech
book_pimp on Escapement Amazon ] — Also some love there for timpratt's If There Were Wolves Amazon ]

Some of the reviews are out for Paper Cities — That one is very worth checking out.

Breakfast for Barry — A Hugo campaign of a reasonable sort. Check it out, give it consideration.

muneraven gets into an argument about the Hugos — Despite a certain amount of crabbiness all around, the comment thread is highly informative concerning the machinery of Hugo-dom, if you care about that sort of thing. Good on muneraven and kevinstandlee for having an interesting discussion.

The perils of Craigslist — This is just bizarre. Someone gave away a man's belongings on Craiglist. (Thanks to lillypond.)

Higgs bosons are us — CERN goes god hunting.

Weather Engineering China — Olympic sized ambitions.

Spirit, seen from space

NASA funding cut for Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity will shut them down at least temporarily — This will save NASA $4 million dollars. To put this in perspective, $4 million funds about 15 minutes of the Iraq War. Gosh, I feel safer already.

California requires certification for home schoolers — I have strong (and unpopular) views on home schooling, but I can see why this makes a lot of people on all sides of the fence uncomfortable.

McCain's free ride from the press — It's like Bush in 2000 all over again. Your Liberal Media, hard at work distorting the truth for the benefit of conservatives.
Post A Comment | 16 Comments | | Flag | Link

User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2008-03-25 13:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'd be interested to hear those views on home schooling, Jay... I'm curious whether to they fit in with mine! I feel it's a great idea, if people are up to it... and that largely they are not. It can also be a breeding ground for small-mindedness, if that's even a word. For every fantastic education, there will be someone who is home-schooled so they can be raised creationist on the sly, and be taught that science is wrong. A problem as a kid? Probably... but certainly when they reach adult life.

There's my unrequested two cents!!
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User: singingwinds
Date: 2008-03-25 13:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Your reply makes me think of the Waterboy movie. LOL

I am involved with several home school groups and most parents want what is best for their children. That involves going the extra mile to find curriculum that engages a student. They also know their limitations, and will find someone else to teach Organic Chemistry.

I have not come across a lot of creationist parents, but it may be because I live in Washington state.
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User: singingwinds
Date: 2008-03-25 13:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As a mother home schooling my 15 year old son, I was wondering what were your very strong and unpopular views about home schooling? ;)
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User: ellameena
Date: 2008-03-25 13:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The spirit and opportunity thing is a tough one. They were each expected to last maybe six months before they got clogged up with dust, but something unexpected happened--they periodically got dusted off so they were able to continue recharging and running. This was a bonanza for NASA, but it's also like throwing a party on Saturday night, and having your guests still there on Monday morning. And on Tuesday. And on Wednesday...etc. The original project never budgeted for spirit and opportunity to keep running forever. Hopefully they will be able to shut them down and "store" them safely so that they can be used in the future. This is one program that far exceeded the best of anyone's hopes and expectations.
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International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
User: nick_kaufmann
Date: 2008-03-25 13:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That Craigslist story is nuts!
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User: ktempest
Date: 2008-03-25 13:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
it seems to me that it's the second such story of that type I've heard recently. But maybe I just heard about this one more than once.

I hope they catch the asshole who put the ad up and stick him UNDER the jail.
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russ: watchmen
User: goulo
Date: 2008-03-25 15:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Perhaps they should just put an ad on craigslist that all of the asshole's organs are available for donation, free for the taking. :)
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User: ktempest
Date: 2008-03-25 13:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think it's unfortunate that home schooling was hijacked by the crazy "I don't want my kids learning heathen science and multiculturalism" crowd. I think it's a great thing in general, and know several people whose children are benefiting from homeschooling far more than they ever did from public school. And they even live in a "good" (read mostly white, middle & upper middle class) district. The unfortunate thing is that public school is okay at teaching kids in the middle. But get kids who are far too smart for public school, or who are on the other end and have special needs, and public school isn't so hot. Even some specialized and magnet schools aren't great. And don't forget, sometimes the Christian privilege can harm kids who *aren't* homeschooled as well. Pagan parents often find it hard to send their kids off.
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Twilight: Daria
User: twilight2000
Date: 2008-03-25 15:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Interested in your position on home-schooling as well. I though about lurking, but that felt intellectually dishonest as I have rather strong opinions as well.

Aside from any socialization issues, there's some specific issues that are a real problem -- very few (if any) parents are capable of teaching all subject matters even into 5th/6th grade. What a lot of folks don't realize is how many specialists are involved with your kid during a day -- art, music, PE, library -- to name the most common -- no teacher has the ability to cover all subjects. That means the kid either doesn't get the subject, or gets it incomplete taught by someone who may or may not be adept at teaching at all out of a set of "lesson plans" that without the subject matter knowledge even good teachers would have trouble with. 2nd problem -- when the child is finally at a point where the parent realizes they can't cover the subject matter anymore -- or the kid just wants to go to school with friends -- the teachers have to figure out how to integrate a child with no group learning experiences into a classroom. Even the best teachers are going to have a time with this. Let's also discuss the fact that our funding mechanism for schools is so ridiculous that every kid who's home-schooled costs the school district that child would have been in precious funds, reducing the programs available for the rest of the kids. This puts school districts at odds with home-schoolers (which is a ridiculous situation). Mind you, many districts have found a way to solve the worst of these issues by opening HS tutoring sites that allow the HS kid to get subject teaching/tutoring as well as allowing HS kids to join Drama/Band/Sports -- all things that really require large groups to accomplish. This is a recent thing and makes HS'ing far less of an issue from the academic/experiential end of things.

Yes -- I'm still conflicted -- and I still think most parents make lousy teachers of academic subject matter past about 3rd grade when it starts getting complicated -- but then I'm equally frustrated by bad teachers in the system because the really good ones burn out or get drawn away from a system whose funding would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Edited at 2008-03-25 03:16 pm (UTC)
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User: singingwinds
Date: 2008-03-25 16:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Going to jump in again with my two cents. ;)
There are so many resources available for homeschoolers than there used to be. Software, the internet, online classes, teaching co-ops. Parents can seek outside help to teach subjects they are not strong on. I happen to be fortunate enough to be academically strong in most subjects up to high school, but not trig. I am also college educated and have a diverse range of interests. My son attended public school until the 6th grade when his school became increasingly violent and apathetic to those issues. I also noticed a decrease in motivation in my son.

Recently laws have changed in Washington state to allow public school distance education and part time public attendance. The significance of this is that homeschoolers are able to team up with public schools to provide a really great education, and school districts have more children on the public school roles. I have homeschooled 2 years now, and just recently joined with a school district. They help purchase some of my curriculum, we keep in touch with a teacher advisor, and online high quality classes are available in a wide variety of subjects. I think it will be a great help to home school parents that do not have the resources and need extra direction. Another benefit of this is that they really emphasize socialization. They have face to face meetings for kids, just so they can interact with other kids. Homeschool PE and movie nights, dances. The funds can also be used to provide community based education, such as music or art lessons. Funds cannot be used for any religion based curriculum or activities. Testing is done each year to make sure the kids are at grade level.
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User: singingwinds
Date: 2008-03-25 17:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
oh, one more comment!

You bring up the fact that many specialists interact with kids each day at school. Not in our schools. The librarian is a teacher, no music program, no art program. The coach was teaching life skills (home ec) and he had the kids playing Sim City in class instead of cooking or sewing. The coach also teaches Math, Drama, Cinema, and computer science. The other coach used to teach Middle School English, Washington State history, and US History, but they recently downgraded him to PE and 4/5th grade teacher. (They split the 2 class between 2 teachers). Much of the school districts problems are due to overinflated egos and poor planning.
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User: ktempest
Date: 2008-03-25 23:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What a lot of folks don't realize is how many specialists are involved with your kid during a day -- art, music, PE, library -- to name the most common

Maybe in your school district, but certainly not all of them, and certainly not most urban public schools. Lots of schools are lucky to find teachers who have specialized learning in those areas. And I'd love to see more arts education, but the sad thing is that most public schools are cutting back or eliminating it.

And PE is a useless subject, anyway ;) A Yoga DVD does better..
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Dave Thompson
User: krylyr
Date: 2008-03-25 18:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Is the homeschooling/credential ruling going to effect private schools? Because it could have a huge ripple effect there, too.

I used to believe a lot more strongly in the public education system but being an unemployed teacher in the LA area for the last 4 years (mostly, since I got my credential) has had a sobering effect on me. I still believe in it, but there are definitely some problems with the system. And considering the budget cuts in my area (school library hours cut, school buses cut, more teacher cuts), the problems are only going to increase in the short distance. And the credential programs here have become ridiculous.

I don't necessarily think one's better than the other. As long as the person teaching is up to the task, the kids will benefit.
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2008-03-26 02:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There was a woman here in the Seattle area whose house got listed on Craigslist as being for sale. When it wasn't.
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User: tambyrd
Date: 2008-03-26 14:54 (UTC)
Subject: In all fairness
I'd like to add links to two blogs who responded to muneraven & standlee's dialog. The comments on muneraven's blog are bad enough but at least both sides got to express themselves.

These two people (at least) took the campaign to their own blogs, where they weren't very nice at all.

I don't write SFF but if I did I'd refuse a Hugo award after this.
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Kevin Standlee: Pensive Kevin
User: kevin_standlee
Date: 2008-03-26 20:42 (UTC)
Subject: Re: In all fairness
Keyword:Pensive Kevin
I can understand (although I don't agree with) your characterization of what I said on my own LJ, but in what way were Cheryl's very cogent comments on internet discourse "not very nice at all?" If anything, all she said was what should be common sense.

Edited at 2008-03-26 08:43 pm (UTC)
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