CHAOS MANOR MAIL
Monday, December 12, 2005
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Highlights this week:
February 7, 2004
|This week:||Tuesday, February
Conversely, no other explanation has emerged for the rise in Autism that I am aware of.
>HEALTH | February 8, 2005 > >Focus Narrows in Search for Autism's Cause >By SANDRA BLAKESLEE > >Scientists are zeroing in on brain growth and inflammation as >possible suspects in the cause of autism. >
THE NEW YORK TIMES
February 8, 2005
Focus Narrows in Search for Autism's Cause By SANDRA BLAKESLEE
here comes a point in every great mystery when a confusing set of clues begins to narrow. For scientists who study autism, that moment may be near, thanks to a combination of new tools for examining brain anatomy and of old-fashioned keen observation.
Within the last year, several laboratories have reported finding important new clues about the mysterious syndrome that derails normal childhood brain development.
For the first time, they say, a coherent picture is emerging.
In autism, subtle brain abnormalities are present from birth. Infants and toddlers move their bodies differently. From 6 months to 2 years, their heads grow much too fast. Parts of their brain have too many connections, while other parts are underconnected.
Moreover, their brains show signs of chronic inflammation in the same areas that show excessive growth. The inflammation appears to last a lifetime. <snip>
Maybe it wasn't mercury?
"Conversely, no other explanation has emerged for the rise in Autism that I am aware of."
http://www.laboratoryofthestates.com/imbamcoa.html has another suggestion for the rise of autism. I'm haven't studied it so do not have an opinion.
Shouldn't we (nearly) always keep in mind for plausible explanation Greg Cochran's "Look for the pathogen"? If so "no other explanation" loses (all or nearly all of) its force.
If one believes autism is an "old" disease, then the Cochran Hypothesis holds that there must be an infectious agent involved.
Subject: self government in the streets (see view)
You get no argument from me about the facility of us thinking we can impose democracy and/or order in cities overseas when we can't even control conditions in our own. The new Bush budget cuts the COPS program by 96%. Obviously the current administration has "other priorities" . If I were still in the private security business I would be cheerful about all this because it would mean boundless opportunities to acquire new customers. Rich people are cheap about these things and don't get the difference between a police officer with six months of POST and a year on the job under an experience partner and a guard who, if there is a state-mandated program, has between two and forty hours of training, and if armed, some specific weapons training for baton and firearms. (Tear gas training has been abolished. No one uses the stuff anyway.)
But the rich can afford to hire extra security (but will usually insist on POST trained guards, or even off duty police officers) when the going gets rough. We run a very real risk of a return to fortress mentality of the 1970's in our cities. The problems with police, from their point of view, is that policing is a shared resource, especially in a big city where the size of your property tax has little to do with the amount of service you get (unlike most small towns and rural areas). They don't want to share when they feel threatened, but to vote the rest of us off the island.
Security officers do not belong on the front lines. They have no special powers of arrest the way police do and put themselves at legal and financial hazard every time they actually draw a weapon. 90% of all security guard operations are unarmed and there to, as the law says "observe and report". Since most people can't tell the difference between police and security officers, having them on a post has a deterrent effect. But since money drives the operation rather than need, their presence is least in areas where they would be most useful.
As in Iraq and other war zones, the problem comes down to "boots on the ground". With training and supervision. Have too little of either and you run a grave risk of incidents like Abu Gharib or the homeless person shot for acting out. Both are points on a bell curve. And that, of course, as it always does, comes down to money.
Bush's budget practices a phony austerity. We are cutting programs that are proven effective and needed by the bulk of the population because he is not just spending billions of dollars on a war which we didn't need to fight, but because he mandated tax cuts to serve his rich friends an undeserved bounty. So we have the following absurdity; billions for for a war without enough troops and enough equipment while cutting programs that fund police officers and other emergency personnel on our own streets and also cutting veteran's benefits and services at a time when the VA , like the US Military, is stretched to the breaking point.
Bush is our first MBA President. I'm wondering what his old professors think of the "business case" he is making here.
But why is this a Federal problem at all? If local areas need more police let the local areas hire them. As to money: when I was Deputy Mayor of LA we had 81 Civil Service Exempt employees in the city (I was of course one of them). I didn't know what to do with half of them. At least 20 were the Mayor's old pals, old political cronies who had helped him get started, and were now doing essentially nothing but collecting city paychecks and driving city cars; indeed I had to do the assigned work of at least one of them.
We now have over 600 Civil Service Exempt appointees and most of those make more than a beginning patrolman grade policeman. If we need 500 more cops on the street I know how to get the money for them immediately, since Civil Service Exempt employees are entitled to no notice at all (2 weeks by courtesy). Fire 550 of them and there will still be more than I had to work with when I was campaign manager, and there will be ample money for cops.
Why you blame Washington because LA won't spend the money on police is beyond me. Washington is the problem, not the solution. When I said self-government I didn't mean Washington DC to govern Los Angeles. Self government is local and cheap.
February 9, 2005
Subject: Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your TV -- CNN News
I, for one, will be avoiding CNN. You might ask your Representatives in Congress to get the videos of this part of the Davos meeting.
John D. Trudel ****************
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 12:51:42 -0600 From: xxx To: xxx
Reprinted from NewsMax.com
CNN Slimes Our Troops
Michelle Malkin Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2005
One of the most common complaints I hear from our troops is that the media rarely report on the military's good deeds.
A simple column I wrote last month lauding the humanitarian efforts of our men and women in the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, for example, resulted in an avalanche of mail from military members and their families expressing astonishment and relief over a bit of positive press.
"I cannot tell you how much that it meant to myself as well as several of my shipmates to be praised," wrote Mariano Gonzales, a member of Strike Fighter Squadron 151 aboard the Lincoln. "Sometimes it seems that in today's world, it is just not fashionable for someone in a position to influence public opinion to admit that the U.S. military's role in the world involves more than just war and bloodshed."
Well, with folks like powerful CNN executive Eason Jordan in charge - a man who clearly has issues with the U.S. military - it's no wonder our troops so often feel smeared and slimed.
For the past week, Internet weblogs ("blogs") around the world have been buzzing about outrageous comments regarding American soldiers reportedly made by Jordan, the head of CNN's news division, at a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland. (My reporting on the controversy, with extensive links to other bloggers, is at www.michellemalkin.com.) According to several eyewitnesses, Jordan asserted on Jan. 27 that American military personnel had deliberately targeted and killed journalists in Iraq. (Jordan has since disputed the characterization of his remarks.)
Why wasn't this headline news?
Forum organizers have stonewalled citizen attempts to gain access to a videotape or transcript of the Davos meeting. But American businessman Rony Abovitz, who attended the panel Jordan participated in, reported immediately after the forum that "Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-U.S. crowd) and cause great strain on others."
Another panel attendee, historian Justin Vaisse, wrote on his blog that Jordan "didn't mince words in declaring that the intentions of journalists in Iraq were never perceived as neutral and were made deliberate targets by 'both sides.'"
On Monday, journalist and presidential adviser David Gergen, who moderated the panel, told me that Jordan indeed asserted that journalists in Iraq had been targeted by military "on both sides." Gergen said Jordan tried to backtrack, but then went on to speculate about a few incidents involving journalists killed in the Middle East - a discussion Gergen cut off because "the military and the government weren't there to defend themselves."
Panel member Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., also told me that Jordan asserted that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military and that Jordan "left open the question" of whether there were individual cases in which American troops targeted journalists.
Finally, panel attendee Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., issued a statement in response to my inquiry that he "was outraged by the comments. Senator Dodd is tremendously proud of the sacrifice and service of our American military personnel."
Jordan's defenders say he was "misunderstood" and deserves the "benefit of the doubt." But the man's record is one of incurable anti-American pandering.
Jordan's the man who admitted last spring that CNN withheld news out of Baghdad to maintain access to Saddam Hussein's regime. He was quoted last fall telling a Portuguese forum that he believed journalists had been arrested and tortured by American forces (a charge he maintains today). In the fall of 2002, he reportedly accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel "on numerous occasions." He was in the middle of the infamous Tailwind scandal, in which CNN was forced to retract a Peter Arnett report that the American military used sarin gas against its own troops in Laos. And in 1999, Jordan declared: "We are a global network, and we take global interest[s] first, not U.S. interests first."
Now, who is more deserving of the benefit of the doubt? Eason Jordan or our men and women on the battlefield?
I support the troops.
COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Editor's Note: Read Michelle Malkin's columns in NewsMax magazine - Click Here! < https://www.newsmaxstore.com/nm_mag/currentoffer.cfm >
********************** John D. Trudel -- author, columnist, speaker, and business innovation guru.
"We help technology and strategy come together to create value."
Based in beautiful Oregon and in Cyberspace
Subject: Re: Delivery by mail
What is this about. I keep getting messages and frankly won't open them for fear of a virus... Please provide more info
On Feb 9, 2005, at 12:17 PM, Jerryp wrote:
> Before use read the help > <wsd01.exe>
Very wise. I didn't send it. Someone has faked my return address. That is almost certainly a virus or a zombie maker worm or something equally unpleasant.
Do not open unexpected mail attachments. Do not open unexpected mail attachments. Do not open unexpected mail attachments.
What I tell you three times is true.
February 10, 2005
If you (or your readers) are using any Symantec products, there is a problem with their anti-virus engine not being able to look inside some types of compressed files. The risk is that a malicious file attachment/download would not be properly scanned for viruses. The virus/worm could cause damage to your computer or exposure of personal information.
The problem occurs in up to 30 of the Symantec products. A list of affected products is on the Symantec web site here:
Patches are available at the Symantec site; users are advised to install the patches. Symantec rates this as a 'critical' patch.
Regards, Rick Hellewell
Upon receipt of this I ran Norton Live Update on my anti-virus and it did a LOT including insisting on restarting my machine.
Carly Fiorina was forced out by the board of directors for a simple reason - that the acquisition of Compaq computers was a huge waste of shareholder's money. Although Compaq had a lot of resources at the time, it was only marginally profitable and was dropping the ball on both quality and post-sales service, as many of us - myself included - warned you before you purchased your MAC laptop.
In January HP made the announcement that the HP PC division would be merged into the printer division, headed by Vyomesh Joshi. In other words, HP is beginning to exit the PC biz altogether. So Carly has cost HP both market share and an estimated $25 billion dollars in her one-woman venture - as was pretty much predicted by the board of directors, the Hewlett and Packard families, and the stock holders. Remember the proxy fight?
Carly made a classic marketing mistake. Both HP's and Compaq's market share were declining, and it is estimated that they were seeing only about $50 of profit per $1,000 of computer sold. But, from a marketing perspective, a company must have something significant to differentiate their product from the competition. Unfortunately, HP has not lately been big on innovation, although I wonder what they could have done had they spent that Compaq acquisition money on R&D.
HP makes an estimated $200 on each printer sold; the printers are the "gift that keeps on giving" since HP also sells teeny-tiny replacement ink and laser cartridges. It's like razor blades and film cameras - it ain't the entry cost, it's the upkeep cost! But PC's have become a one-time small profit and a long-term maintenance headache.
IBM is trying to sell off its PC division, but it was IBM that was putting the high-end pressure on HP, while it was Dell that has been putting the middle and low-end pressure on HP. Gateway is constantly reforming itself, and has been acquired by that upstart, e-Machines, so there's no competition there, although e-Machines are sold by Wal-Mart. Apple probably has a future, but it will be in the sort of consumer goods like iPods, while computers ultimately become a sideline.
Lesson learned from all of this. Study both Dell Corp. and the American computer market carefully before you buy a computer company! And it wouldn't hurt to listen to all the high-paid help while you're at it.
Cheers, Brian Claypool
Why listen to all those men?
Subject: Chipping the kids.
-- Roland Dobbins
We had badges like this in Oath of Fealty as well as other stories back in the 60's and 70's. Easy to predict. The reaction is interesting.
Subject: Brain Drain at the NIH?
Probably. Next step is to enslave those who are not contributing enough to society.
Subject: When Officers Aren't Gentlemen
NCOs will be the backbone of the new Iraqi army. BY MARK BOWDEN
NCO's are the backbone of any army. See Anatomy of Military Merit for details. But a very interesting article.
Subject: The model of a modern interrogator.
-- Roland Dobbins
Poor babies! What an awful thing!
Subject: Notes on public schools - toilet paper & razor blades
Greetings, sir. I thought you might be interested in this take on teaching in public schools.
...What's more, 37 percent of the education workforce is over 50 and considering retirement, according to the National Education Association. Suddenly, you've got a double whammy: tens of thousand of new teachers leaving the profession because they can't take it anymore, and as many or more retiring....
Teaching can exact a considerable emotional toll. I don't know of any other professionals who have to break up fistfights, as I did, as a matter of course, or who find razor blades left on their chair, or who feel personally responsible because students in tenth-grade English class are reading at the sixth-grade level or lower and are failing hopelessly.
...the pressures of managing a classroom solo for the first time were compounded by the lack of basic resources and administrative support. "We weren't allowed to use the copy machine [for handouts], so I had to stop at Kinko's every morning on my way to work," she explains. "There was never any toilet paper in the bathrooms for the kids, so I had to bring that, too." The last straw for Manley came in April, when she read a student's journal entry that described violent acts directed at her.
Edutopia is an education reform foundation funded by George Lucas.
First thing we do, we kill all the lawyers.
If you read Higher Education by Charles Sheffield and Jerry Pournelle you will see our view of what they have allowed schools to become. Teachers ought to be given arbitrary and capricious powers of discipline. Those who get thrown out of regular classes get one more chance in an even stricter environment. After that, they go into the pool: schools like the ones we have now. No, I wouldn't impose this nation wide or even state wide; but it should be an option for school districts. Public Education is not a right. It is an investment by the public. If you do not care to play by the rules those who are paying for it set up, then go get an education elsewhere at your own expense.
Perhaps I am merely sour in my age; but I recall a time when not one of us would dare talk back to a teacher, ever, no matter that one is a big farm boy used to forking hay and the teacher is a diminutive lady about 50 neither young nor old. You just didn't do that. Inner city or rural consolidated schools you didn't do that. When did we lost control of the classrooms?
Even in the movie Blackboard Jungle there was a semblance of discipline.
An item you quote in currentmail says:
> Subject: Re: Delivery by mail > > What is this about. I keep getting messages and frankly won't open them > for fear of a virus... Please provide more info > > On Feb 9, 2005, at 12:17 PM, Jerryp wrote: > > > Before use read the help > <wsd01.exe> > > Susan
This fits the description of a worm of the Bagle family known variously as Bagle.AX, Bagle-AY and Bagle.BB (among others: I do wish the antivirus industry would standardise on naming). See <http://www.viruslist.com/en/viruses/encyclopedia?virusid=70861>
What it actually implies is that some third party who corresponds both with you and with "Susan" has been fool enough to open such a message, and the worm has picked your address to put in the "From" while sending itself to everyone else in the addressbook.
Of course, if everyone paid attention to your thrice-repeated dictum "Do not open unexpected mail attachments", this wouldn't have happened. Maybe you should shout a bit louder?
I read your discussion about recovering data from a dead PC with interest.
I was recently given a dead PC that a co-worker's son had smashed to death with a cinder block in their driveway (serious anger management issues). The PC itself arrived in a shopping bag in pieces. The Maxtor drive had several significant gashes in the case, but the drive did spin up without any bad noises.
When I installed the drive in a different windows PC, I had the same problem you described in your article, Windows did not see anything on the drive and wanted to reformat the disk. The solution for me was to boot the PC up with the drive attached using Knoppix v3.6. Knoppix automatically mounted the NTFS partition and allowed me to copy off the important user data to a zip disk without any problems at all.
I would highly recommend this as a possible recovery option when trying to recover data from a dead Windows PC.
Thanks for an interesting column...
I will have to try that one. Thanks.
Subject: Dead drive recovery
Hi, Jerry. I wanted to add my experience to that of Bob Englert. My girl friend had a drive in her Windows XP box go down. Unfortunately, this drive had data on it that was both irreplacable and not backed up.
We were able to recover data off of it by booting with a Knoppix CD and copying files to a Samba share running on my Linux server, thankfully.
The interesting bit is how we did it. The drive (a 5 year old Western Digital) was dead.. dead to the point that it was not seen by the BIOS at system start time. My girlfriend reported that she had heard that freezing a hard drive could sometimes allow data to be recovered off of it.
Sure enough, by wrapping the drive in paper towels and popping it in the freezer for an hour or so, we were able to recover data off of the drive. We got about 100 megabytes before the drive warmed up enough the parts inside to stop working so well, at which time we put it back in the freezer, to wait for another attempt. By leaving it in the freezer to chill overnight, and then wrapping the drive in a freezer bag and packing ice around the outside of the bag, we were able to transfer over 500 megabytes at a time.
That any of this worked surprised me no end, but if you google for 'freezing hard drive' on the net, you'll find quite a lot of references to the practice, and I can't argue with the results.
See http://www.datarecoverypros.com/hard-drive-recovery-freeze.html for some recommendations on the practice.
-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jonathan Abbey email@example.com Austin, TX http://www.ganymeta.org/
I will definitely have to try that on the old dead drive. Thanks
Subject: Arguing phonics (again) in Illinois
Hope you won't mind one more education-related note today; it addresses phonics.
Overview: The efforts of an Illinois school superintendent to reintroduce "balanced literacy" reading instruction is angering some parents and educators who say an intense phonics-based program has shown outstanding results. One principal goes even further, saying that less emphasis on phonics threatens some at-risk children "to a life of poverty."
Excerpt from the New York Times: ...One of the only bright spots appeared to be the Lewis Lemon elementary school. With a student body that was 80 percent nonwhite and 85 percent poor, the school recorded some of highest scores in Rockford on statewide tests. On a reading test, Lemon's third graders trailed only those from a school for the gifted.
Lemon's principal, Tiffany Parker, had accomplished all this by embracing a method of teaching reading known as "direct instruction." Intended to address the needs of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, direct instruction provides teachers with scripted lessons, heavy on drilling and repetition, that emphasize phonics - that is, learning words by sounding them out. ...
I'm afraid the article is behind a paywall now at the NY Times. Here's the URL for those interested in seeing the full text:
Indeed. Phonics and drills are what are needed for, not all, but many students, except in Lake Woebegone. As Roberta has repeatedly proved.
February 11, 2005
From another conference:
FWIW, in addition to fervently supporting immigration controls--something that the neocons don't support, leading me to wonder if they don't regard another attack on the US with a kind of ambivalence--I also advise my friends to move further away from the downtown cores of NYC and DC. Because if I could be permitted one moment of disagreement with Jerry Pournelle, it would be to observe that in a globalized world, the Arabs, Muslims, and their sympathizers can get to our shores easily. And even if we were to withdraw from Iraq and the ME tomorrow, we've left behind enough damage to give us enemies for, oh, the next century.
There is a difference between what they CAN do not and what we can prevent them from doing.
I contend that sane immigration policies and devoting, say, $20 billion a year to their enforcement, would make much of our military expeditionary activity needless and even harmful.
As to not stirring up a nest of hornets (no intent here to trivialize what you have said) yes, it seems obvious that one doesn't do that without real need. The likely result of putting the Shia in charge in Iraq will be to make enemies of Sunni everywhere; but there is also the danger of renewed fervor for Islam. So why are we stirring the pot? What need have we of the Middle East?
Oil? For far less than we have spent on this war we could be a long way toward energy independence: using domestic resources, building nuclear power plants to be fueled with fissionables from no longer needed nuclear weapons, space solar power (requires cheap access to space but that enhances our military power) -- it can't be oil. Any rational analysis of the allocation of resources would show there are cheaper means for getting cheaper energy than war in the Middle East.
The only reason I know for our involvement in the Middle East now that the Cold War is over is that it is in the interest of allies, and we think that important. In fact I do not think that stirring up the Shia will aid Israel anywhere near as much as the Neo-Cons believe, and may be detrimental.
Recall that the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was dominant in the region for a century. Robert of Normandy rode the length and breadth of the Muslim empire challenging anyone to come out and fight him.
The Arab and Muslim worlds were in fragments.
Then a Kurd named Saladin using a bodyguard of Kurds as the core rebuilt the Persian and Arab and Egyptian and Jordanian and Iraqi fragments into an alliance and the result was the Horns of Hattin.
Stirring up religious fervor among a people peculiarly susceptible to it seems a dangerous experiment.
The Norman Crusaders also weakened the Byzantine Empire. Europe later had cause to regret that.
Ah well. A day. But I still contend that for a lot less money we could have security -- our Navy is pretty good, and there's nothing difficult about border control if you set out to DO it -- and energy research, and hell, a measure of research and development into automation of the care of the elderly including virtual on-line communities similar to Everquest and other massive on-line games. A billion dollars is a lot of money.
February 12, 2005
From your Byte column “…and I still say that had it gone with a better programming language with strong typing and range checking, we wouldn't have most of these problems in the first place.”
While I have not actively pursued this fight in an embarrassingly long time, I spent 4.5 years at DBMS, inc in the ’82-’87 timeframe where I spent ALL my political capital fighting for Pascal/VS as the better choice for my shop at the time than some macro / assembler mix, which was the alternative they chose. I was in Share as Pascal Project rep for them for awhile, and used the same (I suspect) arguments. This was exactly at a time in SHARE when we had 5-6 active people left in the Pascal project ‘cause they had hopped (with hundreds of others) onto the C / C++ bandwagon. I found it REALLY sad then, and, in retrospect, much MORE than REALLY sad now. Look where that choice has gotten “them”.
“Where fools rush in…”
C compiled fast, and let you do things in clever ways to bum code. That may or may not have been a good thing when memory and disk space were scarce and valuable resources. I never thought the gain was worth the loss; had major systems programs been written in Modula-2 (with of course further developments in that language and a lot more resources put into doing I/O libraries for Pascal/Modula languages) I think we would not be experiencing a lot of the security problems we have. We certainly wouldn't have buffer overflow.
And I always thought it was worth a lot to have programs that could be read and understood by people who didn't write them.
Subject: Oswald Mosley would be proud.
-- Roland Dobbins
Subject: [ Arms - Washington D.C. & Iraq]
According to casualties.org , there have been 88 hostile fire deaths caused by firearms since the beginning of hostilities in Iraq. The remainder of coalition deaths has been due to explosives or accidents.
What does this mean? If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in theater during the last 22 months, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000. The rate in DC is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.
The conclusion? Under the tactics of the left, we should immediately pull out of WASHINGTON, DC.
From: "David N Tierney" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: DC murder rate
I am a little confused, I guess. I just checked, and Washington, DC had 196 murders in 2004. I also checked the census, and DC has about 572,000 permanent residents in the 2000 census (more than Wyoming.)
That's a murder (guns, poison, and knives) rate of 34.4 per 100,000 for 2004, and it has increased from last year. Even doubling the 2004 murders for a 24 month period gives a conservatively rounded 70 murders per 100,000.
Where is David N Tierney getting his numbers?
I suspected as much. I know Los Angeles is safer than Baghdad....
February 13, 2005
Subject: FYI: Obit for Jack L. Chalker in the Baltimore Sun
Here's the post that Jack Chalker's wife posted to the newsgroup, with a link to the obituary in the Baltimore Sun.
She also has posted a more formal announcement, with information about the memorial service on Monday, Feb 21, at her website: http://www.qis.net/~ewhitley/eva/
----- Original Message ----- From: "Eva Whitley" <email@example.com> Newsgroups: alt.books.jack-chalker,rec.arts.sf.fandom Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2005 11:01 AM Subject: Obit for Jack L. Chalker in the Baltimore Sun
> <a > href=" http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/obituaries/bal-md.ob.chalker13feb13,1,4248617.story?coll=bal-news-obituaries ">baltimoresun.com >
- Jack L. Chalker, 60, science-fiction writer</a> > > or http://snipurl.com/cqwi >
> Jack's obit, in the Baltimore Sun. Let's see how many errors we can find, > shall we? > -- > Eva Whitley
> > http://www.evawhitley.net Guestbook messages for Jack at > http://www.caringbridge.org/md/jacklchalker
> "I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our > wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
Subject: Photo ban on SF Municipal Rail?
- Roland Dobbins
It's San Francisco, home of Dirty Harry...
Subject: Frigate on the rocks.
- Roland Dobbins
There is an obvious moral to this story...
Subject: Chimera patent refused
On the plus side, the patent office refused to issue a patent on a part- human chimera hybrid. On the minus side, that leaves the patent office in the position of being the federal arbiter on what is and is not human.
For some strange reason the line from Field of Dreams is running through my head: "If you build it, they will come."
There's good news and bad news...
Subject: house moving?
Are the puppeteers leaving?
This man was made known to me, recently. You probably know of him and have read his work, but he was new to me. He wrote a great essay in 1932 called "The Disadvantages of Being Educated", but I couldn't find a link to the text. It's a must-read if you can find it. Instead, I found this:
....The whole trouble is that the American system from beginning to end is gauged to the run-of-mine American rather than to the picked American. The run-of-mine Frenchman does not get any nearer the university than the adjacent woodpile. He does not get into the French equivalent of our undergraduate college. If he gets through the French equivalent of our secondary school, he does so by what our ancestors called the uncovenanted mercies of Providence, and every step of his progress is larded with bitter sweat. The chief reason why my Italian friend found no educated Americans under sixty years of age is that forty years ago the run-of-mine American did not, as a rule, get much nearer the founts of the higher learning than the run-of-mine Frenchman does to-day, and for the same reason—he could not, speaking strictly, "make the grade." The newspapers some time ago quoted the president of Columbia as saying that during the past half-century the changes in school and college instruction, as to both form and content, have been so complete that it is probably safe to say that to-day no student in Columbia College, and perhaps no professor on its faculty, could pass satisfactorily the examination-tests that were set for admission to Columbia College fifty years ago.
The root-idea, or ideal, of our system is the very fine one that educational opportunity should be open to all. The practical approach to this ideal, however, was not planned intelligently, but, on the contrary, very stupidly; it was planned on the official assumption that everybody is educable, and this assumption still remains official. Instead of firmly establishing the natural limit to opportunity—the ability to make any kind of use of it—and then making opportunity as free as possible within that limit, our system says, Let them all come, and we will scratch up some sort of brummagem opportunity for each of them. What they do not learn at school, the college will teach them; the university will go through some motions for them on what the college failed to get into their heads. This is no jaunty exaggeration. I have a friend who has spent years in a mid-Western state university, trying to teach elementary English composition to adult illiterates. I have visited his classes, seen what they were about, seen his pupils, examined their work, and speak whereof I know. A short time ago, in another enormous university—a university, mind; not a grade school, but a university dealing with adult persons—two instructors published samples of the kind of thing produced for them by their students. Here are a few:
Being a tough hunk of meat, I passed up the steak. Lincoln's mind grew as his country kneaded it. The camel carries a water tank with him; he is also a rough rider and has four gates. As soon as music starts, silence rains, but as soon as it stops it gets worse than ever. College students as a general rule like such readings that will take the least mental inertia. Modern dress is extreme and ought to be checked.
Although the Irish are usually content with small jobs, they have won a niche in the backbone of the country.
At the hands of some upper-classmen and second-year men, Shakespeare fared as follows:
Edmund, in King Lear, "committed a base act and allowed his illegitimate father to see a forged letter." Cordelia's death "was the straw that broke the camel's back and killed the king." Lear's fool "was prostrated on the neck of the king." "Hotspur," averred a sophomore, "was a wild, irresolute man. He loved honor above all. He would go out and kill twenty Scotchmen before breakfast." Kate was 'a woman who had something to do with hot spurs."
"Diabetes was Milton's Italian friend," one student explained Another said, "Satan had all the emotions of a woman, and was a sort of trustee in heaven, so to speak." The theme of Comus was given as purity protestriate. Mammon, in Paradise Lost, suggests that the best way "to endure hell is to raise hell and build a pavilion."
Would it be unfair to ask the reader how long he thinks that order of intelligence would be permitted to display itself at the University of Brussels or the University of Poitiers?
The history of our system shows a significant interplay between the sentiment for an indiscriminate and prodigal distribution of "opportunity" and certain popular ideas or pseudo-ideas that flourished beside it. One of these was the popular conception of democracy. It is an interesting fact that this originally got its currency through the use of the word by politicians as a talking-point. Practically all publicists now quite arbitrarily use the word "democratic" as a synonym for "republican"—as when, for instance, they speak of the United States and France as "great democracies." The proper antithesis of democracy is not autocracy, monarchy, or oligarchy, but absolutism; and, as we all know, absolutism is much deeper entrenched in these republican countries than in monarchical Denmark, say. The term, too, became debased on its more special uses. In the America which Dickens visited, a democratic society meant one in which "one man was just as good as another, or a little better"; this phrase itself is of sound American coinage current with the merchant. Democratic manners to-day, as a rule, mean merely coarse manners; for instance, the ostentatiously "democratic" luncheon-etiquette of our booster clubs means that all hands shall, under some sort of penalty, call each fellow member by his given name, regardless of the previous acquaintance or the lack of it. Thus the educational free-for-all sentiment got a very powerful endorsement. It was democratic. Poverty-stricken Tom, from the slashes, should go through school, college and university hand in hand with Dick the scion of Wall Street, and toplofty Harry of the Back Bay. Democracy so willed it, in spite of Nature's insuperable differentiations whereby Tom had first-rate school-ability. Harry had excellent ability in other directions but no school-ability, and Dick was a Dummkopf with no ability of any kind. Privately these differentiations might be recognized, indeed must be, but it was of the essence of democracy that there should be no official or institutional recognition of them. The unspeakable silliness of our truant laws, which make compulsory attendance a matter purely of school-age instead of school-ability, appropriately expresses this limitation. end excerpt
Stuart in Tucson
Nock is one of the important but neglected writers of the last century. One ignores him at peril. He foresaw the conversion of our education system into a credential factory system. Few did; indeed few understand what happened now that the conversion is nearly complete.
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