Gefilte fish and global warming; income inequality and public education.

View 820 Wednesday, April 16, 2014


If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983



Microsoft confirms it’s dropping Windows 8.1 support.



Roland Dobbins

If you still have Windows 8 and have not “updated” to 8.1, it appears that you’re lucky. Of course if all the 8.1 updates have installed properly, you’re also all right, I think. Microsoft is going to get a lot of heat about this, so they’ll be working pretty frantically to fix things. The best guess is that they’ll withdraw this goofy policy, but without either Gates or Ballmer perhaps sanity is a bit more scarce? Or more likely, Microsoft is becoming subject to the Iron Law as each department and fief seizes what it can…

Meanwhile, I’m catching up and winding down here. I did work on fiction today. Tomorrow I have to clear up some items with the California Reader so that can go on line.


Paucity of whitefish mars Passover meals

With ice just starting to thaw on the Great Lakes, there’s a shortage of whitefish, a key ingredient in the Seder feast’s traditional gefilte fish. It’s not the only food that’s scarce.,0,6949238.story#ixzz2z7cduzQ1

Exactly how that fits with the theory – perhaps it is better to call it a belief – of manmade global warming is not clear.

Meanwhile we have

April 16, 2014: Earth’s poles are separated by four oceans, six continents and more than 12,000 nautical miles.

Turns out, that’s not so far apart.

New data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft have revealed "teleconnections" in Earth’s atmosphere that stretch all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again, linking weather and climate more closely than simple geography would suggest.

It turns out that weather in Indianapolis (and other Midwest cities) correlates quite nicely with the upper atmospheric clouds in Antarctica (with a two week gap which is presumably the time required for the message about temperature in Indianapolis to get to Antarctica). I presume that more studies of the “communications time” (assuming that these weird correlations hold up, and it looks as if they might) will give us a better guess as to what the communications mechanism is. For the moment I can only think of speedy trolls, or perhaps fairies, but I’m fairly certain it’s something else.

The Gaia theorists (believers?) may be able to make something of this. And among the climatologists there will probably some who will look at their expensive models and sigh.


When you contemplate income inequalities, think on the fact that we spend enormous a mounts of money on a school system which the rich – and most of the teachers – make considerable sacrifices so that they can keep their children out of it. One of the main hereditary advantages one can have is to be born to parents whose wealth or status or both entitle them to educate you without resorting to the public school system; just as one of the main advantages you can give your children is to free them from public education.

There are of course exceptions. We live near one of the, a Los Angeles school rated at the very top of the LAUSD system. Oddly enough, across the street from Carpenter School there is a private academy occupying the premises of Corvallis, a very highly rated Catholic girls high school. Corvallis might have merged with Notre Dame, an all male Catholic high school during most of the last century. Both Corvallis and Notre Dame were highly prized and had more applicants than seats, but the nuns at Corvallis resisted merging with Notre Dame until it was too late. Notre Dame went co-ed, and Corvallis ended up sold, to become a finishing school for Japanese students whose parents wanted them to spend some high school time or finishing school time in the US; that was during the Japanese ascendency and it declined as Japan’s economy declined. Now it is an academy for bright kids who can afford it. We’re fortunate here to have both public and private schools of some merit, but that’s a rare situation.

If you want to reduce income inequality, the first move would be to eliminate teacher ‘tenure’ in the public schools up through and including the community colleges. Promote and retain on merit, and eliminate the worst teachers every year. The US once had public schools that were the envy of the world – the result was that in World War II we had an enormously productive labor force, many of whom – the women – had never expected to do manufacturing work. Rosie the Riveter astonished Hitler and Tojo – but she also astonished much of the United States. Knudsen and Kaiser understood how to use workers with a good general education to operate well designed machinery; and we buried both Germany and Japan with the output of America.

Technology changes, but one thing seems certain to me: we have destroyed what was once the best public education system in the history of the world, and Federal Aid to Education became Federal domination of education; and the Department of Education contributed to that destruction with its crazy theories. The unions with their insistence on tenure – you can never fire a teacher for incompetence even when everyone in the school knows that teacher is incompetent – were the major cause of the decline of the schools, but the Department of Education might have accomplished it all by itself.

If you want to end income inequalities, first restore the public schools to the quality they held before and during World War II.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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