- We Need More Truants. Andrew B. Watt's Blog (2009-12-13). “There's no way that the educational system, a monoculture if there ever was one, is going to manifest the kind of reform needed at every level. We've designed our schooling system to clamp down on unorthodoxy in a big way. Even if we allow the unorthodox to thrive in our monolithic system, it becomes a cult of personality. … These kind of polymathic geniuses can really make a school hum, but once they go, a program often dies with them. … Maybe what we need in order to reinvigorate American school systems is a broad-based buy-0ut, a sort of inverse-voucher program, where parents say, ‘this school has failed my kid for the last time. I'm going to plop him down in front of Sesame Street reruns and YouTube videos, and give him a library card, and see if those stopgap measures can do better.'” [R.G.: I’d just like to add that the notion of an “American school system” is probably part of the problem; what ‘we’ need is to stop thinking about what ‘we’ need, and start thinking about how this here individual child or adolescent or adult can live a better, smarter life in the near-, middle-, and long-term. The answer often isn’t going to be the same from one person to the next. And it often isn’t going to be institutional schooling in any recognizable sense. (Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- The strange consensus on Obama’s Nobel address. Glenn Greenwald, Salon: Glenn Greenwald (2009-12-11).
(updated below – Update II – Update III) Reactions to Obama’s Nobel speech yesterday were remarkably consistent across the political spectrum, and there were two points on which virtually everyone seemed to agree: Â (1) it was the most explicitly pro-war speech ever delivered by anyone while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize; and…(Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- Today in Rape Culture. Shakesville (2009-12-13). “Why is it always more important to lecture women on what they should be doing to avoid rape than to talk to men about the fact that they do not have the right to women’s bodies without explicit consent?” (Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- Dear Barack, Spare Me Your E-Mails. Commondreams.org Views (2009-12-13). Left flank (cont’d): “The insurers are not really upset with what may survive as a minuscule public option, for they have won the big prize: Everyone must buy insurance from them under penalty of law, and there will be no built-in requirement for cost control. Their so-called opposition to the current plans has to do with fine-tuning the president's guarantee of their future profits.” (Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- Art Interpretation and Climate Change. Jesse Walker, Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2009-12-09).
Jens Galschiot's sculpture Survival of the Fattest features an obese white goddess of justice on the shoulders of a frail African. There's an inscription: "I'm sitting on the back of a man. He is sinking under the burden. I would do anything to help him. Except stepping down from his…(Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- Protecting America's Borders Against Musical Miscegenation. Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2009-12-13). La Migra Vs. Cultural Exchange. “The evidence repeatedly suggests the group performs a hybrid or fusion style of music…[which] cannot be considered culturally unique to one particular country, nation, society, class, ethnicity, religion, tribe or other group of persons,” Therefore, you can’t come to the U.S. to play your bastard music, I guess. (Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- The Thin Blue Line That Protects Us From Canadian Science Fiction Writers. Roderick, Austro-Athenian Empire (2009-12-13).
Peter Watts writes: If you buy into the Many Worlds Intepretation of quantum physics, there must be a parallel universe in which I crossed the US/Canada border without incident last Tuesday. In some other dimension, I was not waved over by a cluster of border guards who swarmed my car…(Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- Nevada trucker wants confiscated $550000 back – Las Vegas Sun. 89119 – Google News (2009-12-13). In which the Shawnee County Sheriff is trying to keep over half a million dollars in cash that it stole from Eduardo Arencibia — even though he never consented to a search of the cab, and even though the government prosecutors never introduced any direct evidence at all to indicate where the money came from, and even though Eduardo Arencibia was never convicted of any crime, and had all charges against him dropped. (Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- Magic Highway USA. Daring Fireball (2009-12-13). The tomorrows of yesteryear. Technological civilization is awesome, even if it hasn’t quite realized the specific forms of awesomeness that Disney might have thought. (Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)
- On Baked Potatoes. ongoing (2009-12-08).
I recently remarked "There are very few foods indeed that compare with a high-quality Russet potato, properly baked." A voice in the comments wondered "And what do you call @@e2;20ac;2dc;properly baked'?" A harmless enough question, but then aluminium foil was mentioned; shudder. Please don't do that. Here's how to bake…(Linked Sunday 2009-12-13.)