Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists’ ‘Reign Of Error’

Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists’ ‘Reign Of Error’
September 27, 2013

Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.

But Ravitch recently — and very publicly — changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she’d supported weren’t working. Now she’s a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice — and she’s particularly opposed to privatizing schools.

Her new book, Reign of Error, lambastes the idea of replacing public schools with for-profit institutions. She tells us, “When people pay taxes for schools, they don’t think they’re paying off investors. They think they’re paying for smaller class sizes and better teachers.”


Ravitch: Standardized Testing Undermines Teaching
April 28, 2011

Nevada Readies For Universal School Choice
June 5, 2015


The laws of physics are like an onion

Lawrence Krauss & Marcelo Gleiser on Something from Nothing
TTBOOK. June 3, 2012

Why is there something rather than nothing?
Physicist Lawrence Krauss claims we may finally have an answer, though fellow physicist Marcelo Gleiser is skeptical.

6:48 Is science in the business of helping us find meaning?

6:55 the last few thousand years have shown us is that the domain of religion and philosophy is shrinking.

7:30 Richard Dawkins has written the afterword, claiming that Krauss has demolished the theological arguments in cosmology, just as Charles Darwin did in biology.
And I will say, Krauss does not mince words when he talks about religious ideas about creation.

Is the universe ultimately knowable?
Krauss: Well, there may be. I mean, I wrote a book about Richard Feynman and Feynman would say, you know, maybe the laws of physics are like an onion, you just keep peeling it back and there are an infinite numbers of layers and you never have a theory of everything.


Accessible Designs Could Help Us All

Accessible Designs Could Help Us All — But Only If Firms Bite
September 24, 2013

Voice activated technology has a long way to go, including Glass,” she says, “but if I could talk to an appliance in my house, if I could say ‘OK, lamps, turn on,’ that would be a huge change.”

Today it’s possible to wire a house to respond to your voice.
But it’s expensive.
And when Alex Blaszczuk fantasizes about the kinds of technologies she wants, item No. 1 is robotic limbs.
“There is a lot of cool stuff that is already happening in robotics I think that allows people who don’t have use of their limbs to use robotic limbs,” she said.

While it’s possible that an affordable system might soon allow Blaszczuk to talk her lamps or her stove or other appliances in her house, the robotic exoskeleton seems like a distant dream.
There are just too few people who both need it and could afford it to make it commercially viable.

“People with disabilities are going to continue to be a very small percentage of the marketplace,”

complete cervical (C5) spine fracture

Web Comments Are Bad For Science

‘Popular Science’: Web Comments Are Bad For Science
September 26, 2013
Popular Science magazine shut down online comments to stories on its website Tuesday. We spoke with Jacob Ward, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, for more on the decision.

The problem is … trolls and spambots

In one study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Dominique Brossard, 1,183 Americans read a fake blog post on nanotechnology and revealed in survey questions how they felt about the subject (are they wary of the benefits or supportive?).
Then, through a randomly assigned condition, they read either epithet- and insult-laden comments (“If you don’t see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these kinds of products, you’re an idiot” ) or civil comments.
The results, as Brossard and coauthor Dietram A. Scheufele wrote in a New York Times op-ed …

We also plan to open the comments section on select articles that lend themselves to vigorous and intelligent discussion.

Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments
Popular Science. Sep. 24, 2013

You’re not going to want to go to your job

Doctor Sleep

Stephen King On Getting Scared: ‘Nothing Like Your First Time’
September 24, 2013

1977 horror novel The Shining … adapted for the screen by Stanley Kubrick.

I have this story. I want to tell it to you, and when you hear it, you’re not going to want to cook dinner, you’re not going to want to clean the house, you’re not going to want to go to your job.

You might think so, but I could not possibly comment.

I’ve gotten a little more sophisticated in my writing ability.
I want to try to keep what I’m doing fresh. I don’t want to phone it in. Let’s put it that way. And that in itself makes it possible to work to the top of your abilities.

The idea is to work that talent and try to get to be the best person that you can, given the limits of the talent that God gave you — or fate, or genetics or whatever name you want to put on it.

I’m going to quit and be dead for a long time.
This is the time that I’ve got, and I want to use it to the max.
I really want to try and mine everything that I’ve got.

‘The Writer’ Automaton

The Writer
28 May 2013
Professor Simon Schaffer tells the story of an amazing machine built around 250 years ago – a small clockwork boy who can write.

‘The Writer’ Automaton
Jun 3, 2013
From the BBC programme Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams, Professor Simon Schaffer examines a clockwork creation of Pierre Jaquet-Droz.

Automata in the modern age
30 April 2012
Automata are mechanical moving figures; throughout history their lifelike movements have fascinated such creative minds as Da Vinci and Faberge.

One century ago however, production fell silent. Now though, in a fortuitous twist, the computer age is turning the gears of an automata revival. Michael and Maria Start who run the House of Automata in Scotland are two of the world’s foremost restorers of antique automata. Here, they discuss their love for automata, and why more people are drawn to the craft.

Lost art of Automatons alive again
CBS Sunday Morning. Jan 29, 2012
From the bestselling children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” to the Oscar nominated film “Hugo,” automatons – mechanical marvels from a time gone by – are in the spotlight. Seth Doane takes a look at the extraordinary world of automatons.

Bowes Museum Silver Swan

There is glory up ahead waiting for you

NFL Veteran Recounts The Bruises And Breaks Of Life In The League.
September 22, 2013

Being a professional football player can be a brutal life.
Nate Jackson spent six years in the NFL, mostly as a receiver with the Denver Broncos, and while he wasn’t a star — or even a starter — he did carve out life in the rarefied air of professional sports, and he got just as banged up as any big-name player.
But he learned to play through the pain.

“The human mind is really good at pushing pain down and away when you feel that there is a moment of glory up ahead waiting for you,” he tells

Moby-Dick’s complexities

‘Epic Pale Whale Fail’: Oswalt’s Contribution To ‘Moby-Dick’
September 21, 2013

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt appeared at three Los Angeles library branches Saturday to read aloud from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and discuss its complexities with audience members.
We talk to Oswalt about his obsession with the white whale.

Astroturfing: the 21st century’s version of false advertising

Online Review-Rigging Firms To Pay Fines In Yogurt Shop Sting
September 23, 2013

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said that “companies that continue to engage in these practices should take note: ‘Astroturfing’ is the 21st century’s version of false advertising, and prosecutors have many tools at their disposal to put an end to it.”

Astroturfing is the practice of obscuring the source of a message — for instance, a company may try to hide the fact that one of its own managers, or an outside firm, may have written a glowing four-star review.

see also:
Hunger Games: What’s Behind Yelp’s Fake Restaurant Reviews?
November 08, 2013