Education



The Great Sperm RaceWow, I had no idea that sperm have to fight Morlocks along the way! National Geographic presents Sizing Up Sperm:

Each of us was the grand prize in an ultimate reality competition, the amazing race a sperm makes on the road to fertilization.

Millions of sperm compete while overcoming armies of antibodies, treacherous terrain and impossible odds to reach their single-minded goal.

To illustrate the full weight of the challenge, Sizing Up Sperm uses real people to represent 250 million sperm on their marathon quest to be first to reach a single egg.


From NYC Green Schools:

Regulation A-812 prohibits home-baked foods from being sold at school fundraisers, while permitting Doritos and Pop-Tarts instead! Yes, this regulation mandates that if we want to raise money for our schools, we have to buy and sell junk food to our children!

VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO REGULATION A-812!

— Our schools cannot become venues for big food corporations, like Pepsi Cola and Kellogg’s to advertise and sell their processed foods to our children!

— Our children must not receive the message that junk food is healthier for them than foods cooked at home!

— We, as parents, must be allowed to participate in the discussion about our children’s health and nutrition!






From Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing:

Scott sez,

A few weeks ago, Frontline premiered a documentary called “Digital Nation”. In one segment, the vice-principle of Intermediate School 339, Bronx, NY, Dan Ackerman, demonstrates how he “remotely monitors” the students’ laptops for “inappropriate use”. (his demonstration begins at 4:36)


He says “They don’t even realize we are watching,” “I always like to mess with them and take a picture,” and “9 times out of 10, THEY DUCK OUT OF THE WAY.”

He says the students “use it like it’s a mirror” and he watches. He says 6th and 7th graders have their cameras activated. It looks like the same software used by the Pennsylvania school that is being investigated for covertly spying on students through their webcams.

The shocking thing about this is that the privacy concerns were not even mentioned in the Frontline documentary!


Tom Henderson explains his philosophy of punk rock mathematics. Via Technoccult: 1) People use the average Joe’s poor mathematics as a way to control, exploit, and numerically fuck him over. 2) Mathematics…



An update to this story. From MSN: The FBI is investigating a Pennsylvania school district officials accused of secretly activating webcams inside students’ homes, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the…


Is Your Computer Spying on You?Wow, can this be true? Truly a situation in which “Big Brother” comparisons are no exaggeration. It’s being reported that the Lower Merion School District, in a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia, is being sued for spying on its students at home, after issuing the students laptops with webcams that could be covertly activated by school administrators for surveillance, writes Boing Boing:

The issue came to light when the Robbins’s child was disciplined for “improper behavior in his home” and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

Update: The school district admits that student laptops were shipped with software for covertly activating their webcams, but denies wrongdoing.



Via the Daily Mail:

She was born with a unique body — eight limbs and two torsos fused at the hips. Now Lakshmi Tatma, the Indian toddler whose plight touched the world, has grown up and started school.

Two years after a ground-breaking operation to separate her from a parasitic twin, Lakshmi is a lively and bubbly four-year-old.

She loves playing cricket with her older brother, has a tendency to boss around her newfound friends and remains firmly a daddy’s girl.

‘When I think of the way she was, never in a million years would Lakshmi have been able to go to school or have the life she does today,’ said her mother Poonam, 26. ‘All the things she’s capable of now were impossible two years ago.



Washington Monthly reveals how a small group of ultraconservative Texas residents has managed to rewrite the public school textbooks used across the entire nation: “Evolution is hooey…the way I evaluate history textbooks…


Tamar Lewin reports for the New York Times on the spread of cannabis culture to higher education in Michigan: SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — At most colleges, marijuana is very much an extracurricular matter….



PAUL KRUGMAN writes in the NY Times:

If you had to explain America’s economic success with one word, that word would be “education.” In the 19th century, America led the way in universal basic education. Then, as other nations followed suit, the “high school revolution” of the early 20th century took us to a whole new level. And in the years after World War II, America established a commanding position in higher education.

But that was then. The rise of American education was, overwhelmingly, the rise of public education — and for the past 30 years our political scene has been dominated by the view that any and all government spending is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Education, as one of the largest components of public spending, has inevitably suffered.

Until now, the results of educational neglect have been gradual — a slow-motion erosion of America’s relative position. But things are about to get much worse, as the economic crisis — its effects exacerbated by the penny-wise, pound-foolish behavior that passes for “fiscal responsibility” in Washington — deals a severe blow to education across the board.