December 16, 2009
Marcus Winters on teachers’ unions versus educational standards.
The premise underlying the policies favoured by the teachers’ unions, which govern so much of the relationship between public schools and teachers, is that all teachers are uniformly effective. Once we can objectively distinguish between effective and ineffective teachers, the system of uncritically granted tenure, a single salary schedule based on experience and credentials, and school placements based on seniority become untenable. The unions don’t want information about their members’ effectiveness to be available, let alone put to practical use.
TM Lutas on scientific scandals past and present.
So without any conspiracy we seem to be betting trillions on science that does not adequately coordinate to prevent control data from entering real data sets, has practices in the discipline that are inadequate to guard against undue weight, and is taking large chunks of its data from weather stations whose error bars far exceed the global warming signal we’re all supposed to be worried about. At this point a finding of “no conspiracy” would not reassure me. It should not reassure us at all.
Simon Scowl on James Cameron and his Avatar.
James “King of the World” Cameron is lecturing you about your unearned sense of entitlement. Isn’t that cute? [...] Why is it okay for James Cameron to devote whole rooms full of energy-sucking computers - and the Red Bull-sucking nerds in front of them - to creating photorealistic cat people, but I get a lecture when I leave my cell phone charger plugged in? [...] It’s not enough to be rich and famous if you’re not somehow “relevant.” Whether it’s Prince Charles or Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio or any of these other guys, they all have the same message: “Hey, I deserve to live like this. Now shut up and shiver in the dark, you peasants.”
Feel free to share your own items of interest.