Berkeley High School, CA – where the lunatics are running the asylum

At first I absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes, reading a report about this school . . . until I realized with dismal misery that it wasn’t a joke. Berkeley High School is considering a controversial proposal to eliminate science labs and the five science teachers who teach them to free up more resources to help struggling students. The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High’s School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley’s dismal racial

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Technology marches on

Two news reports caught my attention today. In the first, the BBC points out that netbook computers, so recently developed, may already be on the way out. Rising prices and better alternatives may mean curtains for netbooks. The small portable computers were popular in 2009, but some industry watchers are convinced that their popularity is already waning. “The days of the netbook are over,” said Stuart Miles, founder and editor of technology blog Pocket Lint. As prices edge upwards, net-using habits change and other gadgets take on their functions, netbooks will become far less popular, he thinks. “Technology has advanced

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It’s off to the Maldon Mud Races again!

Today, in a freezing-cold England, the annual Maldon Mud Race was held at the Blackwater River estuary in Maldon, Essex. The Guardian reports: Passersby are advised to avoid the pungent sludge of the Blackwater estuary in Essex. “Warning – deep mud,” reads the sign. But yesterday more people than ever ignored the notice and common sense, by slopping through the ooze in the annual Maldon mud race. “It’s a laugh and it draws a line under Christmas,” said Andy Layley, about to take part in his fourth race, in a blond wig. The first mud run started in Maldon in

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Bee landing skills may have implications for aircraft

Discovery News has an interesting article on how bees land – with implications for aircraft and space-ships, it appears. Whether landing on a picnic table, underneath a flower petal, or on a wall of a hive, bees always manage to touch down without crashing or tumbling. Now, for the first time, scientists have figured out how these insects maneuver themselves onto all sorts of surfaces, from right side up to upside-down. The bees’ technique, which depends mostly on eyesight, may help engineers design a new generation of automated aircraft that would be undetectable to radar or sonar systems and would

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E-books continue their growth pattern

Via Gizmodo, we learn that Amazon.com has made an intriguing announcement. Amazon’s Kindle hit an important and startling milestone yesterday: On Christmas, the company sold more Kindle books than physical books. Yes, this is obviously the result of everyone who got a Kindle for Christmas (lots of folks) firing it up and ordering a bunch of eBooks on a day in which most physical-book readers weren’t shopping. But it’s still important and impressive. Amazon’s Kindle 2 e-book reader (image courtesy of Wikipedia) Amazon’s strategy is clearly to drive “ubiquity,” and based on stats like those above, it is succeeding. The

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The real nightmare behind Obamacare

It looks as if a concerted effort is being made by the present Administration and majority party to shove the health care reform bill down our throats , despite the fact that well over half the American people have stated loud and clear that they don’t want it. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out before Christmas: The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that “reform” has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll

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The meaning of the feast

I wrote last year about the night Christmas became real for me. It was very difficult to write that tale – I’d never told it in full before, and even now there are parts of it that I don’t share in public. Nevertheless, it was a life-changing Christmas for me. If you haven’t read it before, you might want to click over there and do so. For this year, I’d like to recall the essential simplicity of the Feast. This child was born to men of GodLove to the world was given;In Him were Truth and Beauty metOn Him was

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A Lolcat Christmas

I periodically post Lolcats from I Can Has Cheezburger?, simply because they make me smile (and occasionally laugh out loud). Here are a few Christmas-themed Lolcats. Click each picture to be taken to the original ICHC post. Peter

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Why Christmas falls on December 25th

No, it’s almost certainly not because an old Pagan festival was taken over, as popular myth would have it. Biblical Archaeology Review reports: It’s not until the 12th century that we find the first suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was deliberately set at the time of pagan feasts. A marginal note on a manuscript of the writings of the Syriac biblical commentator Dionysius bar-Salibi states that in ancient times the Christmas holiday was actually shifted from January 6 to December 25 so that it fell on the same date as the pagan Sol Invictus holiday. In the 18th and 19th

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Anyone for ‘minst pye’?

A recipe for mince pie dating back to 1624 has been discovered in England. Archivists have discovered one of the earliest recorded recipes for mince pies tucked away in the official papers of King Charles I. In 1624, when the recipe is thought to have found its way into a file of state papers created by Charles’s secretary of state Edward Conway, a mince pie contained ingredients only the very wealthy could afford. Fine cuts of meat, foreign fruits and exotic spices were a luxury far removed from the largely meat-free diet of the poor. English-style mince pie (image courtesy

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