An unforeseen danger leads to tragedy

I’m very sad to read of the tragic death of a doctor in Florida. The Sun Sentinel reports: Dr. Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson, 37, was discovered lying unconscious on the bedroom floor of her Pinetree Estates home around 9 p.m. Dec. 24, authorities said. . . . An electronic massager was found lying on the floor near Ferrari-Gegerson, police said. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. BSO detectives and the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office suspect that the massager became tangled with a necklace Ferrari-Gegerson was wearing and quickly tightened around her neck. There’s more at the link. I’m citing that report

Continue reading

A classic example of a half-truth

I’ve been doing a fair amount of research into media bias, from both the left and the right of US politics. There’s a lot of it about. I hope, on this blog, to be able to present fair, objective and honest opinions, always pointing out where I’m coming from, so you’re in no doubt as to my perspective on what I report here. I’ve been growing more and more annoyed at the blatant bias shown by some left-wing or ‘progressive’ media outlets and resources. One, in particular, seems to be consistent in its overwhelming bias: AlterNet. Here’s just one example

Continue reading

The first nose job?

The Daily Mail reports that a German manuscript has been sold, which depicts what may be the first ‘plastic surgery’ to rebuild an injured nose. A 16th century book detailing one of the earliest rhinoplasty operations came to light when it was sold at auction. The incredibly rare work, titled De Curtorum Chirurgia Per Insitionem – meaning The Surgery of Defects by Implantations – was published in 1597, and was written by Gaspare Tagliacozzi, professor of surgery and anatomy at the University of Bologna. It describes operations carried out to repair faces that had been wounded in battle. The tome,

Continue reading

Fair wages . . . or greed personified?

I was horrified to read a report on NorthJersey.com about the earnings of five stage hands at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Would you believe $422,599 a year? Plus $107,445 in benefits and deferred compensation? That is what a fellow named Dennis O’Connell makes at Carnegie Hall. He is the props manager, the highest-paid stagehand. Four other guys, two of them carpenters, two electricians, are paid somewhat lesser amounts, ranging down to $327,257, plus $76,459 in benefits and deferred compensation, for the junior member of the team, John Goodson, an electrician. . . . The Carnegie stagehands’ pay was

Continue reading

Water really is a scarce resource . . .

The US Geological Survey has published an astonishing image, showing all the water on the Earth – including fresh and salt water, glaciers, even the liquid in our own bodies – gathered into a sphere, and shown relative to the size of our planet. Click here to see the original (much larger) version, plus more information about the quantity of water involved. It certainly makes it clear how little water we have to play with on this otherwise barren planet, doesn’t it? Peter

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #426

Today’s award goes collectively to the unions and politicians in Oregon who campaigned for that State’s increased taxes on the wealthy, passed in a public referendum in January this year. Guess what? The Wall Street Journal reports: Oregon raised its income tax on the richest 2% of its residents last year to fix its budget hole, but now the state treasury admits it collected nearly one-third less revenue than the bean counters projected. The sun also rose in the east, and the Cubs didn’t win the World Series. That’s right . . . after Oregon decided to raise their taxes,

Continue reading

An interesting alternative to prosecuting drug crimes

The Washington Post has a very interesting (and very detailed) article about Portugal’s experiment with de-criminalizing drug use, and diverting offenders into treatment rather than sending them to jail. Here’s an extract. Drugs in Portugal are still illegal. But here’s what Portugal did: It changed the law so that users are sent to counseling and sometimes treatment instead of criminal courts and prison. The switch from drugs as a criminal issue to a public health one was aimed at preventing users from going underground. Other European countries treat drugs as a public health problem, too, but Portugal stands out as

Continue reading

Can computers beat snow to deliver education?

Shelly Blake-Plock, writing at TeachPaperless, published an article a year ago predicting that 21 well-known classroom technologies, techniques and policies would be extinct by 2020. They included: Desks Language Labs Computers Homework The Role of Standardized Tests in College Admissions Differentiated Instruction as the Sign of a Distinguished Teacher Fear of Wikipedia Paperbacks Attendance Offices Lockers IT Departments Centralized Institutions Organization of Educational Services by Grade Education School Classes that Fail to Integrate Social Technology Paid/Outsourced Professional Development Current Curricular Norms Parent-Teacher Conference Night Typical Cafeteria Food Outsourced Graphic Design and Webmastering High School Algebra Paper Details of his predictions

Continue reading