KANSAS ONCE AGAIN TURNS ITS BACK ON NATURAL SELECTION

The state has passed a law barring anyone under 15 from getting married, after a pregnant 14-year-old Nebraskan came to the state last year to marry her 22-year-old boyfriend. Previously, the state had set no minimum age for marriage but had required parental or judicial approval.

YOU'RE RIGHT, GENERAL. THAT GIG INFLATING AIRPLANE TIRES FOR YOU DOES SOUND PRETTY GOOD AFTER ALL. WHERE DO WE SIGN?


The US Air Force has unveiled a new recruitment program and Web site for teenagers, called What Am I Gonna Do Next? and, yeah, we know you're busy, but you have to visit this site for an stunning look at how the government plans to fill its next-generation military. On a quick tour of the site, we found that whatever our interests or passions (there's about a dozen general categories on the home page), there's a wide variety of careers open to us - in the Air Force. Nowhere else. And that's OK; it's a recruitment site.

But then, try this: Choose the category, "Fame and fortune, here I come," symbolized by a shiny dollar sign on the home page. Within two clicks, you'll discover that whether you hope to be a movie star, reality TV phenomenon, or pop icon, all of those dreams lead to total failure, abject poverty, and crushing depression. You're much better off jumping out of planes, or making sandwiches for fighter pilots.

Wow.

(via Mediabistro.com)

IN A CRIMINAL OMISSION, MACE WINDU, ONE OF THE GREAT MASTERS OF OUR TIME, WAS SOMEHOW EXCLUDED FROM THE LIST

Edutopia, the education magazine brought to you by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, has come out with its 2006 list of "The Daring Dozen: 12 Who Are Reshaping the Future of Education." (Wait, can you actually reshape the future?) It's a worthy list, but for our money, one of the most interesting is Carol Flexer, who "hopes that her research into the auditory quality of classrooms will make the front row and the back row equal learning environments." She might run into some opposition from eight-grade boys who choose to sit in the back row, but that's down the line.


IF SOMEONE CALLS YOUR TEEN DYSLEXIC, ASK THEM TO PUT IT IN WRITING


It could eventually help him on the SATs, where getting extra time to compensate for (real or imagined) learning disabilities is the new Kaplan. Slate basically argues that now that test prep materials have trickled down through the education system from haves to have nots, the haves have begun "therapist shopping" in earnest until they find a professional willing to sign a diagnosis of dyslexia or ADD, which will bring them extra time to complete the SAT:

Only about 60 percent of D.C. graduates take the SAT. Few get extra time on tests in the low-income Southeast section of the city, where in four high schools, not a single student passed an AP exam last year. It's a troubling example of the disequilibrium of opportunity. . . .

California law requires accommodations for anyone "limited" in a major activity, which some legal experts have defined as inadequate in relation to one's peers. It's a Lake Wobegon-in-reverse standard of disability. And it could give virtually anyone with an average mind and a wealthy family a leg up on the admissions test.

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
NO, IT'S NOT TO GIVE YOU BIRD FLU - HE'S JUST FOLLOWING THE ELEPHANT

Writing in Slate, Gregg Easterbrook argues that our national fear of the theoretically imminent bird flu pandemic may be a little misguided, given that the disease has so far killed, well, very few people. (And the latest news indicates that it may be just about done killing people in any event.) But the bird flu scare has sparked a national review of our public health resources, one which he recommends we redirect:

Now back to diarrheal disease, which causes far more fatalities than bird flu is ever likely to and whose victims are mostly children. About a decade ago, noble researchers at the children's hospitals of Cincinnati and Philadelphia discovered two rotavirus vaccines; by last year the vaccines had been perfected for general use by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline. American and European children will soon begin receiving these vaccines routinely, though their risk of rotavirus is small. In the developing world, however, where the risk is great—85 percent of diarrheal deaths occur in poor nations—the $200-per-course cost of the vaccine is prohibitive. If the wealthy nations of the West put their shoulders to this wheel, surely mass manufacturing could bring the cost of rotavirus vaccine way down, saving tens of millions of developing world lives. Instead we're spending billions of dollars to barricade ourselves against mutant chickens.

ARE WE THE ONLY ONES WHO FIND SOME IRONY (BUT NOT THE DELICIOUS KIND) IN THE FACT THAT SHE'S A CHILD PSYCHIATRIST?

A 63-year-old British child psychiatrist is about to give birth, thanks to the miracle of fertility treatments: “We take our responsibilities very seriously and regard the best interest of the child as paramount,” [Patricia] Rashbrook said. . . . the pregnancy “has not been an endeavor undertaken lightly or without courage.”


Doctors plan to deliver the child, confirm that it is healthy, and then transport it immediately to the couch in its mother's clinic, where it will begin exploring its mother issues.


DAMMIT, WE ALWAYS GO TO THE ZOO ON THE WRONG DAY (AND IN THE WRONG COUNTRY)


060516_bearmonkey_vmed_2pwidec1_1And so while we watch the sea lions and penguins going through the motions, we miss great shows like this:

Bears killed and devoured a monkey in front of horrified visitors at a Dutch zoo, officials and witnesses said Monday. . . . [the bear] climbed up and grabbed the monkey, mauling it to death and bringing it to its concrete den, where three bears ate it.

May 17, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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