Another shooting. James Fallows (Atlantic) outlined why nothing would change after the Colorado movie theater massacre. He was sadly right. One reason I am happy to live in Japan. We had a handful of gun fatalities last year. Mostly criminals shooting each other. So those that say, “If we outlaw guns, only the outlaws will [...]
I don’t think so. If you consider what is traditionally considered homework (exercises to drill into memory some point taught in class), there is controversy. Andrew Sullivan over at the Daily Dish points us to Louis Menand over at the New Yorker. In it he tells us about a prominent researcher who
According to the [...]
It has finally arrived. The new university. The first update in 500 years. And it looks really good for learning. You get the best lectures and the best materials and the best classmates in the world, for free. Some people call it a MOOC, and there are some common elements. [...]
New York is going to publish (as in local newspapers) the ratings of public school teachers. So the bad ones, who don’t care, will simply do their supermarket shopping down the road. The ones who do will leave. Note that student, or administrators, are not subject to these same measures. Bill Gates has come [...]
Looking into the future, or prognosticating, predicting, punditry, or guessing, is a skill. Recent results from a study at Hamilton College shows that some are better than others.
“We discovered that a few factors impacted a prediction’s accuracy. The first is whether or not the prediction is a conditional; conditional predictions were more likely to [...]
People are uneasy here. The aftershocks continue unabated, now more than 1,000 since the big one March 11. We had 3 in one night, strong enough to wake us up. The epicenters are moving south, near Chiba, which is about 30 miles to the east of us. Fortunately, no significant damage has been reported. Our [...]
I started school today. For my third-year students I have an activity where we look at how much each class session costs them. We divide tuition (about ¥1.2 million, or US$14,000) by the number of classes in a year (usually around 400, each 90 minutes). They usually guess pretty closely to the ¥3,000 ($35) price [...]
So Many Girls…so many ways
Luis over at Blog from another Dimension found a really creepy High School advertisement.
For my students: There are different ways of doing things, and when you think of doing many things with many girls, it usually involves sex.
Kurt Vonnegut is in my top 3 writers. Here are 8 reasons why.
From the entry in Wikipedia.
In his book Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction, Vonnegut listed eight rules for writing a short story:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel [...]
Last week was banned books week. All over the world, books are continually banned for their content. At this Interactive map of banned books, you can find out which books were challenged at school and in libraries all over the US and Canada. It would be great to do a version of this for Japan.
Ogawa-sensei remembered that I had brought Obama’s acceptance speech to Cosmos Festival in November. He asked me if I had a good copy (better than the one on YouTube). Ogawa-sensei, I’ll bring it in on Monday.
Obama’s speeches are legendary now. I’ve been following him since 2004, and he continues to amaze.
President Barack [...]
On the backs of babes.
It seems since the scores are falling in international tests, and Japanese kids aren’t learning stuff you can test as much, there is a panic to find a solution.
About 10 years ago there was a move to restrict time at school because kids were not very well-rounded. They tend [...]
Over at Freakonomics an interview with Rose George, author of The Big Necessity, about treating human waste, shows that for every dollar spent on sewage treatment, seven dollars in health care costs are saved. Truly, the best health care invention of the last 200 years is toilets.
Reading the news today, a paragraph from David Brooks stands out as a prediction on the social fabric of the US as they (we?) enter into a prolonged recession.
Finally, they will suffer a drop in social capital. In times of recession, people spend more time at home. But this will be the first steep [...]
Thanks to the guys over at Freaknomics, specifically Ian Ayers editorial in the Los Angeles Times by the Police Commissioner, I have found a new tool.
Ayers did a study on who gets stopped by the LA PD. Minorities are stopped much more often, searched, frisked and questioned much more than whites, even when violence [...]
About two weeks before the election, my daughter Anri and her English teacher, the best one in the school, started working on a speech contest. Anri was barred from the Prince Takamatsu Speech contest because she had an American passport. But there were a couple of other prestigious contests, and Anri was gunning for some [...]
This is a 4-minute plea from the generation that will take over from the boomers to vote in this election. Only the oldest of this largest generation in American history will get to vote, but now is the start of the takeover. Just in time.
You remember the old Wassup commercials by Annheiser-Busch for Budweiser beer, right?
Now you can see an updated version for our times, with a nice twist at the end.
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears at the United Nations site. Now you can see it in a new format that brings out the ideas more clearly.
Get more information at the Human Rights [...]
Sublime. Gail Collins, the progressive, wishing for good old times. How can you assemble the faults in such a simple way? Here we have it.