Thursday, November 20, 2008

Study of travel patterns started

I missed the boat on the first one unfortunately.

But there are ongoing meetings continuing in January, a $300000 study of traffic and travel patterns in our immediate region. With the impact of so many crossroads, it's something local residents should be involved in and involved in early, to make sure we have our voices heard.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not enough male teachers

Yet another in the stories calling for more men in education, particularly early on.

If you read some of the comments, they make the suggestion that there is an institutional bias against it, as well as social stigma, which is probably true. This presents a problem for male children because they have no same gender role models to show them how to learn. It may well explain the declining test scores for boys in recent years.

Compound the issue with the number of single parent female households and I think you have an unbalanced situation getting amplified at home and in the classroom.

In our own system, as I counted we have 1 man as an instructional assistant in the whole district Grades K-2 unless you count custodial staff. Go to grades 3-5 and we have 2.

When I went to school as a child we had more - I want to say at least 2-3 before grade 5 and that was in one school. As the article points out, traditionally there have been more male administrators but because of the paucity of representation in instruction that has been going down. It may have something to do with the obsession with child protection in recent years but it's really a shame if that's the case.

I think this is something that needs obvious improvement and I'd hope the district would seek out qualified male instructional staff to fill the gaps and provide more balance for our children.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Canada's hundreds of wind projects

Hundreds of MW of capacity here. Smart - those Canadians, not conservative like here ....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How do you lower alcohol-related deaths?

Tax the booze. Seems to work with cigarettes ... get ready for another sin tax if this gets around.


Hitting em in the pocketbook seems to work.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gore urges Obama to focus on power grid


This is a great idea. I think focusing on efficiency is a no brainer, low controversy idea that has obvious benefits.

Kind of ironic I see this today after the power failure last night. We lost it on Wallace from 530 til around 8.

Couple of observations: Rt 12 area rarely loses power over the years - almost a bullet proof zone. For some reason our side of town loses it almost 3 or 4 times a year. It's causing me to reconsider using VoIP because without cell coverage (which is spotty but does exist for Verizon in my neighborhood), I would be without phone. Not to mention no power, no heat.

Also when I lived in Oxford this almost never happened. I wonder about the state of the power grid in town - seems kind of rickety and antiquated.

It'd be nice to have overlay map capabilities for this - someone mentioned GIS. I think this is good, although working in something like this to Google Earth with muni data would be ideal - I like their interface.

Monday, November 3, 2008

TV's negative effects on teens

The RAND corporation has shown in a 3 year study that there is some link, albeit not proven to be causal directly, linking teen pregnancy to TV shows with sexual content.

The study focused on 23 free and cable television programs popular among teenagers including situation comedies, dramas, reality programs and animated shows. Comedies had the most sexual content and reality programs the least.

"The television content we see very rarely highlights the negative aspects of sex or the risks and responsibilities," Chandra said. "So if teens are getting any information about sex they're rarely getting information about pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases."

Also from the story - here's a stat that ought to wake you up if you're a parent - 1 in 5 15-19 yo sexually active females end up getting pregnant!


Teen pregnancy rates in the United States have declined sharply since 1991 but remain high compared to other industrialized nations. Nearly 1 million girls aged 15 to 19 years old become pregnant yearly, or about 20 percent of sexually active females in that age group. Most of the pregnancies were unplanned, the report said.

Also, violent video games have been shown to have a negative effect as well

A second study in the journal added to existing evidence that youths who play violent video games -- a worldwide trend with American children averaging 13 hours of video gaming a week -- led to increased physically aggressive behavior.

Researchers from the United States and Japan evaluated more than 1,200 Japanese youths and 364 Americans between 9 and 18 years old and found a "significant risk factor for later physically aggressive behavior ... across very different cultures."

I guess it goes without saying, but should be said - watch what you let your kids watch!