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Since I'm too lazy to write a long diary enlightening you on some topic, I'm experimenting with unenlightening you on several topics.  Some interesting links I've run across recently over the flip.

Education:

Or, basically, why the Obama-Duncan approach is the right one.  Who wants to be forced into a system led by people like this?

Texas school board whitewashes history:

But the real reason became clear as that dispute played out, and I think that it helps explain what's happening today. Many conservatives are simply unwilling to accept how much the writing and teaching of American history has changed over the past 40 years.

They want an American history that ignores or marginalizes African-Americans, women, Latinos, immigrants and popular culture. Rather than genuinely engaging the fundamental conflicts that have shaped our past, they prefer a celebratory history that denies those fundamental conflicts.

Mount Holyoke professor Dan Czitrom, who's also an author of a previously Texas-banned book, writes about the recent insanity.  The irony here is that the wealthy conservatives who bankroll this kind of thing do not send their kids to these schools; they send them to Andover and Choate.  High-quality independent schools do not use these books.

The Fall Guy:

But that Vietnamese student has his own story to tell — and so far, it's one that hasn't been told, because neither Giles, the police nor any school official has ever bothered to ask him what happened. He denies being in a gang. He says that on Wed., Dec. 2, he was the victim, not the aggressor, in a beating that left him bruised and vomiting — and contrary to both Ackerman's assertion and the school's rumor mill, that incident had nothing to do with any disabled student. He says that he and his family shared his story with school officials not once, but twice, but they weren't interested in what he had to say.

Instead, he was suspended and ultimately pushed out of SPHS. His Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) attorney, Cecilia Chen — who also represents, separately, other Asian SPHS students in the complaint filed with the Justice Department — says the District used the teenager's alleged misdeeds to absolve itself of charges of "deliberate indifference" and "intentional disregard for the welfare of Asian students."

For those of you who haven't been following this---and judging by the rec list, which was all about the spycams below, you haven't.  In December a series of racially motivated attacks against Asian-American students at South Philly high led to a walkout.  The response by superintendent Arlene Ackerman and Mayor Michael Nutter was a massive coverup.  (Asian Americans United has the complete details.)

In last week's City Paper, they interviewed a Vietnamese-American student who was railroaded as part of the coverup.  In late breaking news, the Philly School District was forced to retract their bogus charges against the student.

How a lawsuit over school laptops evolved:

Network technician Michael Perbix, in computer forums and in a Webcast, would recount how he could hunt down and monitor the laptops without anyone knowing.

"If you're controlling someone's machine," he said, "you don't want them to know what you're doing."

The district finally suspended the practice - and apologized for not disclosing it - after the family of 15-year-old Blake Robbins filed a federal lawsuit saying the Web cam program amounted to a systematic violation of students' civil rights.

The spycam case in gory detail.

Geography:

Also known as the inevitable decline and fall of car-suburbia.

DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven decline in January:

As the DOT noted, miles driven in January 2010 were down 1.6% compared to January 2009, and miles driven have declined 2.9% compared to January 2008, and are down 4.7% compared to January 2007. This is a multi-year decline, and miles driven appear to be falling again.

We're years removed from $150 oil, and people's choices are still getting smarter.  Apparently the oil spike followed by the Great Tanking allowed people to detox from their cars.

N.Y.U. Plans to Expand Campuses by 40 Percent

The plan calls for adding 6 million square feet of space — at a projected cost of about $1,000 a square foot — to N.Y.U.’s existing 15 million, development that quietly started in 2006 and already amounts to 787,000 square feet.

Because the city is where people want to be, Arlene Ackerman's efforts aside.  I was up in the city for lunch last weekend, and there was not a junkie in sight in Tompkins Square Park.  It was all dogs and kids.

Food:

A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.  

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.

So, basically, the NSF paid these researchers to replicate, in rats and on a smaller scale, a study the USDA has been funding using people since the Carter Administration.

Originally posted to theran on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 06:58 PM PDT.

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