10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired School Books | Independent Lens Blog.

It is depressing to see this is what students in some schools are learning. Just a few examples:

  • Humans and dinosaurs coexisted
  • The KKK wasn’t all bad.
  • Dragons were real!
  • The Great Depression was exaggerated by socialists.

Left or right, conservative or liberal, education should not be a political football. Students should be taught the truth about science and history. No matter how much adults may wish otherwise, the facts are the facts. We are not doing children any favors by teaching them fantasies. Maybe adults find these fantasies comforting, but students need to prepare for reality. Whitewashing the history of hate groups or misrepresenting the field of biology is not the way to prepare them for the 21st century. There are, of course, different ways to interpret the past and students should be allowed to study each point of view, but not at the expense of the facts. Students cannot learn critical thinking skills by being fed a steady diet of misrepresentations and falsehoods.

Makes me want to weep.

From pbs.com:10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired School Books | Independent Lens Blog

This is awe-inspiring for the shear magnitude of the glacier collapse. Seeing this massive amount of ice the size of lower Manhattan break apart is terrifying and yet hauntingly beautiful at the same time. It is also sobering to realize how much this glacier has retreated in the past decade. It’s astounding to me as an environmental science teacher that we’re still debating about whether global warming is even happening in the face of such dramatic changes going on in our world today.

Must Watch Video: Largest Glacier Calving Ever Recorded

Redshirts by John Scaliz

RedshirtsRedshirts by John Scalzi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s the year 2456 and Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid. As a junior officer, he’s assigned at the bottom rung of the ladder in the biochemistry lab. His fellow low-ranking officers seem to be a nervous bunch who always find excuses to be away from the lab when one of the senior officers comes around. Lots of other suspicious things are happening on the ship that don’t quite add up. It sometimes appears that the laws of physics get suspended act strange and dramatic times.

It turns out, he has good reason to be suspicious. Despite the fact that the captain and the rest of the senior officers often act reckless, even criminally incompetent at times, they always manage to survive dangerous encounters. One astrogator, Lt. Kerentsky, seems particularly capable of defying the odds. The junior officers, however, aren’t as lucky. In fact, on nearly every away mission, at least one junior officer dies.

Okay, if you haven’t seen the obvious parallels to Star Trek, the title of “Redshirts” should give it away. John Scalzi’s novel is based on the idea that, what if the junior officers on an Enterprise-like ship starting noticing that they have such an unusually high mortality rate even as the senior officers seem indestructible. As they start asking questions, they come to a disturbing realization: They are extras in a Sci-Fi TV series and not a particularly good one. Pretty soon, Dahl and his friends concoct a plan to get out of this unfair cycle. Yes, there’s some familiar ground in that the characters find out that their lives are actually a sham set up for the entertainment of the others. This territory has been covered before in The Truman Show and an episode of The Twilight Zone, but the existential questions are given a greater weight given the life and death consequences at stake.

Redshirts is satire that is aimed squarely at the Star Trek canon, but like the movie Galaxy Quest, it’s satire done with love. John Scalzi pokes fun at the tropes, plot devices, and technobabble that have define the Trek universe. The story is great fun.

The novel includes three codas, one each written in first, second, and third person. The codas wrap up some details about the show behind the lives. The codas aren’t necessary for the main plot, but they are enjoyable character sketches in their own right.

Five stars.

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Picking Up and Starting Over Again

So, a while back I wrote about a job interview.

Well, I didn’t get the job.

My first reaction was that I wanted to give into despair. I wanted curl up into a ball and just give up. I’m a failure!

Blah, blah, blah.

That lasted about half and hour. Then I got over it. Sure, I’m still disappointed and being rejected hurts, but the only thing to do is pick myself up and keep going. So, I went to class. Then, I went online to apply to three more positions.

So, to quote one of my favorite movies:

Never give up. Never Surrender.

Galaxy Quest

Terrible Songs

I’m at the convenience store and over there PA systems comes that old Chris Egan/Stevie Nicks song, “Magnet and Steel”. This is one of the most gawdawful songs ever written. I know, picking one song Stevie Nicks song as particularly bad is like riding the coarsest grain of sand on the beach. They’re all really bad, but this one is especially awful. Wanting to throat punch a random stranger bad (don’t call the police, I assure I did not throat punch the cashier).

Not only does it have that cloying style that love songs from the 70s put on to try to sound airy and profound, but could they possibly have found a more clunky metaphor? You’re attracted to her like steel is attracted to a magnet? Really? Did that really impress women at one time? Being compared to curved metal bar that can used to pick up tacks? That’s almost guaranteed to ensure you never get laid.