Friday, February 10, 2012

"Where did you get that beagle?"

While I was out walking our dog yesterday afternoon, I was stopped by a passing driver who wanted to know where we had gotten our beagle. This has happened four or five times now, including at the vet's office. Each time the questioner is surprised and somewhat disappointed to find out that she's a rescue dog from Puerto Rico. Most times they are looking for someone in the area selling or breeding beagles, and once we were asked rather directly if we were breeding our dog. Maybe I'm a prude, but is that really a question for polite society?

Deep in contemplation about how best to
steal something off the kitchen table.

Pure bred? No idea. Former street dog? Quite possibly. Eats cat poop? Constantly. More photos below.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I wonder if the NYT will claim fair use or innocent infringement

From the Boston Phoenix Phlog: Hi Bill Keller. The New York Times just stole our column. Should we sue?

If SOPA & PIPA had passed and been signed into law, the Boston Phoenix could have demanded that all ad networks cease operations with the NY Times, all credit card companies stop processing their payments, and then have the entire domain name blacklisted in the US. All for linking to a PDF. Our copyright system is completely screwed up as it is, and things like SOPA, PIPA and ACTA will make it a nightmare.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Report cards for science standards

Your state's science report card

My state, New Hampshire, got a D. Right across the fence (literally, if I look out my home office window) Massachusetts gets an A-. I guess it could be worse... like the F my home state of Oregon received.

This is why I spend a lot of time talking about science with my kids, watching quality educational programs, etc. They are also getting old enough for me to break out some textbooks to supplement whatever they get in school. Interestingly enough, New Hampshire has a new state law that throws educational standards to the four winds. Any parent can object to any content in any classroom and demand accommodation. Neat how that's written to be non-specific enough to not trigger any Constitutional challenges like Edwards v. Aguillard, huh? The only hitch is that replacement materials have to be paid for by the parents, but hey, I'll gladly pay for a textbook if that means evolution is taught in my sons' school!

Of course, this isn't enough for some parents here in NH. They want a bill that would allow parents to pull their kids from school districts that adopt the International Baccalaureate program because that's one step away from one world government or something.

It could be worse, though. In Indiana, a senator wants to include religion in the science curriculum and is trying to get around constitutional grounds by including more than just the creation science view. The bill now reads, "The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology." Somehow, I don't think the parents who would support this bill will support anything but Judeo-Christian teachings in their classroom. What about my belief system, that world was created from the dead body of Ymir the giant? Will that be on the test?