Internet Detritus – Random Chaos

NO FATE BUT THE NARRATIVES WE IMPOSE ON LIFE’S RANDOM CHAOS TO DISTRACT OURSELVES FROM OUR EXISTENTIAL PLIGHT . . . and you’ve now started your English/History/Philosophy class. Just like the future of education This contradiction is known as “sensory-specific satiety.” In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating. The Science of Junk Food – aiming for just enough flavor to keep you eating until you die. The evils of railroads Give me the old, solemn, straightforward, regular Dutch canal — three miles an hour for expresses, and two for jog-and-trot journeys — with a yoke of oxen for a heavy load! I go for beasts of burthen: it is more primitive and scriptural, and suits a moral and religious people better. None of your hop-skip-and-jump whimsies for me. Against railroads from 1830 Economics? Anarchist Josiah Warren believed that the only just measure of a product’s value was the amount of labor that […]

Interviews With Hamsters

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by sualk61 Alternate Title: Interviews With Neurotic Pets “I’m in training. If that cage door ever opens, I’m out of here. I don’t really get on well with the others that live here, so if I find the opportunity to get under that sofa, I’m taking it.” via McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Interviews With Hamsters.. You’ve seen the obsessive compulsive behavior of various pets. Get inside their heads. Nice and easy writing prompt/assignment. Use a picture to help set context. Great way to focus on the Writer’s voice. Apologies for the lightweight post, I’m messing around with how I can make the Internet Detritus posts more of a workflow. Essentially, I’d like to use the “Press It” shortcut and something like D’Arcy’s Ephemerator modification to keep the front page clear but I’d like to automatically create an auto summary of the “Ephemera” category each week. The one plugin I’ve found that did that seem like it hasn’t been updated for two years. I may try it anyway.

Internet Detritus #overkill

So many interesting things. Retronaut Futility Closet The conscience fund During the Civil War, the U.S. Treasury received a check for $1,500 from a private citizen who said he had misappropriated government funds while serving as a quartermaster in the Army. He said he felt guilty. “Suppose we call this a contribution to the conscience fund and get it announced in the newspapers,” suggested Treasury Secretary Francis Spinner. “Perhaps we will get some more.” …. Many contributions are sent by citizens who have resolved to start anew in life by righting past wrongs, but some are more grudging. In 2004, one donor wrote, “Dear Internal Revenue Service, I have not been able to sleep at night because I cheated on last year’s income tax. Enclosed find a cashier’s check for $1,000. If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send you the balance.” Make for an interesting writing prompt. Neatorama Could we hear a 6 inch human? All sorts of interesting things to think about. Puritan Valentine’s Day cards for The Scarlet Letter. Nuns Forgive Break-in, Assault Suspect Home Depot Purchases Wallpaper, Blinds Retailers Utah Girl Does Well in Dog Shows Judges Appear More Lenient on Crack Cocaine William Kelly was Fed Secretary Autos Killing 110 a Day, Let’s Resolve to Do Better Dealers Will Hear Car talk at Noon Arafat Swears […]

Craig’s List Beat Poetry

I find the Craig’s List free stuff ads very entertaining. The combination of really odd items1 and unique writing choices lead to speculation about who wrote the ad and what they were thinking. I ran across the three beautiful ads pictured above last night and proceeded to force my wife to listen to me read them aloud (It was Valentine’s Day after all). The result was beautiful, poetic even, beat poetic even even. I scrounged around tonight for some jazz loops and produced the beautiful work of art below. No words were changed but I did leave off the phone numbers. Craig’s List Beat Poetry The best thing about this is it could morph into a real English lesson. Decide this author was intentional. Analyze it like you would any other work of poetry. A short sample follows. owner in left and gone, two beautifully dogs, golden retrieve, and Lab mix This poem is about escape from the oppression of everyday society. In a scant 13 words, the author manages to take a snapshot of everyday Americana and depict the chaos just beneath the surface. By juxtaposing an almost total lack of capitalization against the apparent order enforced by the repeated use of commas the reader is forced to consider the role of structure and order in our society. […]

Internet Detritus #5

Audio The sounds of made by a West Indian furrow lobster – via Boing Boing Radio Berkman – Facts Are Boring – via itself This week we tear apart the difference between Truth, Fact, and Evidence, and the quiet, but irreplaceable, role of the humble factchecker in our media: Author/factchecker Jim Fingal on the Lifespan of a Fact Former GQ intern and factchecker Gillian Brassil Veteran Atlantic Monthly factchecking department head Yvonne Rolzhausen David Weinberger, author of the recent book Too Big To Know From the New Blogs Why was melamine so toxic? “Because it’s not, really. It’s not supposed to be absorbable by the human body,” Jia says. Its LD-50 (“lethal dose-50?), or the dose at which 50 percent of those exposed would die, is 3161 mg/kg in rats, an incredibly low toxicity. So why had so many children gotten sick? National Geographic’s Phenomena

Quotes and Authenticity

Mike Hasley, our Social Studies specialist posted the image/assignment above in FaceBook the other day. Homework assignment to give history students (high school): Find 5 quotations on Facebook attributed to a historical figure or culture icon (Einstein or Bill Cosby, for example). Then, have them find out if it’s actually true or actually from the person quoted on FB. Then teach research and primary source documents. -Mike Hasley I wrote something vaguely annoying, as is my usual pattern in life and on social media. See below. That’s why I have no friends in real life and only 6 on social media. That phrase seems to imply you can easily verify the truth of quotes not on the Internet… The problem w quotes is that they’re often out of context, misattributed, mangled, or used to prop up shoddy arguments. -Tom Woodward This has been bouncing around in my head since that post and started to solidify into something more expansive as I listened to the Radio Berkman podcast #193- Facts are Boring. This whole podcast is focused on truth, fact, and evidence. Given my historical interest in how gray1 “truth” is, the potential for greater understanding of the use/misuse/power of quotes in popular culture is very attractive. I’d want to look at the historical use of quotes. Have things changed dramatically […]


Online Google Earth Tours

It seems like the widget that allowed you to embed Google Earth tours (with audio and motion) online isn’t working. We had at least one person in the county who wanted to be able to do this because they’d seen this Jimmy Buffet tour. Compared to teacher assessment and other bottomless problems this seemed pretty attractive, especially using the Buffet page as an example. I hacked off most of the extraneous parts and this seems to serve the purpose although there are a few more pits that ought to be carved off. You should be able to download the source HTML at this page. Once you do that it’s just changing two URL strings from what they are now ( to the URL for wherever your KMZ source file lives. The example is below in an iFrame and it will likely play automatically. My apologies for that.

More VA Teacher Evaluation Stuff

I know. I know. You’ve been eagerly awaiting more VA specific teacher evaluation posts. Because of that intense demand, I offer up this frame for the new VA DOE standards for teacher evaluation. Recall, if you will, what I’ve been told is an overly analytical, semi-obsessive breakdown of what the standards actually say. Based on that language, anyone want to take bets on what percent of the evaluation student learning progressions will be in 2015? I ignored the random assortment of items thrown under “Professionalism” and focused on the instructional items. The goal was to figure out when you’d really see these skills being practiced. I’m claiming three observational windows- planning, delivery, and reflection (and after your first lesson ever, reflection and planning ought to become conjoined twins)1. I would argue that often we observe instruction and claim we can then figure out what happend in planning. I don’t think that’s the case. More energy and time needs to spent working with people when they are planning. Prior to putting these thoughts into action, we need to see what connections are being made, what information is being considered, etc. Looking at the end and trying to work backwards seems to encourage assumptions and mistakes on the part of the evaluator. People also seem to defend actions more vigorously when they’ve […]

Derived from Netflix presentation

The Golden Calf of Process and Standardization

Way back in the dim recesses of time, about 2009 to be precise, Netflix published an interesting slide deck on how they structure their business. I remember reading it and I believed it was an interesting and positive way to frame a company culture. I shared it with a few people in our district and life rolled on. The concept has come back to me repeatedly in recent days and it seems to fit a variety of scenarios well enough that I thought it was worth talking about again. Essentially, I see this concept applying at the national, state, district/county, school, and classroom levels. The images below are my slight adjustments to the Netflix slides. All credit goes to them or whoever they got the idea from.   In the beginning . . . Small (often new) organizations have a very high proportion of highly skilled employees1 and as a result don’t need much in the way of processes, rules, regulations, policies etc.  That’s the green area. As organizations grow and complexity increases2, the proportion of highly skilled employees drops.  Things go wrong. People end up in the red area and everyone is unhappy. Often the response to these failures is to implement processes, policies etc. There are a number of reasons I think this turns out poorly in the […]