Wednesday, September 17, 2014

School Daze: Man the barricades!

Readin', writin', rocket propelled grenade launchers.
It takes a great country to screw up something that used to be so simple: a school. But we're doing a real good job of it.

We've turned our schools over to idiots, fools, knaves, kooks, crooks, radicals, and the mentally ill.


The San Diego Unified School District now has a 14-ton M-RAP — short for mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle — that American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan usually ride into combat to protect them against explosives.

Not to be outdone, the head of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s police department has confirmed that the agency obtained a mine-resistant vehicle, three grenade launchers and 61 assault rifles from the Pentagon.

According to a Teach for America website, culturally responsive teaching in math is important because “math has traditionally been seen as the domain of old, white men.” This TFA group, like all other social justice educators, wants minorities to believe that what relates most to their lives in America is racism and oppression.

A junior high school student in Arkansas wore a tee shirt that reads “Virginity Rocks” on the front, and “I’m loving my husband and I haven’t even met him” on the reverse. But school officials banned the shirt and forced the teen to wear a school-issued gym shirt instead, because the Virginity Rocks message could lead to uncomfortable conversations about sex.

Brownies and other chocolate treats are now officially banned by Vermont. The state is now pushing fruit kebabs, kale and gluten-free paleo lemon bars as school treats. The ban comes in an attempt to comply with new federal school lunch and snack regulations championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

A Houston chemistry teacher was taken into taken custody after they found "date rape recipes" in a backpack she had with her. At her  apartment deputies found more recipes, methamphetamine, marijuana, numerous prescription medications and Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate, a compound used in date rape drugs.

A D.C. public school gave a sixth grade class a homework assignment that required students to draw comparisons between former President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler. “Now that we have read about two men of power who abused their power in various ways, we will compare and contrast them and their actions. Please refer to your texts, ‘Fighting Hitler — A Holocaust Story’ and ‘Bush: Iraq War Justified Despite No WMD’ to compare and contrast.

Morning Rush: Buying a house, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, September 17, 2014:

Do you say "uh" or "um"?

How to bid on a home

There's ice everywhere!

Don't sign this deal

The forgotten holocaust

Now do you believe in evil?

EPA turns off the lights

What you can do about cancer

We're attracted to a mate's smell 

Muscle mass predicts longevity

Boost your smartphone's battery life

Here comes big data for the masses

We're not saving enough for retirement

The baldness/prostate cancer link

A scientist who just makes stuff up

Today's Word: a collection of valuables

Obama deploys Ebola patients to Syria

The power of optics:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Everybody get up and get moving

Here are some good reasons:
  • They used to say you don’t grow new brain cells. They were wrong. You can if you exercise.
  • A three-month exercise regimen can increase blood flow to the part of your brain focused on memory and learning by 30%.
  • Being in good shape increases your ability to learn. After exercise, people pick up new vocabulary words 20% faster.
  • Sweating for about a half hour on the treadmill notably increases cognitive flexibility.
  • Office workers who exercised at lunch are more productive, less stressed and have more energy.
  • Research from Duke University shows exercise is as effective as antidepressants in treating depression.
  • What if you’re not depressed or anxious? Stay sedentary and you’re 1.5 times more likely to eventually become depressed.
  • People who exercise are, across the board, mentally healthier: less depression, anger, stress and distrust. 
How much? Exercise six days a week, 45 minutes to an hour per day.

Read the article for the research behind all this.

Seeing what's really there

“Never trust to general impressions, my boy, 
but concentrate yourself upon details.”
  ~ Arthur Conan Doyle

Many years ago as I was driving to work in the morning I passed several men my age jogging along the town streets.

Ah, I thought, wealthy enough to retire early. Then the reality struck: they were out of work. We were enjoying one of those recessions. I was lucky.

I don't have a lot of luck growing things. Something will start chewing on my cabbage in the garden and I won't notice it immediately. Or I'll notice leaves falling off a house plant, but I won't think anything about it.

I recently came across an article about the OODA Loop, a concept created by Air Force pilot and strategist John Boyd. OODA stands for observe, orient, decide, act. Fighter pilots are supposed to do that when engaging the enemy, for example.

Of course it's much more than that: Boyd needed five hours to introduce the idea. But we mortals can take a lot from his concept, starting with observation.

We all go through life in a sort of dream state, seeing only what we need to see and assuming the rest, because, well, most things don't change. But we can't improve ourselves or our situations or make good decisions without looking at our circumstances in a different way, especially if the world is changing around us.

Alexandra Horowitz, a psychology professor, has written On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, in which she describes walking around her block with 11 different people, starting with her toddler.On each walk she sees the world in a completely different way.

We would go crazy of course if we went through our days like Sherlock Holmes, observing every little thing. We see selectively so that we can bypass the obvious for the unusual. Still, we miss a lot that we may need if we want to think creatively and better understand where we are in the scheme of things.

Here are some suggestions:

Carry a camera. The act of looking for a photo opportunity forces us to see things differently.

Stop and notice something and ask why. Go ahead. You've got two minutes to ponder banister. How do you know that you can trust it to hold you?

And from the aforementioned article:
  • Start keying in on where all the exits are whenever you enter a public building. If, heaven forbid, a person enters with guns blazing, you want to know where their possible entry and exit points are and you want to know where your closest exits are located.
  • Give the people around you the once over and be on the lookout for behavior that doesn’t seem “normal.” Normal will depend on the situation and environment (having adequate mental models will be important in determining baseline behavior — see “Orient” below), so just because someone is acting weird doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a threat. Just keep them on your radar.
Whoa. Okay. More benignly, start reading a new publication in your field. Or meeting with different people and just listening.

“If we don’t communicate with the outside world to gain information for knowledge and understanding," OODA in chief John Boyd said, "we die out to become a non-discerning and uninteresting part of that world.”

The biggest lie

"There’s a lot of competition for Barack Obama’s biggest lie. The man who could assure the American public with a straight face over thirty times that they could keep their doctor under his health plan, when he knew that to be completely false, is one hellluva fibber.

"But execrable as that serial prevarication may have been, it doesn’t hold a proverbial candle to his most recent whopper — that the Islamic State is not Islamic — not to mention its corollary, or perhaps subsidiary lie, that real religions do not indulge in murder. Islam has been doing that pretty much straight through for fourteen centuries, both outwardly toward Christians and Jews, and inwardly in its unresolved pathological conflict between its Sunni and Shiite strains that continues, as the world well knows, to this day and undoubtedly into the foreseeable future, spewing an uncountable number of corpses as it goes.

"The Islamic State is not only Islamic, it is the very paradigm of Islam, Islam distilled to its essence as practiced by Mohammed, massacring local tribes, raping and enslaving their women, and making war against everyone in his way until he had subdued as much of Arabia as possible."

"Most of us know this.  It couldn’t be more evident, even to Barack Obama.  But he chose to lie about it at the very moment innocent men were being beheaded in the name of Allah"

Morning Rush: Milk, airplane tickets, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, September 16, 2014:

Reading the hidden text.
The secrets on Columbus' map

Dairy fat is good for diabetes 

When to buy airplane tickets 

It's corruption all the way down

Miracles: a new way to clean blood

We're feeding 46 million people

Children get too many antibiotics

Avoid these estate-planning blunders

The EPA's progressive philosophy 

Duh: men and women are different

Hillary's coverup uncovered

Why are we in denial about Islam?

Fake Hero of the Day: Tom Harkin

Crook of the Day: Wendy Davis

Today's Word: in the open air; outdoors

Making it legal to spank other people's children

The myth of "moderate" Islam:

Anais Nin: courage

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

Monday, September 15, 2014

Let's cut some hay

Most of my estate is on a slope, but I have a self-propelled mower and it's no trouble. I even managed to aerate it this year with a heavy, but self-propelled aerator.

Then I tried to push a seeding machine over it. It wasn't self-propelled, and I nearly killed myself. So outside today are some gentlemen doing the reseeding for me.

When I was young and stupid I worked summers at an oil refinery in Louisiana. We mowed four-foot weeds off the earthen levees that surrounded the giant tanks and held the oil if the tanks leaked. We used a huge mower: two guys stood on top of the levee and held it up with ropes. Another idiot walked behind it.

So I was most interested to run across this on Maggie's Farm. It's how they mow steep hillsides in Switzerland. I'd give anything for one of those machines. When I'm not cutting grass with it, I could chase my neighbor, Weird Al.

I'd like to have a backhoe, too, but that can wait.


YouTube describes this as "Brielmaier Motomäher am Steilang mit 3,5 m Mähwerk." I guess if you're Swiss that makes some sense.

Miracles and wonders: laser scalpels, miniature hearts

“There are only two ways to live your life. 
One is as though nothing is a miracle. 
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein

"Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!" ~ Jesus
ReWalk the only exoskeleton approved by the FDA for personal use. It's the first device of its kind that paraplegic people in the U.S. can actually buy—albeit for the hefty price of $69,500—using it to walk wherever and whenever they want.

A highly personalized medical technique is allowing patients with advanced kidney cancer to live nearly three times as long as they normally do. In an experiment involving 21 patients, around half lived more than two and half years after diagnosis with kidney cancer that had begun to spread. Five patients are alive after more than five years.

 Scientists believe they have discovered a way to ‘switch off’ autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis or Type 1 diabetes by retraining the immune system. Autoimmune diseases are so debilitating because they trick the body into attacking itself. But a team at Bristol University has shown that the immune system can be taught to stop treating harmless everyday proteins as if they were dangerous invaders.

Those with type 1 diabetes often say having the condition is like having a second job such is the stress of monitoring their blood sugar levels and administering doses of insulin. Now a group of researchers have developed the first bionic pancreas that works in the real world enabling patients to lead a near normal life.

Neuroscientists have revealed a new laser-based “scalpel.” It relies on a phenomenon known as Raman scattering, in which a light that’s shined on an object can reveal its chemical composition. In the brain, tumors have a different cellular structure than the surrounding tissue, so it stands out. The study of blending light with tissues is known as biophotonics. Growing bodies of evidence suggest the regular use of scalpels may become a grisly relic of the past. From baldness cures to (literal) windows into the mind, lasers are shifting course from science fiction to plain old science.

Thousands of miniature human hearts have been grown for medical research by scientists in Scotland. The tiny balls of heart cells beat together in a dish every two seconds, and the tissue matches that of human heart muscle. The researchers are using them to test potential drugs for an untreatable condition. Beating heart cells have been made before, but the researchers say this is the first time they have been used to investigate disease.

The religion of peace

"The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men."

~ Winston Churchill

Morning Rush: Phone lanes, geniuses, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, September 15, 2014:

No tickie, no walkie.
Let's talk -- and walk

Why parents shouldn't play favorites

The secret to thinking like a genius

PB&J sandwiches are racist 

Is money ruining your marriage?

Oh, that vote fraud 

How to write less badly

That little thing is a radio.
This is one tiny radio

Harry Reid's threat to free speech

Walk to work and feel better

We aren't prepared for global cooling

Why golfers yell "Fore!"

Obama's ship is sinking

Tricking e. coli into making propane

Why alcohol is worse than heroin

Don't be born a Muslim child 

Obama's war on black workers 

Today's Word: a rascal or scamp

Nyquil introduces cold and ebola formula

You have to watch this painter (wait for it):

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vespers: Peace Like a River

The University of Utah Singers sing "Peace Like a River," an African-American spiritual arranged by Ronald Staheli and performed under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred. This is a live at the International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany (in which they took First Prize), May 30, 2009.

At Brigham Young University, Dr. Ronald Staheli is the Choral and Conducting Division Coordinator and the Director of Graduate Studies in Choral Music. He also appears regularly as conductor in performances involving the combined choirs and orchestra of Brigham Young University. He has traveled widely as a clinician and guest conductor, and has become known for what a colleague calls a profound sense of phrasing and articulation, which informs all his work.

The story of Christians in the Mideast

Sen. Ted Cruz was booed off the stage at the recent meeting of a group called In Defense of Christians. What got the crowd, or a vocal minority of it, riled up was Cruz' defense of Israel.
“Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians,” Cruz said. “Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings.”

He labeled religious bigotry a “cancer with many manifestations,” citing the “genocidal campaign” being carried out by radical Islamic groups like the Islamic State, Hezbollah and Hamas.
What was this all about? Here's a bit about the conference:
Funding for the conference was provided by Clinton donor and Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, according to organizers. The wealthy businessman pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009.

Chagoury is also reportedly backer of Lebanese politician Michel Aoun, Hezbollah’s top Christian ally in the country, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks.

Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Raï, who was scheduled to speak during the same keynote slot as Cruz on Wednesday evening, has called Israel an “enemy state that is occupying Lebanese territory” and defended Hezbollah’s right to attack the Jewish state.
 And here's a good history of Christians in the Mideast. An excerpt:
A century ago, Christians dominated the intellectual and commercial life of the Levant, comprising more than one-fifth of the 13 million people of Turkey, the region’s ruling power, and most of the population of Lebanon. Ancient communities flourished in what is now Iraq and Syria. But starting with the Armenian genocide in 1914 and continuing through the massacre and expulsion of Anatolian Greeks in 1922-1923, the Turks killed three to four million Christians in Turkey and the Ottoman provinces. Thus began a century of Muslim violence that nearly has eradicated Christian communities in the cradle of their religion.

It may seem odd to blame the Jews for the misery of Middle East Christians, but many Christian Arabs do so – less because they are Christians than because they are Arabs. The Christian religion is flourishing inside the Jewish side. Only 50,000 Christian Arabs remain in the West Bank territories, and their numbers continue to erode. Hebrew-speaking Christians, mainly immigrants from Eastern Europe or the Philippines, make up a prospective Christian congregation of perhaps 300,000 in the State of Israel, double the number of a decade ago.
The more I try to understand the Mideast, the more I think of that line in the movie "Chinatown." A detective tries to explain to Jack Nicholson that he'll never understand what goes in in that part of the city: "Jake, it's Chinatown."

A new song

From The Lectionary:

Psalm 98:1-5

98:1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.

98:2 The LORD has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

98:3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

98:4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

98:5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.

William Ellery Channing: difficulties

"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Casual Friday: Rock and Roll

Just two working days til Monday!

"Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines." ~ Steven Wright

It's bad all over

It's for science.
I'm going to give you, say, 20 minutes to tell me what you're going to do about all this. If you call in the next 20 minutes we'll double your terror.

~ The Drudge Report

Hey, take a break

I invite to tell your boss that you've had enough and you're going out for a walk and use my name. That should do it. You're welcome.

If for some unlikely reason it doesn't work, you can quote the Harvard Business Review.

Taking regular, significant breaks can make a big difference, Gretchen Gavett writes.

What these breaks do is help you remember to do the things your boss would like for you to do anyway. So, for hospital workers, that would mean washing your hands. (I'm pretty sure a lot of hospital workers read this blog -- like the people down in the basement who launder the scrubs.)

It would also mean washing your hands for those with a healthy OCD. No, that's not true. I just made that up.

Some business school professors hypothesize that ...
... as a worker advances through a shift, his or her compliance with “professional standards”— things like hand washing at a hospital, for example— will decrease, and be even more marked when the intensity of the work is higher or after working many cumulative shifts. In addition, they posit that when workers take time off between shifts, they’ll be more likely to comply with professional standards when they return to work.
Maybe this is why restaurant bathrooms have signs instructing all employees to wash their hands before they return to work. I don't care what Coca Cola says, this is the real pause that refreshes.

Remember, this is from the Harvard, and those people are really, really smart, and they make a lot more money than you do, and they have names like Horatio Rathbone Georges Hydepark IV, and they probably have lots of OCDs.

So to all of you brain surgeons and short order cooks: demand your rights!

Let's follow Nowhere Man!

He’s a real Nowhere Man
Sitting in his Nowhere Land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
~ The Beatles

"Pity Barack Obama. Our hapless chief executive must be suffering from a cognitive disorder the size of Alpha Centauri. The poor guy grew up on the anti-imperialist mouthings of lefty poet Frank Marshall Davis, schoolboy revolutionary Bill Ayers and later anti-Israel professor Rashid Khalidi, not to mention the well-known anti-American excrescences of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and now he has to go to war — as an imperialist — against the very Third World people he was told again and again we colonized and destroyed. His head must be about to explode.

"No wonder he insisted in his Wednesday night speech that the Islamic State is not Islamic — what is it? Hindu? Zoroastrian? A lost tribe of Hasidic Jews? — and that we are fighting an amorphous “terrorist group” (the Irish Republican Army? Basque separatists perhaps?), not the jihadism whose violent ideology has so obviously metastasized across several continents under many guises during his administration with no end remotely in sight. He dares not name our enemy, although it’s almost impossible to imagine how we could win without doing so. He cannot say anything that’s true because he doesn’t know what is true or, perhaps more likely, is terrified to know and then have to admit it. If he did, everything would unravel, not just the jejune Marxism of Frank Marshall Davis. Everything.

"But he does know what his poll numbers are and they aren’t good. So we are where we are. Half way in and half way out. Forget Winston Churchill. Forget Douglas MacArthur. The USA is going to war with a nowhere man who no longer knows what he stands for — and who originally stood for very little more than widely discredited and tired left-wing drivel masquerading as hope and change. Now even that’s gone, a distant memory."

~ Roger L. Simon

Morning Rush: Solar cells, bad apples, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, September 12, 2014:

Here come printable solar cells 

Will you become an addict?

How Facebook spies on us

Of course ISIS is Islamic

A miracle from pond scum  

The ozone layer is back 

A completely lawless president

A different look at college costs
Bad, bad, bad apple.

The evil reign of the Red Delicious

The idiots in charge

Ah, here's your border security

Apple is about to disrupt healthcare 

Crook of the Day: Sen. Mary Landrieu

Will your blood type affect your memory?

How to repair a professional relationship

Police chief to citizens: arm yourselves

How they tax your retirement income

Today's Word: forsaken, bereft, desolate

Jihad Magazine publishes first swimsuit issue

Architecture that responds to heat:

Edith Wharton: habit

"Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

From the Annals of Low Information Voter And Elections Research

Deputy in pursuit.
After stealing $600 worth of merchandise from Walmart, a Michigan woman made her getaway on one of the store’s motorized wheelchairs, according to cops who collared her two miles from the retailer.

No doubt she is among the more than one-third of likely U.S. voters who are unaware of which political party controls the House of Representatives and which has a majority in the Senate.

From the Annals of Low Information Voter and Elections Research (ALIVER)

Weeding out the competition

Just as we as a country seem to be giving a blessing to the use of marijuana, science is discovering why this is a horrible idea.

I've noted this before, but evidence continues to mount.
Individuals who had used cannabis daily before the age of 17 were 60 percent less likely to complete high school or obtain a degree than those who had never used cannabis. 
They were also 18 times more likely to become dependent on cannabis, eight times more likely to use other illicit drugs and seven times more likely to attempt suicide by the age of 25.

Most significantly, the researchers found that the risk of negative developmental outcomes increased relative to the frequency of the cannabis dose. Daily cannabis users experienced the strongest effects of the association.
So if you're young and you want to get a leg up on the competition, now you know what to (not) do.

You know you live in a country run by idiots ...

cognitive dissonance, noun: anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes or beliefs
The Top 10 ways to know you live in a country run by idiots.

10. If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally, you live in a country run by idiots.

9. If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion, you live in a country run by idiots.

8. If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote on who runs the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

7. If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy leaders in Egypt, you live in a country run by idiots.

6. If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working, with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work, you live in a country run by idiots.

5. If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched, you live in a country run by idiots.

4. If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more, you live in a country run by idiots.

3. If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of grade school for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable, you live in a country run by idiots.

2. If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones, you live in a country run by idiots.

1. If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat, you live in a country run by idiots.

We're doing better than our leaders wanted

"Where did the future of 2000 go? Ironically it rumbled along unnoticed under the public narrative. For in the years since 2000, revolutionary new medical treatments, practical robotics, new nuclear energy technology, life extension and host of advances have made the future we no longer wanted attainable again. Quite without meaning to, North America became the energy capital of the world. With an Ebola epidemic ravaging Africa, the brightest source of hope came from a biotech startup with a dozen employees operating out of a California strip mall.

"One of the principal sources of modern political tension is that our actual potential has exceeded the Central Plan. We are doing rather better than our leaders reckoned we should have. How dare we."

Morning Rush: Traveling, eating, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, September 11, 2014:

Just don't walk in your sleep.
A place to hang out

Don't travel like a slob

Uh, about that organic kale 

Yes, Obama ignored the danger

While degrading our military 

Here comes the sun

Can bees replace antibiotics?

Online tools to manage your money

A realistic downsizing plan 

ADHD kids need exercise

We're living in an Apple world

Inside Putin's secret war 

Teach your kid financial responsibility

Our lights at night confuse the birds

Living in a networked economy 

How New York cheats you in the subways

Today's Word: unable to be destroyed

Huggers announce plans for you to get over here

Lest we forget:

David A. Wells: now

“Stop looking back at the past, forget what you used to be, let go of what you wanted for your life and embrace what your life is now.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You can't believe the police shows

They're shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
Darn. I was pretty sure my local police department always knew exactly where I am so that they could swoop in and arrest me for something.

This would be a lot more interesting than being ignored by the cats and figuring out how to grow grass.

Well, contrary to everything I've learned watching a million reruns of NCIS, the police really can't do that.
As anyone with even a basic geometry education recognizes, which cell tower you're connected to does not give you a particularly exact location. It can be useful in putting someone in a specific (wide) area -- or, much more useful in detailing where someone is traveling over long distances as they repeatedly switch towers in a particular direction. But a single reading does not give you particularly exact location details.
Turns out even the police believe NCIS.
I had naturally assumed that most people understood this -- including law enforcement, lawyers, prosecutors and judges -- but it turns out they do not. A rather depressing story in The Economist notes that, thanks to this kind of ignorance (combined with bogus cop shows on TV that pretend cell site data is good for pinpointing locations), cell site location data is frequently used to convict innocent people.
Unlike my local police, I actually do have a basic geometry education. I've always loved the study of people and places, and I especially like the pictures of elephants in National Geometry.

Are your kids learning anything?

If so, I don't know how. Our schools have become completely dysfunctional.

First, there's Common Core, the federal government's attempt to take over the schools. From American Digest:
I'm not sure how anyone has even noticed Common Core, given what's going on in the local asylums:

Craigsvile, VA -- George Earhart, the assistant superintendent for administration with the Augusta County Schools, says Chapstick is considered an over-the-counter medication by the school board. The board has a policy regarding such medicines. He said Chapstick could be allowed if a physician asked for a student to use it, and it was administered by a school nurse.

Dripping Springs, Texas -- "Meatless Monday" is just what it sounds like: A day without meat. It's a trend happening across the nation, and Dripping Springs ISD is trying it out -- and cooking up some controversy. The international campaign encourages everyone to skip eating meat one day a week. Advocates say it can improve people's health and the health of the planet.

Honolulu -- Hawaii’s State Department of Education will reinstate the controversial “Pono Choices” sex education curriculum, but the program for middle school students will include some key revisions after pressure from parents and lawmakers. Some parents and lawmakers said the program, which taught children as young as age 11 about anal and homosexual sex, was inaccurate and inappropriate.

Chicago -- While most would agree that exceptional educators deserve compensation commensurate with their abilities, empirical evidence shows that students do not benefit when second-rate teachers receive raises. A glaring example of this was found in the apparent massacre of the English language by organizers of Paul Robeson High School’s senior prom. The school promoted the theme “This Is Are Story,” which will strike anyone with a tenuous grasp of the language as a nonsensical phrase.

Jurupa Valley, California -- The family of a student with special needs in Jurupa Valley is furious that his school had him and his classmates rummage through the trash for recyclables.

Hey, it's for the planet.

Morning Rush: Tomatoes, bosses, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, September 10, 2014:

Store ripe tomatoes in the fridge 

Yes, bosses are psychos

Your ticket out of Common Core

Train you brain to love broccoli

The coming Obamacare tax mess

What's wrong with airplane seats

Welfare will buy your dope

Keep your kids out of public schools

Because schools are stupid

Look how much congressmen make

Is a glaucoma cure now possible? 

California's war on Christians

What your teeth say about your health

One really smart fish

Madman of the Day: Harry Reid

Today's Word: one's promise, especially in marriage

NFL: Zero tolerance on videotaped violence

How to make small talk:

Fernando Pesso: success

"Success consists in being successful, not in having potential for success. Any wide piece of ground is the potential site of a palace, but there's no palace till it's built."