Understanding trouble in Tibet

March 27, 2008

Tibet a “powderkeg?” How could that be?

Potala Palace, by Galen Rowell circa 1981

Photo of Potala Palace by the late Galen Rowell, circa 1981; for Rowell’s famous photo of the Palace and Rainbow, click here. Read Sweeney’s post, note the difference between the two photos here.

Julia Sweeney discusses her trip there nine years ago. You’ll see things more clearly.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula, again, and he tips to Stranger Fruit. Myers is about a lot more than just biology, and so are most other blogs by biologists.

Chinese MIG in front of Potala Palace, Lhasa, parked on the former reflecting pool
Photo: Chinese MIG on display in front of Potala Palace, one of Tibetans’ most sacred landmarks. From WhereIsEven.com

Don’t look at the moonwalking bear

March 27, 2008

If I had a perception problem or a new optical illusion for every class day in psychology, we’d start every day happy.

This is a great ad. It gently pokes your pride in your ability to see what’s going on — from a bicycle safety campaign in Britain urging motorists to look out for bicyclists:


Don’t look now: Businesses ask Uganda to block DDT spraying

March 27, 2008

News comes out of Kampala that the delay in implementing the use of DDT in a Rachel Carson-approved program of integrated pest management — for indoor residual spraying only — faces strong opposition.

From environmentalists? No, you’ll recall that Environmental Defense, the group that led the fight for a ban on broadcast use of DDT in the U.S. has been pressuring the Bush administration and others to use DDT appropriately for years.

The opposition comes from Uganda businesses.

“Zero tolerance on DDT spraying is the feeling of the private sector. Even at the East African Community DDT is a condemned chemical. Government should look for other alternatives,” Mr David Lule, the managing director of Hortexa, a horticultural exporting association to the EU [European Union], said.

Don’t look for corrections or apologies from the pro-poison lobbyists yet. Junk “scientist” Steven Milloy, the “Competitive Enterprise Institute” (which claims to represent businesses) and others have yet to correct any of the many errors they’ve made in their slash-and-burn campaign for poisoning Africa. Why would they change now?

Read the rest of this entry »


March 27, 1912: Cherry trees for Washington, D.C.

March 27, 2008

From the Library of Congress:

Potomac Blossoms

Japanese cherry blossoms
View of Washington Monument, Cherry Blossoms and Tidal Basin
Theodor Horydczak, photographer, circa 1920-1950.
Washington as It Was, 1923-1959

On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The event celebrated the Japanese government’s gift of 3,000 trees to the United States. Trees were planted along the Potomac Tidal Basin near the site of the future Jefferson Memorial, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds.

The text of First Lady Taft’s letter, along with the story of the cherry trees, is available from the National Park Service’s official Cherry Blossom Festival Web site. From the opening screen, scroll down to the paragraph beginning, “The history of the cherry trees.”

A lot more, with good links, at the Library of Congress “Today in History” site.


Carnival of historic proportions

March 27, 2008

Lent’s over, Easter’s done — time to carnival once again.

Very good stuff in several different carnivals on history and other subjects we like to peruse and ponder while soaking in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.

The passings of those who saw history, commemorated at the 12th Carnival of Military History, at Thoughts on Military History:

Next we have a series of posts commemorating the deaths of veterans who have recently passed away. First, at UKNIWM we have a post about the passing away of the last Scottish veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Second, again at UKNIWM, we have a post on the death of the last French veteran of the First World War. Finally, we have a post at Rantings of a Civil War Historian about the anniversary of the death of Sir Henry Shrapnel, the inventor of the shrapnel artillery shell. [Link on Shrapnel not working]

There’s a whole lesson plan in that paragraph, all of it important and fascinating, and none of it important in your state’s history standards, probably.

A Hot Cup of Joe, appropriately, hosts the Four Stone Hearth #37, the carnival of archaeology — in a strangely futuristic Pulp Science Fiction fashion. Go see the thing just for the pulp sci-fi images, if you must — but as usual there are great gems there. This week our youngest son expressed some exasperation at the short shrift given Angkor Wat in high school texts, which led to a discussion about cultures and histories generally not part of the U.S. canon. Four Stone Hearth features a post at Wanna Be An Anthropologist that digs through Angkor Wat in some depth. I love timely posts.

These things lead off into all sorts of rabbit trails. Wanna Be An Anthropologist also has this post on “Mogollon Snowbirds,” a wry title twist on a very good, deep post on archaeology and anthropology study in the Mogollon Rim area of Arizona. No bit conclusion, but sources you can use, and a great look at what real scientists really do.

We’re all back from spring break in our household, but still appreciative of the Teachers Gone Wild edition of the Carnival of Education (#165), at Bellringers.

New school in Toronto, Kohn Schnier Architects New elementary school in Toronto, Ontario; architecture by Kohn Schnier Architects.

One feature on the Education Carnival midway was this post, “Luddite Lite,” at Teacher in a Strange Land. It’s sharp little spur under my seat, about actually using technology to promote learning for the students, rather than as a crutch for the teacher. But in that blog’s archives, right next door to that post, is this evocative post from a 30-year, in-the-trenches veteran teacher, to my old boss at Education, Checker Finn — a response to one of his posts (which we’ve commented on before). What makes education work? Are you delivering it? Check out both posts.

Oops. Gotta scoot. Lesson plans to tweak.


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