How kids get to school: Special refugee edition, Balkans

March 11, 2016

A modest departure from the occasional series on how kids get to school, and the classrooms they get to. Perhaps more accurately, it’s a series on the struggles children face to get to school.

Photo from Dimitar Dilkoff, Agence France Presse:

Tweet from Valerio de Cesaris (@ValerioDeC):

Tweet from Valerio de Cesaris (@ValerioDeC): “#refugees. A child caught in razor wire at the Greek-Macedonia border. #StayHuman” Photo by Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP

This young boy is not on his way to school, technically; he’s trying to get to a place where there is a school to which he can safely get.

What will be the results of the education this child gets?

Does anyone know more about this boy? Where is he today?


How kids get to school, New Delhi edition

March 19, 2014

From Twitter:

From Twitter: “Another e.g. pic to show that school transport in Asia needs attention on health & safety aspects pic.twitter.com/Mn2FbSSELX”

Do you think the students have wi-fi to finish their homework on the way to school?

(This is not necessarily representative of all Indian school buses.)

One wonders at the stories behind such “buses” and their use.  It might make an interesting geography assignment, to find out how students get to school in other nations.  What is the most exotic, bizarre, dangerous or luxurious ride?

More:


Will Rogers and Wiley Post crashed in Alaska, August 15, 1935

August 15, 2013

Will Rogers, images from Will Rogers Museums, Oklahoma

Will Rogers, images from Will Rogers Museums, Oklahoma

August 15, the Ides of August, hosted several significant events through the years.  In 1935, it was a tragic day in Alaska, as an airplane crash took lives of Will Rogers and Wiley Post.  To refresh your memory, an encore post, with a few edits and additions.

After Mark Twain died, America found another great humorist, raconteur, story-teller, who tickled the nation’s funny-bone and pricked the collective social conscience at the same time. Will Rogers is most famous today for his sentiment that he never met a man he didn’t like. In 1935, he was at the height of his popularity, still performing as a lariat-twirling, Vaudeville comedian who communed with presidents, and kept his common sense. He wrote a daily newspaper column that was carried in 500 newspapers across America.  Rogers was so popular that Texas and Oklahoma have dueled over who gets the bragging rights in claiming him as a native son.

Will Rogers ready to perform.  Photo taken prior to 1900 - Wikimedia

Will Rogers ready to perform. Photo taken prior to 1900 – Wikimedia

Wiley Post was known as one of the best pilots in America. He gained fame by being the first pilot to fly solo around the world. Post was famous for his work developing new ways to fly at high altitudes. Post was born in Texas and moved to Oklahoma. He lost an eye in an oil-field accident in 1924, then used the settlement money to buy his first airplane. He befriended Will Rogers when flying Rogers to an appearance at a Rodeo, and the two kept up their friendship literally to death.

Post asked Rogers to come along on a tour of the great unknown land of Alaska, where Post was trying to map routes for mail planes to Russia. Ever adventurous, Rogers agreed — he could file his newspaper columns from Alaska by radio and telephone. On August 15, 1935, their airplane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska, killing them both.

Wiley Post, first to fly solo around the world, in an early pressure suit for high-altitude flying - Wikimedia photo

Wiley Post, first to fly solo around the world, in an early pressure suit for high-altitude flying – Wikimedia photo

On August 15, 2008, a ceremony in Claremore, Oklahoma, honored the two men on the 73rd anniversary of their deaths. About 50 pilots from Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas will fly in to the Claremore Airport for the Will Rogers-Wiley Post Fly-In Weekend. Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins will offer a tribute.

Rogers was 56, leaving behind his wife, Betty, and four children. Post, 36, left a widow.

Rogers’ life is really quite legendary. Historian Joseph H. Carter summed it up:

Will Rogers was first an Indian, a cowboy then a national figure. He now is a legend.

Born in 1879 on a large ranch in the Cherokee Nation near what later would become Oologah, Oklahoma, Will Rogers was taught by a freed slave how to use a lasso as a tool to work Texas Longhorn cattle on the family ranch.
As he grew older, Will Rogers’ roping skills developed so special that he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing three lassos at once: One rope caught the running horse’s neck, the other would hoop around the rider and the third swooped up under the horse to loop all four legs.

Will Rogers’ unsurpassed lariat feats were recorded in the classic movie, “The Ropin’ Fool.”

His hard-earned skills won him jobs trick roping in wild west shows and on the vaudeville stages where, soon, he started telling small jokes.

Quickly, his wise cracks and folksy observations became more prized by audiences than his expert roping. He became recognized as being a very informed and smart philosopher–telling the truth in very simple words so that everyone could understand.

After the 10th grade, Will Rogers dropped out of school to become a cowboy in a cattle drive. He always regretted that he didn’t finish school, but he made sure that he never stopped learning–reading, thinking and talking to smart people. His hard work paid off.

Will Rogers was the star of Broadway and 71 movies of the 1920s and 1930s; a popular broadcaster; besides writing more than 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns and befriending Presidents, Senators and Kings.

During his lifetime, he traveled around the globe three times– meeting people, covering wars, talking about peace and learning everything possible.

He wrote six books. In fact he published more than two million words. He was the first big time radio commentator, was a guest at the White House and his opinions were sought by the leaders of the world.

Inside himself, Will Rogers remained a simple Oklahoma cowboy. “I never met a man I didn’t like,” was his credo of genuine love and respect for humanity and all people everywhere. He gave his own money to disaster victims and raised thousands for the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Post’s legacy is significant, too. His employer, Oklahoma oil man F. C. Hall, encouraged Post to push for aviation records using Hall’s Lockheed Vega, and Post was happy to comply. Before his history-making trip around the world, he had won races and navigation contests. NASA traces the development of the space-walking suits worn by astronauts to Post’s early attempts for flight records:

For Wiley Post to achieve the altitude records he sought, he needed protection. (Pressurized aircraft cabins had not yet been developed.) Post’s solution was a suit that could be pressurized by his airplane engine’s supercharger.

First attempts at building a pressure suit failed since the suit became rigid and immobile when pressurized. Post discovered he couldn’t move inside the inflated suit, much less work airplane controls. A later version succeeded with the suit constructed already in a sitting position. This allowed Post to place his hands on the airplane controls and his feet on the rudder bars. Moving his arms and legs was difficult, but not impossible. To provide visibility, a viewing port was part of the rigid helmet placed over Post’s head. The port was small, but a larger one was unnecessary because Post had only one good eye!

Last photo of Will Rogers (in the hat) and Wiley Post, in Alaska in 1935 (from Century of Flight)

Last photo of Will Rogers (in the hat) and Wiley Post, in Alaska in 1935 (from Century of Flight)

Tip of the old scrub brush to Alaska bush advocate Pamela Bumsted.

Resources:


British Airways: Crazy-like-a-fox patriotism in advertising

July 13, 2012

This television advertisement is circulating among airline and travel folk:

Why would British Airways make an ad that encourages Britons to stay at home during the Olympics?

Join the conversation and see the plane on your own street at http://www.facebook.com/britishairways #HomeAdvantage

This summer, the greatest sports event on Earth comes to London. And our best sportsmen and women have a once in a lifetime opportunity, to compete at the highest level with the whole country behind them. That’s why we’re asking the nation to join together, to give our athletes the greatest home advantage we can give them. It could be the difference in seconds and millimetres, turning silver into gold. This summer, there’s nowhere else in the world to be.

Even more analysis:

Millard Fillmore traveled to London after his presidency.  One story claims that, upon meeting Fillmore, Queen Victoria proclaimed him “the handsomest man” she had ever met.

After the death of his daughter Mary, Fillmore went abroad. While touring Europe in 1855, Fillmore was offered an honorary Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) degree by the University of Oxford. Fillmore turned down the honor, explaining that he had neither the “literary nor scientific attainment” to justify the degree.[22] He is also quoted as having explained that he “lacked the benefit of a classical education” and could not, therefore, understand the Latin text of the diploma, adding that he believed “no man should accept a degree he cannot read.”[9]

Tip of the small, folding travel scrub brush to Gil Brassard, believe it or not.

More:


Old-Picture.com, good resource for teachers and students

May 31, 2011

Here’s a source of high-quality photos, most at least 90 years old.  A lot of these photos would fit nicely into presentations for history classes:  Old-Picture.com.

Many of the photos don’t appear much of any place else.  There are historic maps, too.

For example:  What’s a “whistlestop tour?”

Here is President William H. Taft making such a tour, or rather, speaking during a stop on such a tour, at Redfield (what state?  South Dakota?  Iowa?  New York?):

W. H. Taft on whistlestop tour, in Redfield

W. H. Taft on whistlestop tour, in Redfield

Here’s Taft, again, at “Boutelle at Janesville;” note especially the boys climbing the pole to get a better look:

1908 Taft whistlestop tour, Boutelle at Janesville (wherever that is!)

1908 Taft whistlestop tour, Boutelle at Janesville (wherever that is!)

Janesville is probably the city in Wisconsin.

Here’s Taft at a train, again in 1908 — might we assume it’s the same trip?

W. H. Taft at a train, in 1908 - campaigning?

W. H. Taft at a train, in 1908 -- campaigning?

Here Taft and his party are pictured on a train, in Chicago.  Same train?  Same trip?  Who are the other men with him?

W. H. Taft and party on a train, 1908 presidential campaign

W. H. Taft and party on a train in Chicago, 1908 presidential campaign

For another view, here’s what Taft saw at one of his stops — the crowd assembled to listen to him speak, in 1908:

Crowd gathered to hear Taft's campaign speech, 1908 (location, "West?")

Crowd gathered to hear Taft's campaign speech, 1908 (location, "West?") -- love that Tom Mix-looking hat on the guy in the middle, no?

Put these pictures together in a different order — it’s a clear illustration of just what a “whistlestop” tour is.  These slides could complement a presentation comparing this trip with Harry Truman’s 1948 whistlestop tour, just two generations later.  Or, juxtapose these pictures with pictures of John F. Kennedy in 1960, or Richard Nixon in 1968, or Bill Clinton’s bus tours in 1992 and 1996.

I’ll wager you’ve not seen at least one of these photos before (they are all new to me).  Old-Picture.com has a great collection of stuff.  So far as I can tell, the site administrator lists no copyright restrictions (there’s got to be a story in there somewhere).

What can you do with this collection?


George Jetson come true? Maverick Flying Car at Oshkosh

April 14, 2011

Next time somebody asks ‘where’s my flying car?” you can show them this.

Steve Saint of I-TEC drove his road-legal flying car from Florida to Oshkosh this summer. Since then the FAA has also issued the Maverick a S-LSA aircraft airworthiness certificate. I-TEC hopes to be in production by EAA Oshkosh 2011.

[Because it comes with built-in autoplay from the Experimental Aircraft Association, it’s below the fold.]

Read the rest of this entry »


Bill White: Texas’ best days ahead

June 26, 2010

Nice drive to Corpus Christi for the Texas Democratic Convention.  Long drive.  Very long drive.  One yearns for the days when flying inside Texas was much more affordable.

The advantage, of course, is seeing Texas.  “Miles and miles of Texas” as Asleep at the Wheel might sing. (Love those twin fiddles.) (Watch it here, from Austin City Limits in the ’80s)

Interstate 35 traffic frustrates several million people a day.  One cannot drive through Austin without a slowdown at any hour of most business days.  Once-clear country roads are congested.  Clearly that problem needs some attention.

It’s a stirring and interesting sight that greets you coming into Corpus Christi on I-37.  From a distance you’ll see the massive wind farm, huge windmills cranking out electricity, almost a vision of a cleaner future through the haze.  Closer into town the windmills can be seen through the industrial maze of oil refineries.  It probably can’t be photographed well except from the air, but it’s an interesting juxtaposition of the changes Texas lives through, and the challenges ahead.  I was reminded of the “successful labor-management negotiation” workshops:

Hope for the future, a picture of reality . . . now, what are the plans to proceed?

I missed most of the activity on Friday while driving.  Other blogs and news organizations offer good coverage.  Texas Blue carried the full advanced text.  (Also see The Austin American-Statesman, the AP story in The Dallas Morning News, and Texas Observer)

White’s speech contrasts quite starkly with Rick Perry’s a few weeks ago, in which he seemed confused by geography, “blaming” White’s “Washington ways” for Houston’s successes under White’s leadership.

Bill White’s speech pleased the crowd.  Not fire and brimstone; enough humor that most delegates smiled all the way through, but full of substantive contrasts between Rick Perry’s policies and those White wishes to pursue instead.  Parts of the speech carry the mark of brilliant speech writing, especially in the breezy, pleasant way White paints the policy differences.  Here’s the end of the speech:

Rick Perry will claim he represents Texas values. But Perry’s Texas is different than our Texas.

In Rick Perry’s Texas insurance and utility rates rise faster than in other states. In our Texas wages will go up faster because we invest in people.

In Rick Perry’s Texas we import nurses and welders and other skilled workers from abroad. In our Texas we will train more Texans to do those jobs.

In Rick Perry’s Texas the State Board of Education injects political ideology into classrooms. In our Texas we’ll put more computers in our classrooms.

In Rick Perry’s Texas state boards and agencies are pressured from the top to serve those who help the Governor’s re-election. In our Texas government will be the servant, not the master, and our customers will be ordinary Texans.

In Rick Perry’s Texas the governor threatens to leave the world’s greatest country. He is content [to] allow our state to compete with Mississippi for lack of social progress. In our Texas other states will follow Texas because we will be the leader.

In Rick Perry’s Texas citizens are stuck in traffic in big cities because the Texas Department of Transportation was doing the bidding of a foreign company promoting the land grab known as the Trans-Texas Corridor. In our Texas we will work across party lines for a new mobility plan, assisting commuters to get from home to work and all communities to get their goods to market.

In Rick Perry’s Texas the best days may be behind us. In our Texas our best days are ahead of us.

Let us go from this convention, staffing phone banks, knocking on doors, and sending emails. Lift up all who share our values, from the courthouse to the statehouse to the double-wide trailer Andrea and I will live in while the Mansion is rebuilt. Describe to friends and neighbors, from both parties, the simple choice we face in the governor’s race.

Rick Perry is in it for Rick Perry. By the grace of God and with your help, I’m in it for Texas, for you.

Bill White at Texas Democratic Convention, 6-25-2010

Bill White, after his speech at the Texas Democratic Convention - R. G. Ratcliff photo, Houston Chronicle blogs

It was one of the most positive speeches I’ve heard at conventions in a long time — takes me back to Mo Udall at the 1976 National Democratic Convention, or Ted Kennedy’s at the 1980 convention.  White came down in favor of education, roads and lower taxes, and good government in general.  Cleverly, astoundingly, each of his jabs at Rick Perry was on a substantive, policy issue, and not just a one-liner.  No lipstick on pigs, not even a silver foot-in-the-mouth (apologies to Ann Richards, but not to Sarah Palin).

You have to wonder what this guy was listening to:

“In delivering one of the most negative speeches by a nominee for Texas governor in modern history, Bill White continues to run a campaign of no substance,” said Perry campaign spokesperson Mark Miner. “Governor Perry’s proven leadership, Texas values, and priorities of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and job creation have made our state the envy of the nation.”

The race is on, and the choices are already very, very clear.

Update:


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