The Global Warming Debate- victory to the corporate interests, for now

The situation may change, once your kids start barfing up blood.  But evidently that what it will take. An excellent article in Rolling Stone from Al Gore on corporate funding of Global Warming denial

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-of-denial-20110622

To all my friends entering or currently attending post secondary education

This was a letter recently in  the National Post

Re: Not Everyone Needs A Degree, Bill Morrison, May 2.
Some years ago I discussed with a colleague the question of how many undergraduates belong and deserve to be in our classrooms. My colleague suggested that perhaps 25% of students are properly qualified and sufficiently motivated. I found my colleague’s estimate overly optimistic, as I believed most university students possess no intellectual curiosity, but just feel entitled to higher education and do not know what else to do.
We decided to test at least one aspect of our contention: the lack of intellectual curiosity. It was decided I would announce in my second-year child psychology class that the next lecture would be mostly a debate and not cover anything that would be tested in any examination. Students were advised to come only if they were interested in a better understanding of some particular issues.
The class was attended by 18 out of 120 students (15%). According to most participants, and myself, it was one of the best classes of the year.
It is regrettable that no political party in the recent election took up the problem of our crowded universities, which cater to unqualified, unmotivated, semi-literate and parasitical students.
Characteristically, our universities “advertise” like soap sellers. The University of Western Ontario brags about the “Western experience” (number 4 on Playboy’s party list!). Other universities lure students with pretentious and dishonest slogans claiming to offer “excellence” in education.
I see no solution other than to insist, at the very least, on admission exams.
Heinz Klatt, professor emeritus of psychology, London, Ont.

OK, try to look at this letter not as just another bromide about declining youth literacy but as a comment on  a potentially enlightenning experience passing you by.

University is potentially the best time of your life for personal and intellectual growth. It is the time to broaden your horizons. You are basically beholden to no one but yourselves. No boss. No family. No mortgage. No rat race. 

Who do you think had a more memorable, enlightening  day- the 15% who attended the class, or the 85% who stayed home?

Will that 85% be saying things like “Oh yes I remember January 15th, that was a great day to sleep off a hangover”. Or will it be memorable to those who attended “one of the best classes of the year”. 

The university experience is full of growth potential- classes, lecturers, research,  discussions, debates over coffee or beer, seminars, guest speakers. And guess what! This all is fun. It will stay with you a long time. Embrace the full university experience! Be part of that 15%.

grade 12 history slides

    ppt AnatomyOfA_Revolution       NapoleonI                      pwrpt prerevoln         Philisophes   FrenchRevolution-1   FrenchRevolution-2 

The Gulf Oil Spill- Drill baby drill

Why has the “mainstream media”  not  taken this oil sill and shoved it down the throats of the right wing “axis of weavils”. Who can forget the vapid mantra from the McCain-Palin campaign that was supposed to solve the energy crisis.

Well in your face Sarah- “comin attcha”

God bless America, but I am lucky to be Canadian- the US health care fiasco

With President Obama’s healthcare reform plans failing miserably, I have some strong opinions on the American healthcare reform issue. I recently read an article on the issue from RollingStone political columnist Matt Taibbi who explains the issue with such articulate rage that is beyond my own humjble journalistic competence. From the October issue of RS:

“Let’s start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It’s become a black leprosy eating away at the American experiment — a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn’t be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.

The system doesn’t work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it’s a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they’re sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable — and that’s the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won’t get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America.”

Well stated. The American Right.- that 47% who voted for McCain/Palin in the presidential elrction have now found themselves a divine mission. Namely to save America from the bogey of godless Socialism. Much of this campaign is based upon misinformation, racism, fear mongering and ignorance. I wonder just how many of those people rudely heckling democratic politicians at town hall meetings actually understand one iota about socialism. I predict that the US will end up with some vapid, watered down version of health reform and the right wingers will claim claim credit for saving America from the plague of socialism, with America still left with the worst health care system this side of Somalia.

The Holy Trinity Mock Trial Team

The Holy Trinity Mock Trial Team

The Holy Trinity Mock Trial Team

Thanks for all your of your diligence and tenacity. I hope you had as much fun as I did. Next year- Ontario Championship.

The Best Book

I know that is  somewhat presumptuous of me. But lets just call it the best book I have ever ever read- and that encompasses both fiction and non.  It came out in the 1970’s to great critical acclaim and stands as the the best selling philosophy book of all time. I myself read it while an undergraduate student and I have reread it several times. I think that I am due for another reading- this summer at the cottage.  I recommend it highly. It is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. I observed from a recent visit to Chapters that it is still in print.

 

                  

The title is somewhat perplexing, but don’t be put of by that. It is very readable. It may change your life.  I know it changed mine. The book involves a 13 day motorcycle journey the author took through the Western United States with his young son Christopher as his passenger. The journey is interspersed with the authors observations on various issues –  values, aesthetics, nature, technology and his relationship with his son.

Here are,senior and junior Pirsig on the motorcycle:

 At the time of the journey Pirsig was a writer of computer manuals and a former university professor with a checkered past. Persig has an IQ of 170, but he does not say so in the book – at least to my recollection. That tidbit of information I only gleaned in doing research for this posting. Pirsig’s journey is also about going back to his former stomping grounds and coming to terms with the demons of his past.

One of the most interesting facets of the book concerns the  relationship between the author and his motorcycle-. his is where the Zen comes in. The motorcycle and it’s complexity and it’s simplicity as a microcosm of the universe. The fact that this book was written before the current technological/ digital/ information revolution only makes it more obviously brilliant.

I invite your comments and possibly your choicesfor your best book.