American Elephants


Jordan Peterson and the Question of Gender Pronouns by The Elephant's Child

Jordan Peterson ia a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and a clinical psychologist. He is very principled, very honest, and very determined. The question here is one of gender pronouns, but really of the larger question of more genders than the two assigned to us by science, custom, and chromosomes.  This one really gets into it.

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Big Cracks in the Foundation, No Warning Signals. by The Elephant's Child

I am deeply interested in the education situation in our country. The uproar and hooplah on our college campuses proves not only that our college students don’t know much of anything, but that the administrators and professors do not know how to maintain order, nor do they understand why they should bother. Then every once in a while someone adds to an article the cost of a semester at that university, and you can see that they whole mess is collapsing.

If you have student loans for the whole amount, you’d better be a leading STEM scholar. Even those who have high paying Silicon Valley jobs can’t afford to live in San Francisco and environs. They’re crowded in, sharing a room with four or more others. Real estate prices are incredibly high, rental costs are through the roof. Here in Seattle, there is a big motor home parked across from my veterinarian; clinic, obviously someone’s home, and there are several campers apparently permanently parked on adjacent streets. What happens to the Socialism major or the English major, let alone the majors in gender studies or women’s studies? Do they need to buy a camper to have a place to live? Can they find employment?

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline  just noted a story from the New York Times reporting that the New York Board of Regents eliminated the requirement that aspiring teachers in the state pass a literacy test to become certified. The Board eliminated the requirement because Black and Hispanic candidates for teaching jobs passed the literacy test at significantly lower rates than white candidates.

An analysis done in 2014, the year the test was first administered, found that 64 percent of white candidates passed the test on the first try, while only 46 percent of Hispanic candidates and 41 percent of black candidates did. That’s disparate impact, but it isn’t discrimination as long as the test measures skills teachers need to be effective in their job.

I just wrote about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaking here, with large numbers of protesters turning out to protest her interest in promoting charter schools, although charter schools are publicly funded public schools.  The assumption is that the protesters were teacher’s union members or Democrats who are conscious of Union donations to Democrat coffers.

Instapundit regularly posts a notice about teachers who were caught having sex with their students, and going to jail. It seems like it’s once a week, but it may not be that frequent.

People are making fun of the campus protests and outrages, but I’m not sure its funny, It seems to me the alarm sirens should be going off. Attendance at the schools in question is way down. Donations are off. At Mizzou they have had to close some dorms. The schools that had national attention for their protests have all had declining enrollment. Is this enough to act as a major warning signal that all is not well? Dunno.



Betsy DeVos Spoke Here Last Friday by The Elephant's Child

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was here last Friday to speak to the annual dinner of the Washington Policy Center at the Hyatt Regency. Protesters (read teacher’s unions) turned out to protest along with some local politicians. King County Executive Dow Constantine, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Bellevue Mayor John Stokes all joined the protesters. Constantine stated that he was the proud son of two public school teachers, a proud graduate of public schools and his daughter would be in public school in two years. The protest crowd had giant balloons — a cat to represent “corporate fat cats” and a man in a hard hat who represented something or other.

All very strange. Betsy DeVos is advocating more charter schools—which are public schools. Charter Schools are opposed by the American Federation of Teachers. The Democratic Party depends on union money for their campaigns and union workers for their demonstrations. Some charter schools are run by businesses who have developed different organization and different programs for their particular kind of charter school. In North Dakota there is a charter school that prepares kids who don’t want to attend college for jobs in the oil and gas industry. Last year, a charity gala raised $35 million for Success Academy charter schools which will benefit thousands of underprivileged kids. But charter schools are publicly-funded public schools.

At Success Academy schools in New York, three quarters of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and nearly all are minorities. In 2015 68% of their students scored proficient in reading and 93% ranked proficient in math. In contrast only 35% of New York City students scored proficient in math and their reading abilities were even worse.

Minnesota passed the first charter-school law 25 years ago. Today nearly 3,000,000 students attend about 7,000 charter schools in 43 states and the District of Columbia. New Orleans all-charter district has raised graduation rates by 10 percentage points over the past decade. Charter enrollment is at record highs in New Orleans, Detroit, Washington DC, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Huston.

We should work to make traditional public schools as good as they can possibly be—but where layers of rules and regulations have made reform difficult, charters offer the chance of a clean slate. As taxpayer-funded public schools, charters are open to all students and subject to the same accountability systems as traditional public schools. What makes charters unique is their freedom from the unnecessary, outdated, and counterproductive work rules vigorously defended by the teachers’ unions….

Many regular-enrollment students in charters would have been placed into special education had they gone to a traditional public school. Charters are serving these kids; they just don’t classify them as disabled. The most plausible explanation for why: students attending charters do better academically than they would have done otherwise, thus eliminating the need for extra services.

The American cities that have most improved their schools are those that have wholeheartedly embraced charters. Their success suggests that policy makers should stop listening to the unions and thinking of charters are an innovation around the edges of the public school system and realize they are a better way to organize public education.

College professors across the country are complaining about their incoming students, saying they don’t know anything, can’t write, and are unprepared for college work. There is seldom a week that goes by without a report of a public school teacher arrested for having sex with a student. In some schools the idea that one can choose their sexual identity is accepted. It is school policy in some European countries, notably Sweden, and it remains scientific nonsense. Many schools have encouraged protest against the President as part of the curriculum. There are some real problems with our public schools, and parents need to be very clear about what is being taught if they care about their kids.

 



Of Course They Are Fighting Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

Here in Washington State, our Governor, Jay Inslee, released a statement today on the EPA’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan:

By repealing the Clean Power Plan, President Trump and his EPA administrator are recklessly removing any meaningful, science-based federal restraint on the carbon pollution that power plants are allowed to pump into our atmosphere. The United States Supreme Court has ruled on three separate occasions that the EPA has a responsibility, under the Clean Air Act and other federal laws, to protect American communities from harmful carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan was constructed to give states the flexibility to choose its own path to a clean energy future, and hold each state responsible for reducing carbon pollution. This decision by the EPA instead rejects science and directly threatens Americans’ health and well-being.

Washington state is already feeling the harmful and costly effects of climate change – in more devastating wildfire seasons, strained water resources, increasingly acidic coastal waters, and more. And we are taking action to respond: at my direction, the Washington State Department of Ecology has implemented the nation’s first Clean Air Rule, to limit carbon pollution from our state’s largest sources. We are investing in new clean energy technologies – fueling jobs and business growth in an area with tremendous economic opportunity. We are partnering with other states – through the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance – to fill the void left by the Trump Administration’s total abdication of American leadership.

This action by the EPA is a setback in the struggle against climate change, but it will not and cannot stop Washington state and our determined allies in the fight against this existential threat.

Climate change has nothing to do with wildfire or strained water resources, the coastal waters are not increasingly acidic. “Clean energy” from sun and wind does not create jobs and business growth. Wind is intermittent and does not blow steadily enough to be a valid source of energy, and solar energy is too diffuse. Countries like Germany that got very involved with clean energy to keep the climate from changing, are finding that the result has been a spiraling cost of energy, and a lot of energy poverty among the people who can’t afford to keep their houses warm.

Governor Inslee is allied with Governor Moonbeam Jerry Brown who is blaming the horrific wildfires now burning up the wine district and whatever else is in the direction the wind is blowing—on, of course, climate change.

California Gov. Jerry Brown warns that catastrophic wildfires will keep ripping through the state as the climate warms. …

He said a warming climate has contributed to catastrophic wildfires. “That’s the way it is with a warming climate, dry weather and reducing moisture.” said Brown. “These kind of catastrophes have happened and they’ll continue to happen, and we have to be prepared to do everything we can to mitigate.”

The governor has positioned himself as a leader in the fight against climate change.

No wonder Leftist governors like to “position themselves” as “leaders in the fight against climate change.” It gives them a vast cause which they are powerless to fight, but is readily available to absorb all the blame for whatever is going wrong. I wonder if he’ll figure out a way to assign the immense cost overruns and pointless high-speed rail to climate change.  They don’t even have to know anything about climate science, the effectiveness of “clean energy” sources, or even what could possibly be involved in climate change if it were real. It’s just a perfect dumping ground for whatever catastrophe Mother Nature has in store for us. San Francisco’s air quality is off the charts—climate change. Wine country won’t e producing grapes for years yet—climate change. Floods, landslides, torrential rain, hot spells, mountain passes impassable—climate change. Earthquake, endangered species, see how handy it is.

I had been annoyed because none of these officials ever seemed to do their homework, to read any of the science, to understand why so many reputable scientists cast aspersions on the climate change idea. Of course they officially are true believers. It gets them off the hook for whatever happens.

Silly me. I just thought they were lazy or stupid.



The Final Bill For the Standing Rock Protests is About $43 Million by The Elephant's Child

021517-debris-1-1170x775The protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline ended back at the end of February, with 240 rollout dumpsters to carry away the mess the protesters left behind. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned on spending more than $1 million just to clean up. At the end of September North Dakota’s Department of Emergency Services announced that taxpayers will have to pay about $43 million in expenses accrued as the state struggled to respond to the 233 days of protesters.

The Standing Rock protesters claimed that they were “peaceful and prayerful,” but rioters “threw stones, feces and Molotov cocktails at cops, obstructed roads, set fires, and even rode on horseback behind a herd of bison, attempting to stampede them towards law enforcement.” 8,000 to 10,000 people camped out to protest the pipeline. Local authorities had to ask for help from law enforcement in 11 states to cope. More than 750 protesters were arrested and at least 107 of those charged have pleaded guilty or been found guilty, some on multiple counts. Most of the costs will be paid by North Dakotans, but the Department of Justice provided the state with a $10 million grant which make taxpayers nationwide responsible for the Leftist’s criminal antics.

The protests, of course were not about tribal rights or cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned or controlled by the Standing Rock Sioux, the land in question belongs to the federal government or private owners.

The tribe was consulted, more than 50 tribes were consulted, and resulted in 140 adjustments to the route. It was not about the water, the drinking water intake is about 70 miles downriver from where the pipeline was slated to cross the Missouri River, and runs 100 feet below the river. It was not about the climate. The oil has already been produced and transporting it by train or truck is far more susceptible to accidents and spills.

The protests ended pretty much when winter set in. Camping out is not nearly so much fun when it gets really cold. And once the oil was flowing as intended, the protests were moot.

piepline-protest

 



Food For Thought by The Elephant's Child
October 1, 2017, 1:29 am
Filed under: History, News, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

Between the late 18th Century and the mid 20th Century, the known age of the earth increased a millionfold, from less than 6,000 years to more than 4.6 billion.

 



Here’s How Hurricanes Form and Where They Come From by The Elephant's Child

This has certainly been an interesting hurricane year, with Irma, Juan, Lee, and Maria, Hopefully, Maria will be the end of it for this season. But what is a hurricane, where does it come from and why do they do so much damage sometimes? Here’s an article from Popular Science that explains all.

The NOAA/NASA satellite image of Hurricane Jose (left), Tropical Storm Maria (center), and Tropical Depression Lee (Right) on Sept 17, 2017. Now we have hurricane hunters who fly over the storms to determine what’s happening, and satellite  pictures and even Space Station pictures plus instant communication. 1933 was supposed to be a bad hurricane year, and they had none of that — except radio. But hurricanes have been around long before radio. Imagine how terrifying when such a storm appeared with little warning and no real preparation—just a devastating natural disaster, with little help, much too late.




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