Friday, January 06, 2006
Believe me, that's a terrible, horrible pun.
But the fact remains there's an interesting and long conversation going on at Nick's over which came first in civilization: stairs or bread.
"I am pretty sure the Anasazi were grinding corn meal for bread before they began building the cliff dwellings, which required at first the footholds and then crude but undeniable stairs.
Of course, bread and stairs had probably been invented elsewhere earlier. My argument would be that you don't build dwellings with stairs while you're still hunting/gathering and nomadic (dragging the deer up there would suck), so only once an agricultural society is established, with things like bread, are people going to want a high and defensible living space that's semi-permanent. Crops are not something you have around all year, and you have to know that you can eat the dried/ground form of your crops for longer than just the harvest month before you settle into that area. So I vote bread."
My thinking is somewhat the opposite, but part of the problem is that it's so hard to define just what stairs are. I say a semi-permanent structure designed for multiple uses. It seems natural to me that someone, sometime, used stones or mounds and shaped them to get up a tree or into a cave or to get to higher ground. Is a ladder stairs? I don't think so. Is a naturally occuring stump? I think... no? Because it should be a piece of technology. If someone moved that stump, on the other hand, you have a step stool, I guess, and that's still not exactly stairs, is it?
I mean, I just don't understand how anyone even came up with bread (or math or glass or computer chips) though stairs I think I could figure out.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
New Hampshire and Florida do not have much in common except an excess of hicks. But on the topic of funding education, their respective Supreme Courts are bucking the system - somewhat. A couple years back, NH took up arms over the disparity across the state in property taxes that pay for public schools. The legislature came up with a (far from perfect) system whereby richer communities spread some of their funds across the state to the less wealthy schools. This is tantamount to communism in a state whose motto if "Live Free Or Die," but at least there's some movement on this. I've long thought that the system for funding schools is actually unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, but I've not heard anyone else make this argument and I'm not very smart to begin with.
BushCo, under the Grover Norquist banner of conservatism, are actually and really out to destroy the public education system (as part of a larger social program that's been going on since, oh, 2000 BCE to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak) and the voucher idea is the warm-and-fuzzy first attempt.
So back to Florida, where their Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, huzzah.
The Florida Supreme Court struck down the voucher system that allowed some children to attend private schools at taxpayer expense, saying Thursday that it violates the state constitution's requirement of a uniform system of free public schools.
The 5-2 opinion struck down the Opportunity Scholarship Program, championed by Gov. Jeb Bush, which was the nation's first statewide system of school vouchers.
Under the 1999 law, students at public schools that earn a failing grade from the state in two out of four years were eligible for vouchers to attend private schools.
The War On Schools?
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
My friend Bala maintains a very nice photoblog. You really should look at it. I was thinking about him and so did what any distant friend would do and googled his name, and this pleasant surprise came up.
I've been looking at a lot of photoblogs lately and, for me at least, I think they're the perfect fit for the webmedium
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I don't think I think anymore. I used to be very thoughtful. Thoughts would fly through me like crazy and some of them I could reign in and put down on paper or so forth. Draw. You know, speak about. But now there's almost nothing. It's dull and still in there. I read books about interesting topics and as soon as I close their covers my mind is silent, those carefully chosen words all but forgotten. Tumbleweeds. No sparking synapses, no insights, nada.
What happened to the boy who used to lie in bed and seriously contemplate infinity? Jesus, what happened to the man who, a year or two ago, was able to sit down and write out jokes? The guy who could comprehend the Upanishads relatively well? Geesh.
Is my mind muddled? Is it over-mediated? Maybe I'm dumb now? I don't know. Aw, geez, I need a colonic, maybe. Yeah, that'll do it.