Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mars Art

I've been remiss in my posting of pretty pictures of space. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the beauty created by dust devils swirling over the surface of Mars. I've been enchanted by this photo since I first saw it last week. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A few links

This article by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker demonstrates why I feel guilty about loving football so much:

I saw this video mentioned on several sites this week and finally succumbed to the temptation to watch it. It's worth the first few goofy seconds, I promise.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Desert Behavior

Greg and I ventured up to Indian Wells to watch a preseason NBA game between the Suns and Warriors. The Suns were the host team, and the crowd was definitely a Phoenix crowd. I've missed going to Suns' games since we moved away from Phoenix, so seeing our team again was definitely a treat. It was a festive atmosphere and a lovely way to spend an evening outdoors in the cool desert air. I was reminded of how frenetic people can get while diving for free t-shirts. Gee, 50ish man, enjoy your victory over the nine-year old much? But still, it was a great evening.

From Fall 2009

We also enjoyed the trip up to Indian Wells, going through parts of Southern California we hadn't seen before:

View Larger Map

Rocky, shrubby, a little piney, and mostly empty of people. Intriguing little roadside stands for us to investigate in the future. Several places advertising "Beer to Go". Fun hairpin turns! On the way back today, we stuck to the main roads and saw freakier things like conspiracy theory billboards. The whole Palm Springs area makes me want to floor the accelerator every time. Sixteen hours there to see the Suns was worth it, though!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Ugly Truth

Paul Krugman discusses the danger to education during these rough economic times, with a paragraph devoted to California's community college system:

For example, the Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported on the plight of California’s community college students. For generations, talented students from less affluent families have used those colleges as a stepping stone to the state’s public universities. But in the face of the state’s budget crisis those universities have been forced to slam the door on this year’s potential transfer students. One result, almost surely, will be lifetime damage to many students’ prospects — and a large, gratuitous waste of human potential.

I'm grateful that someone is willing to state the ugly truth... that the cuts to education now will have lifelong ramifications to our students. Those of us in the classrooms are trying our best, but I had to turn away a few dozen students from my classes because I just couldn't add anymore. Those who claim the recession is coming to an end are ignoring how much of state budget allocations were backfilled by federal stimulus money. No furloughs or layoffs in my district yet, but we're expecting the worse for next year, which means worse will come for students who are already struggling to obtain the level of education they need to compete for a still-dwindling supply of jobs.