Friday, October 31, 2008

Spelling Reform

A prof from Portland State visited the Scripps National Spelling Bee and covered the passionate spelling reform advocates who tried to draw attention to their cause. Fascinating piece. Paul Collins, Buzzkill, The Believer, Sept. 2008. (Scott Simon intervieweds Collin on Weekend Edition Sept. 6.)

I'm a member of the elite -- the highly educated people who can read English fluently and spell nearly everything easily. I wince when I see misplaced apostrophes ("Breakfast special: pancake's and egg's") and misspellings. But I really understand how nutty our language is, and I'm reminded each week when I tutor kids at YTP. Wouldn't it be great if we could make it easier for children and immigrants to learn English and experience all the rewards of literacy?

But in the meantime, I want to have the kids learn every fussy rule so that people who read what they write will see that they are intelligent and their work is worth reading.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Education? What sort of thing is that?

Nice opinion piece by the president of Seattle Prep: Kent Hickey, Education? What sort of thing is that? | Seattle Times Newspaper, Sept. 16, 2008:
Increasingly, we are ignoring the miracle of learning deep reading, thoughtful writing, analysis and reflection, and focusing our attention only on its trappings: inclusion on some lists (best of), exclusion from others (failing schools), and using technology as window dressing instead of as a tool to help learners.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Marching Band! Right Here!

One day (it was June 7), the Roosevelt High School Marching Band marched right up our street!

Mary got out the camera.

I was just driving home from someplace, so I missed the band on our street, but I was thrilled to see it on 15th.

(My band never marches, of course, but it is exciting to see a band that does.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Aging Brains Take In More Information, Studies Show - Health -

Aging Brains Take In More Information, Studies Show -, May 20, 2008:
When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.
For years I've waged a small personal campaign to have people stop saying "senior moment" only when they forget a word because it should also include times when they make a good judgment or feel compassion because of their experience.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Beagle Protects Publisher

A few words about Bill Cohen [cofounder of The Haworth Press, the publisher of Legal Reference Services Quarterly] are in order. Bill is a creative fellow with a fine sense of humor. He often drove me crazy and we had epic battles about publication delays, pricing, double issues, and typos. Once Bill sent me a picture of his dog, a very sweet beagle, and told me to look at it before I called him. He wanted me to ponder whether I should yell at the man who fed such a sweet dog. I actually used this method and it did help.
Bob Berring, Guest Editorial, Legal Reference Services Q., v. 25 no. 4, 2006, at 1, 2-3.

See how much good a dog can do?

In honor of Bill Cohen's dog, here's a portrait of the late Bradwell in repose (as she spent a good part of the time during her later years) (she had the cutest little snore!):

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Five Local Cops Read

The Seattle Times has a charming feature interviewing five local cops about the books they read. (The last question also asks what they write -- besides crime reports, one has written novels and one just finished a dissertation.) Jennifer Sullivan, By-the-Book Cops - and Their Lit Picks, Seattle Times, March 23, 2008.

Monday, March 17, 2008

King County Equity and Social Justice Initiative

Jerry Large's column this morning was about King County's Equity and Social Justice Initiative. From the initiative's website:
The King County Equity and Social Justice Initiative takes aim at long-standing and persistent local inequities and injustices. Government and local communities are better prepared than ever before to address these challenges.

"It is unacceptable that the color of your skin or your home address are good predictors of whether you will have a low birth weight baby, die from diabetes or your children will graduate from high school or end up in jail," says King County Executive Ron Sims.

The King County Equity and Social Justice Initiative aims to end persistent local inequities and injustices that result in, among other things, higher rates of disease among low-income populations and disproportionate rates of young black men in jail.

Examples of actions of the new Initiative include

* Developing and testing an equity impact assessment and review tool and incorporating the tool into decision-making.
* Collecting and publishing measures to highlight inequities and to mark progress in correcting them.
* Beginning a community dialogue process, using a new PBS series “Unnatural Causes,” to increase awareness among community members of equity and social determinants of health and to spur action, especially around policies.

Bad Conditions at King County Animal Shelter

In September a citizens advisory committee issued a report strongly critical of the King County animal shelter. Now the Times gives an update. Goal is getting critters out of shelters — alive, Seattle Times, March 17, 2008. The advisory committee's website (including the report) is here.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I Need a Virtual Break. No, Really.

A nice little piece about taking a regular break from email, blogs, cell phones, PDAs, etc.: Mark Bittman, I Need a Virtual Break. No, Really., N.Y. Times, March 2, 2008.
Nathan Zeldes, a principal engineer at Intel (employees there read or send three million e-mail messages daily), is running a couple of experiments, one in which people spend a morning a week at work but offline, another in which people consciously reduce their e-mail output. Though he’s not reporting results, he’s encouraged and he says people are participating.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Paris and beyond in France

If I ever plan a trip to France, I can turn to Jake and Maureen Dear's blog, Paris and beyond in France, which has lots of recommendations for books, accommodations, and more. Ooh-la-la!

(Jake Dear is the coauthor of an interesting law review article on the influence of state supreme courts. See my post in Trial Ad (and more) Notes.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

English Medieval Legal Documents Wiki

Wow! Hazel Lord at USC has created English Medieval Legal Documents Wiki, "a collaborative database on the published sources of English medieval legal documents, and to provide links to the growing number of online sources currently being developed."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

U.S. dementia rates are on the decline — Memory loss isn't inevitable

U.S. dementia rates are on the decline — Memory loss isn't inevitable, Seattle Times, Feb. 21, 2008.
Older adults today appear to have significantly less risk of memory loss and dementia than a decade ago, likely because they're better-educated, wealthier and receive better health care for cardiovascular disease, according to a nationwide study co-authored by a Group Health researcher.
Good news, right there on page 1! One interesting finding is that more education appears to delay the onset of dementia. But once dementia hits, the more educated people die sooner. What that means is that you might die about the same time, but you spend a higher percentage of your life with all your marbles.

Here's a model I like:
At age 87, Adrian Lawler of West Seattle could be a poster elder for how to keep the brain and body fit. Although he's participating in a healthy-aging study at Group Health, he says he's not trying to ward off dementia intentionally. But his sharp thinking could be a benefit of his active lifestyle, he said.

The retired Boeing engineer and teacher snow skis and hikes with his dog, volunteers at the blood bank and runs a small business on the side. He "keeps a good diet" and takes preventive medication for heart disease. And other than misplacing hearing aids occasionally, he has no serious memory lapses.

In other words, he suggested, if a person has a pet to walk, a hobby that requires intellectual inquiry and a volunteer activity that helps others, "you have a better feeling and you live longer."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NPR: Why Women Read More Than Men

NPR: Why Women Read More Than Men, Sept. 5, 2007 -- a look at the gender difference in reading, especially the "fiction gap."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sousa video

Here's the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band on the Seattle Channel, from Sousa's birthday, Nov. 6, 2008.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fighting Bob La Follette made Wisconsin a leader in primary elections

Hudson Star-Observer | Randy's Ramblings: Fighting Bob La Follette made Wisconsin a leader in primary elections, Feb. 1, 2008:
You can thank America’s Dairyland and Fighting Bob La Follette, in large measure, for the presidential primary season you’re enjoying or suffering through or trying to ignore.

La Follette started the fight to nominate candidates through primaries after being snubbed by party bosses in his attempt to win the Republican nomination for governor in 1896.
The newspaper writer's source for his La Follette history is, of course, Nancy C. Unger, Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hunger for rock eating up supply of sand, gravel

Hunger for rock eating up supply of sand, gravel, Seattle Times, Jan. 13, 2008. A resource many of us generally don't think about much...

When I was preparing for my exam in Land Use Planning, Dean Spencer said that class could be summed up by two principles: (1) "It depends." And (2) "The gravel pit always loses." (See, one can retain important information from a class taken 27 years ago! I also remember Prof. Haar saying that zoning was like a quart of milk and a comprehensive plan is like a cow.)