elizabear: (Default)
I like reading the Boston Globe. I actually have it delivered to my house (and have done so for about 15 years), and I read it every day during breakfast and lunch. I talk about the articles with my friends and my husband, and I clip comics and recipes and reviews for later reference. Boston.com is my go-to site for updates on sports and local news during the afternoon and evening.

Come Friday, May 1, the Globe may stop publishing. Its owner, the New York Times Corporation, says the Globe is losing too much money, and they will shut it down on 5/1/09 unless they get tens of millions of dollars in concessions from the unions to cut costs. It won't put them in the black, it will simply reduce the hemorrhaging to a slow but steady leak.

In an odd but fortunate coincidence, my subscription, normally paid a year in advance, expires on May 3rd. I was actually called at the end of March to renew it, but decided to postpone it because I had just made a few large charges and I wanted to let the dust settle. About 3 days after that call, the news about the possible shutdown was announced.

DSR and I immediately started talking about options, and about whether or not the age of the printed newspaper has passed. Part of this equation is really out of my control - the NYTC will shut down the Globe, or they won't. Or they could do it later if they don't do it now. Shutting it down would be a real shame - the reporting isn't what it used to be, and yes, there's a very blatant liberal bias, but there are still glimmers of its glory and it's HEAPS better than the other Boston paper, the Herald. But as I've thought about this over the last couple of weeks, I've discovered that while I'd miss the printed page, I could survive without it. What I *would* miss is the local reporting of events and sports.

One of the Globe columnists asked readers to weigh in on the subject about two weeks ago. Many said they'd be willing to pay a small subscription fee for access to Boston.com, and I agree with that. The price factor seemed to be about $5/month for everything, vs micro-payments. I hate the micro-payments idea. I like to browse, and I will frequently skim the pages and zero in on something, scan the article until I feel I understand the content, and move on. I read about 1/4 of the articles in-depth.

The downside of being an information addict is that I sometimes fall behind on reading if I'm away or if I'm very busy, and the papers stack up. I'm reluctant to toss them until I've at least skimmed them, even as they get older and older. It's actually been a positive thing that my stack only covers a small table - it's been much worse.

Even when I'm keeping up, newspapers make up a fair portion of my recycling. I can't imaging not recycling or reusing them.
But - what if I didn't take possession of the dead trees to begin with? Hmm.

I also like the news sources some of my other friends look at, but I don't make the time for those sources because I'm trying not to fall behind on the Globe.

DSR's immediate suggestion was to switch to me getting all of my news electronically. But I like reading the paper while I have breakfast, and I can't eat in the computer room. The answer we've hit upon is a NetBook that will be set up on the sunroom table for me. I can browse through Boston.com or the other news sites quite easily that way, and it actually looks like it's going to be a win in many ways: no newspapers to need recycling, more news sources available at my fingertips, updated stories, etc. Amazingly, it's going to be cheaper than 1 year of a subscription to the printed version of the Globe, *and* I'll still have the NetBook after that year as well as having the use of it for other things during that period.

So I will be paying for one more month of the Globe. I feel a bit melancholy about it, but I'm also excited about the new way I'm going to be getting my information. I know I'm contributing to the demise of newsprint, but maybe it's time. I do hope Boston.com will live on, though - it's very much needed.
elizabear: (Default)
I like reading the Boston Globe. I actually have it delivered to my house (and have done so for about 15 years), and I read it every day during breakfast and lunch. I talk about the articles with my friends and my husband, and I clip comics and recipes and reviews for later reference. Boston.com is my go-to site for updates on sports and local news during the afternoon and evening.

Come Friday, May 1, the Globe may stop publishing. Its owner, the New York Times Corporation, says the Globe is losing too much money, and they will shut it down on 5/1/09 unless they get tens of millions of dollars in concessions from the unions to cut costs. It won't put them in the black, it will simply reduce the hemorrhaging to a slow but steady leak.

In an odd but fortunate coincidence, my subscription, normally paid a year in advance, expires on May 3rd. I was actually called at the end of March to renew it, but decided to postpone it because I had just made a few large charges and I wanted to let the dust settle. About 3 days after that call, the news about the possible shutdown was announced.

DSR and I immediately started talking about options, and about whether or not the age of the printed newspaper has passed. Part of this equation is really out of my control - the NYTC will shut down the Globe, or they won't. Or they could do it later if they don't do it now. Shutting it down would be a real shame - the reporting isn't what it used to be, and yes, there's a very blatant liberal bias, but there are still glimmers of its glory and it's HEAPS better than the other Boston paper, the Herald. But as I've thought about this over the last couple of weeks, I've discovered that while I'd miss the printed page, I could survive without it. What I *would* miss is the local reporting of events and sports.

One of the Globe columnists asked readers to weigh in on the subject about two weeks ago. Many said they'd be willing to pay a small subscription fee for access to Boston.com, and I agree with that. The price factor seemed to be about $5/month for everything, vs micro-payments. I hate the micro-payments idea. I like to browse, and I will frequently skim the pages and zero in on something, scan the article until I feel I understand the content, and move on. I read about 1/4 of the articles in-depth.

The downside of being an information addict is that I sometimes fall behind on reading if I'm away or if I'm very busy, and the papers stack up. I'm reluctant to toss them until I've at least skimmed them, even as they get older and older. It's actually been a positive thing that my stack only covers a small table - it's been much worse.

Even when I'm keeping up, newspapers make up a fair portion of my recycling. I can't imaging not recycling or reusing them.
But - what if I didn't take possession of the dead trees to begin with? Hmm.

I also like the news sources some of my other friends look at, but I don't make the time for those sources because I'm trying not to fall behind on the Globe.

DSR's immediate suggestion was to switch to me getting all of my news electronically. But I like reading the paper while I have breakfast, and I can't eat in the computer room. The answer we've hit upon is a NetBook that will be set up on the sunroom table for me. I can browse through Boston.com or the other news sites quite easily that way, and it actually looks like it's going to be a win in many ways: no newspapers to need recycling, more news sources available at my fingertips, updated stories, etc. Amazingly, it's going to be cheaper than 1 year of a subscription to the printed version of the Globe, *and* I'll still have the NetBook after that year as well as having the use of it for other things during that period.

So I will be paying for one more month of the Globe. I feel a bit melancholy about it, but I'm also excited about the new way I'm going to be getting my information. I know I'm contributing to the demise of newsprint, but maybe it's time. I do hope Boston.com will live on, though - it's very much needed.
elizabear: (Default)
In the last few days, there has been some major news in the Waltham area regarding a proposed new charter school. This school would be for "troubled youths" ages 16-24 who have not been able to complete high school due to having a child, incarceration, or other disruption. I really, really hate to have to say it, but I really don't want this school in my town.

I grew up living with at-risk kids. My parents were licensed Foster Parents, and between 1976 and 1992, we estimate that they took in well over 100 kids. Some were just overnight or a weekend, most were with us for 6-8 months, some stayed for 3 years. Sometimes we had as many as 3 at a time. Some came to my house because they were abused, some were unmanageable by their parents, some were unwanted, some were being processed into the court system for various reasons. It was rough and it wasn't always nice, but it at times it was fun, and it was certainly educational.

When I first heard about the proposed charter school, I thought it was a good idea. I knew people like this - people who dropped out of high school to have a baby, people who were arrested for theft or assault and couldn't attend school. But that was in a rural area, and it was 24 years ago (I left home for college in 1984, missing the last few years of foster kids in my parents' home). I had no idea of the scope of the issue in an urban area and in today's culture.

The same organization proposing the charter school is currently running a group home in Waltham. The Waltham police spoke against the charter school at the hearing on Thursday due to the high number of incidents they're already handling with just this small group home population. (See the article below) The proposed charter school wants to have a dorm for at least 100 students - nearly 10 times as many as they currently have at the group home. It's estimated that Waltham currently has nearly 80 halfway homes, group homes, and shelters. If you didn't know the number was that high, it's because the residents and clients and organizations have found ways to work well in the community. The current record for this group doesn't seem to bode as well.

And, it should be noted, one person speaking to support the proposal said himself, "We're not students, we're clients." I think that's a very important differentiation. They're also not children - they're adults. This is not going to be a standard student body by any stretch of the imagination.

More importantly to me as a parent, the proposed charter school would take away funding Waltham is receiving from the state.
The State Treasurer shall make quarterly payments to Commonwealth
charter schools. In making such payments, the Commonwealth shall
reduce each sending district's M.G.L. c. 70 allocation by an amount
sufficient to meet its charter school obligations for the quarter. If
there are insufficient M.G.L. c. 70 funds to meet a district's
obligation, the Commonwealth shall reduce other state aid allocated to
the applicable cities and towns. If there are insufficient state aid
funds of any kind to meet a district's obligation, the Board of
Elementary and Secondary Education shall recommend to the Governor and
legislature that a supplemental appropriation be made to pay any
remaining obligation to the charter school(s).


Yes, the proposal says that the "students" would come from all over the state and that the home districts would be paying for them, but let's be realistic - no one is going to commute from the other parts of the state to attend the proposed school unless they live within half-an-hour or so away. That means many attendees are going to move here, and that means Waltham will end up paying for them out of our current school aid. I happen to think Waltham schools are very good - we have specialists in art, gym, music, drama, and media. We have a full-time librarian and nurse. The PTO fills the gaps and provides money for visiting speakers, enrichment programs, and traveling exhibits. The Plympton principal said Waltham is receiving $5,000 per student from the state; the proposed charter school would be drawing $16,000 per student away from that funding. The proposed charter school would also be entitled to transportation funds, again drawn from Waltham's current aid package.

I always thought that the purpose of a charter school was to meet an underserved need of a district. This is not a proposed school to enhance the education of Waltham residents, and it is not filling a need for the immediate area: Waltham High School has vocational and alternative education programs, as does nearby Lexington Minuteman Academy (the director of which also showed up at the hearing to voice his objections to the proposed charter school). I don't want to see programs cut in my son's school, and I don't want to encourage residency by an element that has already proven its inability to control itself.


Please check out the following news stories from the local paper :
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x581451711/Public-forum-for-proposed-charter-school-in-Waltham-planned
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x43170514/School-Committee-slams-charter-school-proposal
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x337323943/Police-warn-arter-school-may-bring-gangs


Waltham Cable will be airing the public hearing held on Thursday afternoon 12/4/08 at the following times. See for yourself the arguments for and against this proposed charter school, make up your own mind, and let the MA Board of Education know before January 5th at charterschools@doe.mass.edu

Friday, December 5th - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 6th -noon and 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 7th - 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The hearing will be aired on Waltham's MAC Channel.
Comcast - Channel 98
RCN - Channel 15
Verizon - Channel 43
elizabear: (Default)
In the last few days, there has been some major news in the Waltham area regarding a proposed new charter school. This school would be for "troubled youths" ages 16-24 who have not been able to complete high school due to having a child, incarceration, or other disruption. I really, really hate to have to say it, but I really don't want this school in my town.

I grew up living with at-risk kids. My parents were licensed Foster Parents, and between 1976 and 1992, we estimate that they took in well over 100 kids. Some were just overnight or a weekend, most were with us for 6-8 months, some stayed for 3 years. Sometimes we had as many as 3 at a time. Some came to my house because they were abused, some were unmanageable by their parents, some were unwanted, some were being processed into the court system for various reasons. It was rough and it wasn't always nice, but it at times it was fun, and it was certainly educational.

When I first heard about the proposed charter school, I thought it was a good idea. I knew people like this - people who dropped out of high school to have a baby, people who were arrested for theft or assault and couldn't attend school. But that was in a rural area, and it was 24 years ago (I left home for college in 1984, missing the last few years of foster kids in my parents' home). I had no idea of the scope of the issue in an urban area and in today's culture.

The same organization proposing the charter school is currently running a group home in Waltham. The Waltham police spoke against the charter school at the hearing on Thursday due to the high number of incidents they're already handling with just this small group home population. (See the article below) The proposed charter school wants to have a dorm for at least 100 students - nearly 10 times as many as they currently have at the group home. It's estimated that Waltham currently has nearly 80 halfway homes, group homes, and shelters. If you didn't know the number was that high, it's because the residents and clients and organizations have found ways to work well in the community. The current record for this group doesn't seem to bode as well.

And, it should be noted, one person speaking to support the proposal said himself, "We're not students, we're clients." I think that's a very important differentiation. They're also not children - they're adults. This is not going to be a standard student body by any stretch of the imagination.

More importantly to me as a parent, the proposed charter school would take away funding Waltham is receiving from the state.
The State Treasurer shall make quarterly payments to Commonwealth
charter schools. In making such payments, the Commonwealth shall
reduce each sending district's M.G.L. c. 70 allocation by an amount
sufficient to meet its charter school obligations for the quarter. If
there are insufficient M.G.L. c. 70 funds to meet a district's
obligation, the Commonwealth shall reduce other state aid allocated to
the applicable cities and towns. If there are insufficient state aid
funds of any kind to meet a district's obligation, the Board of
Elementary and Secondary Education shall recommend to the Governor and
legislature that a supplemental appropriation be made to pay any
remaining obligation to the charter school(s).


Yes, the proposal says that the "students" would come from all over the state and that the home districts would be paying for them, but let's be realistic - no one is going to commute from the other parts of the state to attend the proposed school unless they live within half-an-hour or so away. That means many attendees are going to move here, and that means Waltham will end up paying for them out of our current school aid. I happen to think Waltham schools are very good - we have specialists in art, gym, music, drama, and media. We have a full-time librarian and nurse. The PTO fills the gaps and provides money for visiting speakers, enrichment programs, and traveling exhibits. The Plympton principal said Waltham is receiving $5,000 per student from the state; the proposed charter school would be drawing $16,000 per student away from that funding. The proposed charter school would also be entitled to transportation funds, again drawn from Waltham's current aid package.

I always thought that the purpose of a charter school was to meet an underserved need of a district. This is not a proposed school to enhance the education of Waltham residents, and it is not filling a need for the immediate area: Waltham High School has vocational and alternative education programs, as does nearby Lexington Minuteman Academy (the director of which also showed up at the hearing to voice his objections to the proposed charter school). I don't want to see programs cut in my son's school, and I don't want to encourage residency by an element that has already proven its inability to control itself.


Please check out the following news stories from the local paper :
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x581451711/Public-forum-for-proposed-charter-school-in-Waltham-planned
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x43170514/School-Committee-slams-charter-school-proposal
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x337323943/Police-warn-arter-school-may-bring-gangs


Waltham Cable will be airing the public hearing held on Thursday afternoon 12/4/08 at the following times. See for yourself the arguments for and against this proposed charter school, make up your own mind, and let the MA Board of Education know before January 5th at charterschools@doe.mass.edu

Friday, December 5th - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 6th -noon and 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 7th - 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The hearing will be aired on Waltham's MAC Channel.
Comcast - Channel 98
RCN - Channel 15
Verizon - Channel 43
elizabear: (Default)
This seems like a really cool idea.


Wed, Oct 1 02:21 PM

Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) Desalination is a practical way to providing fresh water to 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack access to the life-giving liquid -- the lack of which causes the death of 1.6 million children each year.

Geoscientist David Kreamer of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, noting that at least 37 percent of the world's population lives within 100 km of a coastline, said that they could get enough drinking water by desalination.

Desalination is not a novel idea, said Kreamer. US Navy aircraft carriers, for example, have had to generate fresh water to help sustain large crews while at sea for six months or more.

In fact, said Kreamer, such ships are ideal platforms for desalination. And what better use for large, mothballed ocean vessels currently dry-docked or cluttering working harbours?

The US alone has a fairly large mothballed fleet, including inactive warships and the merchant marine reserve fleet. Kreamer's work examines the practicality of recycling decommissioned US Navy vessels, especially with an eye toward using old aircraft carriers, to become mobile desalinisation plants, according to a release of the Geological Society of America.

When ships meet the end of their service life with the US Navy, they are often quite serviceable. Kreamer notes that the decommissioning of the John F. Kennedy multipurpose aircraft carrier in August 2007 saved the Navy about 1.2 billion dollars, yet the vessel itself is still sea worthy and could be a good candidate for work as a desalinization plant.

A change in purpose would save money in other areas as well. The John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier had a crew of about 5,200, but says Kreamer: 'You wouldn't have as many people working a desalination plant.'

He will present his idea on Oct 5 at the Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, in Houston, Texas.
elizabear: (Default)
This seems like a really cool idea.


Wed, Oct 1 02:21 PM

Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) Desalination is a practical way to providing fresh water to 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack access to the life-giving liquid -- the lack of which causes the death of 1.6 million children each year.

Geoscientist David Kreamer of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, noting that at least 37 percent of the world's population lives within 100 km of a coastline, said that they could get enough drinking water by desalination.

Desalination is not a novel idea, said Kreamer. US Navy aircraft carriers, for example, have had to generate fresh water to help sustain large crews while at sea for six months or more.

In fact, said Kreamer, such ships are ideal platforms for desalination. And what better use for large, mothballed ocean vessels currently dry-docked or cluttering working harbours?

The US alone has a fairly large mothballed fleet, including inactive warships and the merchant marine reserve fleet. Kreamer's work examines the practicality of recycling decommissioned US Navy vessels, especially with an eye toward using old aircraft carriers, to become mobile desalinisation plants, according to a release of the Geological Society of America.

When ships meet the end of their service life with the US Navy, they are often quite serviceable. Kreamer notes that the decommissioning of the John F. Kennedy multipurpose aircraft carrier in August 2007 saved the Navy about 1.2 billion dollars, yet the vessel itself is still sea worthy and could be a good candidate for work as a desalinization plant.

A change in purpose would save money in other areas as well. The John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier had a crew of about 5,200, but says Kreamer: 'You wouldn't have as many people working a desalination plant.'

He will present his idea on Oct 5 at the Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, in Houston, Texas.
elizabear: (Default)
It's been a hard year for Verrill Farm, home of the Corn & Tomato Festival. First they had to cancel the festival because the fields were soaked and too muddy for parking, and now the farmstand building is gone. Since the fields are not damaged, they will be selling corn and tomatoes from an open-air stand near the farm, and they expect to be able to sell produce to restaurants and retail as usual.

http://www.wickedlocal.com/concord/homepage/x650666266/Four-alarm-blaze-guts-Verrill-Farm-building
elizabear: (Default)
It's been a hard year for Verrill Farm, home of the Corn & Tomato Festival. First they had to cancel the festival because the fields were soaked and too muddy for parking, and now the farmstand building is gone. Since the fields are not damaged, they will be selling corn and tomatoes from an open-air stand near the farm, and they expect to be able to sell produce to restaurants and retail as usual.

http://www.wickedlocal.com/concord/homepage/x650666266/Four-alarm-blaze-guts-Verrill-Farm-building
elizabear: (Default)
Tallying obsolete coins causes chaos in Zimbabwe [AP]

Zimbabweans dug out coins squirreled away years ago in jars and cupboards, and headed for the shops, where lines built up as overburdened tellers more accustomed to counting mounds of hyper-inflated dollar notes instead were juggling silver.

The central bank, overwhelmed by stratospheric inflation, last week cut 10 zeros from the currency and reintroduced coins made obsolete in 2002 when they became worthless. A $1 coin now is worth 10 billion of the old dollars. On Friday, about 20 $1 coins - or 200 billion Zimbabwe dollars - could buy a loaf of bread, if it could be found in a downtown supermarket. That's about $5 at the official rate and $2 at the black market rate that better reflects the value of the currency.

"It's a bonus for anyone like me who didn't know what to do with coins and didn't throw them away," said businessman Frank Takavara, who carried a cookie jar full of coins that bought him a small sachet of powdered milk.

New $10 and $20 notes were issued by banks Friday, but most purchasers still used coins, old notes, or checks. The old currency remains effective until December, being used alongside new bills in the "revalued" currency rate introduced Friday. The biggest new bill is $500, equivalent to 5 trillion in the old denominations. Two weeks ago, the bank had introduced a $100 billion dollar note.

In setting prices on its menu, a downtown cafe mistakenly slashed nine zeros from its prices instead of the required 10. Until December, prices must be quoted in both new and old dollars, according to a central bank directive. "Everyone is totally confused. Maybe things will settle down in a few days. It's farcical at the moment," said the cafe manager, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions.

Embattled President Robert Mugabe blamed profiteers and Western sanctions for the economic chaos in the southern African nation, and this week warned that if businesses tried to cash in on the mess, he would impose a state of emergency. There were fears he could use emergency laws to punish rivals should power-sharing talks with the opposition not resolve in his favor. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since a guerrilla war forced an end to white minority rule in 1980, in recent years even overcoming opposition within his party.

Zimbabwe's woes began when Mugabe nearly 10 years ago sent supporters to invade white-owned commercial farms that drove the economy violently, saying he was reclaiming the land for poor, black peasants. Instead, he gave the farms to his Cabinet minister, generals, and other cronies. Most were left untended and today Zimbabwe, which once exported food, suffers chronic shortages of everything from food and medication to fuel and electricity.
elizabear: (Default)
Tallying obsolete coins causes chaos in Zimbabwe [AP]

Zimbabweans dug out coins squirreled away years ago in jars and cupboards, and headed for the shops, where lines built up as overburdened tellers more accustomed to counting mounds of hyper-inflated dollar notes instead were juggling silver.

The central bank, overwhelmed by stratospheric inflation, last week cut 10 zeros from the currency and reintroduced coins made obsolete in 2002 when they became worthless. A $1 coin now is worth 10 billion of the old dollars. On Friday, about 20 $1 coins - or 200 billion Zimbabwe dollars - could buy a loaf of bread, if it could be found in a downtown supermarket. That's about $5 at the official rate and $2 at the black market rate that better reflects the value of the currency.

"It's a bonus for anyone like me who didn't know what to do with coins and didn't throw them away," said businessman Frank Takavara, who carried a cookie jar full of coins that bought him a small sachet of powdered milk.

New $10 and $20 notes were issued by banks Friday, but most purchasers still used coins, old notes, or checks. The old currency remains effective until December, being used alongside new bills in the "revalued" currency rate introduced Friday. The biggest new bill is $500, equivalent to 5 trillion in the old denominations. Two weeks ago, the bank had introduced a $100 billion dollar note.

In setting prices on its menu, a downtown cafe mistakenly slashed nine zeros from its prices instead of the required 10. Until December, prices must be quoted in both new and old dollars, according to a central bank directive. "Everyone is totally confused. Maybe things will settle down in a few days. It's farcical at the moment," said the cafe manager, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions.

Embattled President Robert Mugabe blamed profiteers and Western sanctions for the economic chaos in the southern African nation, and this week warned that if businesses tried to cash in on the mess, he would impose a state of emergency. There were fears he could use emergency laws to punish rivals should power-sharing talks with the opposition not resolve in his favor. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since a guerrilla war forced an end to white minority rule in 1980, in recent years even overcoming opposition within his party.

Zimbabwe's woes began when Mugabe nearly 10 years ago sent supporters to invade white-owned commercial farms that drove the economy violently, saying he was reclaiming the land for poor, black peasants. Instead, he gave the farms to his Cabinet minister, generals, and other cronies. Most were left untended and today Zimbabwe, which once exported food, suffers chronic shortages of everything from food and medication to fuel and electricity.
elizabear: (Default)
Because I'm finding this interesting:

Zimbabwe announced on Wednesday that it is knocking 10 zeros off its hyper-inflated currency - a move that turns 10 billion dollars into one. The move comes a week after the issue of a 100 billion-dollar note - still not enough to buy a loaf of bread.

Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono said the new money would be launched with 500-dollar bills. He also said he was reintroducing coins, which have been obsolete for years, and told people to dig out their old ones. Gono made the move because the high rate of inflation was hampering the country's computer systems. Computers, electronic calculators, and automated teller machines at Zimbabwe's banks cannot handle basic transactions in billions and trillions of dollars.

Economist John Robertson said the new bills would also soon be worthless since the rate of inflation continues to skyrocket. What costs $1 at the beginning of the month can cost $20 by month's end, he said.
[Boston Globe]
elizabear: (Default)
Because I'm finding this interesting:

Zimbabwe announced on Wednesday that it is knocking 10 zeros off its hyper-inflated currency - a move that turns 10 billion dollars into one. The move comes a week after the issue of a 100 billion-dollar note - still not enough to buy a loaf of bread.

Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono said the new money would be launched with 500-dollar bills. He also said he was reintroducing coins, which have been obsolete for years, and told people to dig out their old ones. Gono made the move because the high rate of inflation was hampering the country's computer systems. Computers, electronic calculators, and automated teller machines at Zimbabwe's banks cannot handle basic transactions in billions and trillions of dollars.

Economist John Robertson said the new bills would also soon be worthless since the rate of inflation continues to skyrocket. What costs $1 at the beginning of the month can cost $20 by month's end, he said.
[Boston Globe]
elizabear: (Default)
Meet Heidelise Als, the woman responsible for changing the way NICUs treat the babies. Thanks to her, hospitals came to understand "it wasn't dangerous to allow the baby to turn onto its side to get comfortable, to cover it in a blanket, to dim the lights, to make the environment calm and quiet. Not only was it not dangerous, her research found, but it was better for the babies, who came off ventilators and feeding tubes faster and did much better behaviorally."
http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2008/07/28/reading_the_body_language_of_infants/


A Delta flight attendant has an unusual way of making her passengers more comfortable.
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/07/28/an_attendants_arts_and_aircraft_movement/
elizabear: (Default)
Meet Heidelise Als, the woman responsible for changing the way NICUs treat the babies. Thanks to her, hospitals came to understand "it wasn't dangerous to allow the baby to turn onto its side to get comfortable, to cover it in a blanket, to dim the lights, to make the environment calm and quiet. Not only was it not dangerous, her research found, but it was better for the babies, who came off ventilators and feeding tubes faster and did much better behaviorally."
http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2008/07/28/reading_the_body_language_of_infants/


A Delta flight attendant has an unusual way of making her passengers more comfortable.
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/07/28/an_attendants_arts_and_aircraft_movement/
elizabear: (Default)
Boston Globe July 27, 2008
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/07/27/out_for_the_count/

Federal rules mean thousands of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts will be ignored in the 2010 US Census.

After nearly five years together, Pete Dziedzic and Jay Judas will marry in October at the Ritz-Carlton on Boston Common.

Although the ceremony will draw friends and family from across the country, and the marriage will be legally recognized by Massachusetts, it will be ignored by the US Census Bureau.

The agency plans to count Dziedzic and Judas - and the estimated 11,000 other gay and lesbian couples who have legally married in Massachusetts - as unwed partners in the 2010 Census. As a result, those couples will be excluded from all statistics about families and married couples issued by the Census Bureau.

...

Even as other federal benefits remain beyond their grasp, gay and lesbian married couples are demanding the right to be counted. They say it is both a matter of personal dignity and a desire to see the Census Bureau gather accurate information.

The census decision stems from the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that keeps married gay couples in Massachusetts and elsewhere from receiving federal benefits afforded to heterosexual marriage, like the right to file taxes jointly or for an immigrant to receive a green card when marrying a citizen.

Same-sex marriage advocates say they can't understand why that law would extend to the census, because no immediate personal benefits flow from the government's count. Instead, the census exists - according to the agency's own mission statements - to provide the nation's leading source of data about population and the economy and to enable lawmakers and federal officials to make better policy decisions.
elizabear: (Default)
Boston Globe July 27, 2008
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/07/27/out_for_the_count/

Federal rules mean thousands of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts will be ignored in the 2010 US Census.

After nearly five years together, Pete Dziedzic and Jay Judas will marry in October at the Ritz-Carlton on Boston Common.

Although the ceremony will draw friends and family from across the country, and the marriage will be legally recognized by Massachusetts, it will be ignored by the US Census Bureau.

The agency plans to count Dziedzic and Judas - and the estimated 11,000 other gay and lesbian couples who have legally married in Massachusetts - as unwed partners in the 2010 Census. As a result, those couples will be excluded from all statistics about families and married couples issued by the Census Bureau.

...

Even as other federal benefits remain beyond their grasp, gay and lesbian married couples are demanding the right to be counted. They say it is both a matter of personal dignity and a desire to see the Census Bureau gather accurate information.

The census decision stems from the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that keeps married gay couples in Massachusetts and elsewhere from receiving federal benefits afforded to heterosexual marriage, like the right to file taxes jointly or for an immigrant to receive a green card when marrying a citizen.

Same-sex marriage advocates say they can't understand why that law would extend to the census, because no immediate personal benefits flow from the government's count. Instead, the census exists - according to the agency's own mission statements - to provide the nation's leading source of data about population and the economy and to enable lawmakers and federal officials to make better policy decisions.
elizabear: (Default)
The central bank issued a $100 billion note this week. Yikes. Annual inflation is estimated at 2.2 million percent by the government there, but outside observers say it's actually closer to 12.5 million percent.

I hope the pressure put on Mugabe to begin sharing power with the opposition is successful. The people of the country not in military or government positions have been subjected to extreme violence, rape, sexual slavery, and death in addition to the rampant inflation and shortage of food. It must be stopped.
elizabear: (Default)
The central bank issued a $100 billion note this week. Yikes. Annual inflation is estimated at 2.2 million percent by the government there, but outside observers say it's actually closer to 12.5 million percent.

I hope the pressure put on Mugabe to begin sharing power with the opposition is successful. The people of the country not in military or government positions have been subjected to extreme violence, rape, sexual slavery, and death in addition to the rampant inflation and shortage of food. It must be stopped.
elizabear: (Default)
http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2008/07/17/zimbabwe_economys_woes_keep_adding_up/
The German company that has been providing parts and paper for the Zimbabwean mint has stopped doing so, which is already causing a crisis that's going to get worse.

Fidelity Printers is Mugabe's lifeline. It prints the money to pay the police, soldiers and intelligence organs that keep the regime in power. Lately, the money has been used to set up a network of command bases around the country staffed by liberation war veterans and youth militias, paid muscle to terrify the population into voting for Mugabe in the June 27 presidential runoff.

If the regime can't pay the security forces on which it relies, it would face economic paralysis - and potential collapse.

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown harks back to the collapse of its major export industry, commercial farming, after Mugabe's controversial land reform program early in the decade. That left the nation starved of foreign exchange, but government spending went on.

How did it do that? It printed money. But printing more and more money without an increase in productivity fueled rampant hyperinflation.

As hyperinflation spiraled last year, Fidelity printed million-dollar notes, then 5-million, 10-million, 25-million, 50-million. This year, it has been forced to print 100-million, 250-million and 500-million notes in rapid succession, all now practically worthless. The highest denomination is now 50 billion Zimbabwean dollars (worth one US dollar on the street).




And a columnist in the Globe, Kevin Cullen, writes:

As for the sanctity of marriage, does that refer to the 50 percent that end in divorce or the 50 percent that don't?

I never understood how this became a liberal/conservative thing. I thought gay marriage was something the religious right would try to foist on gay people. You know, so gay couples could be miserable like the rest of us.

What could be more conservative than being monogamous and raising kids, living an existence that is about as exciting as being a penguin on the Galápagos Islands?

A lot of people oppose gay marriage on religious grounds, and they are perfectly entitled to. But, as I recall, the Puritans who first settled Massachusetts were followed by generations who gradually stopped believing that God sat around thinking of ways to smite sinners. And, then, of course, there are many people who don't believe religion should be used to dictate the laws of a democratic republic.

Is this a great country or what? And because this is a great democracy, the people who still get worked up about gay marriage can work to vote out those in the Legislature who have voted at each turn to enshrine it in law.

Of course, they tried that two years ago and got their clocks cleaned. They're entitled to try again, and good luck to them. But at some point, a good fight becomes pointless. Every generation, every century, what was perceived as "normal" or "mainstream" changes, and there's no going back.

You're certainly entitled to not approve of homosexuals, but if you think they're going to go back into the closet to spare you your discomfort, you don't know human nature and you certainly don't know human history.

And if you think that once a civil right is recognized by the state's highest court you can somehow change it back to the way it was, or that you can get a popular referendum so a majority can strip a civil right from a minority, I own a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in.

Some who oppose gay marriage are deeply principled. Others are bigots. But they share a common cause. Their cause in Massachusetts is dead.

It's over.

Get used to it.

And if you don't like homosexuals, don't marry one.


http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/07/17/tilting_at_windmills/
elizabear: (Default)
http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2008/07/17/zimbabwe_economys_woes_keep_adding_up/
The German company that has been providing parts and paper for the Zimbabwean mint has stopped doing so, which is already causing a crisis that's going to get worse.

Fidelity Printers is Mugabe's lifeline. It prints the money to pay the police, soldiers and intelligence organs that keep the regime in power. Lately, the money has been used to set up a network of command bases around the country staffed by liberation war veterans and youth militias, paid muscle to terrify the population into voting for Mugabe in the June 27 presidential runoff.

If the regime can't pay the security forces on which it relies, it would face economic paralysis - and potential collapse.

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown harks back to the collapse of its major export industry, commercial farming, after Mugabe's controversial land reform program early in the decade. That left the nation starved of foreign exchange, but government spending went on.

How did it do that? It printed money. But printing more and more money without an increase in productivity fueled rampant hyperinflation.

As hyperinflation spiraled last year, Fidelity printed million-dollar notes, then 5-million, 10-million, 25-million, 50-million. This year, it has been forced to print 100-million, 250-million and 500-million notes in rapid succession, all now practically worthless. The highest denomination is now 50 billion Zimbabwean dollars (worth one US dollar on the street).




And a columnist in the Globe, Kevin Cullen, writes:

As for the sanctity of marriage, does that refer to the 50 percent that end in divorce or the 50 percent that don't?

I never understood how this became a liberal/conservative thing. I thought gay marriage was something the religious right would try to foist on gay people. You know, so gay couples could be miserable like the rest of us.

What could be more conservative than being monogamous and raising kids, living an existence that is about as exciting as being a penguin on the Galápagos Islands?

A lot of people oppose gay marriage on religious grounds, and they are perfectly entitled to. But, as I recall, the Puritans who first settled Massachusetts were followed by generations who gradually stopped believing that God sat around thinking of ways to smite sinners. And, then, of course, there are many people who don't believe religion should be used to dictate the laws of a democratic republic.

Is this a great country or what? And because this is a great democracy, the people who still get worked up about gay marriage can work to vote out those in the Legislature who have voted at each turn to enshrine it in law.

Of course, they tried that two years ago and got their clocks cleaned. They're entitled to try again, and good luck to them. But at some point, a good fight becomes pointless. Every generation, every century, what was perceived as "normal" or "mainstream" changes, and there's no going back.

You're certainly entitled to not approve of homosexuals, but if you think they're going to go back into the closet to spare you your discomfort, you don't know human nature and you certainly don't know human history.

And if you think that once a civil right is recognized by the state's highest court you can somehow change it back to the way it was, or that you can get a popular referendum so a majority can strip a civil right from a minority, I own a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in.

Some who oppose gay marriage are deeply principled. Others are bigots. But they share a common cause. Their cause in Massachusetts is dead.

It's over.

Get used to it.

And if you don't like homosexuals, don't marry one.


http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/07/17/tilting_at_windmills/
elizabear: (Default)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=76838288

For most of human history, children played by roaming near or far in packs large and small. Younger children were supervised by older children and engaged in freewheeling imaginative play. They were pirates and princesses, aristocrats and heroes.

But, while all that play might have looked a lot like time spent doing nothing much at all, it actually helped build a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of elements, such as working memory and cognitive flexibility. But perhaps the most important is self-regulation — the ability for kids to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline. Executive function — and its self-regulation element — is important. Poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. In fact, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child's IQ.


More than just examining the problem, the article contains examples and concrete suggestions for moving things in a more positive direction.

(thanks for the pointer, [livejournal.com profile] its_just_me)
elizabear: (Default)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=76838288

For most of human history, children played by roaming near or far in packs large and small. Younger children were supervised by older children and engaged in freewheeling imaginative play. They were pirates and princesses, aristocrats and heroes.

But, while all that play might have looked a lot like time spent doing nothing much at all, it actually helped build a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of elements, such as working memory and cognitive flexibility. But perhaps the most important is self-regulation — the ability for kids to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline. Executive function — and its self-regulation element — is important. Poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. In fact, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child's IQ.


More than just examining the problem, the article contains examples and concrete suggestions for moving things in a more positive direction.

(thanks for the pointer, [livejournal.com profile] its_just_me)

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