Tuesday, January 31, 2023

From Jaime To Rochelle

I've written several recent posts about the decline of math education.  It's usually not mathematics professors who want to dumb down math, it's math education professors who want to.

Remember Jaime Escalante, about whom the movie Stand and Deliver was made?  How far have we sunk?

I’m so old I can remember Jesse Jackson challenging black kids in the 1970s by asking, “What could you accomplish if you spent as much time and worked as hard at math as you do at basketball”? No black “leader” will dare say such a thing today. Instead, they will be told they are victims of white supremacy, because math itself is white supremacy.

To be sure, Escalante is a rare teacher. He was absolutely riveting in person. And while that kind of genius can’t be easily acquired, it can be studied and emulated as an example of human excellence and effective pedagogy. I suspect the number of education schools that teach a case study about Escalante (or Marva Collins, who I also met once) is precisely zero.

Instead of Escalante’s challenge, students at the University of Illinois they will get this....

Can California's Government Do *Anything* Right?

California's government can't boil water without burning it:

California’s cannabis industry has faced huge economic hurdles in its first four years of legal sales. The state’s complicated cannabis regulations and high taxes add costs to legal operators, while widespread illegal farms and retailers undercuts legitimate companies. Limited access to banking means these companies pay exorbitant fees for simple banking services and have almost no access to loans. Federal law blocks pot companies from deducting most business taxes from their federal taxes, making pot businesses pay an effective federal tax rate as high as 80%

These factors have come together to make California a painful place to run a legal pot business. The majority of small legacy cannabis farms are on their way out of business and even the country’s biggest cannabis companies are leaving the state.

Perhaps This Would Be Easier For The AI


rewrite the lyrics to Don't Stop Believing using Shakespearean English

"Cease Not Thy Belief"

Verse 1: Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world She took the midnight train, going anywhere Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit He took the midnight train, going anywhere

Chorus: Singeth with me, just a small town girl And a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit They didst find a love, on a midnight ride And they doth not cease, their belief inside

Verse 2: A singer in a smoky room, the smell of wine and cheap perfume For a smile they can share the night, it goes on Strangers, waiting, up and down the boulevard Their shadows searching, in the night

Chorus: Singeth with me, just a small town girl And a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit They didst find a love, on a midnight ride And they doth not cease, their belief inside

Bridge: Stranded in the night, with a lonely heart They didst find a love, that dost never depart And they singeth with all their might, for a brighter tomorrow And they doth not cease, their belief in a brighter tomorrow

Chorus: Singeth with me, just a small town girl And a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit They didst find a love, on a midnight ride And they doth not cease, their belief inside.

You know what the most fun is? Trying to think up a prompt!

Monday, January 30, 2023

The Proper Role of Government

A friend sent me a tweet today.  That tweet generated a lot of commentary on Twitter, and two of those comments sum up for me why I'm a conservative.  The first:

You can't comply your way out of tyranny.

Don't give in to a government that wants you to give in, especially if their reasoning is that "it's for the greater good", "it's for the children", or some other such silliness.  Don't give up your rights.  Government, and the people who go into government, are about controlling you and everyone around you; forget that, and you'll spend a lot of time clawing back what you gave up so easily.

The other comment I read:

Either you limit government, or government will limit you.

See my last full paragraph above.

So what should a government do?  What is the proper role of government?  Some smart guys told us back in 1776:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Government doesn't exist to be our nanny or our oppressor; rather, it exists to secure our God-given rights against those who would take them from us.  That is the proper role of government.

Let's Give ChatGPT Another Chance

This time I gave it this prompt:  write a 200-word blog post on why learning styles and multiple intellegences are bunk.  The result:

The Concept of Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences: Debunked

In recent years, the idea of learning styles and multiple intelligences has gained popularity as a way to explain individual differences in learning. The premise is that everyone has a unique way of processing information and that learning can be optimized by understanding and catering to these differences.

However, despite its popularity, there is little scientific evidence to support the notion of learning styles or multiple intelligences. Numerous studies have shown that there is no significant correlation between learning styles and academic achievement, and that efforts to match instruction to learning styles do not result in improved performance.

Additionally, the concept of multiple intelligences is based on a flawed understanding of intelligence. The idea of intelligence as a set of distinct abilities, such as linguistic or musical intelligence, is not supported by modern theories of cognitive development and is not supported by empirical research.

In reality, the process of learning is much more complex and cannot be reduced to a single factor such as learning style or type of intelligence. Learning is influenced by a multitude of factors, including motivation, prior knowledge, attention, and feedback, and the most effective instructional methods are those that take these factors into account.

In conclusion, the idea of learning styles and multiple intelligences is not supported by scientific evidence and can be misleading for teachers and students alike. Rather than focusing on learning styles, it is more effective to use evidence-based teaching strategies that cater to individual needs and provide opportunities for all students to learn and grow.

While this is all true, this sounds like a speech someone would give at a school board meeting.  The mechanics of the language are excellent, but there's no "punch" to the writing.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Such *Sick* People

I get that many people support abortion and are not happy with the Dobbs decision, but how can anyone truly support this?

The Minnesota state senate passed an abortion rights bill that guarantees a right to an abortion up to the time of birth.

The bill, known as the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act, passed by a vote of 34-33 and now goes to Gov. Bill Walz’s desk. He has indicated he will sign it.

“Minnesotans don’t support elective third-trimester abortion. They just don’t. But that’s what this extreme bill entrenches in our state law: the right to abort any baby for any reason at any time up to birth,” said Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “Under this bill, even babies who are old enough to live outside the womb and to feel excruciating pain have no protection from lethal violence. The extremism of H.F. 1 puts Minnesota in the same category as just a handful of countries around the world, including North Korea and China.”

H.F. 1, authored by Sen. Jennifer McEwen, would create a “fundamental right” to abortion and would allow abortions for any reason, even late in pregnancy. Since a fetus can feel pain as young as 20 weeks into gestation and no later than 28-30 weeks, some states have mandated anesthesia for babies to be aborted.

Minnesota has no such law.

I don't throw around words like satanic very often, but this is bill is satanic.  I can't come up with a stronger word.  Lefties do this solely out of spite, that's what kind of people they are.

IMNSHO, The ChatGPT AI Has A Ways To Go

The prompt I gave it was:  write a 500-word blog post about math education in the style of rightontheleftcoast.blogspot.com

Here's what it gave me:

Math Education: A Look at the Challenges and Opportunities

Math education is a topic that elicits strong reactions from many people. Some see it as the foundation of a well-rounded education, while others view it as a dry, uninteresting subject with limited real-world application. Regardless of one's personal feelings about math, there is no denying that it plays a crucial role in our lives, from basic financial literacy to advanced scientific and technological pursuits.

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the state of math education in the United States. According to recent reports, American students are falling behind their international peers in math proficiency, with only 40% of 8th graders performing at or above proficient levels. This is a concerning trend, as the ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts is essential for success in many fields and careers.

One of the biggest challenges facing math education is the lack of qualified teachers. Many schools, particularly those in low-income areas, struggle to attract and retain highly qualified math teachers. This results in students being taught by teachers who may not have the necessary subject matter expertise to effectively convey mathematical concepts.

Another challenge is the teaching approach. Traditional math instruction tends to focus on memorization and rote learning, with little emphasis on problem-solving or real-world applications. This can make math seem uninteresting and disconnected from daily life, causing students to lose motivation and interest in the subject.

Fortunately, there are also many opportunities to improve math education. One of the most promising is the integration of technology. By using interactive software and online resources, teachers can present math concepts in a more engaging and visual way, making it easier for students to understand and apply them. Additionally, technology can provide students with personalized feedback and support, helping them to progress at their own pace and build confidence in their abilities.

Another opportunity is the use of hands-on, project-based learning. By giving students the chance to apply math concepts to real-world problems, they can see the relevance and importance of math in their daily lives. This can also help to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are valuable not only in math, but in all aspects of life.

Finally, it is important to address the underlying attitudes and beliefs about math that may be holding students back. For many students, especially those from underrepresented groups, negative stereotypes about their ability to succeed in math can be a significant barrier. Teachers can help to challenge these beliefs by fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment, and by highlighting the achievements of diverse mathematicians and scientists.

In conclusion, while there are many challenges facing math education, there are also many opportunities to improve it. By addressing the shortage of qualified teachers, using technology and project-based learning, and challenging negative beliefs about math, we can help all students to develop a strong foundation in mathematics and to see the relevance and importance of the subject in their lives. With a concerted effort from educators, parents, and policy makers, we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in math and to pursue their goals and dreams.

It doesn't at all sound like something I'd write.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Prom Dresses

Seems to me a simpler method would be to make the standards exceedingly clear beforehand, and refuse entry to those who do not comply:

An Alabama high school has been deemed “creepy and sexist” after commanding girls to send “front and back” pics of themselves in prom dresses — or be banned from the dance. Their bizarre measure was subsequently walked back following a fierce backlash from students and parents.  link

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Extending The Line (Or, It All Comes Around)

Early on in my tenure at my current school, I had a student in Algebra 2 one year and in pre-calculus the next.  He earned A's in both classes, graduated in 2007, and went off to college to study math in Southern California.

His senior year in college was the first year I taught statistics at our school.  Back then, Christmas vacation was not the end of the semester, and I had some tests and projects to grade over the break, and my former student offered to help me grade them.

In hypothesis testing in statistics, if your P-value is less than some value alpha (usually 5%), you reject your null hypothesis, which is written as H-sub-zero.  My former student told me that his college professor in elementary statistics used this mnemonic device for that lesson:  If P is low, reject the Ho.  I've taught it that way ever since.

Four years ago I had a freshman in an algebra class, and had him again as a senior last year in statistics.  As a gift at the end of the year he gave me a t-shirt that says "If P is low, reject the Ho."  I found on my lesson calendar the lesson during which I would first introduce that rhyme, and I made a note in my lesson plan to wear the t-shirt on that date.  That date was today.

That former student who taught me the rhyme?  He's now a math teacher about a half an hour away.  I haven't (yet) heard from the one who gave me the t-shirt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Dress Code Isn't Racist. It's A Good Business Practice.

Good for Amazon and Whole Foods:

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Whole Foods by three former employees who alleged the Amazon-owned grocery chain unlawfully fired them for wearing Black Lives Matter masks.

Massachusetts District Judge Allison Burroughs, an Obama appointee, granted summary judgment in favor of Whole Foods on Monday, finding there was no evidence Whole Foods used its dress code policy as a pretext to discriminate against the three fired employees...

Whole Foods faced walkouts and protests in 2020 for forbidding workers to wear masks with Black Lives Matter written on them in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

The three employees represented in the lawsuit sued after they were fired for violating the dress code policy.

The judge has to let us know that she doesn't think Whole Foods' decision was a good one, just that it wasn't illegal:

"The record, at most, reflects a series of arguably ill-advised business decisions by Whole Foods in light of Plaintiffs’ dress code violations and the message they sought to display, but it is not one from which a jury could conclude that Whole Foods’ legitimate reasons for firing them were ‘shams’ concocted to punish them for protesting its strict enforcement of the dress code," Burroughs wrote.

She further ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to show how a similarly situated employee who had violated the dress code policy was treated differently than the employees fired for wearing BLM masks. 

"The evidence demonstrates only that Whole Foods did not strenuously enforce the dress code policy until mid-2020, and that when it increased enforcement, it did so uniformly," the judge found.

She Probably Believes This. But She's Wrong.

I truly don't understand how people can think this way:

It’s understandable that most parents would want to know if their child was undergoing such a significant transition. The question, though, isn’t what it’s reasonable for parents to want, but what it’s reasonable to enforce through laws and regulations. And it is wholly unreasonable to demand that a teenager’s experimentation with identity and belief, so long as that experimentation is not physically dangerous, be disclosed to parents. 

So teachers are to be trusted with this kind of information, but not parents? Why should teachers have this kind of power? Who has a more vested interest in doing what’s in the best interest of a child, a teacher or a parent? 

A post at Joanne's site was in a similar vein, including this point:

School officials had put her child "on a path the school wasn’t qualified to oversee," rather than let the family decide what was best, Bradshaw said.

Jill, the author at the first link above, is a leftist nutjob. Her own words demonstrate that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

What Is It About...

What is it about lefties and their obsession with bathrooms?  Don't they have anything more important to think about than trying to convince us that people should use whichever restroom they want?  They've made such a big deal over this that the Supreme Court will probably eventually decide the issue:

The Supreme Court will likely consider whether schools can require students who identify as transgender to use the restroom of their birth sex rather than their gender identity, according to The New York Times.

A Dec. 30 ruling out of the 11th Circuit in Georgia found that a girl who identified as a transgender boy was not entitled to use the boys’ restroom in school, contradicting a 2017 decision from the Seventh Circuit in Chicago which had drawn the opposite conclusion; this is referred to as a circuit split and can often lead to the Supreme Court stepping in to make a final decision on the matter. Justices avoided addressing the bathroom issue in the 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, decision, a case about discrimination against gay and transgender people, but the circuit split and the increased prevalence of children with transgender identities has pushed the bathroom debate to the forefront, according to the NYT.

Why are lefties so interested in forcing this on a public that clearly doesn't want it?  Why this fascination with restrooms?  What is wrong with these people?

Monday, January 23, 2023

Happy Blogiversary To Me

Right On The Left Coast is an adult now.

The first post is here.

When Will People Finally Tire Of Lowering Standards?

Math used to be immune to this silliness, maybe the 'rona vaccinations weakened us:

An education professor delivered a lecture in early January at a major mathematician meeting that described college math as “white” and “cisheteropatriarchal.”

“Undergraduate Mathematics Education as a White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space and Opportunities for Structural Disruption to Advance Queer of Color Justice” was the full title of the lecture given by Luis Leyva, associate professor of mathematics education at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.

Leyva delivered the lecture Jan. 4 in Boston at the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2023. The summit is the “largest mathematics gathering in the world,” according to its website.

Blah.  Maybe the Queers of Color (their term, not mine) just need to study harder.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

The 'Rona Lockdowns

Those shutdowns caused a lot of harm:

In hopes of containing the pandemic, everyone across the country was forced to suffer through lockdown orders, closed schools, and shuttered workplaces in the spring of 2020. In Democratic-controlled areas, many of these restrictions lingered into 2021. Yet they didn’t work. We all got COVID-19 anyway, more than a million Americans nonetheless died of the disease, and in a dark and ironic twist, most COVID-19 spread actually happened at home .

Meanwhile, those restrictions themselves evidently had deadly consequences. A new study from Casey B. Mulligan and Rob Arnett published in the journal Inquiry finds that non-COVID deaths were highly elevated above expected trends in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021. They report that over this period, approximately 97,000 Americans died annually (not including COVID deaths) above the baseline trend, a statistic known as “excess deaths.”

These deaths included 32,000 deaths from heart disease and hypertension, some of which may have been fueled by the disruption to healthcare services and healthy lifestyles from the COVID restrictions. Meanwhile, deaths due to obesity-related illness, drug overdoses, and alcohol-related causes were all 12,000-15,000 above expected trends. All these factors were heavily influenced by the way COVID-19 lockdowns fueled social isolation, sedentary lifestyles, and mental health issues.

The data “point to a historic, yet largely unacknowledged, health emergency,” the study concludes. “COVID-19 is deadly, but so were the draconian steps taken to mitigate it.”

There's no evidence the lockdowns did any good at all, yet I'm convinced that we'll eventually see them again now that they've escaped Pandora's box.


As a conservationist, I like the idea of recycling; why waste something?  Unfortunately, as even National Geographic points out, the fantasy of recycling often conflicts with the reality:

A plastic bag, a dirty pizza box, plastic utensils, paper napkins, and a soda can—a single takeout meal can feel like a game of recycling trivia. 

Which items can be recycled? What kinds of plastic go in the trash? What if the container is greasy? 

Recycling can be complicated, and the rules outlining how to do it vary from city to city, which might be one reason why only about 32 percent of our trash gets recycled.  

Only about six percent of the plastic—everything from plastic bottles to IV drips—produced in the U.S. in 2021 was recycled, according to a Greenpeace report. Some plastic items are designed in ways that make them difficult to recycle or recyclers struggle to find people who want to buy recycled material. 

Once China stopped accepting our recyclable trash, the heyday of recycling was over.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Election Fraud

I'm posting this just so it's easy to find this link, and to remind everyone that the Heritage Foundation's Election Fraud Database exists:

But election fraud is not a myth. In fact, 1,412 confirmed cases of election fraud have been documented in the Election Fraud Database maintained by the Heritage Foundation’s legal center. According to the Heritage Foundation, the database “provides a sampling of recent election fraud cases, demonstrates the vulnerabilities within the electoral process and the need for reforms to secure free and fair elections for the American people.” Of the 1,412 confirmed cases they’ve documented, there have been 1,219 convictions.

As bad as this sounds, it’s not even the entirety of the problem. “The database doesn’t list potential fraud discovered by election officials and others that is never investigated or prosecuted, and it obviously cannot list fraud that goes undetected when states with poor security don’t have the tools in place to even realize such fraud is occurring,” Hans Von Spakovksy of the Heritage Foundation explains.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Intentionally Bypassing The Rules

Project Veritas strikes again:

Critics are outraged after shocking video surfaced of Ohio school officials discussing how they can push critical race theory covertly, working around school policies already in place.

Solving The Big Problems

I'm not one of those people who pretends to require people or organizations to solve every single large problem before they tackle any small problem, but this has got to be the smallest problem out there:

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued an order banning the use of Times New Roman font in all State Department communications.

The replacement is to be Calibri.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Financial Math and the Number of Cylinders In An Internal Combustion Engine

Going over the previous day's homework assignment in Financial Math, we came across a problem that went something like this:  A shop charges $40 for an oil change, $70 for a tune-up on a 4-cylinder car, $80 for a tune-up on a 6-cylinder car, and $90 for a tune-up on an 8-cylinder car.  How much did the shop make if they did 5 oil changes, 6 4-cylinder car tune-ups, ....

Yes, folks, that's in a high school math class.  Which is full of mostly seniors.

I gave the answer, and then something hit me.  I asked how many students had no idea what 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, and 8-cylinder engines meant.  Over half the students raised their hands, and I couldn't just let that go.  Today's lesson was going to be a short one and the homework assignment was brief, leaving plenty of class time I could make use of, so I spent several minutes talking about engines.

I started by explaining the 4 strokes of a 4-stroke engine:  intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust.  My drawing on the board was very elementary since I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, and I was surprised how many students opted to learn about this rather than complete their assignment in class.  After walking them through the 4 strokes, I showed this video that used animated graphics to reinforce and extend what I had just taught:

Then we went into the difference between a "straight" configuration and a V configuration of the cylinders, and lastly discussed what is meant by a "5.0 liter engine".  This entire discussion, including the video, took significantly less than 15 minutes.

I think it was worthwhile.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


If you're a happenin' single guy like me, you do your grocery shopping at Grocery Outlet on Saturday night.  I'll tell you what, that's a party right there.

One of the reasons I like shopping at Grocery Outlet is that it's like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates--you never know what you're gonna get.  I always get to try something I've never even heard of before.

Take last Saturday night's shopping, for instance.  I don't eat a lot of breakfast cereals, but I always like to have some in the house; you never know when you might need a quickie breakfast, and sometimes dry cereal is just good to graze on.  I had just finished a box of cereal and needed a replacement, so there I was in the cereal aisle.

I've known there are lots of different flavors of Cheerios.  When I was a kid there were two, regular Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, but now there's a veritable smorgasbord of Cheerios flavors.  But there at Grocery Outlet were two I'd never seen before:  Banana Caramel Cheerios and Honey Vanilla Cheerios.  Both sounded pretty good to me so I bought one of each.  Tried the banana caramel flavor this morning, and it's pretty darn good!  It might be several weeks until I polish off this box and try the honey vanilla flavor.

Brilliant Speech Addressed To Our ‘Woke’ Youth Fighting #climatechange by Konstantine Kisin

This guy is great.  Watch the video, it's awesome.

"I will join you and worship at the feet of Saint Greta of Climate Change."  Yes, he's entertaining--but his facts are damning.  If you believe in facts, you cannot disregard what he says.  What he says from 6:30-6:58 is tremendous.

So who is this guy?  Here's his Wikipedia introduction:

Konstantin Kisin (Russian: Константин Кисин; born 25 December 1982) is a Russian-British satirist, podcaster, author and political commentator. Kisin has written for a number of publications including Quillette, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph and Standpoint on issues relating to tech censorship, woke culture, comedy and "culture war" topics in the past but currently publishes articles on these subjects on his Substack. He has co-hosted Triggernometry since 2018, a YouTube channel and podcast featuring fellow comedian and co-host Francis Foster.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Saturday, January 14, 2023

School Discipline

It's an axiom of leadership: you get more of what you tolerate.  When you don't enforce discipline at schools, often because it's in vogue to consider it "racist" to do so, you get more misbehavior.  It's bad for the adults, it's worse for the other students:

Alternatives to standard, punitive discipline, while glittering ideals in the abstract, are a resounding failure in practice. It's a story that parallels the rise and fall of "broken windows" policing in society more generally — an analogue through which we can understand the causes and consequences of the abolition of school discipline...

Intentionally or not, the theory of education that undergirded these schools' approach to discipline borrowed from the philosophy behind broken-windows policing: Eliminating small instances of disorder — replacing every "broken window" — helps fend off more disruptive disorder. And, as with every sort of approach that "defines deviancy down," the alternative is a slow slide toward chaos: A child leaves litter in the hallway. It's not picked up. Soon a student throws something down the corridor, but no teacher bothers to address it. Students begin to wander hallways during class. Their noise grows louder. A student mocks a teacher. Before long, students are berating teachers — and worse.

You can say that's a slippery slope, but it's a real slippery slope.  It exists, and we slide down it all the time. 

In many schools, disciplinary reforms have taken the form of "restorative justice," which focuses on mediation and restitution as opposed to punishment. The theory envisions schools as places where students are supported emotionally through various therapeutic and community-building prophylactics. Interpersonal squabbles result in community circles where students are asked deeply personal questions about their mental health and any trauma they've experienced. Classroom disruptions garner a chat with the school counselor. In Dallas public schools, misbehaving students kicked out of the classroom are sent to "reset centers" full of stress balls and bean bags.

Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the rigorous evidence we have on restorative justice finds that it doesn't achieve its promised goals. The RAND Corporation ran two studies on the theory, the first of which found that it decreased suspension rates — a trend that was already occurring in the district studied. At the same time, academics worsened while arrest rates remained the same. The second study found that restorative-justice techniques had negligible effects but still placed a heavy burden on teachers.

Stupidest idea in a long time, besides 'rona shutdowns.

Proponents of restorative justice reject punitive discipline because they worry that it pushes kids into the school-to-prison pipeline. But if restorative justice degrades academic performance while failing to reduce misbehavior — or, in some cases, fostering it — this proposed solution to the school-to-prison pipeline might actually worsen matters.

Critics of punitive discipline miss its purpose. Perhaps a suspension does little to reform the behavior of an individual student — suspend him once or a hundred times, and he'll likely act out again (though there is some evidence that suspensions increase individual achievement). But the purpose of a suspension isn't necessarily the reformation of the one, but the protection of the 30 other children in that student's class and the hundreds of others in the building. Suspensions may not always influence the individual student, but they certainly prevent community spread.

If preventing community spread is the best we can do, I'll take it over what we have right now.

An important aspect of our principal's strategy was implementing punitive consequences for absenteeism. When the bell for class rang, administrators and monitors patrolled every hallway and sent every tardy student to our building's theater. There, the students checked in. If they had been tardy fewer than three times, they were sent back to class with a monitor. If they had amassed more than three tardies, they spent an hour spread out across our school's theater. The punishment wasn't significant; students merely spent an hour sitting silently in a room. Nonetheless, it formed a pillar on which the school's cultural change stood. We had taken away what drew students to ditch classes: a chance to roam the halls while chatting and laughing with friends. If that was no longer an option — and if any attempt brought not entertainment, but boredom — class quickly became the preferred alternative.

At my school we have "roamers", students whose class is apparently named "Hallway".  Nothing is done. 

In her essay "The Crisis in Education," Hannah Arendt predicted that if we remove adult authority from schools, we don't get some utopian sharing of power among students and teachers; instead, the strongest students take charge and force a far more destructive environment onto their classmates. Schools become less an educational Eden and more Lord of the Flies. Much as we cannot destroy energy but only change its form, we cannot remove authority from a school building; we can only change who wields it and to what end.

Wow.  I hadn't heard that before, but it's undeniably true. 

Kicking a student out of school may seem unkind, but no child has a right to interfere with another child's education. When we abolish discipline, we're not abolishing consequences; we're merely asking other students and staff to bear them. How society ought to manage disruptive children is an unendingly complex and ethically fraught question, but we owe it to future generations to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to learn.

As identified in the article, much of the impetus for reducing school discipline is because of racial disparities.  What I've never seen demonstrated, though, is that disparities exist in punishment because of race, only that students of certain races are penalized more--which would make sense if they're causing more of the problems.  Race hustlers, however, have an incentive to ignore that latter issue, and well-behaved students of all races pay the price.  I don't care about the race of the students who are out of control, I care about their behavior--and I want that behavior excised from campus.

Schools don't have to be prisons to be well-disciplined, but they will be chaotic and dangerous if they're not disciplined.  It's time to restore reasonable discipline to America's schools.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Shin Ultraman

The new Ultraman movie is showing in US theaters for two nights only.  Last night was the subtitled version, tonight is the dubbed version.  I toyed with the idea of going again tonight, but I don't think there's a need to.  I enjoyed the movie plenty last night.

There's always cause for concern when you hear a story is being "reimagined" or "updated", and this movie was no exception.  Having seen the character names, I knew that the new movie was not about our old Science Patrol friends--these are all new characters.  The "Science Patrol" of the dubbed 1960s TV show has been given it's original Japanese name of SSSP, the Science Special Search Party. They are no longer a paramilitary organization that fights monsters with VTOL jets and rockets and ray guns, they're now a team with laptops who analyze monsters and try to determine how best to defeat them given today's technology.

And then there's Ultraman himself.  The modern writers relied significantly on the original series for background.

The story of how he came to earth is similar--he was accidentally responsible for the death of a human, so he chose to share his life force with that human.  The human transforms into Ultraman via the "beta capsule", a thin cylinder with a button on it.  He's from the "Land of Light" in the TV series, from the "Planet of Light" in this movie.  And of course, he can fire the spacium ray from his crossed hands!

What I really appreciated about this movie is how it was able to bring the original Ultraman story into the modern day without destroying the original.  For example, in the original series, the monsters were clearly just men in a rubber suit.  With today's CGI tech, the (one) monster in Shin Ultraman could have been a fearsome computer-generated creature that actually looked alive!  Instead, this monster, while not a man in a rubber suit, was CGI generated to appear just campy enough to be recognized as an homage to the original series.

The SSSP members wore logo pins, but unlike on the TV show, they were not communication devices.  The telephones rang with the same tone as they did on the TV show.  But what was for me the most exciting part was in the one scene in which the original "Science Patrol March" was played when action was starting!

If you're curious, here's episode 1 of Ultraman from 1966:

The Science Patrol March starts at 5:43.

Obviously, a full length motion picture made for today's audiences has to be more sophisticated than a TV show from 1966, and Shin Ultraman had a much more involved plot that merely defeating a ravaging monster (a kaiju in Japanese).  Still, the writers and director were able to weave into the movie those references mentioned above, generating nostalgia for the original at no cost to the modern story.

While Shin Ultraman is a good movie in its own right, I wonder if a viewer unfamiliar with the original series would enjoy it as much as I did, lacking as they would the background information that makes it even more enjoyable.   Still, I had a ball watching this movie.  I'll add it to my collection if it comes out on DVD or Blu-ray.

Update, 1/14/22:  The childhood friend with whom I watched Shin Ultraman shares the following:

I was just really impressed how they managed to bring such a familiar feel to it while still making it contemporary.

I was prepared to be disappointed and was pleasantly surprised how well done it was.  The makers clearly hold the source material with reverence.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Leftist Absurdity

What has happened to USC?

The University of Southern California's School of Social Work will no longer use the word "field" because it "may have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign," according to a letter from the department.

USC's Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work will make the change in order to ensure the use of "inclusive language and practice," according to the letter.

"Specifically, we have decided to remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘practicum,'" the letter said. "This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that would be considered anti-Black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language."

They've gotten so open-minded that their collective brains fell out. 

As long as they wear cotton, I don't want to hear this kind of stupidity. And even if they stop wearing cotton, I don't want to hear it.  I don't want to hear about whipped cream or "whipping up a crowd",  either.
No one is helped by this kind of silliness, but it emboldens idiots with ideas that aren't as silly and harmless. 

How To Make A Class Full Of Teenagers Bust Up Laughing, A Step-by-step Primer

1.  In a lesson on angular velocity, explain that angular velocity is usually represented by the Greek letter lower-case omega.

2. Write a lower-case omega on the board.

3.  Notice one student trying exceedingly hard to maintain composure.

4.  Stare at what you wrote on the board, letting the realization wash over you.

The Good And The Bad

Shortly after midnight, a neighbor posted on the Nextdoor app that her internet was operational again.  When I got up this morning I fired up my modem and found that mine is, too.  This is good.

A few days ago, through the Xfinity app, I was told that I'd get a text message when my internet was restored.  No message yet....

Update:  It's now 5:05 pm, and still no text message.  I probably won't receive one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

It Might Be An Interesting Semester

Today I got a new student who asked me a disquieting question:  do I know what a "furry" is?


Monday, January 09, 2023

Push Back

Generally speaking I don't believe people, especially adults, should wear clothing with political statements on them at school, but if you're forced to undergo political indoctrination, I'm willing to relax that rule a bit in the interests of "equal time" and respectful dissent:

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a Washington state teacher who wore a MAGA hat to his district’s pre-school year “racial bias and cultural sensitivity” trainings.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel said former Wy’east Middle School Principal Caroline Garrett had violated science teacher Eric Dodge’s constitutional rights in 2019 when she told him “Next time I see you with that hat, you need to have your union rep,” Education Week reports...

The genesis of the imbroglio was Dodge “displaying” the hat “on top of his backpack” at the trainings. He never actually wore the hat during the sessions. The leader of one workshop, a professor from Washington State University, told Principal Garrett she felt “intimidated and traumatized” by the hat...

Garrett and other school district officials prevailed in district court after Dodge sued, but a unanimous Ninth Circuit panel “revived” the teacher’s case against the principal. It ruled that Dodge’s hat did not disrupt the educational process and that “political speech is the quintessential example of protected speech, and it is inherently controversial.”

The Ninth Circuit has been getting some cases right lately, and this is certainly one of them.  While this was not en banc, but merely a 3-judge panel, I'm pleased that the court ruled correctly.  "The most overruled circuit court in the country" will not have to face down the Supremes on this ruling.

This Man Is Mental

Governor Newsollini, who clearly wants to be president, thinks that the 7 Republicans left in California are the cause of all the state's problems:

With the state suffering under a plague of hundreds of thousands of homeless drug addicts living on the streets, a serious spike in violent crime and theft, highest-in-the-nation taxes and cost of living, failing public schools, a state-created water shortage, and hundreds of thousands of California businesses and residents fleeing to friendlier states, Newsom made his second inaugural speech all about him – and he attacked the toothless GOP in this Democrat one-party state...

Newsom played a victim of the Covid time period, in denial of his decisions to lock down school children and businesses, force vaccines on millions of Californians, and mask the population indoors and outdoors, while he went about his life unmasked, attending events and parties, and while his children attended private school...

Newsom played the game of “I know you are, but what am I?” described by the Urban Dictionary as, “quite simply the most retarded comeback someone makes when they’ve completely lost the argument. This statement signifies that the argument has gone to a completely immature level.”

He continued attacking the right, GOP, and red states...

That last statement is really rich coming from the Governor who still clings to his Covid State of Emergency powers three years after the order, and ruling by fiat, locked down 40 million people during Covid, issued more than 70 executive orders containing 561 provisions, and killed off half of the businesses in the state.

What strange things are in this man's head.

Never In My Life

I've heard of people in the US having lengthy utility outages, but I've never experienced an outage of any kind longer than a few hours in my life.

Maybe you've heard about the storms we're experiencing in California.  Sure, fallen trees knock out power lines, always have, but I have electricity.  What I don't have is my home internet connection, which has been out since 2am Sunday without word from Xfinity.  Doing without the service is bad enough, not being given any information is worse.

So I went to a nearby Xfinity store and was told there that a technician can't be sent to my area until at least Thursday.  At least I have day to look forward to now.

This is why I get cell service and internet from different companies.  I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket.  I'm using my phone as a hotspot right now to post this....

Update, 1/11/23Up after 3 days.

Sunday, January 08, 2023


Part of my back fence is down, the storm drain in front of my house seems clogged--and I haven't had home internet service since 2 am.  I had already scheduled the Art post, and I'm using my phone as a hotspot to post this and the previous post.  Don't want to use too much data on the hotspot, though, so now you know why if you don't see anything else here today.

Metro Collision

Yesterday there was a collision on the Mexico City Metro:

Two subway trains collided between two stations Saturday in Mexico City, killing at least one person and injuring 41, authorities said.

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on her Twitter account that the accident happened on Line 3 of the capital’s Metro system, without specifying the cause of the crash between the Potrero and La Raza stations.

Sheinbaum said one woman was killed and 57 people injured, who were taken to seven hospitals. Four people were trapped in the wreckage for a time, including one train driver, who was reported in serious condition. Late in the afternoon, the mayor said 26 of the injured had been released.

I was in that spot on Wednesday, as I took the Metro to and from the Basilica of Guadalupe.  This is very sad.


Here we get a little bit of sculpture from around Mexico City:

Is it just me, or do the sculptures on the corners of the Monument to the Revolution look a little "socialist-y"?

And while not a sculpture, it sure is a work of art...my hotel was built in 1904:

Yes, I took that picture with my phone, and with no filters!  That's really what it looks like!

Saturday, January 07, 2023

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Please read this brief post for background information.

As planned, last Wednesday I made it to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most visited pilgrimage site in the Americas.  How many basilicas have been built over the years to house Juan Diego's cloak?  I don't know, but it's cool seeing a cloak that's been revered for almost 500 years.  In this video you can see the carillon, an old convent building, the old basilica, and the new basilica:

I've been told that this "version" of the Virgin Mary for the Americas is darker skinned than the "European version".  Well, I've always heard that Our Lady of Guadalupe is darker skinned, but she doesn't seem so to me after looking at Diego's actual cloak.  I doubt miracles fade, so that can't be an explanation.  In the first picture you can see the cloak hanging on the wall, framed, behind the altar, and in the second picture you can see it closer up:

click to enlarge

What do you think?

While I can respect some of the work that the Catholic saints performed, I'm not sure I accept the idea of a "saint".  Having said that, though, here's one saint who deserves to be revered:


I love the statuary throughout the complex, and I respect the devotion of those who created it and who make pilgrimages to it:

It was a contemplative couple of hours.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

If you want to talk about a stock's performance over a certain time period, it's best and most accurate to describe its percentage increase or decrease from the start of the period to the end of the period.  Why?  Because in general you don't average averages:

If a stock goes from $10 to $100 in a year an investor has a 900% return. If it drops from $100 to $10 the next year it only dropped 90% so an investment advisor could truthfully say that there was an average 405% rate of return for two years while the investor earned zero. A stock can go up an infinite amount and can only go down 100% so don’t always trust statistics. They are as easy to manipulate as climate computer models.

The Media Aren't Fickle--They're Always On The Same Side

The media will like you as long as you spout the leftist creed.  Dare depart from it, though, and they'll turn on you on a dime.

Take Elon Musk, for instance:

The media used to love Elon Musk. They adored his “eco-conscious” business ventures because it fit their Green agenda. Musk, being a manufacturer of electric cars powered by the highly flammable pollutant lithium and a seller of worthless pieces of paper called carbon credits, made him the media’s golden boy. But now, everything has changed….

Now, Musk is hated by the media and other Democrats as much as Donald Trump, and they are seeking to destroy him. Why? Well, because Musk bought Twitter and he’s been on a rampage of transparency and truth, exposing the massive corruption and collusion of the media and government officials to silence dissenting opinions and to interfere in elections. Musk is doing the job they should be doing...

Thank goodness Musk is showing the public the dangers of a government colluding with the media. Sadly, most media outlets are burying that story just like they continue to bury the truth about the massive corruption of the Biden family, and sadly, the media will never forgive Musk for doing their job as they seek to pull out every stop to discredit him now he’s their enemy.

Friday, January 06, 2023

Who Could've Predicted Such An Outcome

It's like lefties don't think that people will ever change their behaviors with respect to money:

As a 2016 California law requiring agricultural employers to pay overtime continues to roll out in 2023, farmworkers and employers alike say the policy is costing them money. 

“Last year was one of the worst years that we ever had financially,” said Marco Mendoza, a farmworker based in the Fresno County city of Kerman in an interview with The Bee/Fresnoland on Tuesday.

Farmworkers say since the new law passed, they’re largely not being paid overtime, and their hours – and take-home pay – have been reduced as a result, making it harder to cover basic living expenses such as food and rent.

Huh, who'd'a thunk?  Time after time this happens, and they still think they're "compassionate" and "helping the little guy".

Will Californians ever learn?  As the Magic 8 Ball might say, "don't count on it."


In last Tuesday's post, which I scheduled before I left, I said I might go to Xochimilco.  I did, and it took quite awhile to get there--the end of the subway line, to the end of the light rail line, and then a mile or so walk to the embarcaderos--but that's just me experiencing Mexico.

I only saw the touristy part of the remnants of the Aztec canals and floating islands, but it was still pretty cool.  On DVD I have old Pan Am travel videos from the 1950s, and the only differences between then and now are the crowds and the fact that then, the boats were smaller and covered with flowers, but not anymore.  Still, it was pretty cool.

There's a house for sale on the canal opposite the Nuevo Nativitas Embarcadero.  If Mexico had an MLS system I'd look up how much it costs!  It had some wide steps leading from the back patio right down to the canal.  Imagine, people-watching and live music all day!  Get hungry, need a drink?  Call one of the "vendor" boats over, have a meal!

Sounds like retirement heaven to me.

click to enlarge

QR Codes In Restaurants

I agree, I don't like having to scan a QR code to read a restaurant menu on my phone:

A couple things.  First, I don't think too many restaurants do this so they can change the pricing quickly and often.  Why do I think that?  Because most of the menus I see on my phone are just pdf's of the old school menu--although sometimes you're taken to a web site, but I have a hard time believing someone is constantly adjusting prices on a web site.

And second, while I understand the possibility that someone could put a fake QR code on your table and thereby install malicious software on your phone, my visit to a restaurant in Coyoacán this past week showed what I thought was a reasonably unhackable way to display the QR code:

click to enlarge

No one's going to laser-cut blocks of wood and swap them out with the restaurant's just to install malicious software!

I still want a handheld menu, for a variety of reasons, but I thought this block was cool.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Last Day

Can't believe it's true, but I was able to book a direct flight from Mexico City to Sacramento.  This visit is short enough that I'll not even have checked luggage, just a carry-on; combine that with using the CBP Mobile Passport app, and I should get through customs and immigration rather quickly.  I've got family picking me up, and as my flight is scheduled to arrive at 10 pm, my family assures me they'll be waiting for me in the "cell phone lot" by 10:15.

Let's hope everything goes according to plan!!!

Update, 1/6/23:  Between using Mobile Passport and not having checked baggage, I almost didn't have to stop between exiting the airplane and exiting the airport.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023


I'm not a Catholic, but I recognize the importance of the Catholic Church in Western history, for good and for bad.  I'm not convinced that their saints have performed post-death miracles, which is a requirement for sainthood, but I respect the power of faith. 

I'll quote from my Top 10 Mexico City book, published by DK Eyewitness Travel:

The holiest Roman Catholic shrine in Latin America is also the most visited in the world.  It was here in 1531 that an Aztec peasant named Juan Diego claimed to have seen a vision of the beautiful Virgin who requested that a chapel be built.  Over the centuries, pilgrims and the faithful have come to workship the Virgin of Guadalupe.

There is also a 490-year-old cloak there, and Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge and wisdom) tells the story:

She (the vision of the Virgin Mary) assured him (Juan Diego) that Juan Bernardino had now recovered and told him to gather flowers from the summit of Tepeyac Hill, which was normally barren, especially in the cold of December. Juan Diego obeyed her instruction and he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there.

According to the story, the Virgin arranged the flowers in Juan Diego's tilma, or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak later that day before Archbishop Zumárraga, the flowers fell to the floor, revealing on the fabric the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The next day, December 13 (Julian calendar), Juan Diego found his uncle fully recovered as the Virgin had assured him, and Juan Bernardino recounted that he also had seen her after praying at his bedside (fifth apparition); that she had instructed him to inform the Archbishop of this apparition and of his miraculous cure; and that she had told him she desired to be known under the title of 'Guadalupe'.

The Archbishop kept Juan Diego's mantle, first in his private chapel and then in the church on public display, where it attracted great attention. On December 26, 1531, a procession formed to transfer the miraculous image back to Tepeyac Hill where it was installed in a small, hastily erected chapel. During this procession, the first miracle was allegedly performed when a native was mortally wounded in the neck by an arrow shot by accident during some stylized martial displays performed in honor of the Virgin. In great distress, the natives carried him before the Virgin's image and pleaded for his life. Upon the arrow being withdrawn, the victim fully and immediately recovered.

Is today the day I go to see the new basilica and the cloak?  Maybe!  It's certainly on my list of things I'd like to do this trip.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

The City In The Lake

Did you know that when Cortez arrived in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec (ne Mexica) capital, it was a city built on islands in a lake?  With over 20 million people living there now, there's certainly no lake to be seen anymore!  There remains, however, a tiny area of Aztec/Mexica canals and artificial islands.

Will today be the day I finally visit Xochimilco, a World Heritage Site?

Monday, January 02, 2023

Back In A Few Days!

This post should go live at 1am PST--just about the time my red-eye flight to Mexico is scheduled to take off.  I'm not even taking the laptop with me for new posts, but I've scheduled a trip-related post for each day I plan to be gone.

Feliz año nuevo!

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Throwback To My Childhood

There were two 1960s Japanese import TV shows my peers and I watched in the early- to mid-70s:  Speed Racer in the morning, and Ultraman in the afternoon.  Speed Racer was anime, Ultraman was live action.

Ultraman was cheesy, but when your age is measured in single digits, that's OK.  We loved the fight scenes, we loved the monsters, we loved the Science Patrol theme song, and we loved Ultraman's crossed-hands pose that fired a spacium beam.  And since it was dubbed, we even liked watching mouths move and seeing that the words didn't match the mouths!  Yes, we could sometimes see the string holding the model that was supposed to be Science Patrol's VTOL plane, and we could see the zipper along the back of the Ultraman costume, but that didn't matter.  Whereas children in the 50s had Superman as their TV superhero, we had Ultraman, and he was awesome.

When I saw the complete series, all 39 episodes, on Blu-ray at Best Buy a couple weeks ago, and at a reasonable price, I had to buy it.  And you know what?  The show is just as cheesy as it ever was, and I like it just as much as I did as a child.  The only difference is that this version is not dubbed so I have to read the subtitles.

In May 2022, an Ultraman movie was released in Japan.  It's Ultraman "reimagined", and all the characters have changed.  There's no Hayata!  If you want to see this movie, though, you have to act quickly:

Move over Godzilla; Shin Ultraman will have a limited theatrical run in U.S. theaters, according to an announcement made during the Ultraman Connection panel at Anime NYC.

In partnership with Fathom Events, Shin Ultraman will have a two-night run in theaters across the U.S. Fathom Events is owned by three of the world's largest theater circuits: AMC, Regal Cinemas (Cineworld) and Cinemark. Fans can catch the film in participating theaters on Wednesday, Jan. 11 and Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. 

Get your tickets here.