Posts Tagged ‘Canada’
* Big fair use decision: specific commentary on the original work is not required for a fair use defense.
* Finding common ground with Senator Coburn: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude major professional sports leagues from qualifying as tax-exempt organizations.
* Gasp! Many students stay away from online courses in subjects they deem especially difficult or interesting, according to a study released this month by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The finding comes just as many highly selective colleges are embracing online learning and as massive open online courses are gaining popularity and standing.
* “What we’re saying is that bargain-basement (clothing) is automatically leading towards these types of disasters,” John Hilary, executive director at British charity War on Want, told Reuters.
* Canada gets it right: “The legal test for a true volunteer arrangement looks at several factors, but merely agreeing to work without pay does not in itself make you a volunteer,” Ministry of Labour spokesperson Jonathon Rose wrote in an email. See also Natalia Cecire:
Like the hypothetical minimum-wage high schooler whose income serves as pocket money, non-essential and destined for “fun,” the youthful volunteer, who may very well intrinsically enjoy the work, authorizes a category of labor exploitation that is not only okay but also okay to take as the norm for the labor of cultural preservation. “I can get you a twenty-year-old!” is, in that sense, not a labor solution but its opposite: a commitment to the norm that this work will be unpaid.
At a forum held at the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development in Toronto, economists argued that according to their analysis of Quebec’s popular $7-a-day program, governments that say they can’t afford to invest in affordable child care are wrong. Pierre Fortin, an economics professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal, presented his findings that for every dollar Quebec invests, it recoups $1.05 while Ottawa receives a 44-cent windfall.
* The next Kim Stanley Robinson novel! Shaman: A Novel of the Ice Age.
* McSweeney’s: “I’m an English professor in a movie.”
* The University of British Columbia is striking a blow at gender inequity in professors’ pay, promising all tenure-stream female faculty a 2 per cent pay hike by the end of the month – a rare approach expected to cost the school about $2-million this year. I asked on Twitter and nobody answered — is this legal in Canada? I don’t think it would be here.
* Expelled Student Activist Wins $50K Court Judgment Against University President. The president is being held personally liable for his decisions.
An environmental activist expelled from Georgia’s Validosta State University (VSU) has won a $50,000 award in a lawsuit against the university president who kicked him out of school in 2007. In a dramatic rebuke to President Ronald Zaccari, the federal jury that heard the case found Zaccari personally liable for violating Hayden Barnes’ due process rights.
* Amy Bishop, a neurobiologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, sat down at the conference table just moments before the faculty meeting began. It was three o’clock on February 12, 2010, and thirteen professors and staff members in the biology department had crowded into a windowless conference room on the third floor of the Shelby Center for Science and Technology. The department chair, a plant biologist named Gopi Podila, distributed a printed agenda. Bishop was sitting next to him, in a spot by the door. Inside her handbag was a gun.
* School closings are a popular method of cost-cutting for big-city districts, but critics say the savings are exaggerated. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for up to 100 school closings this year. New York City just announced 26 planned closures.
But studies refute claims of savings. School buildings are difficult to sell. They cost money to maintain, and when vacant can become blights on their communities. Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee closed 23 schools in 2008, claiming she would save $23 million—and instead cost the district $40 million.
* Being touched against your will has become a twisted rite of passage for American females. It’s a reminder that you’re never safe anywhere. That your body is not really yours—but instead public property, there to be rubbed against by an old man or pinched and videotaped by a young one.
* It was a startling assertion that seemed an about-face from church doctrine: A Catholic hospital arguing in a Colorado court that twin fetuses that died in its care were not, under state law, human beings.
We believe that even the trickiest challenges confronting mankind can be diverted via human centrifugalization. Spinning people around at a sufficiently high G-Force will solve every problem.
* Canada ends the penny. This means the U.S. will start talking seriously about ending the penny in about fifty years or so.
* In all, 33% of all subprime student loans in repayment were 90 days or more past due in March 2012, up from 24% in 2007, according to a Wednesday report by TransUnion LLC. Meanwhile, the Chicago-based credit bureau found that 33% of the almost $900 billion in outstanding student loans was held by subprime, or the riskiest, borrowers as of March 2012, up from 31% in 2007.
* You know what they say: a socialist is just a conservative who has moved to Canada.
* The land of the free: Judge says it’s OK to use your seized phone to impersonate you and entrap your friends.
* 1009 variations on “Language X is essentially language Y under conditions Z.” Via Kottke. Watch out! There’s some weird racism mixed in among the good ones.
English is essentially the noise made by people who don’t believe you can use language but want your stuff handed over politely.
–John M. Ford
* And the Internet, once again, has won everything. Trust me on this.
A landmark ruling in Canada has set the stage to legalize doctor-assisted suicide. I haven’t talked about it very much publicly, but a Scary Genetic Disease runs in one of my families. I found out I was at risk when I was 12; I finally found out I wasn’t at risk when I had a gene test done last year, at 31. In the two decades between those benchmarks I planned my own eventual suicide—at 50? at 60? We’d have to wait and see—many, many times.
Doctor-assisted suicide, this is all to say, is one of those issues that completely breaks my rational mind. I simply cannot fathom how any decent person could oppose a sick person’s ability to end their life on their own terms. Well done, Canada.
* Profiles in courage: Mitt Romney’s Support Of Same-Sex Adoption Lasts One Day.
* And then Canada destroyed the climate. Enjoy your weekend!
* Of course they say the same thing about us. Judge Strikes Down Key Parts Of Walker’s Anti-Public Employee Union Law.
* Don’t check the date, just believe it: Google Maps QuestView for the NES.
* This collection of more-accurate Dr. Seuss titles is one of my favorite things on the entire Internet.
* James Cameron teases the Avatar sequels.
“The best inspiration I got for ‘Avatar’ 2 and 3 was dealing with the master navigator culture in Micronesia,” Cameron said by phone from Tokyo on Friday, where he attended the Japanese premiere of “Titanic 3D.”
The Micronesians, a seafaring culture who navigated the Pacific for centuries without the aid of compasses or charts, already have a lot in common with the blue Na’vi residents of Pandora — they’re an indigenous, matrilineal culture, colonized by outsiders. And the cerulean and aquamarine tones of “Avatar” and its inhabitants seem drawn from postcards from the watery Micronesian region.
* The New York Times has some fun with towards a quantum theory of Mitt Romney.
* In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.
* The lottery lie: The educational “bonus” appears to be nonexistent. Miller and Pierce (1997) studied the short- and long-term effect of education lotteries. They found that lottery states did indeed increase per-capita spending on education during the lottery’s early years. However, after some time these states actually decreased their overall spending on education. In contrast, states without lotteries increased education spending over time. In fact, nonlottery states spend, on average, 10 percent more of their budgets on education than lottery states (Gearey 1997).
* Hunger Games commentary watch: Understanding Katniss.
* If you and your board are now determined to show that you in fact have wisdom and maturity when you exercise your powers over the eduction of your young, then you should acknowledge that it was a rotten lesson you taught young people in a free society when you denounced and then burned books–books you hadn’t even read. You should also resolve to expose your children to all sorts of opinions and information, in order that they will be better equipped to make decisions and to survive. Yours sincerely, Kurt Vonnegut.
But the problem goes far beyond politics. We have become a society that can’t self-correct, that can’t address its obvious problems, that can’t pull out of its nosedive. And so to our list of disasters let us add this fourth entry: we have entered an age of folly that—for all our Facebooking and the twittling tweedle-dee-tweets of the twitterati—we can’t wake up from.
* Slate continues to pioneer bold new horizons in fantasy capitalism.
* 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide. No one could have predicted the widespread implementation of insecticides would kill so many insects!
* The government has put the chances of a magnitude 7.3 quake centered in the north of Tokyo Bay at 70 percent over the next three decades, and has estimated there would be about 11,000 casualties and 850,000 buildings destroyed.
* Cancer research: it’s worse than you think.
* And Canada will stop issuing pennies. Honestly, they’re decades ahead of us. Could be centuries.
* Community is back March 15, but NBC still hates you; they’re putting Parks & Rec on hiatus instead.
* Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II. I feel certain Indiana Jones was involved in each of these.
* ‘I exist wholly for you. I will never reject you. You cannot disappoint me.’ A brief history of the money shot.
FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old one.
COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water upon them.
TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.
A big post, catching up from most of last week:
* Science fiction on the BBC: A brief history of all-women societies.
* News from my childhood: Another new version of Dungeons & Dragons is on the way. MetaFilter agonizes.
* News from the Montana Supreme Court: “Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people — human beings — to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creatures of government…”
* News from
the future right now: Record Heat Floods America With Temperatures 40 Degrees Above Normal.
And what ends up happening there is that the candidate with the big stack of donor money always somehow manages to survive the inevitable scandals and tawdry revelations, while the one who’s depending on checks from grandma and $25 internet donations from college students always winds up mysteriously wiped out.
* While genomic research on the super-old is in its very early stages, what’s fascinating is what the researchers are not finding. These people’s genomes are fundamentally the same as other people’s. They are clearly very special, but not in ways that are obvious.
* What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2012? Under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1955.
* Pepsi Says Mountain Dew Can Dissolve Mouse Carcasses. Keep in mind: that’s their defense.
* Romney: Elected office is for the rich.
People who stop paying bills earn lousy credit ratings but eventually are freed of old debt under statutes of limitations that vary by state and range from three years to 10 years from the last loan payment.
But if a debtor agrees to make even a single payment on an expired debt, the clock starts anew on some part of the old obligation, a process called “re-aging.”
So if borrowers again fall behind on their payments, debt collectors can turn to their usual tools: letters, phone calls and lawsuits. By restarting a debt’s statute of limitations, the collectors have years to retrieve payments.
* Wells Tower: In Gold We Trust.
* And you probably already saw Paypal’s latest outrage, but man, it’s a doozy.
According to Richard Conn Henry’s calendar, eight months would each have 30 days. Every third month would have 31 days. Every so often, to account for the leftover time, a whole extra week would be added.
The upshot: Years would proceed with clockwork regularity, with no annual re-jiggering of schedules required. Each day would occupy the same position as it had the previous year and would in the next. Were this 364-day calendar, known officially as the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, adopted on the first day of 2012, both Christmas and New Year’s Day would forever fall on Sunday.
If the bonus week can be a work-free jubilee, I’m in.
* The SSA said 50 percent of workers made less than $26,364 last year — and most Americans have fewer job opportunities available to them. But the wealthiest Americans are relatively unscathed, with those earning $1 million or more jumping 18 percent from 2009. More here.
* Charles Taylor asks, “Is there any other living novelist who calls for a perpetual re-evaluation as much as Stephen King?” I’m not exactly a fan (though there’s quite a bit I like), but he’s definitely someone I’d like to teach a class on at some point.
* Robert Reich predicts Obama-Clinton 2012. The Clinton-Biden switch has seemed like the only possible option for ’12 since at least 2008; it’s a huge unforced error if they don’t.
* And TEDxBrussels predicts 2061. No word on if there will still be peanuts.