From my new Galaxy note 10.1

This is a test posting from my new Galaxy Note 10.1

Typing is a bit slow as I`m learning the odd bits of the smart capacitive keyboard. Had I a working hot spot I would be all set.
Yes, I got one without built in cell service as I wanted flexibility and laptop support too.

Well, clearly a blue tooth keyboard will help postings. This is ok for comments, but for production typing I need a touch typing friendly keyboard.

Soon enough I will be much more connected ;-)

Here’s the wiki on the device:

I’m also a bit fond of the notion of an external “hot spot” rather than built in so that I can assure the device is not talking to folks without my permission ;-)

It can also be made ‘dual boot’ Android and Linux, so expect to see something on that in a month or two ;-)

At this point, I’m really happy with 2 out of 3 “big purchases” in the last 2 days. Tires, and Galaxy. Now just need to figure out a good, but low cost, access point hot spot ;-)

I’ve also now swapped back to the laptop to finish this posting. I’m about an order of magnitude faster typing as a touch typist… Also the “cut paste” is a lot faster with mouse and all and instincts that just do the right thing. Over time I’ll get faster on the Galaxy. For now, it’s more a ‘work device’ than play anyway.

OK, enough on that. I think I’m going to wrap up for the evening as it’s about 9:30 PM and I need to be in bed soon. This getting up early to go to work has started to shift my natural day to start ‘way early’ ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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89 Responses to From my new Galaxy note 10.1

  1. omanuel says:

    Good to have you back. We leave FL tomorrow for the return trip home.

    I hope to complete and then submit a manuscript showing that fear of nuclear annihilation in 1945 is the root cause for destroying:

    1. Our inalienable right to self-govern

    2. The integrity of scientific research

    3. The integrity of separate nations

    Mankind has been dumbed down and enslaved, exactly as George Orwell saw coming when he started writing the futuristic novel, “1984” in 1946.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. omanuel says:

    Welcome back!

    I’ve missed you.

  3. Oliver,
    Sorry you are departing Florida. We need people like you now that the feds are moving to impose “Common Core Standards” on all the schools under their control. This has been accomplished before in Stalin’s Russia, in the Third Reich etc. Here is what Goebbels said about the control of education:
    “It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion.”

    I prefer Lincoln’s crazy idea that the government serves the people rather than the people serving the government. Chiefio will probably send me to the sin bin to cool off but the spectre of the federal government controlling education has me scared.

  4. omanuel says:


    Thanks for your kind comments. I am returning to finish the paper:

    There is absolutely no doubt that our God-given rights will be restored. I hope it can happen without violence. But I am certain it
    will happen.


  5. Gail Combs says:

    Glad to here things are starting to settle in for you.

    “Three moves = one Fire”

  6. Petrossa says:

    I have a couple of Motorola Xoom tablets’s (a tad better then a galaxy tab). They are very handy as entertainment centers, but typing on them is totally impossible. First of all you need a very steady hand, secondly you can only type one letter at a time, selecting text is a total nightmare and in all you need the dexterity of pianoplayer and the fingers of a metrosexual to be able not to type the wrong letter frequently.

    A tweet is about the max, and that takes ages.

  7. Gail Combs says:

    gallopingcamel says: @ 30 June 2013 at 3:09 am

    ……I prefer Lincoln’s crazy idea that the government serves the people rather than the people serving the government. Chiefio will probably send me to the sin bin to cool off but the spectre of the federal government controlling education has me scared.
    You are a bit late on that. The Fabians took over control of the US education system a century ago.

    Dumbing Down America
    by Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld

    I am often asked to name those educators responsible for the change in primary reading instruction which has led to the decline of literacy in America. People ask this because by the time they understand the history of the reading problem and of the dumbing down process that has been going on in our public schools for the past forty years, they recognize that all of this is not the result of a series of accidents but of conscious, deliberate decisions made by our educational leaders.

    After twenty-five years of research, I can state with complete confidence that the prime mover in all of theis was none other than John Dewey who is usually characterized as the father of progressive education. Yet the change of the teaching of reading is probably Dewey’s greatest contribution to the tranformation of American education from an academically oriented process to a social one…..

    The progressives were a new breed of educator that came on the scene around the turn of the century…. men like G. Stanley Hall, James McKeen Cattell, Charles Judd, James Earl Russell traveled to Germany to study the new psychology under Prof. Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig. It was these men who later imposed the new psychology on American education and transformed it permanently from its academic function to one dedicated to behavioral change….

    In 1894, Dewey was appointed head of the department of philosophy, psychology and education at the University of Chicago which had been established two years earlier by a gift from John D. Rockefeller. In 1896, Dewey created his famous experimental Laboratory School where he could test the effects of the new psychology on real live children.

    Dewey’s philosophy had evolved from Hegelian idealism to socialist materialism, and the purpose of the school was to show how education could be changed to produce little socialists and collectivists instead of little capitalists and individualists. It was expected that these little socialists, when they became voting adults, would dutifully change the American economic system into a socialist one.

    In order to do so he analyzed the traditional curriculum that sustained the capitalist, individualistic system and found what he believed was the sustaining linchpin — that is, the key element that held the entire system together: high literacy. To Dewey, the greatest obstacle to socialism was the private mind that seeks knowledge in order to exercise its own private judgment and intellectual authority. High literacy gave the individual the means to seek knowledge independently. It gave individuals the means to stand on their own two feet and think for themselves. This was detrimental to the “social spirit” needed to bring about a collectivist society. Dewey wrote in Democracy and Education, published in 1916:

    When knowledge is regarded as originating and developing within an individual, the ties which bind the mental life of one to that of his fellows are ignored and denied.

    When the social quaility of individualized mental operations is denied, it becomes a problem to find connections which will unite an individual with his fellows…..

    For 10 years, William Schmidt, a statistics professor at Michigan State University, has looked at how U.S. students stack up against students in other countries in math and science. “In fourth-grade, we start out pretty well, near the top of the distribution among countries; by eighth-grade, we’re around average, and by 12th-grade, we’re at the bottom of the heap, outperforming only two countries, Cyprus and South Africa.”

    … Surveys of corporations consistently find that businesses are focused outside • the U.S. to recruit necessary talent. … One respondent to the survey even noted, “If I wanted to recruit people who are both technically skilled and culturally aware, I wouldn’t even waste time looking for them on U.S. college campuses.”

    No teacher, but every textbook, left behind.
    An exasperated William Bennetta explained why so many teachers accept inferior textbooks from these publishers, “[T]he major schoolbook companies… have long recognized that the teacher corps in America includes some desperate dumbbells, and the companies have learned to produce books that the dumbbells will like.” Alistair B. Fraser, a professor of meteorology who runs web sites exposing bad science in textbooks, concluded bleakly, “Apparently, most teachers believe everything they teach.” To which I add, why not? Cornell professor Donald Hayes, quoted in the Grandfather Education Report, reported on results of sampling 788 textbooks used between 1860 and 1992: “Honors high school texts are no more difficult than an eighth grade reader was before World War II.”……

    That is not the worst of it. Schools bore bright kids silly and then drug them when they fidget or act up. Children as young as first grade are labeled ADHD and routinely put on drugs by the school’s tame doctor. No parent needed. Parents have even been threatened by the schools with ‘Child Abuse’ charges and having the child removed by social services if they try to take their child off the medication.
    Gifted children and adults are at high risk for being identified as ADD.
    A peer reviewed paper:

    ADHD among American Schoolchildren: Evidence of Overdiagnosis and Overuse of Medication
    …The Jensen et al. (1999) sample involved individuals between 9 and 17 years of age. By excluding a large proportion of children in the age group (i.e., ages 6 to 9) most affected by and/or treated for the disorder (Cohen et al., 1993; Safer & Zito, 1999; Safer et al., 1996; Scahill & Schwab-Stone, 2000), the study may have yielded an artificially low rate of ADHD and its treatment

    Findings from this study were consistent between two racially, economically, and socially diverse school districts. In both school districts, the rate of ADHD medication use was highest among white males and lowest among black females; 17% of white males and 3% of black females received ADHD medication in school.

    The Real Suicide Data from the TADS Study Comes to Light

    ADHD: Ritalin – Brain damage, heart attacks, hallucinations & liver damage
    The Drugging of Our Children

    Death from Ritalin

    Robin, a lawyer who sometimes posts at WUWT has gone into this in much greater depth at InvisibleSerfsCollar his research shows the US education system is now controlled by the UN.

    Some interesting comments on John Dewey charter member of the American Fabian Society at Free Republic HERE. Seems Lenin had his books translated and his teaching methods implemented. “He ordered the schools to adopt Dewey’s educational philosophies, and the test scores at the end of the semester were so abysmal, that he instituted the strictest form of European standards education, kind of a mix between the German and French forms. Rigid classrooms.” So the USSR rejected the teachings of John Dewey while the USA uses them to this day.

    The son of John D, David Rockefeller is a graduate of the The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) founded by the founders of the Fabian Society. Many of our top leaders in politics and business are graduates of LSE.

    The list of London School of Economics people includes notable alumni, non-graduates, professors and administrators affiliated with the London School of Economics and Political Science. This includes 34 past or present heads of state, as well as 18 Nobel laureates.
    [Here are a few]
    Pierre Trudeau Prime minister Canada [buddy of Maurice Strong ]
    Queen Margrethe of Denmark
    Anthony Kennedy, United States Supreme Court, Associate Justice
    John F. Kennedy, President of the United States 1961-1963
    Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., first son of Joseph Kennedy and elder brother of John F. Kennedy
    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., environmental activist, son of slain Senator Robert Kennedy
    Vanessa Kerry, Democratic activist and daughter of Senator John Kerry (D-MA)
    George Soros, Notable Financier; Billionaire
    Peter Sutherland, BP and Goldman Sachs chairman
    Tony Blair Prime Minister UK
    Tsutomu Hata – (b. 1935) Prime Minister of Japan, 1994
    Takahashi Korekiyo (1854 – 1936) – Prime Minister of Japan 1920-22, 1932
    Heinrich Brüning (1885–1970) – Chancellor of Germany, 1930–1932

    Founders and professors
    1925: George Bernard Shaw (Literature)
    1950: Bertrand Russell (Literature)
    1959: Philip Noel-Baker (Peace)
    1972: Sir John Hicks (Economics)
    1974: Friedrich von Hayek (Economics)
    1977: James Meade (Economics)
    1990: Merton Miller (Economics)
    1998: Amartya Sen (Economics)
    2001: George Akerlof (Economics)
    2007: Leonid Hurwicz (Economics)
    2008: Paul Krugman (Economics)
    2010: Christopher A. Pissarides (Economics)
    [Pascal Lamy of the WTO and Bill Clinton are guest lecturers]

    Economists [Among a long list is]
    Nicholas Stern, economist
    Lord Anthony Giddens, Sociologist [Former head of LSE and author of The Third Way]

  8. Verity Jones says:

    Good to hear experiences with tablets as I’ve been contemplating getting one, or a new laptop since my old laptop is now ‘ancient’ and struggles with most things.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    Part of why I got the Galaxy was the larger size makes a workable if slow keyboard AND that Belkin makes a case with bluetooth keyboard that lets me do full speed typing. Now on my next payday someday list….
    Why would I complain about you speaking fundamental truth.

    The note also does handwriting and voice; features I am still learning. I take a lot of written notes at work, but the paper pad is looking a bit dated in a tech operation as a tech cconsultant… Also does photos. So the primary use will be as an impressive pad of paper…

  10. Verity Jones says:

    That’s useful. The Belkin/Galaxy pairing gets good write ups. I think I’ve narrowed it down, if I decide to go for a tablet, to copy you or go for an Archos 10.1XS I’ve used Archos mp3 players and a friend has just bought an Archos Titanium tablet.

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    Being a photo oriented guy, the 5 MEGA PIXEL rears camera and a forward camera for phone calls mattered. That and the dual boot Linux available. Native Android just shovels info at Google… I am still shutting off things… but I wanted some Android experience…

  12. Petrossa says:

    EM Yeah my tablet does too. Unfortunately i was educated in a time when being lefthanded was a sign of the devil and they forced you to write righthanded by slapping your fingers with a ruler if you wrote left. As a result my handwriting is illegible with either hand for myself let alone a tablet. As for voice, thatr only works for well spoken native english speakers (which i am not) and even then only if there is not too much background noice. My barking dog, whistling birds or nagging wife it really doesn’t like so you spend more time correcting then anything else.

    No as a information transfer device it royally sucks without a keyboard and a mouse. Which begs the question, why bother a tall and not just buy a hot laptop/notebook for less money

  13. Gail Combs,
    Thank you for a fantastic rant that I appreciated beyond measure.

    Clearly you understand the importance of the teaching of reading and the baneful influence of June Atkinson, your “Princess of Darkness”. This lady has wrought unbelievable damage to “Language Arts” in your state. It will take at least 20 years to reverse the harm that she has done. I made a really spirited effort to get her fired. While several heads rolled in the “Language Arts” section, she escaped unscathed. One of June’s really bad ideas was the “Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort” that gets a dishonorable mention here:

    After retiring from the Duke University Free Electron Laser Laboratory in 2002 I took a job teaching K-3 students to read at the Carter Community School in Durham with its 180 “minority” students, Here is a paper that I wrote on the teaching of reading back then:

    Like you, I not a fan of “Progressive Education”, having spent the last 20 years emancipating schools from “Top Down” control by federal and state governments:

  14. Dave says:

    EM If you want a mobile hotspot the ATT Unite works via LTE and I get speed up to 10Mbps off the thing. Up to 10 people can connect to it via Wifi which is nice if you are sharing with a friend. It is one of the most satisfying things I’ve purchased in a while. IT ACTUALLY WORKS! (But it does cost $40 to $50/month for service which may be too much for what you need). I’ve used it in Seattle and San Fran without issue.

  15. Zeke says:

    ” The panel chairman, Donald Langenberg, summarized the main findings: “First, the Panel found that certain instructional methods are better than others, and that many of the more effective methods are ready for implementation in the classroom. For example, there was overwhelming evidence that systematic phonics instruction enhances children’s success in learning to read and that such instruction is significantly more effective than instruction that teaches little or no phonics.” It was also stated that the recommended “….instruction can and should be provided to all children beginning in kindergarten.
    “Put Reading First, Kindergarten through grade 3” (58 page report on the research)
    “Put Reading First, Helping Your Child Learn to Read” (6 page leaflet for parents) ” ~link written by GCamel

    If your children develop an affection for reading when they are young, there is no subject which they cannot become proficient in, and perhaps master. Even a good phonics program cannot give your child both the time and the desire to read that you can give your child by home schooling. It is admirable to rescue the education program in your local area. Yet the ultimate responsibility to raise and educate the child is the right of the parent in our country. As long as this right is protected, there will be educational choice including private, charter, and home schooling. If this right is removed through activist courts and the use of treaties with foreign collective bodies, the schools will move towards forced and year-round attendance. Improving schools is again truly admirable but it is the parental right and duty to raise their own children that provides the foundation for genuine education.

    Keep in mind that the Obamacare bill provides funding for government visitations of homes with children from birth. Scotland is an example of what the implications are:

    “The government of Scotland is proposing the ultimate invasion of the family in order to “protect” children. According to legislation proposed by the government (and which faces no organized opposition), a social worker will be assigned to monitor each and every child from birth. The government social worker would have the authority and responsibility to “safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person” through “(i) advising, informing, or supporting the child…, (ii) helping the child…to access a service or support, or (iii) discussing, or raising, a matter about the child” with other government agencies.”

    The problem is that Americans have handed their children to the “experts” to raise, and that mothers have all gone into the labor force. “Women now make up 47 percent of the labor force, and the employment rate of married women with children soared from 37 percent in 1968 to 65 percent in 2011.” Arne Duncan is counting on rising living expenses as a method of taking children away from their homes even during summer, and two-income families are the norm.

  16. Zeke says:

    What is the greatest sign of wealth? It is that mothers can choose stay home with their children. But American women are deprived of wisdom, and put their children in orange government buses from the time they are only 4 years old.

    “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
    But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s?
    14 For she leaves her eggs on the ground,
    And warms them in the dust;
    15 She forgets that a foot may crush them,
    Or that a wild beast may break them.
    16 She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers;
    Her labor is in vain, without concern,
    17 Because God deprived her of wisdom,
    And did not endow her with understanding.
    18 When she lifts herself on high,
    She scorns the horse and its rider.” Job 39

  17. Zeke says:

    It does seem to be a failure of the system when boys are on meth (Ritalin) and underage girls are now covered for morning after pills per Obamacare. And part of an education now includes NEA requirements to teach children about sex from the age of 5. This means “Suzy can become a prostitute” and “Johnny can marry a man, or four women.”

    The means of destroying a free and open society is not only through economic and military warfare. It can be achieved by destroying
    1. the sense of personal duty and commitments,
    2. personally chosen purpose, and
    3. the ability to bond in lasting lifelong relationships.
    These are the sources of real human intelligence. And these are precisely what the social engineers wish to destroy and sabotage in our young people. This is the purpose of the Bacchanalian Cult being promoted in media and in the schools: the destruction of human intelligence. Drug addled boys will not learn critical thinking or respect, or be civilized by a woman’s love. He will be a little Roman soldier, useful to the state.

    ref: Obama Set to Force Birth Control Rule on Religious Employers

  18. Jim Bender says:

    My solution was to get the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 with a Sprint Sierra Wireless LTE hotspot. It will also connect up Wi-Max or 3g (it calls itself a tri-fi hotspot). I have only had it connect by LTE, so it has been nice. I also wanted a tablet that was Wi-Fi so that I could connect up at home from my wireless network or do something without having network charges.

  19. omanuel says:

    @ Petrossa

    I agree with your above concerns.

    Can we effectively communicate to the public and their representatives in government:

    You cannot – and for the sake of your own family and friends must not – rely on recommendations made by organizations and research journals that promoted misinformation as science after 1945 to try to save the world from nuclear annihilation: US National Academy of Sciences, the UK’s Royal Society, the UN’s IPCC and/or the Swedish/Norwegian Nobel Prize Committees, especially those endorsed by leading research journals like Nature, Science, Proceedings of the Royal Society or other National Academies of Science.

    After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 & 9 Aug 1945 and the formation of the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945, the above organizations have actively promoted misinformation on the source of energy (E) stored in cores of heavy atoms, planets, stars and galaxies against repulsive forces between neutrons. Sent from my iPhone

  20. Zeke,
    Thanks for those comments that brought to mind 49 years of struggle with various schools that were supposed to be educating my children.

    Donald Langenberg was asked why he (an electrical engineer) was qualified to lead the “National Reading Panel”. From my recollection his response was “While I am not a reading expert I know what good research looks like.”

    The NRP rejected 99.5% of the ~100,000 published reading studies as they lacked the quality required in clinical research.

    Prior to the NRP, the federal government made many initiatives on schools throughout this country that lacked any pretense of being based on research meeting the standards of clinical research. You may remember some of these. None of them were tested in the field through “Pilot” studies:
    Goals 2000, School to Work, Sustainable America, No Child Left Behind.

    Now the Feds are at it a again with “Common Core Standards”, their worst idea ever. It was dreamed up by a committee with absolutely no attempt to run a Pilot experiment let alone one meeting Donald Langenberg’s standards.

    My apologies to Chiefio for being “Off Topic”. II look forward to you hosting a discussion of the government’s influence on K-12 education.

  21. DirkH says:

    Congrats. The Note – I have it as a phone – has a Wacom digitizer, for those not in the know, it is the kind of digitizer used in high end graphics tablets. The Note is the cheapest way to get at the Wacom technology if you want a graphic tablet with a display.

    I bought it because I like to draw. Apple products lack this resolution for now.

    And it’s also great for handwriting.

  22. Zeke says:

    DirkH says: “I bought it because I like to draw”

    Have you ever posted your sketches?

  23. Another Ian says:

    Re education comments

    I sat the highschool matriculation exams in Queensland, Australia in 1959.

    In mid-1970’s I showed the English papers to a US University English major. She gave them back with the comment “That’s interesting. Some of that I’ll see in 3rd year”.

    From experience with our childern’s education we’ve followed your model all too slavishly IMO.

  24. Gail Combs says:

    Camel, Thanks for the info and for engaging in the battle for good education.

    I have no kids but almost became a teacher. My fiance (now EX) was shot at during his student teaching semester and that changed my mind at the last minute. (All I am missing for certification was the student teaching semester) We had plans for going overseas to teach in American enclaves. Since he had Physics and Math and I had Chemistry with very strong minors in Biology and Geology we would have made-up an entire science and math department as a married couple.

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Omanuel: Just cool it down, you are being obsessive….And, worst of all, chances are that at the center of the Sun there are not any repelling neutrons but loving couples on a beautiful planet.

  26. omanuel says:

    Obama has finally admitted the problem: Fear that the planet will “boil over” unless they limit the energy consumption per person:

    Obama will not admit the cause: deception after 1945 about the energy (E) stored as mass (m) in cores of _ a.) atoms _ b.) planets _ c.) stars, and _ d.) galaxies

    That is the basic reason for the social unrest that now threatens to erupt violently at any moment.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Sent from my iPhone

  27. Tom Bakewell says:

    I bought an ASUS Transformer 10.4 with detachable keyboard. Adding the keyboard gives a total of 15 hours battery life (according to them, not yet verified) The reason I went this way was for external USB and MicroSD ports so I could flow stuff back and forth without depending on wireless. Then I completed this extravagance by getting a copy of “Android Tablets for Dummies”. Happy camper so far.

  28. DirkH says:

    Zeke says:
    2 July 2013 at 10:40 pm
    “Have you ever posted your sketches?”

    Nope. I’m no good.

  29. Zeke says:

    Oh I don’t know. I think scientists are often wonderful artists. Look at the art of configuring what you are thinking in a diagram. Very entrancing outcomes sometimes.

    What do you like to draw?

  30. Gail Combs,
    If teachers were running our schools, the quality of education would be far better than it is today. Sadly teachers have to jump through hoops created by bureaucrats in district, state and federal government. Teachers have to satisfy the bureaucrats first and all too often that is a primary factor contributing to “burnout”.

    One of the talented teachers in a school where one of my grand-daughters studies just quit fior this reason.

  31. Another Ian says:


    Adding to the education part of this, observing an unhealthy dependence in current education on calculators to do what rote learning used to get brain power to do.

  32. omanuel says:

    An open message to members of the Space Science & Technology Committee of the US House of Representatives was posted at the top of my web page today to celebrate this,

    The 237th birthday of this once Great Nation, and to seek an end to

    Sixty-eight years (2013-1945 = 68 yrs) of deceptive government science.

    Comments, pro / con, would be appreciated.

    With kind regards,
    – Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  33. CompuGator says:

    [Re:] Pournelle & Education/Re: From my new Galaxy note 10.1)

    Ah, yes. BYTE Magazine‘s famous curmudgeon. Hadn’t been sure he was still alive. He was nearly 50 when he began writing his “User’s Column”, first published in 1982: a few months after the IBM PC arrived on the scene of the 6502 vs. 6800 vs. 8080 personal-computing free-for-all. If Wikipedia got his vital stats correct, Jerry’s 80th birthday is only a month away: August 7.

    Readers herein who haven’t followed his career may find it helpful to be alerted to his wife Roberta‘s profession as a school-teacher. She collaborated with Jerry on writing educational software (or at least did so decades ago).

    According to the Wikipedia page on Jerry:

    [H]e studied at the University of Washington and received a B.S. in psychology on June 11, 1955; an M.S. in psychology on March 21, 1958; and a Ph.D. in political science in March, 1964. The thesis for his M.S. is titled “Behavioural observations of the effects of personality needs and leadership in small discussion groups,” and is dated 1957. His thesis for the Ph.D. in political science is titled “The American political continuum; an examination of the validity of the left-right model as an instrument for studying contemporary American political ‘isms'” and is dated 1964.

    […. I]n 1970 he was a consultant to the Professional Educators of Los Angeles (PELA), a group opposed to the unionization of school teachers in LA. [….]

    In July 2006, Pournelle and BYTE declined to renew their contract and Pournelle moved the column to his own web site, Chaos Manor Reviews.

    Oddly, Roberta is not mentioned at all in Jerry’s Wikipedia page. Perhaps less surprisingly:

    “The page ‘Roberta Pournelle’ does not exist.”

    But apparently she still does, judging by another recent column of Jerry’s.

    Beware that the 2006 URL cited by Wikipedia shows its most recent entry as “July 23, 2011”. But the most recent posting at URLs reachable from the one posted by “Another Ian” is “July 1, 2013”. Catching up with my neglect of Jerry’s on-line columns, while nevertheless getting important work done, is a challenge akin to stumbling onto Chiefio’s blog, and trying to catch up from its beginning.

  34. CompuGator,
    Thanks for that link. Whether Pournelle is alive or dead I expect to learn much from him concerning education in the USA thanks to the Internet.

  35. Gail Combs says:

    gallopingcamel says: @ 4 July 2013 at 4:14 am
    If teachers were running our schools, the quality of education would be far better…
    We lived next door to a couple of teachers and the complaint was the teachers were treated by Admin. as they were students. Lots of rules and no ‘Backtalk’ allowed.

    We always suggest home schooling or Montessori schools to the parents we talk to. Around here there are a lot of ‘Group’ home schools often grouped around a church. A church down the road lets members use the church as class rooms during the week for instance.

    Too bad big foot stomped on Charter schools here in NC. Seems the Progressives are afraid they might give students a good education. /snark

    More at Public Schools First NC

  36. Gail Combs says:

    Another Ian says:
    Adding to the education part of this, observing an unhealthy dependence in current education on calculators to do what rote learning used to get brain power to do…..
    One of my biggest gripes after the failure to teach reading properly. Kids in grade school should NOT be allowed to use a computer/calculater for ANYTHING. Learn to do research at a library, do math in your head, write legibly and correctly should be the minimum requirements before going into high school.

    It is getting pretty bad when NC has to pass a darn law mandating kids are taught to WRITE and do multiplication tables.

    …the U.S. ranks 21st out of 29 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in mathematics scores, with nearly one-quarter of students unable to solve the easiest level of questions….In 2000, 28 percent of all freshmen entering a degree-granting institution required remedial coursework…

    The Shadow Scholar
    The man who writes your students’ papers tells his story
    …You’ve never heard of me, but there’s a good chance that you’ve read some of my work. I’m a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can’t detect, that you can’t defend against, that you may not even know exists.

    I work at an online company that generates tens of thousands of dollars a month by creating original essays based on specific instructions provided by cheating students. I’ve worked there full time since 2004. On any day of the academic year, I am working on upward of 20 assignments…

    And this is the proof that the Progressives have trashed the US education system.

    … Surveys of corporations consistently find that businesses are focused outside • the U.S. to recruit necessary talent. … One respondent to the survey even noted, “If I wanted to recruit people who are both technically skilled and culturally aware, I wouldn’t even waste time looking for them on U.S. college campuses.”

    No wonder H1B visa holders are hired instead of Americans college graduates.

  37. Verity Jones says:

    Well l’ve done it too. In the end I went for an ASUS Memopad. So far so good.

  38. Another Ian says:

    Gail C.

    Re reading etc

    I pretty much had to teach our third son to read, still working on his lack of maths.

  39. Another Ian says:

    Gail C.

    Forgot to add – Scrabble and crosswords helped. I’m still looking for something similar as a key for maths

  40. Gail Combs says:

    Zeke says:
    ……If your children develop an affection for reading when they are young, there is no subject which they cannot become proficient in, and perhaps master……
    A darn good reason for reading to young children.

    I got a boyfriend’s son (6th grade) reading well in one summer. He loved animals so I read to him a story from All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot and stopped with one page left and handed him the book to finish reading the rest of the story (chapter) Each night I left more of the story for him to read. By the end of the summer he was devouring my collection of animals stories for kids.

  41. Gail Combs says:

    Another Ian says:
    Forgot to add – Scrabble and crosswords helped. I’m still looking for something similar as a key for maths
    We ran into a group with a unique approach to math, (that’s my husband’s focus) and had a long talk with an owner/instructor. They use an abacus and the kids learn to literally do the math in their head by visualizing the abacus. She said her more advanced students could do math in their heads faster than they could do it with a calculator!

    This is their website:

    Unfortunately you have to start fairly young like you should when teaching languages. If you learn a language after the age of ~12 you will have an American acent before the age of 12 you won’t. It is also a heck of a lot easier for a young kid to learn a second or third language at 3,4 and 5.

    The mind is truly amazing. What the US government schools are doing to students is literaly a crime.

  42. omanuel says:

    I agree, Gail, we should all be concerned about the dumbing down of American education.

    Those who can think critically will not be comfortable living under an Orwellian government.

  43. Zeke says:

    @Gail, yes, yes, James Herriot is a favorite here. If you got the young fellow reading that, he’ll fly. Although, reading dialogue with, say, a tipsy Brit with a sick cow is a little challenging, so we also got dramatic unabridged readings. It’s good fun.

    Hope your husband feels better.

  44. Zeke says:

    They both read All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful before they were 12. I should get the rest on kindle for them. It is hard to find enough really good books for voracious readers. They use the library and then log their reading on Shelfari. My son does read classics but I cannot stand HG Wells and then Jack London and books like Dorian Grey are not really very cheerful either. So we all have different tastes. :)

  45. J Martin says:


    maths is about patterns. Too many teachers insist that the child should understand the maths before doing the maths or manipulating the equations. But they have it back to front which is why they don’t get good teaching results.

    When kids are going through the stage of doing fractions and surds is the time when many run into difficulties and they are using their fingers to count to try to work out the sums. This is like trying to see the wood by counting the trees. It’s the wrong approach, you need to get in a helicopter, see the wood, then you can get down and count the trees.

    I faced this and found the solution was to get rid of the numbers. Mathematics is about patterns. So if a kid say, 9 to 11 is being asked to simplify an equation which involves fractions, and numbers, get rid of the numbers.

    Make up your own equations. Put the letter A on a piece of paper, draw a line underneath and put the letter B underneath, then an equals sign and then likewise for C and D. Now teach the kid the rules of the game, ie. the patterns. How you can use the rules to move the letters or numbers around to get a clearer or simpler pattern. So for this example a legal move is diagonal, so write down a diagonal move, so A equals B times C over D.

    Again for addition and subtraction. A + B = C + D , explain the rules, so for example you can simply pick up one of the letters and move it to the other side, the rule being that you change the sign, so we can do A = C + D -B.

    Make up lots of variations of these only building up to something slightly more complicated, and have the kid move different letters around the equations, until it is clear the child understands the rules and makes legal moves with all the examples you generate for him.

    After that you can go back to the kids school work that has numbers in and then see, remind, encourage if necessary not to try to work out the numbers in situ, but to use the rules of the game to move the numbers around to make it easier to then work out the numbers.

    So faced with say, A over 2 = 6 over 3 perhaps this is too simple an example, but the idea is to see the kid use the rules to firstly move that 2 to the other side and then work out the numbers. OK on very simple stuff like that the kid will get the right answer regardless, it’s when the equation, even though it only has numbers in it is more complicated that the kid gets lost, can’t see the wood for the trees. Take one of those equations and replace all the numbers with letters and see the kid correctly reposition all those letters. Then put the numbers back and see the kid reposition the numbers and then be able to simplify the numbers and get a correct answer.

    It takes time and patience. The brain builds synapses and makes physical connections a process which takes a few days, so I gave about 30 mins to one hour of this till the kid had had enough, then a few days to a week later the same again. It took 3 or four sessions and then suddenly like a light switch had been turned on it snapped and he got the pattern moving thing, and he could get the answer right to all ten questions I took from his school book and put in front of him. At the end of the ten he turned round and asked me for more he was so fired up.

    Don’t put pressure on the kid to practise between sessions. Don’t practise at all is best, let those thoughts you are planting grow into physical synapse connections in the brain, the kid’s brain must rewire itself to see the patterns, so there is no point in doing too much, you have to wait for the rewiring to take place. It’s like practising a sport, have you ever had the experience where you practise something a lot, then one day can’t go to practise for a week or more, perhaps ill, or on holiday, and when you get back you have mysteriously improved even though you didn’t do any practise. It’s the same thing, the brain is creating physical connections from the last lot of practise.

    On the subject of pressure. The kid pressured himself, and at one point when I tried to redirect him, he snapped at me and hit me. I was a bit taken aback, but could see it was from his own internal pressure and anxiety and fears to get somewhere. I completely ignored it as if it hadn’t taken place. I didn’t want to distract the focus into a pointless discussion about behaviour. In a way, it was almost a good sign, a sign of how much effort and how hard he was trying.

    My golden rule is absolutely put no pressure on the kid, otherwise it will become an emotional block on developing those synapses.

    Normally teachers do numbers first then later move into letters in equations. It’s the wrong way round and why so many kids fail at maths.

    When the light suddenly clicked on in that kids head and it was obvious he could do it and now understood, that was one of the most satisfying experiences in my life.

    It’s perhaps more difficult if the class has moved onto more advanced mathematics and you have to take the kid back to do those fractions / surds with letters, but it is the foundation of pretty well all of the future mathematics that that kid will do at school including calculus.

    Anyway I hope this helps.

  46. Another Ian says:


    Thanks for that. The boy in question has finished high school but we’ll look into this.

    He’s just passed a pre-electrician course at a TAFE – sort of old time technical college, so always had potential.

    We’re using the ranch coldroom wall as a whiteboard as this seems to fit better than tired heads over a piece of paper.

    Progress reports will happen, but might have to hijack some later thread -hope E.M. is still tolerant!

  47. Gail Combs says:

    J Martin says:

    ….maths is about patterns…..
    I think this is what the Montassori schools do. I know they have an ‘offbeat’ approach to teaching math and use a lot of concrete objects so it is not just memorizing tables. Worth looking into.

    In junior high and high school I tutored the other kids in homeroom in math….. Come to think of it, the teachers never ever interferred or made everyone go back to their desk and sit quietly. I did the same in study hall and never got in trouble for talking there either even though I never asked permission…. HMMMmmm

    I did the same with the last Accounting class I took at the community college. We got a Sub at the last minute who had a masters in Business Admin and was completely out of her depth. I spent a 1/2 hour after class each day straightening out the mess she made in the other students minds.

    The class got her kicked out and a better teacher installed after about a month or so.

  48. Gail Combs says:

    omanuel says

    I agree, Gail, we should all be concerned about the dumbing down of American education…..

    From a purely practical point of view, those are the future doctors, lawyers and engineers who will work on out bodies, defend us in court and build our roads and buildings. Do we REALLY want a kid who can not read well or do math in his head in those and other critical occupations?

    Do we really want people who can not think logically running our society at all levels? We can see the dumbed down, follow the rules, don’t color outside the lines, mentality in what happened during the Gulf Oil spill. link

    And the Katrina/New Orleans fiasco link. This last link gives a great deal of insight into the bureaucratic mind and it is enough to give an intelligent person nightmares.

  49. Gail Combs,
    Thank you for that piece from the N&O called “The hijacking of charter schools”. It is yet another example of the brilliance of the author, Edward B. Fiske.

    Fiske wrote a wonderful book called “Smart Schools, Smart Kids”, published in 1991. This book develops many interesting ideas for improving K-12 education in the USA and mentions at least a dozen relevant pilot projects.

    Last February I got to wondering how all those projects had turned out so I called Ed and asked him whether there was a “Follow Up” study. He said he has not had the time to do it and that his main project today is a follow up of “When Schools Compete”, a book about the “Tomorrows Schools” reforms in New Zealand. Ed wrote it collaboration with his wife (Helen Ladd) who was a colleague of mine at Duke university.

    At Ed’s suggestion I have started a follow up study of the pilot projects mentioned in his book. It is going to take quite a while!

  50. Zeke says:

    @Camel That follow up of the pilot projects would be a very worthwhile project. Here is a little graph I would like everyone to see to remind us of the enormous spending on education and the kinds of results in test scores we see.

    The ability of home, charter, and private schools to do far more with far less is well documented, and the right and duty of parents to educate their own children is supported by people from all political parties in this country. Even liberals do not really believe that all children must attend public schools or schools heavily regulated by the public school system.

    As HSLDA has pointed out, often the worst performing school districts persecute home schoolers the most. They seem to go together.

  51. Zeke,
    One of the amazing things about the “Top Down” approach to education is that there is always another “Initiative”, the latest being “Common Core Standards”.

    Nobody ever asks why the last ten “Initiatives” all failed to bring about any improvement in student achievement.

  52. Zeke says:

    Here is an example of an initiative in the pike for science education:

    The article discusses the emphasis on climate change and evolutionary theory in science curricula, in order to “combat widespread scientific ignorance.”

    “Leaders of the effort said that teachers may well wind up covering fewer subjects, but digging more deeply into the ones they do cover. In some cases, traditional classes like biology and chemistry may disappear entirely from high schools, replaced by courses that use a case-study method to teach science in a more holistic way. “

  53. Steve C says:

    Interesting, if depressing, comments on the dumbing down of education – and I promise you, it’s not just in the US that this is happening, British parents have a very, very similar list of grievances. I’m on the unfashionable side of 60, and I don’t think there’s been a year since I left school myself that the government of the day hasn’t “reformed” education. After forty-odd years of this “reform”, I scarcely recognise what kids do in most schools now.

    FWIW, I used to work part time at a Steiner school, and I’d often walk down the lower classes’ corridor and hear “Four Twos are Eight, Five Twos are Ten …” as they chanted their tables just like us old ‘uns did back in the day. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the older classes handled basic arithmetic pretty competently.

    Following up on a comment from a friend recently, I came across a couple-of-years-old blog post by Dr. David Sortino, entitled “Intelligence And The Lost Art Of Cursive Writing”. His takeaway message is that “the sensory motor act of cursive writing has been proven to be conducive to brain development and language fluency”, or, perhaps more briefly, “joined-up writing leads to joined-up thinking”.

    It seems reasonable enough to me that reading, writing and reflective thinking should be connected, and I wonder whether the minimal linguistic abilities of so many young people can be linked back to their never having been taught joined-up anything. The attitude that “you don’t need to remember anything, it’s all on Wikipedia” makes me cringe, not only at the known “inaccuracies” of Wikipedia but also at the casual, apparent assumption that if you can find something on the net you “know” it somehow. No. You know it when you can relate it to the other relevant facts around it, and explain the relationships clearly in speech or writing. Explanation requires understanding, not copy-and-paste skill.

    Reading Gail’s “Shadow Scholar” link (above) explains a lot. Those students are the people inheriting our world, despite an evident inability to think or communicate. A terrifying prospect.

  54. J Martin says:


    More on patterns. When I was 9 or 10 I spent one year in a private boarding school, where each weekend we had to learn a poem and we would be picked at random to stand up and recite a verse. I’m not suggesting this is of any use to you and your son.

    But another part of this very formal and strict education was to recite the times table all of it. I couldn’t do it and was bottom of the class at mathematics. One day whilst getting my hair trimmed by the school matron the subject of my inability to conquer the times table came up. She taught me a pattern to work out the times table so I wouldn’t have to try to remember it.

    She started with the 9 time table going backwards !

    And as you can see the pattern is to take the difference between ten and the chosen number and take a 1 off the first column but add that difference figure , in the case of the 9 times table also a 1 to the right hand column.

    For the 8 times table the difference is 2, so taking 1 off the first column and adding 2 to the second column each time.

    A moment of care is needed when the addition to the one column exceeds the reduction in the other, but a little concentration doesn’t hurt. So for the 7 times table the difference is 3, so;

    42 (30 + 12) is one of the ones to watch out for, but the method holds.

    That lesson that the school matron gave me, just verbally while cutting my hair transformed my schooling from bottom of the class in mathematics and indifferent in all other subjects, to 2nd in the class in mathematics within one term. Something had just clicked inside me. I no longer struggled with long division, suddenly I could just do it. This success translated into greater enthusiasm for all the rest of the subjects at school and all my grades improved.

    I don’t know if the school matron was perhaps an ex teacher or what. To my shame I cannot even remember her name. One day I intend to make the effort to find out.

    Of course I don’t know if any of this will help, especially since your lad is a bit older, and each child is different, so you will have to work out what approaches seems to work best. Maybe non of this is suitable and you will need to find something else.

    I wish you both the best of luck.

    Although the school was formal and strict, and corporal punishment was accepted as entirely normal back then, it was nonetheless much the best school I ever went to and the one I enjoyed the most and was happiest at.

    All of which reminds me of some of the things we used to get up to at that school. About 20 of us all 9 years old in a dormitory that had a fire escape down to the school gardens. That’s a story for another time perhaps.

  55. adolfogiurfa says:

    BTW What happened with that Galaxy note 10.1….no new posts out of it ! :-)

  56. Petrossa says:

    Smashed in a fit of rage at the annoying keyboard

  57. adolfogiurfa says: 5 July 2013 at 8:02 pm
    “BTW What happened with that Galaxy note 10.1….no new posts out of it ! :-)”

    You are so right! I must apologise to the long suffering Chiefio for my contribution to “Topic Drift”. Thank goodness he does not use the draconian SKS or Climate Progress approach to “Moderation”.

    On the positive side it is clear that the denizens of this site care a great deal about education which may explain why I feel so at home here.

  58. Zeke,
    That New York Times article imagines that “Guidelines” written by bureaucrats in 26 state governments will improve the teaching of science. These folks live in an alternate universe. When you don’t understand the problem your “solutions” won’t work.

    Here are a couple of real problems relating to the teaching of science in K-12 schools that won’t be affected one iota by “Guidelines”.

    In the USA science textbooks are dominated by choices made in Texas and California. The resulting textbooks are of such poor quality that many students notice errors and inconsistencies. You might think that textbook publishers would co-operate with people who error check their products. Sadly that is not the case as John Hubisz of NCSU explains:

    Poor quality textbooks would not matter much if teachers knew enough about science to correct the errors. Unfortunately, education dogma in the USA places “Certification” above mastery of the subject being taught. To illustrate the magnitude of this problem I found only 16 science teachers (2002) in North Carolina with a PhD in physics out of 350 high schools. That was over ten years ago so I would be interested to hear if things have improved since then.

    Until these problems are fixed the USA will have to rely on immigrants to sustain its technical leadership.

  59. J Martin says:

    Galloping camel said “Until these problems are fixed the USA will have to rely on immigrants to sustain its technical leadership.”

    Attracting skilled immigrants could become a problem if the US economy self destructs beneath a tsunami of quantitative easing and an avalanche of national debt.

  60. J Martin says:

    @ galloping camel.

    I’m not sure what use a PhD is in a school classroom. Sufficient education and real world knowledge to adjust for out of date, or errors in text books might help from time to time, though perhaps a decent budget for text book replacement would be just as effective overall.

    But I would have thought among the many problems involved in providing kids with an effective education is not so much the academic qualification level of the teaching staff but rather one of their innate ability to open a child’s mind to the subjects and inspire the child to enjoy learning. I’m not convinced that academic qualifications especially of young teachers who have mostly never had a job in the real world are a good measure of what it takes to inspire kids to soak up knowledge

    I have read that in the USA that teachers are predominantly female and I cannot help but wonder if that gender imbalance might also be something of an unrecognised problem which is contributing to the achievement malaise in US students performance in world league tables. Given that the workforce is in most countries, either evenly split or predominantly male, but never predominantly female, then I would have thought that a country which has a predominantly female teaching staff is setting itself up for future economic malaise as my guess is, and I believe there are studies which also demonstrate this, that many (what percentage ? of) boys are more likely to be inspired to learn if they have an effective role model teacher who is the same gender.

    Currently girls outperform boys in many western schools, yet in western society, more men will join the workforce than women. It’s not that women cannot teach boys, it’s that some (many ?) boys respond better to being taught by men. With the result that academic achievement of boys has been falling for year and is recognised in the UK as a problem. I wonder if that fall in male educational achievement is graphed against the decline in the numbers of male teaching staff if the two curves might coincide. In this instance correlation would be causation.

    Teaching seems to share a fundamental quality with Climate Science, namely that both are based on dogmatic religion that produces failure to measure up to the real world.

    I guess teaching has many problems, facilities buildings, books, but perhaps the biggest problems lie in the selection of teaching staff and in that area I think a serious effort needs to be made to attract people with real world experience in the workforce into the profession, and also to address that significant gender imbalance which I suspect hinders the potential achievement of many children.

    It’s a big problem, because how do you attract capable people without causing pay differentials and where one is seeking to address a gender imbalance, one would then end up with a gender pay imbalance in seeking to address the problem.

    I think in particular that placing a hurdle of academic achievement if front of prospective, yet fully capable teachers can only serve to discourage potential applicants.

    The ability to teach is what should be measured not whether they have a PhD or not.

    PS. I am not and have never been a teacher. I have had a varied education, state schools and private. I have also spent a few hours helping a couple of kids see that mathematics is not hard but is in fact easy.

    I have also noticed that academic performance at school does not correlate with the amount of homework a kid has, but in fact the opposite is true. The best performing schools give their kids less homework than the worst performing schools. I think there are two causes for this, 1, the quality of teaching during school hours, 2, the kids are free to be kids outside school hours and learning does not become some form of purgatory.

    Within the UK from experience I can point to a junior school (private), and two senior schools (private and partially state) that give their kids minimal homework yet are consistently at the top of the national league tables for their kids academic performance.

    Quality not quantity delivers results.

  61. Zeke says:


    I am sure Cheifio is happy to let us have an open thread.

    I have read about the “Common Core” educational program. It is framed as a “voluntary, state led” program, but was very devious the way that states were asked to commit to instating it. States agreed to it because of the funding attached to it, and adopted it sight unseen. States that did not agree to it, lost funding. This is in fact a very coercive program:

    “Common Core was developed in such a way as to keep the states completely in the dark. It was created and is still owned and copyrighted by private organizations with no accountability to the parents or students of any state. Neither are they accountable to the states themselves. The federal government used tax-payer monies to coerce the states into adopting the standards sight-unseen, contrary to the interests of the tax-payers. Not one citizen-elected legislative body has had any input into the standards or the system of development by which those standards came to be.” ~Home School Legal Defense email update

    And it is a straight jacket for teachers: “What is more, the Race to the Top application stipulates that states must adopt and implement Common Core word for word. They can add to it only provided the additions do not amount to more than 15% of the material taught, but they cannot take away from it by any means.”

  62. J Martin says:
    My high school in England was blessed with Dr. J. Pallister who taught physics and Dr. H.R. Stevens who taught Chemistry. It was no coincidence that 20% of my class mates earned scholarships to Oxford or Cambridge to study science, mathematics or engineering. While that is merely anecdotal evidence, there are other reasons for believing that it would make a huge difference to the academic achievement of students in North Carolina if there were 700 PhDs teaching science in that state instead of less than 20.

    Far too many science classes in North Carolina are being taught by people lacking even a bachelors degree in the appropriate subjects. Thus when students spot what they think are errors in the text books, the teacher does not know enough to say whether the student is right or wrong. All too often this leads to students being alienated from science permanently.

    One of the major mistakes being made by government schools in North Carolina and Florida is the drive to reduce class size. This is based on the notion that increasing the number of teachers will improve student performance. While this may be true there is ample research indicating that teacher quality is more important than teacher quantity. One of the measures of teacher quality in a state is the number of PhDs employed in its schools.

    I was brought up in the UK where government high schools have a stronger curriculum than comparable schools in the USA. As curriculum content increases, particularly in the hard sciences or mathematics, teacher quality matters more and more. That may explain why the UK places more emphasis on mastery of the subject matter rather than on a teaching diploma. Given that both of us have some experience of education in the UK your comments on the following would be appreciated:

  63. Zeke,

    The 16 states (including Florida) that have already signed up to be early implementers of Common Core Standards claim they will still control the core curriculum but the draft regulations say otherwise.

    The federal CCS legislation says that states and districts can add up to 15% curriculum content but take nothing away. It is not hard to imagine curriculum content imposed by the federal government that might be obnoxious to local communities. “Top Down” management also means “One Size Fits All”.

  64. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: If all the gadgets the children and adult/children play with in these days work with ELECTRICITY, why not teaching them, from an early age, the fundamentals of HOW IT WORKS the UNIVERSE and their favorite gadgets?

  65. adolfogiurfa says:

    Then, if electricity and electromagnetism in general manifest through WAVES, why not teaching them, also, the fundamentals of MUSIC?
    What I am proposing, perhaps you already noticed it, is a Pythagorean education. (Of course provided if those kids do not use fluorinated water/toothpaste, are not being medicated with benzodiazepines , etc., etc…..(something already impossible up there).
    No way!, Gotto reset the whole thing up!

  66. J Martin says:

    @ galloping camel

    I grew up thinking that the USA was “the land of the free”. But the more I learn about the USA, mostly through climate blogs, the more I see the USA as “the land of the enslaved”.

    I have friends in North Carolina, and on one of their visits here, one of their kids made a comment about the school policeman. Not for one minute did it occur to me that he was talking about an actual policeman. I was struck dumb at the idea that a school, no matter how large would have a real policeman wandering around full time. I took that to be an indictment of the American school system and of US society at large. Well, parts of it at any rate.

    Not that I know much about the current state of schooling in the UK either, but I think that your example of setting up FREE, has some equivalents here, as in recent years private companies can and do set up and run schools, mostly fee paying, one such is GEMS.

    When it comes to top down administration I fear that once it grows beyond a certain size it can only gravitate to ever poorer results as the people likely to be appointed to run it will not be motivated by the success of the students but will instead be more interested in their own self aggrandisement. Once a grand idea has been imposed then all too often the best way to cover up it’s failings is to impose it unilaterally across all schools so that way no one has anything to compare it against.

    I don’t doubt that a wide variety of schooling with transparency across all aspects of the varied systems and especially of student performance will efficiently weed out bad ideas.

    It seems to me that the “common core” that is being imposed is unlikely to succeed in raising achievement. It would be better if they were act as brokers to publish the sort of academic performance levels that good schools are attaining and study how they attain these levels and pass this knowledge onto lower performing schools. They could also monitor the schools to see if they are succeeding in raising standards, and if not then they could go into schools and examine why not and what help might be needed. Rather like OFSTED in the UK.

    Setting standards is one thing, dictating how to get to those standards, especially with the imposition of a restrictive curriculum is another.

    The USA is near the bottom of the educational league when it should be near the top. Which of the top performing countries use the system that the US education department is about to impose. I don’t know, but I suspect the answer is none. Surely they should go out into the world and examine successful state schooling schemes and private schemes and form a model from a synthesis of those.

    Abolishing the government education department would have multiple benefits, educational standards will improve, government expenditure and national debt will reduce, crime will reduce, and then perhaps the politicians can use that model and apply it to other departments.

    My friend in NC also happens to be a teacher in Durham, I don’t know at which school, but I have asked her for any comments she may have.

  67. J Martin says:

    Was FREE entirely funded by parents, or was a proportion provided by the state ?

  68. omanuel says:

    We are on the road again.

    Before leaving town I posted the correction and postscript to my July 4, 2013 message to the Space science and Technology Committee of the US House of Representatives.

    You can see at the top of my webpage evidence that the scientific community has deceived Congress since 1945.

    Oliver K. Manuel Former NASA PI for Apollo Moon Samples

    Sent from my iPhone

  69. J Martin says:

    Without wishing to be seen as monopolising the somewhat diverted thread. In the UK and France, considerable amounts of money are at long last being put into replacing and rejuvenating school buildings. Money well spent in my view as a modern economy needs an educated proletariat.

  70. J Martin,
    With regard to your request about funding, FREE was a non-profit corporation established solely to manage charter schools. Under North Carolina law, charter schools receive the same per pupil funding as other government schools. Unlike private schools, charter schools cannot charge fees or select students.

    The main problem for charter schools in North Carolina stems from the fact that the state does not provide start up funds or pay for buildings. When FREE started in 1998 it had no money so the directors leased buildings using their houses as collateral. People said we were crazy to risk our homes but we considered this a small matter compared to the risks taken by policemen and firefighters who put their lives on the line in the service of communities.

    Anita Olinga was not a member of FREE and yet she made an unsecured loan that saved the Carter Community School in Durham. She later testified before the US Congress. The difficulties that the Carter CS had acquiring adequate buildings are not unusual. Some schools have even more harrowing tales to tell.

  71. Zeke says:

    Adolfo says: “If all the gadgets the children and adult/children play with in these days work with ELECTRICITY, why not teaching them, from an early age, the fundamentals of HOW IT WORKS the UNIVERSE and their favorite gadgets?”

    My children have taken very very naturally to technology, and are teaching themselves code, paint, and animation programs.

    I have been looking forward to my son reading The Electric Sky. I have to be patient because he likes the biographies of tech pioneers right now. But he likes astronomy. I do worry about his interest in Latin and statistics. (: I said Don’t study statistics, you will turn into Mr. Hyde!

  72. CompuGator says:

    gallopingcamel says (6 July 2013 at 4:02 am):

    I must apologise to the long suffering Chiefio for my contribution to “Topic Drift”.

    Otherwise known, less gently, as “thread hijacking“. Considering my status as a relative newcomer herein, I made a personal choice to stay on the sidelines, after I noticed that among Chiefio’s widely ranging list of nearly 40 categories that he identified as interesting to him, “Education” is nowhere to be found.

    Be that as it may, I do wonder why Dr. Camel hasn’t set up a blog of his own, focused on education. He’s already got a domain name and Web site: And his domain-registrar supplies blogging software at no additional charge for some of its most modestly priced hosting plans[*]. With some guidance from Chiefio or others, probably mostly for avoiding unexpected surprises in how things really work, as distinct from how a physical-scientist might expect them to work, His Gallopingness ought to be easily able to set up a creditable blog of his own, WordPress or otherwise (if not right away, then soon after he quits offering MS-Word files as hazardous substitutes for customary (X)HTML Web pages).

    Note *: A deliberately bogus URL doesn’t display his domain-registrar’s usual ‘not found‘ page, so his Web-hosting might well be via some more-or-less unofficial postretirement courtesy arrangement.

  73. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: I said Don’t study statistics, you will turn into Mr. Hyde!……As your “uncle” Chiefio… :-)

  74. Zeke says:

    CompuGator says:

    Hi CompuGator,
    Here is a statement by Cheifio which reflects his feelings about OT discussions on his threads. He posted a link on blog etiquette, but then also said that it was a “little too restrictive.”

    EM Smith says:
    Inre blog etiquette. “[It’s] [m]ore about me having a “slow day” and finding it interesting (largely as it does a nice job of defining things like “Trolls” ;-)

    Heck, I even went out of my way to say some of it was “too restrictive” (even if much of it is good).

    So no, I’m not going to be deleting any “exchanges” between folks, and no, I don’t find them a bother at all. ( In fact, one of the bits that is, IMHO, too restrictive in their “rules” is enforced “on topic” and restrictions on personal expression. ) Frankly, I like the “chewing the fat around the fire” ambiance of folks who comment here. So please, don’t change! And certainly don’t take my comment on some other folks rules as meaning I want folks here to follow them. I might pick out one or two (IFF they don’t change the ambiance and ‘culture’ here) to copy (like the one on trolling..) but most likely won’t change anything.

    I just found it remarkably well done as a list, especially for a narrow topic technical board.”

  75. Zeke says:


    Chiefio does work with a lot of statistics doesn’t he. I really stuck my foot in my mouth! (: :D

  76. Gail Combs says:

    Zeke, No you haven’t. Those of us with some training in Stat. have read How to Lie with Statistics (That cover is a classic)

    It should be required reading for every high school student before they become a voter.

  77. CompuGator says:

    Aha! Chiefio’s citation and brief discussion of “a rather remarkable web page” presenting “Forum Etiquette” rules was not at the most obvious link:

    “Rules” [t.a.q. 2009?] [comments now closed]

    Nor over in his “Carping” category:

    Carping Comments
    Posted on 12 January 2011 [comments now closed]

    Led there by Chiefio’s “Search” slot, he opened with an extensive behind-the-scenes tour of the meticulous moderation he does for this blog. But it really was not what I was seeking.

    Punting to, it found Zeke’s excerpt (July 2013 at 6:30 pm) above, preceded by Chiefio’s original mention here:

    E.M.Smith says:
    16 May 2013
    at 7:36 pm
    [comments now closed]
    [….]  There is much in it with which I agree. [….]  I recommend reading it. [….]

    Even nailing down here the sources above is still arguably off-topic.And there was none of the typical “pool-party” fun in compiling it. What may be worse, altho’ elaborating my dissent might be appropriate elsewhere, e.g.: “T12”, providing supporting examples might be deemed violations of Chiefio’s One “Hard Rule” (“Rules”). But the sun will continue to set in the west, and rise again in the east.

  78. CompuGator, 8 July 2013 at 4:11 pm
    This camel accepts your rebuke as it seems to be of the constructive kind. As the bard says (the Scottish one):
    “O wad some Power the gift tae gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An foolish notion”

    Somehow you found my blog but not the “Education” tab:

    Lacking the amazing talents of Chiefio my blog is under construction and progress is……slow. Thus far I have only posted drafts describing two of the six “FREE” schools. I can write about these with some objectivity since I resigned from the FREE board more than 10 years ago. I am not ready to write about five charter schools in Florida as I am still a board member. It is hard to be objective when one has dogs in the fight and legal costs are sky rocketing.

    The Gallopingcamel blog is a static one lacking the facility to accept comments but it is not nearly as good as these:

    Given my abject failure in the blogosphere I am attempting to write a book on K-12 education. The book is titled “The Power of Failure” in recognition of the dogged determination to fail that is guaranteed by our “Top Down” approach to education. I will make the case for returning the control of each school to the community it serves. For this to succeed education “Departments” at federal, state and district level must all be abolished.

  79. E.M.Smith says:


    Um, until we “tumble” our large gyro-planet and then it will rise the ‘tother way around!

    Since this particular thread was just “wall scribbling” from my Note 10.1 and generally devoid of “topic”, I don’t see how folks can be “off topic”… ;-)

    Also “Thread Hijack” is a more directed and virulent behaviour than “Topic Drift”. Topic drift is just the natural “one thing leads to another”. A Thread Hijack is often a willful directed act aimed at promoting a particular POV or issue with deliberate intent. So “drifting” into an abortion discussion as something reminded you of it is “topic drift”, while being a promoter of abortion who deliberately sets out to convert a thread to a forum for pontificating about it is a clear ‘thread hijack’. It all comes down to motivation. So I generally don’t do much about Topic Drift, but most Thread Hijack will get squashed. ( I make a small exception for O.Manuel as I think he has trouble controlling a compulsion and is not malicious in promoting what can look like a thread hijack, but is really a fixation, IMHO.)

    Per Stats: My Stats class required us to study “How to lie with statistics” ( I thought it was a chapter in the book…) so we could spot bogus stats use in the future…. I kind of like simple statistics; but the more complicated bits start to look like just a bit too dodgy to me ;-)

    At any rate, I’m living proof that you can learn statistics and live a normal life afterwards…. mostly… ;-)

    Per the Galaxy and no new posts from, it:

    There were also no new posts from the laptop…

    Time budget and finding a Studio with kitchen and moving.

    I’ve mostly bought the Note for use at work as a paper substitute, and I’ve used it as intended. I’ll be getting a bluetooth keyboard for it in the near future and can then use it for postings (if desired), but that was not the dominant reason to get it. It is intended to be a web READING tool and a notepad that doesn’t look like paper at work. (The biggest issue isn’t the keyboard, but the lack of ability to do normal “mouse things”, like easily mark and cut / paste text or do “right click” things. Some of them may be hidden “gestures” I’ve just not learned yet, but a regular interface is more suited to the stuff done in postings, like marking and cut/pasting a URL into a link.)


    My general conclusion so far on the Note is that it does what I want it to do rather well (be a $500 pad of paper ;-) and I’ve used it to take notes in a large meeting while looking more “with it” than using a pad of paper, though the paper works better… (finer control, faster writing, more ink choices, etc.). It’s also good for email and web browsing and looking stuff up.

    It’s not good for “production typing” or for “cut / paste construction”. For general purpose computer stuff, I’d get a notebook or similar. The tablet is more about output than input (other than the handwriting capture of the Note…)

    Does a decent job on internet movies, too.

    So as a general “I want a lighter computer that lets me type stuff”, I’d go with a notebook computer. As a “show me stuff, minimal typing, not a lot of marking and cut / paste text, let me take a note without a pad of paper, watch movies and listen to music”, it’s fine. I’m happy with it, but it does NOT replace a general purpose laptop for production of copy.

    In short, it does what it was built to do well, and not what it was not intended to do…

    (It was fun in staff meeting to be taking hand written notes on it… About 1/2 the folks had pads of paper, and a couple had keyboards. I was “more cool” than the folks with pads of paper, and I was “more in touch” than the folks with keyboards. Just what I wanted… Put me on the leading edge of “Tech Cool” ;-) A lot to pay for a pad of electronic paper, but valuable when you are a tech consultant to “set an ambiance”… )

    Overall, I’m happy with it, and still just learning what all it can do. Things like being able to see a weather radar of the area when at lunch are nice, too. (So I can keep tabs on tropical storms while mobile…) So I will carry it to lunch for entertainment and / or information when I’d never do that with the laptop. Similarly, for production of copy, I’d use the laptop (but could use the Note in a pinch, even without the add-on keyboard. So I’ve put up a comment or two using it, for example, when I’d not be doing any reading / commenting at all otherwise as the laptop would not be with me…

    Next step is to ‘downsize the work bag’ by leaving out the laptop and some other bits as well. Just leave all that in secure storage somewhere. Will make it much easier to cart stuff to / from work. Likely just the Note and a Folio that can hold printout. (They provide a work computer at the desk).

    At any rate, it’s late, I’m starting to ramble, and I’ve got to wake up in 7 hours… so time for bed. All in all, I’m happy I bought the Note. Were I doing it over, I’d look a bit more closely at notebooks, but don’t know of any with stylus input (that was my major reason for getting this – to get away from the pad of paper…). Still, if one is ever made that can act like a pad of paper, AND have full keyboard / mouse action too, that would likely be an even better solution as it would cover both types of usage.

  80. CompuGator says:

    Re: “Topic Drift”, “Education”, and WordPress

    E.M.Smith says (10 July 2013 at 3:57 am):

    Since this particular thread was just “wall scribbling” from my Note 10.1 and generally devoid of “topic”, I don’t see how folks can be “off topic”

    My constructive idea, from 2 days ago, was to move the rolling “education” discussion to (hypothetical) “Ed1”, “Ed2”, … pages, managed like the “T*” pages.

    But as best I can figure, the features that WordPress offers for managing comments by blog visitors provide no mechanism for gathering or moving comments from where they’re arguably off topic, to somewhere else that the blog owner considers them on topic and worth keeping. So WordPress can’t be the complete comment-reshuffling solution that I’d hoped it might be.

    Despite my strong inclination to stay on topic, I certainly understand whose blog this one is, and who’s doing the work “above & beyond” that’s keeping it worth repeated visits.

  81. adolfogiurfa says:


  82. adolfogiurfa says:

    typo: add: KNOWS

  83. adolfogiurfa says:

    Beautiful video:

  84. omanuel says:

    No, but I am concerned.

    Sent from my iPhone

  85. omanuel says:


    Please send me a link to that video.

    Again, thanks! – Oliver

    Sent from my iPhone

  86. omanuel says:

    Thanks to all those “leaking” information past the self-appointed guardians of knowledge, Big Brother is running scared today.

    The battle will be over when Big Brother starts chanting this ancient prayer to the King of Siam:

    “Ooo waa
    ta goo

    Here’s the rest of the story:

  87. adolfogiurfa says:

    @omanuel: Supposedly “they” will not withstand a higher Schumann frequency, which is increasing right now.

  88. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. Where are you? Please let us know ASAP.

Comments are closed.