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  1. 12 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    For what it is worth, there has been a LOT of mental health research associated with corporate punishment. It is true that kids that grew up in houses that weren’t outright abusive but used corporal punishment (I got it a few times) turned out fine most of the time.

    That said, kids who came from homes where corporal punishment was used have about a 3 to 5x greater odds of developing serious mental health issues later in life compared to those that were brought up in houses where other methods were used instead of corporate punishment.

    And since most of the time, nobody can tell from the outset whose kids may become one of those, its just safer not to use corporal punishment.

    The odds are still high that kids will turn out okay if it used, but why use it if there are other effective measures?

    My daughter is kind, considerate, a helper, works hard, helps her friends when they are struggling, is a leader at Scouts and is helping out teachers now and she’s great with her grandfather and her grandma-in-law both in their eighties.

    And we’ve never laid a hand on her. There are plenty of other methods to encourage or even require reasonable standards of behaviour that are just as effective.

  2. 15 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    Also, public schools are failing for several reasons. In some areas, it has a lot to do with a lack of economic opportunity period with all the attendant other effects that tends to breed. Public schools are also suffering because private schools tend to draw a lot of the best teachers. And school vouchers just encourage any troubled school to have a stake driven into its heart as everyone that can bails out. It exacerbates the school’s difficulties and leads to that failing state.

    The market is amoral. If you turn education into something market driven, you get increased inequality and the people who gain are those who are priviledged in the first place.

    That is (of course) a bumper sticker summation; The actual situations are exceptionally varied, are tied to inequalities in many respects, are tied to historical population distributions, are tied to privatization of many things that have taken quality staff and funding from public education and other areas. Sure, there’s other issues – people in rough neighborhoods tend to get into more trouble, be more economically depressed, and lack good role models for kids and don’t put much faith in public schools either (ironically) because they know none of their kids (or a few only) can make it out to colleges even IF they do well at school.

    The answer on the US conservative view you seem to hold is that its every man for himself and the good folk will survive and the rest get what they deserve. The falsehood is that conservatives want every kid to have a good education because that’s NEVER been possible in any vouchering system and the attitude that the great will shine almost always ties to the US notion that everyone is just a bit of hard work and one lucky break from being a millionaire success story.

    The only metrics of school quality you’ll ever have is high marks and you can be sure that in any school that needs to look good to keep students, assessments will generally inflate.

  3. 15 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    I am not a member of any union. I also don’t make assumptions about other people on scant information, unlike yourself. The data shows that in places with smaller inequalities and where education of all levels is more available, that it is a net benefit to the economy and to the people that live in those societies.

    Having a few great minds succeed and leaving millions behind is not exactly success. But most US conservatives appear to think otherwise. Then again, most of them are not in marginalized groups.

  4. 17 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    The way you phrased that, they might find a gnawed skeleton and a well-stuffed and napping tiger…. “stuffed tiger” works both ways… ;)

  5. 17 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    And yet, vouchers lead to inequitable outcomes. Two kids, one just happens to be born in a poorer neighborhood and one that was born in a wealthier one… one can afford to go to the better schoools (often private if you want the best) and the other can’t, even with any vouchering but the fact some at his or her school did bail out further worsens the school he can afford to go to (the one in his poorer neighborhood).

    That just intensifies inequitable opportunities and wastes human potential.

  6. 18 days ago on Get Fuzzy

    I’m not certain if every day has a morning. I theorize that it does, but having woke up past noon at times, I can only imagine what happened while I was comatose. I can’t actually say I know for certain a morning happened.

  7. 18 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    Isn’t there an old maritime saying “Any old port in a storm…”?

    Most people think this refers to navigating meteorogical events with wave effects. I think they were commenting on their dating options.

  8. 19 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    A real life licensing/intellectual property story that shows even creators can be dumb around such matters:

    The inventor of the Robertson screw (the square in the middle of the screw head, vs. Philips which is the star) made a better (by far) screw – you could have the wrong sized screwdriver and it would usually work (the square hole had a taper), it stayed on your screwdriver so you could get it started, and it worked well with machinery that needed to pick up screws and drive them as part of assembly lines. And you didn’t tear out and destroy the screw head anywhere near as with Philips screws that were driven in hard.

    You know that up until the last decade or two, you rarely saw this great construction tool in the US? It was all over Canada and is the standard screw head for construction of houses and anything to do with screws into wood.

    Why? Both Philips and Robertson were contemporaries. Both had opportunities to license their screw for broad distribution. Philips was okay with broad distribution and taking a smaller cut of a much larger pot. Robertson, being a suspicious Scot, wanted to control production himself and licensed it to either none or such a small range of companies that it never broke out in the US and Philips took over pretty much all of the US construction as a result.

    The intellectual property aspect here again is: Someone made something really useful but (in this case) isn’t willing to share it for the world. And anyone who independently saw the problems with Philips screws might well have come up with the sort of idea Robertson did…. but then they’d have run afoul of intellectual property issues and litigation.

    So only very late on is this vastly better screw coming to construction in the Northern parts of the US.

  9. 19 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    Many innovations and creations have been papered over in many parts of the world. There are others that can’t grasp concurrent, geographically distant evolutions of new knowledge (someone must have had it first!). And then there’s the whole reality that in a majority of cases, even in ancient times, there was some travel, some sharing of information and ideas, and almost always you’ll see someone influenced by ideas or work of another and they then go on to describe something in a new or different way – is that their creation or is it an additive aspect of what has come before?

    Ultimately, I have no trouble accepting concurrent creation, of discovering that some things we thought discovered by X were also seperately discovered by Y and perhaps a bit earlier. That doesn’t mean X didn’t discover something as far as they knew or undrestood.

    Then again, I find anyone who feels necessary to be proud or feel ownership of (ideas, concepts, discoveries, etc) and particularly of those long dead to be a bit misguided.

    Why do I care if my Scots ancestors invented a ridiculously large amount of machinery of various sorts and produced other worthy creations the world over? I didn’t do that and I have no right to be proud for them; I really only own my own achievements. And if a Scot invented (item X), why does that somehow make him better than someone French or English or Chinese or whatever?

    In my view, its good for humanity that someone developed it, but pride in a polity or a culture really only has any reality to me in the context of what that polity or culture is doing today.

    I don’t want to be judged by the achievements of my ancestors’ ethnicity or polities. It’s a false sense of feeling good about the people you came from who are long dead and thus not of any particular import today. (Their ideas may be, but they as people are gone.)

    I find national pride, like strong convictions in religion, in cultural comparisons, etc. to be a bad idea generally. YMMV.

  10. 19 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    Or even 20 years, but if you happen to die, it continues. I’m not even sure it should last the life of the author. It didn’t originally. And there’s no right or wrong here – there was a time there was no such notion, a time where times were much shorter, and a gradual lobby-driven move to shove the times waaaay out there and well past the lifespan of creators.

    There’s really only the question is the current insanity helping creators and helping innovation? I’m going to say ‘nowhere near as well as it did when the period of protection was much shorter and when corporations were wanting evergreen returns from every product they paid some creator a smidgeon of its actual long term value for.’

    Like many things we created in law, we have every right to revisit its utility and ask ‘who benefits?’ and if we don’t like the answers, change the law.