A Very Pricey Pineapple – NYTimes.com

An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests. The only public participant in the show would be the taxpayer. If all else fails, the kid could always drop out and try to get a diploma via the good old G.E.D. The General Educational Development test program used to be…

Paris Mayor Combats Noisy Nightlife by Deploying Roving Squads of Mimes

This is both creepily terrifying yet kind of awesome, in a drunk-whisperer, Pied Piper, passive-aggressive arrogantly Gallic yet obviously better than pepper spray and riot gear kind of way. You have encountered a “Pierrot de la Nuit,” or Night Mime. These “nocturnal artistic intervention squads” are officially being launched this weekend in 15 Parisian neighborhoods. It’s an initiative of the Paris mayor’s office, which has adopted a strategy that has…

War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests

War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 'Forbidden' Words Banned From Standardized Tests « CBS New York. The article presents a list of what the headline described as “banned words,” and we see whole concepts and topics, including “Children dealing with serious issues” and “Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting).” Obviously the intent is to avoid upsetting children who are taking the all-important,…

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Three books at heart of investigation in Schofield teacher’s administrative leave

Apparently there is an allegation this teacher read to the class from the internet some age-inappropriate material about prostitutes, but as I undrestand it, the school says it is responding to complaints about three books. In addition to a science fiction novel, a Schofield Middle School teacher now on administrative leave allegedly read excerpts from an Agatha Christie novel and a young adult novel set in the Old West, officials…

With historic losses looming, Postal Service launches new ad campaign – The Washington Post

And this is, apparently, the best they could come up with? FUD works when you have the advantage of power, or numbers… or, apparently, a still-hefty taxpayer-backed budget. “A refrigerator has never been hacked,” an announcer says in the first message as an actress pins a paper bill to her fridge. In the other ad, a smiling letter carrier is seen walking her route while an announcer reminds viewers that…

Northeast braces for temps near boiling point – Yahoo! News

The inter tubes are clogged with pundits mocking the AP for a story claiming that “residents are bracing themselves for temperatures near and above boiling point.” In defense of the AP, I will point out that the article does not specify the planet on which these “residents” reside, so this could be a northeastern quadrant of some distant planet, where boiling is a more commonplace event. And, in further defense…