Virginia Home-Schoolers Make a Play to Join High School Teams – NYTimes.com

My old college roommate, Rob Bell, is the state legislator behind this bill. Robert Bell, the legislator who is sponsoring the Virginia bill, said it represented increasingly nuanced parental thinking as home-schooling has evolved into a more mainstream activity, up from 850,000 students nationally in 1999 to 1.5 million in 2007, the latest figure available from the Department of Education. In Virginia, the number has risen from 3,800 students in 1990 to an estimated 32,000 today, Mr. Bell said. “Twenty years ago, the perception was that home-schoolers wanted to be as separate as can be from public schools,” Mr. Bell…

‘Robot Journalist’ Out-Writes Human Sports Reporter

Sports journalism is full of colorful figures of speech, invented by writers who wanted to put a little variety into their writing. When given objective data about the game, a computer program has done a fairly good job of emulating sports lingo. The following story starts out by critiquing a sports news story that some skeptics assumed had been written by a machine. The writer of that story — it turns out — was a living, breathing human being. But the creators of Narrative Science, a news-writing software program, took Deadspin’s assumption as fighting words. They set out to prove…

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The Hidden Feminist Messages in ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’

Hidden? Sure, but certainly not accidental. I didn’t notice it when I was a kid, but it sure jumped out at me when I watched the Schoolhouse Rock videos with my kids. And even small details are pro-girl. The nameless character who shows up in a mini-skirt and platforms in “Interjections!” is unbelievably excited not about a boy, but about an A+ in a report card:Some of this consistent, cleverly feminist vision is due to Lynn Ahrens, the Tony Award-winning lyricist behind Ragtime, who wrote the music and lyrics for “Interjections!” “A Noun Is a Person, Place Or Thing,” “The…

Writing a Sports Story

While the news lead told the five Ws and the H, the lead of a sports story (though not limited to one paragraph) must contain certain elements. When editing sports, check the lead for: 1. Who was involved 2. What happened 3. When 4. Where 5. Name of the sport 6. Score 7. How won How the game was won is usually the lead emphasis on a sports story. —Writing a Sports Story (Ellsworth Air Force Base) A good find. I wonder who the author is. The last few paragraphs offer specifics for dealing with military ranks, so this handout was…

Olympics bill comes under attack

Existing legislation already prevents non-official sponsors from using distinctive “Olympic marks” like the Olympic rings. But the new bill will make it illegal to combine words like “games”, “medals”, “gold”, “2012”, “sponsor” or “summer” in any form of advertising. —Olympics bill comes under attack (BBC) Note that the Olympics Bill seems to apply only to advertising connected to the 2012 London games.

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How to Get Boys to Sit Down with a Book

Researchers and educators blame the gap between books and boys on everything from a built-in fidgetiness to low expectations to a lifelong association of reading with their mothers, teachers, librarians — all female role models. But now more are suggesting that the problem may not lie entirely within the boys themselves. Some educators believe that the way schools teach reading tends to favor girls, both in terms of teaching style and reading materials chosen. It’s a concern that has pushed teachers to work harder to both find materials that boys like to read, and to find more “boy-friendly” ways to…

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Reality Check: The Enemy Is Us: Cost Reduction in College Sports

Q. Who is responsible for the high cost, high visibility nature of intercollegiate sports? A: You are. Every time you or your family or friends watch a college game on television, buy college apparel with logos, purchase a ticket to the game, or otherwise participate in a college sports activity, you vote for the current system because the current system reflects the active and engaged enthusiasm of Americans for their college sports. —John V. Lombardi —Reality Check: The Enemy Is Us: Cost Reduction in College Sports (Inside Higher Ed) Not guilty, as charged. A good, no-nonsense FAQ.

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Lights Out: Can contact sports lower your intelligence?

They reported that the more someone heads a soccer ball, the lower that player will score on tests measuring attention, concentration, and general intellectual functioning. Lezak is unsurprised. “I know what happens when you bat on the brain,” she says. “Given what we know about boxing, it would have been surprising if we hadn’t found anything. In soccer, people are punishing themselves in much the same way boxers do.” —Barry Yeoman —Lights Out: Can contact sports lower your intelligence? (Discover) Yaah! My six-year-old son wants to play soccer this spring. He wanted to do it last spring, but he injured his…

‘American Gods’ in a High School Classroom

The first day, when they went to the bookstore and bought the book, I thought most of the kids would try to transfer out of the class. “There is no way I’m going to read a book this thick,” more than one student said to me. Another student told me the longest thing he’d ever read was an entire issue of Sports Illustrated. Others accused me of trying to kill them, particularly when I told them that we’d be discussing the first chapter (about 30 pages) at the next class. “I am not going to finish 30 pages in one…

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Vatican Sets Up Sports Department

John Paul wants to make “the Holy See’s solicitude felt in the world of sports,” the Vatican said. The pontiff has given the weeks-old department its marching orders. Among the directives, the Vatican said, is fostering a “sports culture which promotes a vision of sports activity as a means of integral personal growth and as an instrument in the service of peace and brotherhood among peoples.” Lixey said the Church and Sports department was in its fledgling stages, but he indicated it would have a broad sweep, ranging from contacts with institutions like the international soccer federation and Olympic committees…

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NU football program fell short, Dukes says

“I was treated like a god,” the former Nebraska quarterback says. “I had pretty much everything given to me out there from the start. | “I never thought I had to work for anything. It was pretty much understood, ‘Hey this kid is going to take over the program.’ I don’t like things given to me. I like to work.” —NU football program fell short, Dukes says (Omaha.com) A Nebraska quarterback transferred to Duke, where he still plays football, but feels better about the pre-med education he’s receiving. I subscribe to a Google News alert, which sends me an e-mail every…