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Old 06-22-2011, 02:10 PM   #301 (permalink)
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The city I live in is -- for North America -- the one of its' size and larger with the least amount of traffic delay. Which makes it "funny" that the locals have come up with their own interpretation of a "Yield" sign. Apparently one is to come to a full stop along the highway frontage/service roads in deference to traffic Exiting the freeway (and this is lost in translation) but Entering the service road . . instead of merging together as is done universally all other places.

Recently one set of entrances and exits along the highway were rebuilt, so no longer are there any Yield signs. But you guessed it they'll still stop in the road when the exiting traffic from the highway which now has its own lane comes present.

Need I say that literacy, basic literacy, is so low in South Texas that another burg is the largest in the U.S. without even a bookstore? Or that a nicely-done late 1980's central city library (here) is being given over to the police . . why read? Just do what the others do. God forbid one were forced to read the Texas Drivers Handbook. That might entail knowing how to read.

The entrance ramp onto the highway is no better. If one is traveling along in the outermost freeway lane expect to see the one-finger salute if you, like me, would rather run them off the road than be forced to yield illegally. No clue, just no clue whatsoever . . . and they speed up to the speed at which they could easily have earlier, legally, achieved.

The incredibly low rate of auto insurance coverage locally rather well explains the first, but not the second. A misplaced "courtesy" would seem to cover both, a courtesy that endangers all others. (Nothing like it in the morning fog).

.

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Old 06-25-2011, 06:35 PM   #302 (permalink)
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Education brings up another annoyance - one from this week for me.

It is nearing the end of year here in Scotland so we have had A-junior's end of term report. Now you may suppose that this contains some kind of rating of his abilities - maybe something like grades or percentages or even genuine comments.

Nope - now we have the "Curriculum for Excellence" as the McGovernment.Scotland calls it. So what we get instead is a single sided sheet with about 5 paragraphs of, well, total bollocks to be honest. Apparently A-junior "works well in groups and as an individual". Well at what ? No idea. Is it work at a level kids of his age should be doing ? No idea. Is he ahead or behind in something ? No idea.

He is an "effective contributor". How ? What at ?

This is annoying for two reasons really. Firstly Scotland used to have one of the best public education systems in the world. Scottish kids would regularly rank in the top 10 in the world for key subjects like maths or science or history at age 10. Now we are even lower than England and we spend 30% more on each kid. This difference in spending is one reason why my English homeland wants Scotland to be independent, event if Scotland itself is not so sure.

Secondly there was a debate on Radio Scotland the other week about education. Except it kind of wasn't. The two studio people were someone from the local councils in Scotland (they run the schools) and the teaching unions. So what we got was a discussion about wage settlements and some huffing and puffing about how its impossible to sack a useless teacher. It really really is, honest. So absolutely no discussion about standards or grades or how to get the system back on track. Nothing. There was much foaming at the mouth as I was listening as there has been before.*

As a leftie I believe in universal education just like universal healthcare - hey we have it here and it works when not being "re-disorganised" over and over - but I am seriously considering placing myself in retirement bankruptcy to make sure A-junior gets a decent private education.

A-Junior is clever BTW - he can work out most problems straight away. I got him a science - electronics kit - for Christmas and he worked it all out. He also worked out Judo moves so he, as a small kid, can beat the big kid. No idea where he gets the big brains - or the good looks - from but he has them, and I hate to see it wasted like this.

Rant over.


*(Radio Scotland had a previous debate when fuel prices rose about how this affects rural communities here. This is a problem - I pay ~ £1.35 a litre in Embra, people in the highlands and islands pay over £1.50 and earn less. The studio person on that debate was someone from WWF. Why ? No idea. Maybe someone representing rural communities would have been a good idea ? Not with the BBC obviously. His advice ? "Everyone should just move house and stop using cars" - pillock. I did ring in on this occasion but I think my comment to the researcher "why the **** is this guy on the radio" probably meant I wasn't going to be called to contribute...)
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:10 PM   #303 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
. . .
Nope - now we have the "Curriculum for Excellence" as the McGovernment.Scotland calls it. So what we get instead is a single sided sheet with about 5 paragraphs of, well, total bollocks to be honest. Apparently A-junior "works well in groups and as an individual". Well at what ? No idea. Is it work at a level kids of his age should be doing ? No idea. Is he ahead or behind in something ? No idea.

. . . The two studio people were someone from the local councils in Scotland (they run the schools) and the teaching unions. So what we got was a discussion about wage settlements and some huffing and puffing about how its impossible to sack a useless teacher.
. . .
As a leftie I believe in universal education just like universal healthcare - hey we have it here and it works when not being "re-disorganised" over and over - but I am seriously considering placing myself in retirement bankruptcy to make sure A-junior gets a decent private education.

A-Junior is clever BTW - he can work out most problems straight away. I got him a science - electronics kit - for Christmas and he worked it all out. He also worked out Judo moves so he, as a small kid, can beat the big kid. No idea where he gets the big brains - or the good looks - from but he has them, and I hate to see it wasted like this.
. . .
It sounds like some of our "no child left behind" idiots have infected your side of the pond. Their great contribution is red-tape "assessments." But I've seen an uglier side, privatization of education, and somehow, I suspect that is their ultimate goal.

When I was in grade school, Mom took us to the public library. I learned a lot in school but it was always too slow. But the library, books provided what I needed at speed.

My parents sent me to a private school (a for fee school) for two years and that was a living h*ll. The classes were small and the pace was still glacial but worse, they played personalities. In the smaller classes, there was no way to 'sneak a read' and many of the kids were selfish little b*st*rds and b*tches. Worse, the library was a joke.

I got back to public school for the last four years and they had a wonderful library. As a library aid, I was in 'hog heaven.' Then I found the vocational tech, electronics courses had real electronics and a good book with a plan of labs and lectures. I was also exposed to 'self-paced' training in English and finally could go 'at speed.' But the math department and 'college bound' courses were a joke. This idea that all kids must be taught at the same pace is cruel.

I have never been a fan of 'home study' unless it means use of self-paced studies. If it eliminates the forced 'socialization', it could be a good thing. I don't know if that is an option in Scotland.

I wish you well but my biggest disappointment has been that every course is not 'self-paced' and that useless 'summer vacation.' Four, week long breaks makes a heck of a lot more sense but that is another story.

Bob Wilson
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:53 PM   #304 (permalink)
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Bob - its kind of like that, and different.

I checked with my parents and we got real actual reports when I was A junior's age ~ 10. It prompted them to book me extra lessons in some areas, encourage reading of any kind (I was a big comic book fan and now non-fiction and science) and get me into technology and I now work in IT. It has worked, I am lucky enough not to have been unemployed even in the dot-com nonsense. That tapped if I had to I would find something to do.

From A-junior's report I have no idea if he is doing OK or not. I suppose I shouldn't worry but we only get one go.

I'm going to send a copy to the Scottish Education Minister and ask him if he could actually work it out.

Home study is OK if you have the time, we both have to work full time to afford to live where we live - ironically this is so our son can access the local school which is supposed to be one of the top 5 or so in Scotland.

Madness.
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:21 PM   #305 (permalink)
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Rant Alert.

More sheer stupid madness.



'Embra' - yes they really do mispell 'Edinburgh' with a 'V' because they think it makes it sound old, and historical and special - decided to build some trams so it worked out an estimate. £545m. Hmm thought a few people, that seems 'cheap'. But still Embra (pop 450k people) likes to think 'big' - even though it is really quite a little place both in terms of population and physical space - and simply had to have one.

Well, it seems the estimate was a little 'light' as these things usually are. We have some history here, the parliament building for example was estimated to cost £40m, ended up over 10x that amount.

Anyway trams - they will now only go 50% of the original distance, they have removed one 'optional' line, and it will now cost £700m - on latest estimates.

Oh and if we decide to cancel it then thats £750m - at least. And the streets have already been dug up everywhere - in some places twice to fix what wasn't done right in the first place.

Oh and another tiny problem is that the estimated £700m route will not go where people actually want so it won't earn money and will run at a loss all the time - to get that part will cost between £740-770m. Estimated.

This is what was originally proposed :



I've carefully used my superb graphical image skills to modify a later diagram to show what we are actually going to get, and highlight the part that may not be completed. Seamless, I'm sure you will agree.



And at the same time our schools are facing cuts, roads are not being repaired, there is no way to get to the railway line from the airport - but the train line runs past the end of one of the runways, and traffic going to the Forth Bridge still has to go through the suburbs.

Anything this will achieve could have been done by just upping the number of buses running, or making better use of existing roadspace or perhaps not allowing developers to build so many shopping centres which (gasp) people want to DRIVE TO.

I can't be the only one that wants to ask if anyone in charge is paying attention, am I ?

(and breathe...)
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:03 AM   #306 (permalink)
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Re education: This is the same trend that is going on in many countries, and what many call "Americanisation". Poland's schooling system was reformed a while back and when the first wave of "newly schooled" teenagers hit the universities, those had to lower their level of education. Today's highschool graduates finish their education more or less where I was 2-3 years before graduating. On the other hand, I can't really compare, since I was graded on a scale of 1 (worst) to 6 (best) for most of my life, while many kids either get a worthless essay written about them (as in A Jnr's case) or they are graded with something similarly neutral and meaningless. How am I supposed to know if a butterfly is better or worse than a flower? Unfortunately that scale doesn't start with pile o' $hit...
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:51 PM   #307 (permalink)
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Too funny guys. Really. 75% of American college graduates cannot decipher a complex English sentence. That would be embarrassing, nay, terrible to say of our high school graduates. Without literacy all the rest is beside the point. As the world of cheap energy comes to a close, so, too, it appears, will its' stepchild democracy.

Public education in this country is little more than taxpayer-funded daycare, "socio-economic status" notwithstanding. In Texas the largest architectural firm building prisons (private, for profit) also is the largest school constructor. Hard to tell the difference in driving by either except for the amount of razor-wire topping the hurricane fencing. The outcome is pre-ordained. (And don't let the near-identical giant evangelical churches fool you with their lack of fencing).

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Old 07-04-2011, 05:33 PM   #308 (permalink)
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Re-Education - I have decided to actually send my son's latest 'report' to the education secretary. We shall see.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:02 PM   #309 (permalink)
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Arriving in Paris for a break with Mrs A only to find the hotel is c@rp and ending up moving asap to a better one.

And now having to fight the travel company for a rejection of the "Superior" room which is only 10ft by 8ft and has no air con and has paint peeling off the walls..

Hmmm.

On the plus side Mr Mastercard is VERY interested in refusing payment.
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Old 07-06-2011, 05:52 PM   #310 (permalink)
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To try and stay in shape; I go to a nice park to run about 31/4 miles 3 times a week. The park is in a rural setting with clear defined gravel/dirt paths, surrounded by wide open grass areas, (maybe 30%) mixed open/light congestion of trees/established picnic tables, and covered group areas, ( another 30%) and finally heavily wooded up and down elevation dirt trail. (40%)

For the most part; all of these paths/trails are VERY user friendly with a width where 4 people could walk side by side.

Here's my rub! I realize that people come to the park to relax, and should not have to be intensely alert; but some are like dead to senses.

In the general American traffic pattern, I try to stay on the right, and pass on the left. 98% of the time, I have no trouble.

Once in a while though; three people will stand in a circle blocking the path in an area of wide flat grass right next to them. From 70 yards away, you can see that one of them sees you coming. But they won't interupt the conversation to warn the others, so at the last second, chaos wins. I don't mind going by on the grass, but when I'm going down the right side of the path/trail; I think it should be obvious to all what my intended routing is!! It's like they don't have a clue!

In Portland, and particularly in Eugene, Oregon; which has about the longest established bicycle highway in the USA; you had better know the prodical, or you will be run down like a squirrel in the middle of the freeway! Walkers/joggers are welcome there, but you watch your positioning well.

Other humorous events I find, are two women walking side by side. You've been running (faster than a jog) some 3 miles,already so you have an established wheezing of air in/out, plus the gravel compressed under foot coming fast sound, yet they are so oblivious to your arrival, that you have to pass on the right, and one woman jumps a foot off the ground in shocked surprise that you are even there when all of this happens between 10AM-1PM!!!!

Another fun one is the dog owners. ( I do like dogs/cats:but not roosters!!!!!!)
The dog has pulled their way to the full length of the leash. The human may be on the far right with the dog sniffing the grass off to the far left, or vice/versa. I always try to run around the human rather than the dog to avoid surprised lunges and leash conflicts.

It's kind of fun to approach these circumstances. It's like you are a NASCAR racer; there might be a weird spin in front of you; and you must pick a hole to try to drive through whatever mess as cleanly as possible.

I don't even want to talk about the kid factor. A few have manners, and have been taught some; but so many are "anything goes, we own the world chaos"!!!

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