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Links 1 through 10 of 1044 by Chad Orzel tagged politics

I wish more discussions of fraternities and sororities were conducted with this level of thoughtfulness and respect. Also, the application of these ideas to stuff like "What's the matter with Kansas?" is left as an exercise for the reader.

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I've had this open in a tab for a week now, but between my job and my family, I haven't been able to find time to blog about it. Irony sucks, sometimes.

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Priebus, a wily, mystical creature who has reportedly carried out right-wing political trickery at numerous points throughout recorded history, was said to be delivering a speech on traditional family values when he unthinkingly read the words “Subeirp Ecnier” aloud off the teleprompter, immediately causing the lights in the Omni Hotel to flicker and sending a powerful, chilling wind through the convention hall.

Witnesses stated that in the moments after the fateful words were uttered, Priebus reverted to his natural form as a 3-and-a-half-foot-tall wart-covered hobgoblin. As Priebus’ nose grew red and bulbous and the points of his green felt shoes coiled inward, the puzzle box—forged with images of a sword, a skull, and a jackal—shook violently on a nearby tabletop before splitting open and emitting heavy smoke and an eerie purple glow.

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By the 1970s, space had become a laboratory rather than a frontier. Despite its status as "space station," Skylab was first called Orbital Workshop, making it sound more like dad's vision for his garage than like Kubrik's vision of 2001. The fact that Skylab was permanently disfigured during launch only concretized the program's ennui. Space exploration became self-referential: missions were sent to SkyLab in order to repair SkyLab.

The Space Shuttle turned the workaday space lab into a suburban delivery and odd-jobs service. Satellites were deployed, space labs serviced, probes released, crystals grown. Meanwhile, the aspects of space travel that really interest people--such as the fact that it's travel in motherfucking outer space--were downplayed or eliminated.

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Like Corey Robin, I went to public schools in upper middle-class communities, had great relationships with most of my teachers, felt enormous affection for the education I received, and so on. On the other hand, I don’t have good feelings about the totality of “school”, particularly before high school, because (like more than a few academics) I also recall being bullied with great frequency, in no small measure because I did like school and education and a vocal and aggressive subset of other students did not.

So something is going on even while we’re being schooled that draws from both parents and the wider culture, but I also think has its own dynamic among students. Teachers, mostly unfairly, often become a holder for all of that wider, more diffuse antagonism towards the experience of education.

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Though the final contract has not yet been hammered out, here are just some of the things the Chicago Teachers Union have won with their seven-day strike [pdf]:

Almost 600 new art, music, and gym teachers
Guaranteed textbooks in the first day of class
$1.5 million for new special education teachers
$.5 million for reductions in class size
More than twice as much money for classroom supplies
No question: they’re hurting the kids.

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Martin Chalfie thought the Golden Goose Award was a hoax at first. But now that he knows what it is, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Columbia University says that receiving the award this Thursday in a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., will be "a highlight" of his career. Intended to showcase researchers who pursue oddball topics that eventually lead to significant health and economic benefits, the awards were created by a coalition of science organizations (including AAAS, publisher of ScienceInsider) as a playful rejoinder to the "Golden Fleece Awards" awarded by the late Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), who frequently blasted government-funded basic research as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

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This ended up being less interesting than it seemed it might be, but I'm not sure why.

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How knowing your material backwards, forwards, and inside out lets you turn a pretty good text into a masterful speech.

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One of my most-visited sites on the web is Reddit.com, and one of my favourite subreddits is HistoricalWhatIf, an online community that debates historical hypotheticals. Earlier today someone asked the question, In a mass knife fight to the death between every American President, who would win and why? Someone beat me to the obvious answer that a final showdown would see Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt doing a dagger-wielding version of a Mexican standoff, so I took it too far and walked through how I thought every president would turn out. An hour later the result greatly exceeded the maximum 10,000 character limit for a post, so I’ve decided to blog about it instead.

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