Archive for the ‘WTF?’ Category

Freedom of Speech

September 7, 2011

I admire people who are vocal about something they don’t like.  It’s one of the things that make living in a free country so amazing.  Hence, I found Bobby Martinez’s interview at the Quiksilver Pro New York–the interview that got him disqualified from the rest of the contest–quite refreshing.

I don’t get the new One World ranking system.  I tried to understand it by reading about it on the ASP website, but failed.  Perhaps I need some visuals.  What I do understand, though, is that some guys currently on the title tour will get purged for lack of points and be replaced by others.

Besides the fact that it’s just damn confusing, there’s something wrong about this complicated, convoluted new ranking system.  And finally someone–Bobby Martinez to be exact–has spoken out against it and called it like it is.  I wonder how many other pro surfers feel the way he does.  On the other hand, I also wonder how many pro surfers prefer this new system.  I guess as long as you’re Kelly Slater and sitting pretty at the top of the rankings, it doesn’t really matter what kind of system is in existence. But for everyone else, especially the ones that may get purged, it certainly does matter.

Missing Logic

July 25, 2011

Every now and then I read something so outrageous and inconceivable that I find myself having to vent.  The most recent urge I have to vent comes from this article that I just read from the Star Advertiser.

The first sentence of this article says it all–the DOE is trying to figure out why test scores for students with SEVERE COGNITIVE DISABILITIES would drop so dramatically when given the new, MORE ACADEMICALLY RIGOROUS standardized test.

Anyone with an ounce of logic would realize that the DOE doesn’t need to “figure out” why test scores dropped.  Look at the sentence again!  What student population is taking the test?  And what kind of test are they being given?  Is the DOE so lacking in logic that they actually did NOT think test scores would NOT fall so much given that it is a much HARDER test?

Instead of the DOE trying to figure out why test scores dropped so dramatically, they should be figuring out ways to justify moving away from standardized testing and into a much better form of authentic assessment. Students are not cut from the same cookie cutter.  They are individuals. And when assessing what they have learned, forms of assessment that cater to their individuality should be used.  I am a big fan of using portfolios for assessment.  Students create their own portfolios that show their mastery of the subject.  Each portfolio is different from another, but all portfolios are scored on the same rubric.

Whatever the case, the DOE is subject to NCLB.  And NCLB dictates standardized testing.  And that is not what this blog is about.  I just wanted to vent about the missing logic of the DOE in their attempt to FIGURE OUT why test scores for students with severe cognitive disabilities dropped so dramatically when given the harder test.  To me, theres NOTHING to figure out.  The “why did this happen” is answered in that one sentence.

WTF? Italian Seismologists Charged for NOT Predicting Earthquake

May 27, 2011

What’s wrong with the Italian government?  Why are they charging their top earthquake scientists with manslaughter for NOT predicting the 2009 earthquake? Check out the news story here.

Everyone knows that you CAN’T predict earthquakes.  Earthquakes can be explained scientifically, but you can’t pin-point the exact moment it will occur.

So why is the Italian government charging their scientists with manslaughter?  This has got to be one of the top most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  It makes me NOT want to go to Italy.  After all, how can I visit a country that acts so irrationally?

It also makes me ponder the scope of history.  Italy, as the birthplace of Ancient Rome, has a history of being one of the most rational and logical places in the world.  When you study the Roman Republic and Empire, you learn about the inventors of concrete, the builders of amazing engineering feats, and the developers of a very progressive type of government that combined elements of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy so that ALL classes of people eventually had a say in the government and that their interests were all balanced against the others (i.e., this government, though, only existed during the days of the Roman Republic).

Yes, the Roman Republic had harsh laws.  For instance, it was the right of the head of a family to kill a dreadfully deformed child.  Another laws says that if someone sung a song that slandered or insulted another, that person should be clubbed to death.  Can you imagine living in a society with such laws?  It is certainly not a humane society, although some may argue that it is more humane to kill than to let a deformed child suffer. One thing to note about Rome’s law though-it was the decision for the head of the family to kill a deformed child.  It was NOT the decision of the state.  If it was, then Rome would be equivalent to Ancient Sparta and Nazi Germany.

Furthermore, if we lived in a society in which you could not insult another, then we would have no freedom of speech.  We would also have no tabloid headlines to read as we stand in line at the supermarket.  Slander, on the other hand, is something that can land someone in a court of law.

Nevertheless, some Roman laws were also very logical.  For example, one law states that if your neighbor’s tree leans over onto your land, you can remove that tree.  Another says you can gather fruit from someone’s tree if it falls onto another’s property.

Italy, then, certainly has a history of being quite logical and rational.  So what’s up with them charging seismologists for NOT predicting the 2009 earthquake?  Well, Italy is a long ways from Ancient Rome.  Much has happened in the centuries between then and now, and obviously Italy has given up rationality in favor of sensationalism.  Too bad the Italian seismologists can’t fire back and charge the government with slander and have this irrational court system clubbed to death.