Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for November 23rd, 2008

What we see when we see movies

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Interesting post by Ilan Shrira, a visiting professor of social psychology at the University of Florida. It begins:

Which of these groups is portrayed most favorably in American movies?

a) Smokers
b) Psychiatrists
c) CEOs
d) P.E. teachers

Read on…

A study published in the journal Pediatrics this month showed that exposure to sexual content in the media predicted a greater risk of adolescent pregnancy. Researchers followed teenagers over a 3-year period, finding that those who watched a great deal of sex on TV were twice as likely to get pregnant or to impregnate someone else, compared to those who watched only a little. These results could not be explained by the teenagers’ family environment, performance in school, history of deviant behavior, or any other factor.

Parents have always raged against the media for bringing taboo topics and explicit material closer and closer to the mainstream, from sex and violence to unsavory role models who use drugs or embrace “alternative lifestyles”. Though it’s debatable how much these images affect the average person, studies like this have been confirming parents’ fears — these images can have a profound impact on behavior. We want to focus on portrayals in mainstream American movies, in part because many of these films are distributed worldwide and seen by millions of people outside the country too.

Early criticisms of film content were based on the observation …

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Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 10:58 am

Posted in Daily life, Movies & TV, Science

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Pakistan, home of highly decorated trucks

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 10:54 am

Posted in Art, Daily life

Teaching teachers

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Official professional standards in both Scotland and England which aim to nurture the development of new teachers pay too little attention to what ‘becoming’ a teacher is really like. New research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), finds that existing standards ignore the emotional, relationship and personal issues which are the real challenge for teachers starting out in their careers, focussing instead on the acquisition of skills and knowledge. Resulting from the study, researchers propose a new model which aims to improve existing standards by capturing the multi-dimensional experience of new teachers. Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Strathclyde, Jim McNally, says: “Existing competence-based professional standards do not connect with the actual learning experience of beginners in the teaching profession and downplay the reality of what ‘becoming’ a teacher means. For example, you can’t be a teacher unless children accept you as one and existing standards don’t address that. ”

The development of new teachers is now regulated by the achievement in Scotland of the Standard for Full Registration (SFR) and in England and Wales by Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In this new study, researchers based at Stirling University and Manchester Metropolitan University conclude that these competence-based professional standards are a useful, yet incomplete, innovation.

“Professional standards are clearly vital in terms of public accountability,” researcher Jim McNally points out. “The existing standards are a step forward but we believe they fail to capture the complexities, demands and difficulties of the first year of teaching.. Our new model encompasses a fuller appreciation of the learning process that statutory standards neglect through a more sophisticated recognition of early professional learning (EPL).”

In acknowledging the complexities of becoming a teacher, researchers identified seven dimensions of EPL:

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Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 9:20 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

Eric Holder’s going to have his hands full

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The Department of Justice is going to require an extensive makeover. Dahlia Lithwick comments in Slate:

The U.S. Justice Department faces an internal crisis in morale and a public crisis in credibility. And while every Justice Department pushes its political agenda alongside its lofty goals of upholding the law, the Bush Justice Department sometimes pushed its political agenda in direct violation of the law. The question now is whether Eric Holder, Barack Obama’s pick for attorney general, can fix it.

Nobody knows better than Holder that the line between law and politics at DoJ can be blurry. The one stain on his otherwise gilded legal career was the role he played, as No. 2 in the Clinton Justice Department, in the pardon of fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich during Clinton’s last hours. Holder didn’t give the pardon application much thought before concluding that he was “neutral leaning towards favorable.” Clinton relied in part on that advice in granting the pardon. Holder later testified before Congress that he’d made a mistake.

What Holder stands to inherit from Michael Mukasey and his predecessor Alberto Gonzales is not a Justice Department that was slightly confused about where the law began and politics ended. If confirmed, he will take over an institution where, at least in recent years, politics sometimes had no end. The department became fodder for late-night TV monologues in 2007 when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his staff flimflammed their way through congressional hearings about the partisan firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Those independent prosecutors were let go for failing to be—in the parlance of Gonzales’ underage underlings—”loyal Bushies.” More than a dozen officials resigned in the wake of that scandal.

Things at Justice worsened with internal reports finding the department had …

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Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 9:03 am

Full disclosure: rare

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Psychiatrist Frederick K. Goodwin, who hosts a popular show on National Public Radio called “The Infinite Mind,” earned “at least $1.3 million from 2000 to 2007 giving marketing lectures for drugmakers, income not mentioned on the program,” reports Gardiner Harris. This revelation and other news about Goodwin’s consulting work makes him “the latest in a series of doctors and researchers whose ties to drugmakers have been uncovered by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. … Mr. Grassley is systematically asking some of the nation’s leading researchers and doctors to provide their conflict-of-interest disclosures, and he is comparing those documents with records of actual payments from drug companies. The records often conflict, sometimes starkly.” Goodwin claims he informed his program’s producer, Bill Lichtenstein, of his consulting work for drug companies, a claim that Lichtenstein strongly denies.

Source: New York Times, November 21, 2008

Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 7:35 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Stunning photo

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 7:01 am

Posted in Daily life

Morning report

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I finally decided to get the frozen capon, which even now is defrosting in the refrigerator, along with a duck I bought on a whim at the same time. The capon’s for Thanksgiving, the duck I’ll have before.

I made a serendipity salad last night that I really enjoyed. I had half a fairly large plastic box of Earthbound Farms Organic Spring Mix on hand, so I added to that:

Some crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
5 slices of thick bacon that I chopped and sautéed

Then in the bacon fat, I sautéed:

2 minced cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 small Delicata squash, cut in quarters lengthwise, seed, and sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper

Once the squash was tender, I added that to the developing salad. Then in the same pan I sautéed 5 sea scallops and added those.

Finally, I deglazed the pan with about 3 Tbsp of sherry vinegar and added that.

I tossed it all together, and man, it was good. The cheese had melted a little and the greens were slightly wilted by the hot ingredients, but overall it was a lovely salad. And I ate it while watching Holes, which I enjoyed: a classic sort of fairy tale in a modern setting.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 6:59 am

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