Parents and students have been “opting out” of high-stakes testing in record numbers over the past year, saying the standardized tests waste valuable instruction time, cause undue stress and often measure “skills” that have nothing to do with academic knowledge.
Rather than merely asking for a right or wrong answer to a math, history or science question, the new assessment industry is capable of boring into a child’s attitudes, values, opinions and beliefs, all of which parents and privacy advocates say is no business of the government’s.
Fractured Country: an Unconventional Invasion’ is a new film from Lock the Gate Alliance (Australia) about the risks to communities from invasive gasfields. This is the full version of the documentary.
To purchase a full copy of the film visit lockthegate.org.au
The murder of 34 miners by the South African police, most of them shot in the back, puts paid to the illusion of post-apartheid democracy and illuminates the new worldwide apartheid of which South Africa is both an historic and contemporary model.
In 1894, long before the infamous Afrikaans word foretold “separate development” for the majority people of South Africa, an Englishman, Cecil John Rhodes, oversaw the Glen Grey Act in what was then the Cape Colony. This was designed to force blacks from agriculture into an army of cheap labour, principally for the mining of newly discovered gold and other precious minerals. As a result of this social Darwinism, Rhodes’ own De Beers company quickly developed into a world monopoly, making him fabulously rich. In keeping with liberalism in Britain and the United States, he was celebrated as a philanthropist supporting high-minded causes.
Today, the Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University is prized among liberal elites. Successful Rhodes scholars must demonstrate “moral force of character” and “sympathy for and protection of the weak, and unselfishness, kindliness and fellowship”. The former president Bill Clinton is one, General Wesley Clark, who led the Nato attack on Yugoslavia, is another. The wall known as apartheid was built for the benefit of the few, not least the most ambitious of the bourgeoisie.
How many times can official science be wrong before governments stop acting on the claim that human CO2 is causing climate change? The latest example is the claim that atmospheric CO2 levels are higher and show the largest one year increase on record.
“The world pumped about 564 million more tons (512 million metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That’s an increase of 6%.”
Tom Boden, director of the Energy Department’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab said,
“It’s a big jump…” “From an emissions standpoint, the global financial crisis seems to be over.”
This last comment is incorrect because the global economy continues to falter. It’s necessary to justify the false claim that human CO2 is the problem.
AURORA, Colo. (Feb. 27, 2012) – A group of scientists from across the world have come together in a just-published study that provides new insights into how fructose causes obesity and metabolic syndrome, more commonly known as diabetes.
In this study which was performed in lab animals, researchers found that fructose can be metabolized by an enzyme that exists in two forms. One form appears to be responsible for causing how fructose causes fatty liver, obesity, and insulin resistance. The other form may actually protect animals from developing these features in response to sugar. These studies may provide important insights into the cause of the prediabetic condition known as “metabolic syndrome”, which currently affects more than one-quarter of adults in the United States.
The study, “Opposing effects of fructokinase C and A isoforms on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in mice” was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Richard Johnson, MD, the senior author of the study and Chief of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado School of Medicine said the findings are significant because we now have a better understanding of how fructose causes obesity and other illnesses.
Governor Charles E. “Buddy” Roemer participates in the Thomson Reuters Politics, Inc. panel, suggesting that corruption is the greatest threat to a republic and America’s political system is now headed toward complete corruption. (March 27, 2012)
The World Bank has warned the planet is on track to warm by four degrees Celsius this century – causing increasingly extreme heat waves, lower crop yields and rising sea levels – unless significant action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
In a major report released ahead of the year-end United Nations climate summit in Qatar, the bank says changes associated with four degrees of warming would have dramatic and devastating effects on all parts of the world, including Australia, but that the poor would be most vulnerable.
Britain on Wednesday warned Ecuador that it could raid its London embassy if Quito does not hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been taking refuge at the mission since mid-June.
In Quito, the Ecuadorean government said that any such action would be considered a violation of its sovereignty a “hostile and intolerable act.”
“Under British law we can give them a weeks’ notice before entering the premises and the embassy will no longer have diplomatic protection,” a Foreign Office spokesman said. “But that decision has not yet been taken. We are not going to do this overnight. We want to stress that we want a diplomatically agreeable solution.”
In Quito, the government bristled at the threat and said it would announce its decision on Assange’s asylum request on Thursday at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT).
“We want to be very clear, we’re not a British colony. The colonial times are over,” Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in an angry statement after a meeting with President Rafael Correa.
The government announced it will next year axe the 30 per cent subsidy that currently applies to lifetime health cover penalties for those who delay taking out private health insurance until after age 30.
Peak retiree body National Seniors said a person taking out health cover at age 50 will pay an extra $180 a year in premiums on a $1500 policy.
And the added costs could be as high as $525 for some people who are pay the maximum 70 per cent penalty on their health cover because they delayed joining up until late in life.
The horse meat fiasco in Europe has prodded scientists to look a bit deeper into what else we might be consuming. A team of South African scientists have just found traces of human tissue in meat meant for public consumption from 9 provinces.
The issue was revealed to parliament, almost as a side note, during meat inspection briefings on Tuesday.
A University of Stellenbosch scientist and his team conducted a microbial analysis that revealed traces of human elements, but said that slaughterhouse workers sometimes cut themselves . . . or other things . . . which could lead to the findings.
If I walked into a factory and the sample I randomly selected to test was a meat sample of which the person de-boning the meat had just picked his nose and then touched the meat, I would get a totally different microbial reading,” he said.
Delicious. Beyond the findings themselves, it brings up the global hot-button topic of the moment: food labeling. How much should we know about what we are consuming?
In addition to the troubling statements above, scientist Louw Hoffman noted that only 15% of the meat being sold in South Africa is correctly labeled, revealing other potentially harmful attributes of which consumers are currently unaware:
“In the labelling regulations it clearly states that allergens have to be mentioned and noted,” said Hoffman.
Allergens like . . . other people’s genetic signature?
Yet, Hoffman and his team of scientists concluded that the incorrect labeling poses “no threat” to the consumers who eat it, despite some more gems uncovered:
Meat Musical Chairs
Briefing parliament’s portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, University of Western Cape forensic scientist Dr Eugenia D’Amato said nearly 43% of samples she had tested which were labelled as game, were, in fact, beef.
D’Amato said horse meat had also been used as a substitute for springbok in biltong, and pork was found in ostrich sausages.
There was also a smaller proportion of kangaroo in samples.
Despite the overall findings that consumers have absolutely no idea what they are eating – including human remnants – in 85% of the products, SA’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries deputy director-general downplayed it by asserting that we are not becoming unwitting cannibals:
It is possible that (if tested) we could find traces of human DNA in meat. However, even if we do find human DNA, it does not mean we are eating human flesh.
Great. Unfortunately, we are evidently eliminating healthy microorganisms in the processing of foods, but since there is an acceptable standard of nasty foreign entities, thanks to our regulatory agencies – we have introduced a variety of contaminants into now weakened guts and immune systems.
We’d like to think that these food scandals are safe from us – overseas, it’s their problem. But, big problems are usually systemic and many of the developed nations are on the same platform. As with most food scandals, they go on for years unnoticed before the beans are spilled.
It doesn’t sound like anyone’s literally being run through the meat grinder just yet, but it’s a startling fact that we don’t know much about what our food comes into contact with. And we have scientists and regulatory agencies continually asserting how safe our food supply is.
Are you unsettled at the prospect of ingesting someone else’s particles and blood? Do you wonder what else will be found when the next scientific investigation is conducted in your country?
Perhaps we should be asking ourselves before each meal, “Hey, who’s in there? How’d they get in there? Anyone missing?”
This article originally appeared at ActivistPost.com. This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
Non-invasive procedure could make prenatal testing easier, but it comes with ethical problems.
Until last week, scrutinizing a fetus’s DNA for indications of genetic abnormalities meant tapping into the mother’s womb with a needle. Now there’s a test that can do it using a small sample of the mother’s blood. MaterniT21, a Down’s syndrome test that Sequenom of San Diego, California, launched in major centres across the United States on 17 October, is the first of several such tests expected on the market in the next year. It signals the arrival of a long-anticipated era of non-invasive prenatal genetic screening, with its attendant benefits and ethical complications
Ann Furedi, chief executive, British Pregnancy Advisory Service. William Saletan, journalist, Slate; author, Bearing Right: how conservatives won the abortion war. Chair: Bríd Hehir, charity fundraiser; former NHS health visitor and senior manager
International concern about the problem of late abortions was sparked in January when the horrific story emerged of a Philadelphia doctor charged with providing illegal late abortions and infanticide in the USA. While many accept women should be able to access abortion early on in pregnancy, there is growing concern about whether it is acceptable – even for those who consider themselves to be ‘pro-choice’ – to argue the case for abortion at gestations where the foetus might be ‘viable’ if it were born. Some pro-choice advocates have argued for placing limits on women’s choice, on the grounds that abortion will be more acceptable if we can all agree that it is unacceptable to abort a fetus after 16, or 20, or 22 weeks.
In the 2008 debate about Britain’s abortion law, a number of parliamentarians argued for lowering the ‘time limit’ for abortion: it is currently illegal to abort a pregnancy after 24 weeks’ gestation, except in exceptional circumstances, and some argued that 24 weeks was ‘too late’. Advances in ultrasound images make us sensitive to how early on in pregnancy a fetus looks like a baby; discussions about the development of fetal pain often suggest a late-term fetus ‘feels’ like a baby too. New state laws passed in the USA often focus on restricting later term abortions, including those carried out for fetal anomaly.
What do we know about why women have late abortions? Is there a moral difference between early and late abortion – and if so, where in pregnancy can that line be drawn? Are there practical measures that can be taken to reduce the incidence of late abortions, even if they remain legal, and if so, should this be the focus of ethical concern? Can the practices of illegal abortionists tell us anything about the doctors who provide legal services, and the women who use them? Is late abortion more justifiable in cases of fetal anomaly than for ‘social reasons’? Ultimately, can choice be meaningful if it is limited?
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