Open Thread

I’ll be traveling most of Thursday, so let’s have an open thread. As always, let’s try to behave respectfully of each other.


Posted by: on August 12, 2004 02:02 AM

What the F*CK’s happened to smog? They used to have this really cool illustrated copy of that old CIA manual on all the really cool sh*t you pull to totally f*ck up an entire country.

And who winnows your chaff?

I like J Orlin Grabbe, Infoshop, Dan of course, Also not found in nature, The floating world, News max liners,antiwar . com – thats the short list after all the usual news suspects.

Posted by: on August 12, 2004 03:02 AM

California spends $400M per year for K-12 textbooks, yet many districts still suffer textbook shortages. Other states find themselves facing similar scenarios. In addition, K-12 books in English are in high demand abroad, but often too expensive to purchase.

Since 1992, commercial K-12 textbook publishers have raised their prices at a rate that’s three times the rate of inflation. I decided to do something about the situation by creating a solution that will reduce the cost of *printed* K-12 textbooks by 40-50%.

Take a look at the California Open Source Textbook Project here (COSTP), a not-for-profit organization created to prove that open source can work in the K-12 sector.

COSTP is working in tandem with Creative Commons and Wikipedia (thanks to Jimmy Wales); we have a very small pilot recently started on Wikipedia (go to the links page on the COSTP site for more).

COSTP has been lobbied to the highest levels of our current California state government, and is beginning to gather steam.

I’d love to hear comments and ideas on how we might move forward faster. Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Posted by: Jeremy C on August 12, 2004 03:02 AM

Everyone wish us luck down here in SW Florida (Punta Gorda myself) while we ready ourselves for Hurricane Charley to rip inland on Friday. Are Blogs powerful enough to change weather patterns yet?

I went to my first training class Tuesday to be a “Ballot Activator” at my precinct on primary and general election days. We have ESS systems and I’m doing everything I can to get the word out about these things. It’s so amazing how the people that have worked the polss twice previously with these units are CLUELESS to the insecurities noted in the press.

Posted by: on August 12, 2004 04:28 AM

Sanford, I have developed four textbooks for my courses at a post-secondary level. In fact, I took my first look at the Web in June, 1996, and I had my first course fully operational in May, 1997. I went hard because I expected all sorts of competition from publishers and other teachers. But it never happened. Why? Publishers can only do things the most expensive way, I guess, and other teachers are spuds in this area.

I’m sure you know you can beat the publishers no problem, but you still have the spud factor in “Who is going to write the texts?” I think you need to get a few (two or three) good people who will do a text as a pilot project to demonstrate that it can be done. Committees and large groups won’t cut it. Most teachers won’t cut it. Focus on those who say, “I like this. It’s neat. I’ll do it.” They are the ones who will really do it. If someone starts the great lie of all teachers, “My desk is just piled up with work”, then smile and run. Those people never do anything, period. They just waste your time.

So my advice is find those who will just say a quick OK, the quicker, the better. But they have to produce fast, i.e., in weeks. If it is not done at top speed, it won’t get done. That’s my rule.

Teachers and educational admins don’t like this type of stuff, you should know. They like to be seconded to write documents such as “World History Project – California Content Standard” and “History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools.” Those are just over the top, right? All meta talk and nothing real.

You want the real thing and they want to talk about how once they get to the real thing, it is going to be so good, so great, that by God, every Grade 12 student will talk like a history Ph.D. Yikes!

So get few people to whip through the text, and definitely be political with those who write and support documents such as the above standards. They are scary people and must be handled with real finesse. Use the term, “pilot project.” It calms them down.

You have the American can-do attitude down there, so maybe my gloomy Canadian advice is off the mark. If so, let me know what you want to know. I like this. It’s neat.

Posted by: on August 12, 2004 03:35 PM

The Islamist extremists want to kill all gay people, Americans, and infidels, and make women cover up from head to toe and not leave their homes. Straight from most of their websites….Scary

Posted by: on August 12, 2004 03:41 PM

Wow, the day gay and lesbians get handed a setback (we will win in the end) from the CA Supreme Court the New Jersey governer admits to an affair and proclaims he is a ‘Gay American’.

I hope the deception to the voters, his wife, children, community isn’t what being a gay American is all about. Shameful!

Posted by: on August 12, 2004 06:32 PM

if you want grim faces, waste your time like these bored couples:

Posted by: on August 13, 2004 07:38 AM

Paul, I wondered what happened to that study. Thanks for pointing me in its direction.

It was the basis for some of the Restorative Justice initiatives and seemed very sound when it came out. (For those who aren’t familiar with it, restorative, or compensatory, justice is one of the more progressive alternatives to punitive justice). It’s demonized by some hardline DA’s, but it’s a creative alternative that benefits victims and is arguably a better, more effective deterrent for youthful and first-time offenders than incarceration.

Posted by: on August 13, 2004 09:28 AM

Simple, cynical reason for punitive laws that unnecessarily encarcerate people: it’s a convenient way to disenfranchise minorities. Felons in prison, and in many states ex-felons, can’t vote.

A freedom of information request might extract the report from the DOJ, or at least elicit some fascinating info by watching which individuals move to block its release.

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