August 2014 marked 100 years since the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir apparent to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The assassination triggered the commencement World War I.
My knowledge of WWI has always been rather limited. I knew about the assassination, the dates of the war, the participants and mustard gas, but my most significant exposure to the subject was a high school sophomore-year reading of All Quiet on the Western Front. I don't know if kids today still read it, but it was widely required reading when I was 15. Remarque's novel left me with an indelible impression of the horror of WWI. Along with reading the novel, we also also learned a bit about WWI history. And I'm pretty sure it was covered in a history class or two, but probably not in much depth.
For starters, compare what I see when I open the New York Times on my iPad with what I see when I open the Chicago Tribune. Pop open the images to fully appreciate the difference.
And now, the Tribune.
Notice you can't see links to any articles on the Tribune opening page? You have to scroll down, which as often as not leads me to accidentally click on ads. Navigating back to the front page isn't always so easy.
It all just gets worse from there. This is supposed to be a great cross-device design, functioning equally well on phones, tablets and laptop. I can't even sign in on my 7-inch android because a popup ad blocks the sign-in box. The ad is so big, the x to close the popup is off screen.
I've adjusted, to the new design on iPad and laptop, but it took considerable effort on my part. Still, efficient functionality are the last words I'd ever use to describe navigating the site. Unfortunately, this is the Tribune's great bid to save Chicago's oldest paper.
I've probably grumbled about the design less than many if not most readers, but another round of rage erupted in comments over there today, so I thought I'd show you what's going on at the Tribune that has so many people pissed off.
Last month, after a friend alerted me to the case of a man falsely representing himself as an Illinois licensed psychologist, I questioned the Psychology Today verification process. Since then, I hadn't thought about the post until a few days ago, when a reader responding to the post sent a link to a 2011 article about an Indiana man who managed to obtain a temporary psychologist license by submitting fraudulent documents to the Indiana licensing board. A state investigator in that case was quoted in the article:
Lithium is a naturally occurring element, not a molecule like most medications, and it is present in the United States, depending on the geographic area, at concentrations that can range widely, from undetectable to around .170 milligrams per liter. This amount is less than a thousandth of the minimum daily dose given for bipolar disorders and for depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressants. Although it seems strange that the microscopic amounts of lithium found in groundwater could have any substantial medical impact, the more scientists look for such effects, the more they seem to discover. Evidence is slowly accumulating that relatively tiny doses of lithium can have beneficial effects. They appear to decrease suicide rates significantly and may even promote brain health and improve mood.
Anna North (via Will Truman) says yes. The article mentions a middle school academic cliff--a drop off in scores that occurs as soon as kids begin middle school. Perhaps the cliff is caused by kids changing school environments at that age, or maybe it's about filling a building with 12-14 year olds, leaving them without some sort of modulating effect associated with a more age-diverse student population. The reasons aren't clear.
I went to a Catholic school in NY, then 9th grade in a public junior high in CT. I used to call the junior high, Our Lord of The Flies. The worst behaving kids in 7th and 8th grade in Catholic school were better behaved than most of the kids at my junior high. But I can't offer generalizations based on my contrasting experiences because the schools and the surrounding communities were themselves so radically different.
Still, my intuition is that an 8-grade elementary school followed by 9-12 high school might, indeed, exert modulating effects on middle school and junior high age kids. I think it was good that we had much younger children around when I was in Catholic school. Older kids, 6-8th grade, would often have supervisory responsibilities for the younger ones, either as recess monitors or "safety patrol."
One of the school districts on Chicago's North Shore--New Trier--has two high school facilities. IIRC, one school houses only 9th grade students, while the other school is used for grades 10-12. I wonder about the atmosphere in a school that only has 9th grade students.
I've been getting more and more demands to answer my secret question or sign in with codes sent to my alternate mail or cell when signing in with various sites. Yahoo never just lets me in and gmail is hit or miss. Not that I mind the extra security. Gmail just revealed that 5 million authentic gmail addresses with passwords were published on a Russian website. It can happen anywhere, but Russians seem to be responsible for more than their share of criminal web-shenanigans.
None of my several gmail accounts were hit, at least not in that dump. Still, I'm wary enough that I use always-on VPN and hushmail for more personal stuff (my own domain name, not hushmail).
I know. It's not 100% secure. Nothing is. I just notice that these extra security checks have been happening with greater frequency over the last year.
If you've been paying attention to the news, you probably know that Minnesota Viking's running back Adrian Peterson has been charged with child abuse. As the story has been reported, Peterson readily admitted to police that he used a switch (a branch) to discipline his 4-year-old son while the boy was visiting him in Texas last May.
At the time, in text messages to the child's mother in Minnesota, Peterson wrote:
"felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh” [...] “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!"
And in a later message: “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.”
When the child returned to Minnesota, his mother took him to a doctor who contacted child protective services.
A well-known YouTube personality will not face a marijuana charge after a so-called swatting brought police to his house, the Will County state’s attorney's office said Thursday.
Alexander Wachs, who produces video game-themed content under the moniker Whiteboy7thst, was arrested Aug. 17 after Plainfield police said they entered his house in response to a false report of an armed and suicidal person, only to find at least 30 grams of marijuana inside.
It was the third episode within a month in which Wachs, 24, was the victim of a false report to police known as a swatting.
Vaccination rates are plummeting at top Hollywood schools, from Malibu to Beverly Hills, from John Thomas Dye to Turning Point, where affluent, educated parents are opting out in shocking numbers (leaving some schools’ immunization rates on par with South Sudan) as an outbreak of potentially fatal whooping cough threatens L.A. like “wildfire”
Across California, thousands of children and babies are coughing so violently that their bodies convulse, uncontrollably wheezing and fighting to breathe for weeks. Nearly 8,000 pertussis cases have been reported in 2014 to the state’s Department of Public Health as of Sept. 2, and 267 of those patients have been hospitalized, including 58 requiring intensive care.[...] So far this year, three infants under 2 months of age have died statewide from pertussis, a disease commonly known as whooping cough (named for the high-pitched sound that kids make when they inhale after coughing).
Of course, the anti-vax problem isn't confined to California. Outbreaks of preventable diseases attributed to the anti-vax movement have occurred in other parts of country.