Archive for January, 2014

News – Making College Affordable Once Again.

Soon every faculty member will have a personal senior manager: Is this a good way to spend money?

by Richard Evans

(A PDF version of this article is available.)

In a letter to the UC Davis community, Chancellor Katehi and Provost Lavernia declared that we should work collectively “to address today’s major budget cuts, which come as a consequence of the state’s decade-long disinvestment in higher education.” I think there is a more immediate target for constructive change that would balance the UC budget.

It’s true that UC’s share of the state’s general fund has been declining (from 7.5 percent in 1967-68 to as low as 3 percent in recent years, according to the California Postsecondary Education Commission[1]), but that has been a steady trend. The more immediate reason for the current enormous increases in student fees, and for the sudden need for employee furloughs, is the startling recent growth of UC’s senior management. Data available from the UC Office of the President shows that there were 2.5 faculty members for each senior manager in the UC system in 1993. Now there are as many senior managers as faculty.[2] Just think: Each professor could have his or her personal senior manager.

faculty_management_fte

In the decade beginning in 1997, while faculty increased by 24 percent and student enrollment increased 39 percent, senior management grew by 118 percent. This past year, with the budget crisis in full swing, senior management has grown at twice the rate of faculty. That comes at a high price, because many managers are very well compensated for their work. A report on administrative growth by the UCLA Faculty Association[3] estimated that UC would have $800 million more each year if senior management had grown at the same rate as the rest of the university since 1997, instead of four times faster.

What could we do with $800 million? That is the total amount of the state funding cuts for 2008-09 and 2009-10, and four times the savings of the employee furloughs.[4] Consider this: UC revenue from student fees has tripled in the last eight years. The ratio of state general fund revenue to student fee revenue in 1997 was 3.6:1. Last year it was 1.9:1. If we used that $800 million to reduce student fees, the ratio would go back to the 1997 value.[5] To put another way, it could pay the educational fees for 100,000 resident undergraduates.

Of course the budget crisis is more complex than this. Of course we must try to convince the state government and the public of the wisdom of investment in our university system. But changing attitudes about public investment is a large task that involves far more than just UC. I’m not sure that those who are reluctant to increase UC support will be swayed by arguments presented by a UC president whose 2008 compensation was $828,000. Or by a new UC Davis chancellor whose salary (27 percent greater than that of her predecessor) equals that of the US president.

Our effort to solve the budget problems has a greater chance for success if we first aim at something we have direct control over. UC has shared governance (in theory), and does its own hiring. I suggest that we — administrators, faculty, staff and students — review the justification, costs, and benefits related to the explosive growth in senior management. If we could reduce management costs by $800 million, we could eliminate much of the financial hardship on students and staff. We could argue convincingly to the governor and state legislature that a well-run UC deserves full support. Perhaps most impressive, we could present a model for turning back a nationwide trend in university hiring.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Source: http://www.cpec.ca.gov/completereports/2008reports/FiscalProfiles2008.asp

[2] Source: http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/uwnews/stat/

[3] Source: http://www.uclafaculty.org/FASite/Admin._Growth.html

[4] Source: http://www.dateline.ucdavis.edu/dl_detail.lasso?id=11822

[5] Source: http://www.cpec.ca.gov/FiscalData/FundingOptions.asp

via Keep California’s Promise » Soon every faculty member will have a personal senior manager: Is this a good way to spend money?.

Bail set at $500K for accused cyberbully

By Teri Figueroa4:34 p.m.Jan. 28, 2014

VISTA CA— An 18-year-old man accused of sending online death threats to El Camino High students in Oceanside the day after two teens were gunned down in a city park pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Samuel Ruiz was arrested last week at MiraCosta College, where he was taking a class, after Oceanside police detectives linked him to messages sent shortly after a deadly ambush at Libby Lake Park in March.

Ruiz posted $50,000 bail and was released from jail after his arrest in the cyberbullying case. But during his arraignment Tuesday in Vista Superior Court, Ruiz’s bail was raised to $500,000 by Judge Marshall Hockett and the defendant was taken into custody.

He is charged with making a criminal threat, and faces a sentence of up to three years and eight months if convicted.

Oceanside police said the threatening messages were sent March 14, a day after two teens were fatally shot and two of their friends were injured during an ambush at the park. The messages were sent to several high school students and told them they would be killed if they did not stop talking about the Libby Lake killings, police said.

Detectives initially suspected Ruiz was behind the messages, which were sent by someone who went by the name “Bart Chang,” but Ruiz denied any involvement, police said.

Then, in late December, an El Camino High student received a message from a “Bart Chang” stating the student would be killed when school started up after winter break.

The investigation led detectives to Ruiz, who was arrested on the MiraCosta campus on Jan. 21. During the arrest, he was found carrying a spring-loaded knife, an illegal weapon, police said.

Ruiz has no apparent connections to those who received the threats or to the five gang members accused in the killings of Melanie Virgen, 13, and Edgar Sanchez, 15, at Libby Lake Park.

The teens were shot and killed at the park when they were sitting by a makeshift memorial for two friends who had been killed at the park in May 2011.

via Bail set at $500K for accused cyberbully | UTSanDiego.com.

Dead

She didn’t even want to go out that night. Twenty-three-year-old California woman Kim Pham died after a brutal beating outside an Orange County nightclub. Saturday night Pham texted friends to hang out at her apartment. But her friends convinced her to go out with them instead. Much later that night, Pham and her friends were outside a Santa Ana club when a fight broke out. Pham was not the type to get into a fight, but she was pulled into the altercation and was severely beaten. Police found her unconscious and in a coma. Tuesday night her family took her off life support and she died.

Woman Who Died After Brutal Nightclub Beating Wanted a Quiet Night at Home | CafeMom.

U.S. history doesn’t make the grade at the nation’s elite liberal arts colleges, where students can dodge classes on America’s founding by studying electronic dance, movie animation and, at one school, a course on “The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction,” a new report finds.

The report — “Education or Reputation?: A Look at America’s Top-Ranked Liberal Arts Colleges” — found that within those top 29 colleges, not a single institution except for three military academies requires a “foundational, college-level course” in American history or government.

“If you look at the course catalogs of most of these institutions, they recognize the importance of a strong foundation of varied skills and knowledge, but in many respects these are simply empty promises,” said Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which released the report on Monday. “It’s essentially representative of the ‘anything goes’ curriculum that reigns on college campuses nowadays.”

For example, a student at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, can avoid a survey course in American history by fulfilling the general education concentration requirement by completing courses like “History of Electronic Dance Music” or “Decoding Disney: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Animated Blockbuster,” according to the report.

“Majors must take two courses from either East Asia or Latin America, however,” the report continues. “It appears the faculty understands how shoddy these requirements are, since they add the warning on the history department site: ‘Students considering graduate study in history are advised to undertake some course work in U.S. and modern European history to prepare for the Graduate Record Examination.’”

Of the 29 top-ranked liberal arts colleges, only the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy, and the United States Naval Academy requires a survey course in American history. One school, Claremont McKenna in California, requires U.S. history or economics but not both. Just two of those institutions require an economics course, and five require a survey course in literature, according to the report.

A survey conducted in 2011 found that 70 percent of Americans think colleges and universities should require all students to take basic classes in core subjects such as writing, math, science, economics, U.S. history and foreign language. Those most likely to agree (80 percent) were ages 25-24, or those most aware of what the job market requires, the survey found.

“It’s time for students and families to take a hard look at what they’re paying for and what they’re going to get,” Neal told FoxNews.com. “It’s possible to invest $250,000 in an education that ends in little intellectual growth, narrowed perspective and which qualifies the graduate for very little.”

Nationwide, inflation-adjusted tuition and required fees at four-year nonprofit colleges increased by an average of 13 percent in 2012-13, costing an average of $29,056. That figure jumps to $43,742 among the “elite liberal arts colleges” detailed in the report. Factoring in housing costs and other costs, the total cost of attendance typically exceeds $53,000 annually. Furthermore, students who graduate with debt start their professional careers with an average debt between $12,749 and $26,567, the report found.

For those who devote their careers to education, the report is not especially eye-opening.

“Maybe I’ve been doing this for too long, but none of this is particularly surprising,” said Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. “What most people might find most disturbing or surprising is that the biggest reason the cost of college is going up is bureaucracy. There’s a tendency to think if you’re paying more, you’re getting more – well, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

A lack of focus on the core product — a sound, varied education — on the nation’s campuses of higher learning is a key component of the problem, McCluskey said. Too much emphasis is placed on recreational and alternative activities and issues like grade inflation continue to plague colleges large and small.

“Because they’re small, we tend to think they’d be sort of immune from problems we tend to associate with giant research universities,” McCluskey said of elite liberal arts school in the report. “But this is telling us that those cute little colleges have the same problems as the mega-university with 30,000 students.”

As the sticker price of college continues to surge upward, coupled with rising inflation and a dwindling job market, McCluskey said more and more people may find that the typical four-year path “doesn’t make a whole lot of sense” for them.

“For some people, it would make more sense to get specific skills and then move on,” he told FoxNews.com. “The traditional, residential four-year model just makes less and less sense for most people and a report like this demonstrates one of the reasons why that is.”

America’s top liberal arts schools skip U.S. history, report finds | Fox News.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – A California court has sided with a mother who was placed on a state child abuse database after spanking her 12-year-old daughter. The mother, Veronica Gonzalez, was reported for child abuse after she spanked her daughter with a wooden spoon, causing bruises.The Santa Clara Department of Social Services submitted the incident for inclusion in the state Justice Department’s Child Abuse Central Index, which is used to screen prospective adoptive or foster care parents and child care workers.Gonzalez argued at trial that no consideration was given to her parental right to impose reasonable discipline on her child, who was slacking off in school.Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark H. Pierce agreed with Gonzalez, saying the Legislature has recognized reasonable corporal punishment as a legitimate disciplinary measure.

via California court upholds mother’s right to spank daughter | Fox News.

Personal Essay on Sleeping with Married Women – Why Would a Man Sleep with Older Women? – ELLE.

 

Seems a need to hate all Asians is on this site.  Hate the Chinese for selling it. Hate the Japense for “The creepy phenomenon seems to have started in – you’ve guessed it – Japan. This Vice article from earlier this year profiles a Japanese manufacturer of these pedophile-icious mannequins:

But the real disgusting story is in the comments.  Everyone wants to rule the world.  I am not for or against this as I do not even know if it is real.  But all of these better than thou idiots in the comments section that won’t be an advocate to wipe their own ass and clean up the political criminal graft in their own backyard because they get their mind programmed every night by the TV are the really disgusting part of this story….

Chinese site under fire for sale of child-like sex doll.

 

Amateurs as well as so called professionals alike….

o a few days ago, right after an image of an Anonymous YouTube video embedded on the Singapore Prime Minister Office’s (PMO) site started appearing on the interwebs, news sources have been reporting that the PMO website got hacked.

Here’s a list of the reports:

Singapore PM’s website hacked by Anonymous
‘Subpage’ of the Prime Minister’s Office website hacked; Investigations ongoing
ANONYMOUS ATTACKS PMO WEBSITE DESPITE PM LEE’S THREATS TO HUNT THEM DOWN
‘Anonymous’ hacks Singapore Prime Minister’s website
Prime Minister’s Office and Istana websites hacked; Investigations ongoing
Anonymous hacks Singapore PM website

On behalf of every single decent software developer in Singapore, let me say this once: this is not a hack. If any journalist had investigated more deeply, they would have found out that the URL to access the supposed hacked site is:

http://www.pmo.gov.sg/content/pmosite/search.html?q=%27%22%2F%3E%3Cdiv+style%3D%22position%3A+absolute%3B+top%3A+80px%3B+left%3A+0px%3B+
right%3A+0px%3B+bottom%3A+200px%3B+background-color%3A+black%3B+color%3A+red%3B+background-image%3A+url%28%29%3B+font-size%3A+12p x%3B+text-align%3A+center%3B+padding-top%3A+1px%3B%22%3E%3Cbr%3E%3Cmarquee+behavior%3D%22alternate%22%3E%3Ccenter%3E%3Cfont
+color%3D%22red%22+background-color%3D%22black%22%3E%3Ch1%3E~ANONYMOUS+SG+WAS+HERE+BIATCH~%3C%2Fh1%3E%3C%2Ffont%3E
%3C%2Fcenter%3E%3Cbr%3E%3C
img+src%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FLtKG7Gt.jpg%22%2F%3E%3Cimg
+src%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FLmWOvw6.jpg%22%2F%3E%3C%2Fmarquee%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E

which when decoded, gives you:

http://www.pmo.gov.sg/content/pmosite/search.html?q='"/><div style="position: absolute; top: 80px; left: 0px; right: 0px; bottom: 200px; background-color: black; color: red; background-image: url(); font-size: 12px; text-align: center; padding-top: 1px;"><br><marquee behavior="alternate"><center><font color="red" background-color="black"><h1>~ANONYMOUS SG WAS HERE BIATCH~</h1></font></center><br><img src="http://i.imgur.com/LtKG7Gt.jpg"/><imgsrc="http://i.imgur.com/LmWOvw6.jpg"/></marquee></div>

Even the less tech-savvy folks can guess that the contents of the ‘hack’ can be found within the URL. This means that someone had to type that in in order to see the contents or insert that into the search bar. Nothing on the server was compromised, therefore, this was not a hack, which by definition involves breaking into a server or website from a remote location to steal or damage data.

That’s not to say that the IT guys behind the websites aren’t at fault for letting this through. A simple HTML encoding function could have prevented this from happening and is widely available in most web programming languages. But it certainly wasn’t a security breach. It’s like hanging a poster on the door of a house which you can’t break into.

However, in a bid get pageviews, our dear journalists are now calling every single thing a hack, instead of educating the public on what it actually is, or doing any form of research whatsoever. Simply because fearmongering gets you pageviews. To top it off, I just saw this latest news from The Online Citizen where a guy was arrested for being in possession of hacking devices. Pray tell, what are hacking devices?

As such, I would like to appeal to journalists to do proper research before covering news like this (this article gives some good information). You are not doing society a favor by spreading fear and misinformation. It deserves better.

Follow Tech in Asia’s coverage of Anonymous in Asia here.

(Editing by Terence Lee)

Dear journalists, stop spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt in Anonymous coverage.

Joan Smalls Rodriguez

Just google her and then say this is the worlds most perfect face.

What a croc.  I think her face got her to where she is but most guys I know are very happy with where their Puerto Rican wives like to put their faces…..

 

via Puerto Rican Supermodel, 25, Said To Have ‘Planet’s Most Perfect Face’ | Fox News Latino.

STOCKHOLM--(BUSINESS WIRE)--January 14, 2014--

A study of 468 healthy newborns shows that infants given the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis cried less than half as long as infants given a placebo. The infants given Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis also had significantly fewer daily regurgitations and were less constipated compared to infants in the placebo group. As a result, the use of Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis proved to be cost saving for both parents and the community.

Dr Flavia Indrio (Photo: Business Wire)

“This is the first study proving prophylactic use of a specific strain (L. reuteri Protectis) in a condition like functional gastrointestinal disorders (colic, regurgitation and constipation). Moreover this is also the first evaluation of the cost/benefit for a probiotic therapy in infants and it shows that L. reuteri Protectis is valuable for the family and for the society,” says Doctor Flavia Indrio, MD, Department of Paediatrics, University of Bari, Italy.

Less crying, less constipation, less regurgitation…

Intervention started the first days of life. After one month’s use of Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis drops the infants cried less than half as long per day as the infants given placebo, 45 minutes compared to 96 minutes. The significant difference between the groups persisted to the end of the three months’ intervention.

The infants in the Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis group also had a better gut motility, leading to significantly more daily evacuations and less regurgitation compared to infants in the placebo group.

…means less costs for family and community

Not only could colic, regurgitation and constipation cause the baby pain. These conditions often lead to numerous visits to the paediatrician and also hospitalisation and use of drugs, as well as anxiety and loss of working days for the parents. Only by calculating the direct costs, the investigators concluded that use of Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis saved each family 88 euro. In addition to this the community saved 104 euro per child.

“This study is ground breaking as it shows that BioGaia’s product should be given to all babies from birth. Not only does it reduce suffering in babies and parents, but it also saves the families and the society costs. This study will be immensely important for the further development of BioGaia’s baby segment,” says Peter Rothschild, President BioGaia.

The study was published in the highly regarded medical journal JAMA on 13 January 2014. More information on colic, constipation, regurgitation, study details and an interview with Dr Indrio is found through attached links.

BioGaia is a healthcare company that develops, markets and sells probiotic products with documented health benefits. The products are primarily based on the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri which has probiotic, health-enhancing effects. The class B share of the Parent Company BioGaia AB (STO:BIOG-B) is quoted on the Mid Cap list of the NASDAQ OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm. www.biogaia.com

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140113006786/en/

 
    CONTACT: BioGaia

Peter Rothschild

President

telephone: +46 8 555 293 00

 
    SOURCE: BioGaia 
Copyright Business Wire 2014

 

BioGaia: New Study Indicates It’s Possible to Prevent Colic in Healthy Infants – WSJ.com.

 

An argument over texting at the movies ended in a cellphone user’s death, when a retired police officer in the audience shot him at a theater near Tampa, Fla., on Monday afternoon, the authorities said.

Two couples were among patrons at a matinee of “Lone Survivor” at the Grove 16 movie theater in Wesley Chapel, about 20 miles northeast of Tampa, when one of the men, a retired Tampa police officer, got angry because the man in front of him was using his phone during the previews, despite being asked to stop several times, said Douglas Tobin, a Pasco County sheriff’s office spokesman.

A witness told local television stations that the offended man stormed out to get a manager, but returned without one. The man using the phone explained to the irritated man that he was simply texting his 3-year-old daughter, the witness, Charles Cummings, told Tampa’s FOX 13 television.

“Three seconds, four seconds later, the argument starts again,” Mr. Cummings told reporters outside the theater. “Their voices start going up; there seems to be almost a confrontation. Somebody throws popcorn, I’m not sure who threw the popcorn, and, bang, he was shot.”

A nurse in the audience tried performing CPR on the victim while an off-duty sheriff’s deputy from another county detained the gunman.

The victim was identified as Chad Oulson, 43, of Land O’ Lakes, Fla. His wife, Nicole, had placed her hand over her husband just as he was shot, and was wounded, Mr. Tobin said.

The gunman, Curtis Reeves, 71, was charged with second-degree murder.

Mr. Reeves retired as a captain in 1993 from the Tampa Police Department.

The theater, part of the Cobb Theaters chain, was evacuated and closed.

Cinema executives acknowledged during a trade conference last year that they debated whether to accommodate younger viewers by allowing text messages during some movies. It was widely reported that the AMC chain had agreed to set aside the last rows for patrons to text without bothering others, but the company quickly denied considering such a move.

“Despite the tragic altercation in a Florida movie theater, which as reported is an isolated incident, movie theaters are a safe and enjoyable entertainment destination for millions of people,” said Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman for the National Association of Theater Owners. “We encourage our patrons to remember that they are sharing a common wish to be entertained and to treat their fellow moviegoers with courtesy and respect.”

via Florida Man Is Shot to Death for Texting During Movie Previews – NYTimes.com.

Editor’s note: Editor’s note: Roy Peter Clark is senior scholar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the author of books on writing and language, including “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.” This essay contains some words and ideas taken from his earlier essays on the topic of language taboos. He can be reached at rclark@poynter.org.

(CNN) — Not long ago I received a complaint from a co-worker that I had used the f-word in a tweet. I was quoting a lyric from the band Vampire Weekend: “Who gives a f— about an Oxford comma?” My answer was, of course, “I do.” The full quote, without the fig leaf, appears in my book “The Glamour of Grammar.”

I come by my f-wordiness honestly. My grandmother used it easily and could swear in three languages. My mother — at the age of 94 — drops an f-bomb in every telephone conversation. During a trivia game at her assisted living home, she could not think of the name of Peter, Paul, and Mary’s magic dragon, so she blurted: “F— the Magic Dragon,” which now has become the family’s official title for the song.

Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark

The f-word is almost everywhere. While still not fit for polite society, it no longer carries the depth of taboo attributed to it in 1978 by that hero of foul mouthery George Carlin, who said in a comic monologue: “The big one, the word f—, that’s the one that hangs them up the most.”

Its common usage in popular culture today may have transformed it into one of the most versatile words in American English. It might qualify as the word of the new century.

But is that a good thing?

Setting records on screen

The recent opening of the Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street” has inspired critical and popular complaints about its excesses, including its language. I have not yet seen the film, but am grateful to the dirty word counters, who have recorded a total of 506 uses of the f-word in the three-hour movie. Wikipedia, Variety, Time and various other sources cite this as a record for a non-documentary film, beating Spike Lee’s “Summer of Sam” (435), and two earlier Scorsese projects: “Casino” (422) and “Goodfellas” (300).

Versions of the f-word appear so often in “Wolf” that an accurate count might be impossible. Slate’s total comes in at 544. (I hope I don’t see a Politifact report contesting these numbers.)

(“Summer of Sam” appears to keep the record for most fpm: f-words per minute, at 3.1. “Wolf” does beat “Casino” on this metric. In his mischievous book of lists, Karl Shaw calculates that a viewer of “Casino” will hear the f-word on the average of 2.4 times per minute. For “Wolf” it’s 2.8 times.)

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ backlash

DiCaprio on ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

How things have changed.

I remember with surprising clarity the first time I used the f-word. One of the Masterson brothers told me a joke, and he thought it was so funny I ran home to tell my mother. She didn’t laugh and made me repeat it to my father. It was 1956 or so. I was, maybe, 8 years old. Things did not go well.

I went to work with my dad one day, a United States Customs officer on one of the New York piers. A group of men stood inside, including some rough-looking longshoremen, who dropped the f-word loudly and often into their gritty conversation. Several men, alerting them to my presence, told them to stick a cork in it. Even in their gruffness, they looked sheepish and apologetic.

First encounters

I remember exactly where I was standing the first time I heard a girl my age use the f-word. It was 1967 and I was a sophomore in college. She sat on the ground, a hippie chick, smoking and grousing about her inability to score tickets for the Newport Folk Festival.

And I know exactly where I first encountered the f-word in print. I was a freshman in high school, and the book was called “The Catcher in the Rye,” a work on many lists of the most often banned books. J.D. Salinger uses the word five times in “Catcher” with great power and specificity. I still own the book where I underlined each use of the word.

I remember the teachers who tried to convince me that the main problem with the f-word was not its power to offend, but the evidence it gave of your limited vocabulary. I blew that criticism off back then, but I’m beginning to think they were on to something.

Not that the f-word isn’t an amazingly versatile piece of our four-letter Anglo-Saxon heritage. Think about it. It can express surprise, outrage, anger, humor, delight or desire. And it can stand in for several parts of speech: noun, verb (in any tense), gerund, participle, imperative, interrogative, interjection, to mention just the most common uses.

It can be used with other little prepositional helpers. You can f— with someone’s mind. You can be too f—ed up to walk. You can get f—ed over by the IRS.

A rare language form

Let’s not forget use of the f-word as one of the rarest of language forms, the infix. A prefix comes before a word. A suffix comes after. An infix appears in the middle of a normal word or phrase, as in “You are damn f—ing right.” Or “un-f—ing-believable.” Or as they like to moan in Boston when thinking of the New York Yankees victory in the 1978 playoff game: “Bucky F—ing Dent!” It was the light-hitting Dent’s timely home run that ruined the Red Sox season.

All this and more is chronicled in the recent 270-page lexicon titled “The F-Word,” by Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary. Lex meets sex.

Perhaps the ultimate expression of the f-word’s versatility comes in a famous scene from David Simon’s HBO series “The Wire” in which two detectives explore a crime scene.

The scene takes less than four minutes, during which the cops use versions of the f-word, by my count, 34 times. It is the only word used in the scene.

As they look at crime scene photos of naked and murdered women, the word expresses disgust. As they examine the conflicting evidence, the word describes frustration. As they begin to piece things together, it describes mounting excitement. When they find a key piece of evidence, it is a word of celebration.

Offensive from the beginning

The f-word has a long history, and, unlike some other taboo words, seems to have been offensive from the start. Just as newspapers and this website put a veil over the word by eliminating some letters, the earliest known version of the word in English was written in code.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, an English poem dated about 1500 makes fun of clerics who don’t keep their vows, including a line that translates: “They are not in heaven because they f— wives of Ely” (a town near Cambridge). In the text, the f-word appears in the form of a letter substitution code.

Though still considered vulgar slang, the f-word is more prevalent than ever, and is often cited as evidence of the coarsening of our culture. The publisher of “The Naked and The Dead” asked Norman Mailer to substitute “fug” in 1947. Six decades later, the f-word is a staple in hip-hop music, stand-up comedy routines, locker room harangues, pornographic repartee, and any movie or cable television series that tries to portray gritty, realistic dialogue. Cops use it, thugs use it, even grads with Ph.Ds use it.

I am making the case that, given its ubiquity and versatility, the “f-word” is one of the most important words of the 21st century, which is why we should pay close attention to how it can be used well.

Given its ubiquity and versatility, the “f-word” is one of the most important words of the 21st century…
Roy Peter Clark

In previous essays on language, I have offered these justifications for dropping the occasional f-bomb:

1. As an authentic expression of realistic human speech.

2. As a single, shocking, almost-out-of context blow to the solar plexus.

3. As a neutralizer to the poison of piety, fastidiousness and erudition.

4. As a way of defining character.

None other than Theodore Bernstein, the influential style czar of The New York Times, once published this opinion: “There is not … a single transitive verb in respectable or even in scientific language that expresses the idea of the slang verb f—.”

Using and overusing the f-word

Perhaps the most moving use of the f-word I ever encountered came in the documentary 9/11 by two French brothers, who were telling the story of a firehouse in New York. During the filming, two jetliners flew into the Twin Towers, changing the way Americans look at the world. Even though the show ran on commercial television, we were given a chance to hear, uncensored, the rough emotional language of a fraternity of brave men facing their greatest challenge. Real life.

There is a numbing quality to overuse of the f-word. Shock and stark realism can be created without it. You won’t find it in the novel “The Great Gatsby,” or the recent film version, which, like “Wolf,” stars Leonardo DiCaprio. I don’t remember hearing it in a Jerry Seinfeld monologue.

In \
In “Breaking Bad”, the Walter White character used the f-word sparingly.

I like it best when it is used rarely and in a perfect context, as when it comes out of the mouth of the character Walter White, the high school chemistry teacher who becomes the drug lord of “Breaking Bad.” When he first utters it in rage and frustration at a moment of great pain, it has as much power as a gun blast.

It works best when delivered at just the right dramatic moment. To keep up with the Scorsese rate, the characters in “Breaking Bad” would have to utter the f-word about 140 times — in each 47-minute episode.

 

 

source:  Opinion: The f-word is everywhere – CNN.com.

Marijuana enthusiasts in Colo. are abuzz over the new laws allowing cannabis consumption. But French researchers have discovered a hormone that can take away the high caused by THC, which could help those with addiction problems. The steroid hormone pregnenolone reduced the activity of the type-1 cannabinoid receptor in the brain. The researchers say the discovery could also help isolate the medicinal properties of marijuana while “blocking its behavioral and somatic effects.”

via Hormone cuts buzz from weed – Investors.com.

Yep, strip him naked and toss him in with starving wild dogs…..

No worries about this kook getting his finger on a nuke button!

Kim Jong Un’s uncle ‘eaten alive by dogs’ | Herald Scotland.

A team investigating the strange seismic phenomenon that has been associated with multiple earthquakes around the world says the explanation may be an electronic charge created by the moving ground.

Many witnesses told of seeing white and blue lights in the sky during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which killed 185 people and destroyed huge parts of the New Zealand city, local newspaper The Press reported.

After the quake, cameras also reportedly captured blue flashes that have previously been unexplained.

Researchers writing in the latest issue of Seismological Research Letters have found the phenomenon is caused by a type of earthquake in which one of the Earth’s tectonic plates is pulled apart, creating a rift.

Those types of earthquakes account for only 5 percent of all quakes, as most instead occur when two plates collide.

The tension caused when two plates are pulled apart creates an electronic charge, which turns into light when it reaches the surface, the researchers said.

Mysterious earthquake lights may be warning.

Updated Dec. 28, 2013 10:46 p.m. ET

Philadelphia

‘What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” says Camille Paglia. This self-described “notorious Amazon feminist” isn’t telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead. And that’s just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.

When Ms. Paglia, now 66, burst onto the national stage in 1990 with the publishing of “Sexual Personae,” she immediately established herself as a feminist who was the scourge of the movement’s establishment, a heretic to its orthodoxy. Pick up the 700-page tome, subtitled “Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, ” and it’s easy to see why. “If civilization had been left in female hands,” she wrote, “we would still be living in grass huts.”

The fact that the acclaimed book—the first of six; her latest, “Glittering Images,” is a survey of Western art—was rejected by seven publishers and five agents before being printed by Yale University Press only added to Ms. Paglia’s sense of herself as a provocateur in a class with Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. But unlike those radio jocks, Ms. Paglia has scholarly chops: Her dissertation adviser at Yale was Harold Bloom, and she is as likely to discuss Freud, Oscar Wilde or early Native American art as to talk about Miley Cyrus.

Ms. Paglia relishes her outsider persona, having previously described herself as an egomaniac and “abrasive, strident and obnoxious.” Talking to her is like a mental CrossFit workout. One moment she’s praising pop star Rihanna (“a true artist”), then blasting ObamaCare (“a monstrosity,” though she voted for the president), global warming (“a religious dogma”), and the idea that all gay people are born gay (“the biggest canard,” yet she herself is a lesbian).

Neil Davies

But no subject gets her going more than when I ask if she really sees a connection between society’s attempts to paper over the biological distinction between men and women and the collapse of Western civilization.

She starts by pointing to the diminished status of military service. “The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster,” she says. “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”

The results, she says, can be seen in everything from the dysfunction in Washington (where politicians “lack practical skills of analysis and construction”) to what women wear. “So many women don’t realize how vulnerable they are by what they’re doing on the street,” she says, referring to women who wear sexy clothes.

When she has made this point in the past, Ms. Paglia—who dresses in androgynous jackets and slacks—has been told that she believes “women are at fault for their own victimization.” Nonsense, she says. “I believe that every person, male and female, needs to be in a protective mode at all times of alertness to potential danger. The world is full of potential attacks, potential disasters.” She calls it “street-smart feminism.”

Ms. Paglia argues that the softening of modern American society begins as early as kindergarten. “Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It’s oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys,” she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. “They’re making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters.”

She is not the first to make this argument, as Ms. Paglia readily notes. Fellow feminist Christina Hoff Sommers has written about the “war against boys” for more than a decade. The notion was once met with derision, but now data back it up: Almost one in five high-school-age boys has been diagnosed with ADHD, boys get worse grades than girls and are less likely to go to college.

Ms. Paglia observes this phenomenon up close with her 11-year-old son, Lucien, whom she is raising with her ex-partner, Alison Maddex, an artist and public-school teacher who lives 2 miles away. She sees the tacit elevation of “female values”—such as sensitivity, socialization and cooperation—as the main aim of teachers, rather than fostering creative energy and teaching hard geographical and historical facts.

By her lights, things only get worse in higher education. “This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it’s all about neutralization of maleness.” The result: Upper-middle-class men who are “intimidated” and “can’t say anything. . . . They understand the agenda.” In other words: They avoid goring certain sacred cows by “never telling the truth to women” about sex, and by keeping “raunchy” thoughts and sexual fantasies to themselves and their laptops.

Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America’s brawny industrial base, leaves many men with “no models of manhood,” she says. “Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There’s nothing left. There’s no room for anything manly right now.” The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm “inspires me as a writer,” she says, adding: “If we had to go to war,” the callers “are the men that would save the nation.”

And men aren’t the only ones suffering from the decline of men. Women, particularly elite upper-middle-class women, have become “clones” condemned to “Pilates for the next 30 years,” Ms. Paglia says. “Our culture doesn’t allow women to know how to be womanly,” adding that online pornography is increasingly the only place where men and women in our sexless culture tap into “primal energy” in a way they can’t in real life.

A key part of the remedy, she believes, is a “revalorization” of traditional male trades—the ones that allow women’s studies professors to drive to work (roads), take the elevator to their office (construction), read in the library (electricity), and go to gender-neutral restrooms (plumbing).

Michelle Obama‘s going on: ‘Everybody must have college.’ Why? Why? What is the reason why everyone has to go to college? Especially when college is so utterly meaningless right now, it has no core curriculum” and “people end up saddled with huge debts,” says Ms. Paglia. What’s driving the push toward universal college is “social snobbery on the part of a lot of upper-middle-class families who want the sticker in the window.”

Ms. Paglia, who has been a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia since 1984, sees her own students as examples. “I have woodworking students who, even while they’re in class, are already earning money making furniture and so on,” she says. “My career has been in art schools cause I don’t get along with normal academics.”

To hear her tell it, getting along has never been Ms. Paglia’s strong suit. As a child, she felt stifled by the expectations of girlhood in the 1950s. She fantasized about being a knight, not a princess. Discovering pioneering female figures as a teenager, most notably Amelia Earhart, transformed Ms. Paglia’s understanding of what her future might hold.

These iconoclastic women of the 1930s, like Earhart and Katharine Hepburn, remain her ideal feminist role models: independent, brave, enterprising, capable of competing with men without bashing them. But since at least the late 1960s, she says, fellow feminists in the academy stopped sharing her vision of “equal-opportunity feminism” that demands a level playing field without demanding special quotas or protections for women.

She proudly recounts her battle, while a graduate student at Yale in the late 1960s and early ’70s, with the New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Band over the Rolling Stones: Ms. Paglia loved “Under My Thumb,” a song the others regarded as chauvinist. Then there was the time she “barely got through the dinner” with a group of women’s studies professors at Bennington College, where she had her first teaching job, who insisted that there is no hormonal difference between men and women. “I left before dessert.”

In her view, these ideological excesses bear much of the blame for the current cultural decline. She calls out activists like Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi for pushing a version of feminism that says gender is nothing more than a social construct, and groups like the National Organization for Women for making abortion the singular women’s issue.

By denying the role of nature in women’s lives, she argues, leading feminists created a “denatured, antiseptic” movement that “protected their bourgeois lifestyle” and falsely promised that women could “have it all.” And by impugning women who chose to forgo careers to stay at home with children, feminists turned off many who might have happily joined their ranks.

But Ms. Paglia’s criticism shouldn’t be mistaken for nostalgia for the socially prescribed roles for men and women before the 1960s. Quite the contrary. “I personally have disobeyed every single item of the gender code,” says Ms. Paglia. But men, and especially women, need to be honest about the role biology plays and clear-eyed about the choices they are making.

Sex education, she says, simply focuses on mechanics without conveying the real “facts of life,” especially for girls: “I want every 14-year-old girl . . . to be told: You better start thinking what do you want in life. If you just want a career and no children you don’t have much to worry about. If, however, you are thinking you’d like to have children some day you should start thinking about when do you want to have them. Early or late? To have them early means you are going to make a career sacrifice, but you’re going to have more energy and less risks. Both the pros and the cons should be presented.”

For all of Ms. Paglia’s barbs about the women’s movement, it seems clear that feminism—at least of the equal-opportunity variety—has triumphed in its basic goals. There is surely a lack of women in the C-Suite and Congress, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a man who would admit that he believes women are less capable. To save feminism as a political movement from irrelevance, Ms. Paglia says, the women’s movement should return to its roots. That means abandoning the “nanny state” mentality that led to politically correct speech codes and college disciplinary committees that have come to replace courts. The movement can win converts, she says, but it needs to become a big tent, one “open to stay-at-home moms” and “not just the career woman.”

More important, Ms. Paglia says, if the women’s movement wants to be taken seriously again, it should tackle serious matters, like rape in India and honor killings in the Muslim world, that are “more of an outrage than some woman going on a date on the Brown University campus.”

Ms. Weiss is an associate editorial features editor at the Journal.

The Weekend Interview With Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues – WSJ.com.

Eight things you can do to be like the best:

Stay Busy

Just Say No

Know What You Are

Build Networks

Create Good Luck

Have Grit

Make Awesome Mistakes

Find Mentors

via 8 Things The World’s Most Successful People All Have In Common.