Flax attempts

Monday, September 26th, 2016 06:05 pm
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[personal profile] flick
This year, a big field near us was planted with flax. It looked very pretty when it was flowering, and then it was time for harvest.

They cut a bit of it it (and presumably stripped the seeds off at the same time), and then stopped for a few days. Then they cut a bit more. Then they finally decided that they'd got it right and cut the whole field.

A few days after that, they made square bales with some of the straw. The bales looked kinda crappy. A few more days, and they tried making round bales, half of which just immediately collapsed.

A few more days, and they went 'sod it', burnt the collapsed bales and harrowed the rest of the straw across the field to rot.

I really hope that it was the first time they'd grown flax....

ION, Jo is still doing really well, and pretty much officially better now. She even had a little run around with her boyfriend in the woods today, and she's been to the beach a couple of times as well. I had our first riding lesson in *ages* on Bugs, and he did very well (although by the end of it he was distinctly unimpressed with how much he was having to do). Ang's leg has started to get bad for the winter but, as ever, he's having good days and bad ones. We're going away for a few days (note to self: must decide where we're going and book hotels; ferry and sitter are both booked), so hopefully he'll continue to be fine while the sitter's looking after him.

We've gone straight from 'too hot to do anything in the garden' to 'succession of visitors', with added torrential rain for a couple of days: the garden is distinctly jungle-like, and I really must get out there and do some weeding....

Old garments cast aside

Monday, September 26th, 2016 10:03 am
primsong: (odds fish)
[personal profile] primsong
Back in the 50s my church apparently went through a legalistic phase, the 'no smoking, no dancing, no makeup' kind of thing and of all of that only a lingering whiff of 'no dancing' was left by the time we came around to it.   For the past 20 years every time dancing came around (even the chicken dance at a party) there were always a few older people who had that 'I feel like I should feel guilty for dancing, but I don't, but what if there's an even OLDER person here who still thinks it is wrong?' reaction. 

Well, we have officially jumped the shark on that topic now - with the approval of my teaching bellydance to the ladies this coming January.  Talk about casting aside the old garment with flair!  Haha!  It's on a freewill donation basis to fund-raise for building updates, I'm quite curious to see how many actually sign up.  :-D  I'm actually quite astonished that they let it go through.

Hm - while watering plants outside this morning something stung my foot and now my little toe looks like a sausage... little toes are strange enough as it is, hopefully won't last long.

Recent Well Playeds: Lupita Nyong’o

Monday, September 26th, 2016 04:00 pm
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Posted by Heather

Lupita Nyong'o: Vogue, Oct 2016 Lupita Nyong'o in Erdem Lupita Nyong'o 
Somewhere along the line, we never covered Lupita’s Vogue cover — I think because it happened during Fashion Week and then the Emmys happened, and then our brains melted. But there’s also so much more of Lupita to love in here. Read More ...

A couple of link-things!

Monday, September 26th, 2016 12:36 pm
newredshoes: Amelie Poulain, adult (amelie | la rêveuse)
[personal profile] newredshoes
New piece up on [wordpress.com profile] screwballheroine: "Let's Go Visit the Swans." This is about animals and memory and continuity. It's also about my mom, and it's also about getting outside yourself again. Dogs are dopey and great. I like the pictures in this. Hope you enjoy.

If you're desperately trying to avoid thinking about the presidential debates tonight, so am I! I've got some coping strategies available at my RealName.com, as well as interesting links about architecture, Ralph Nader and pockets.

Also, if you can see it, I wrote some pretty personal stuff yesterday and would actually love to talk it through with anyone who's up for it.

Finally, I discovered [etsy.com profile] ParlorTattooPrints last night, and I just want so many of them for my walls. I don't know if I'm settled/un-skittish enough for a tattoo myself (yet), but I love flash-style art, and the lovers, the melancholic flapper, the female boxer, the sailor's girl, ugh there's just something so alive and intriguing about this artist. There are a bunch of other very cool prints, including daemon-like portraits with corvids, a bunch of Sailor Jerry-style takes on classic horror movies and a whole series of fancy barbers. (I found some other good finds and shared them last night on [twitter.com profile] magpiewhale, if you dig majorette uniforms, spiderweb cardigans and pins of the witches from Hocus Pocus. &halloween;!)

Art I did for Fandom Giftbox

Monday, September 26th, 2016 11:26 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Here's the art I did for Fandom Giftbox...

Lacernella Rubra
Little Red Riding Hood
Read more... )

Maker's Breath, not again
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Mildly NSFW for implications
Read more... )
[syndicated profile] skepchick_feed

Posted by Mary

  • Smash Bros. Player’s Sexual Consent Guide Ignites Debate In Community – “The Smash community’s reactions to Chhetri’s article were polarizing. On social media, Chhetri and her report were excoriated. Top comments describe the guide as ‘ridiculous, inflammatory propaganda’ ‘unrelated to Smash’ or ‘biased.’ Her Twitter mentions are scathing, riddled with ad hominem attacks. She was called a ‘liar’ and a ‘hostile misandrist.’ An army of critics went to work fact-checking the sexual misconduct guide, quibbling over statistics in Chhetri’s feeds.” From Alex.
  • Telling Myself the Truth: 5 Strategies for Fighting Internalized Ableism – “Let me say that again: in my left-wing dream of a liberal arts education, the kind that prides itself on exposing and unpacking prejudice, no one told me ableism existed. That’s because it’s still completely acceptable for disabled people to hate ourselves. Expected, even. Most discussions of ableism prioritize its external forms: staircases without ramps, misguided offers of help, applauding disabled people for being ‘so brave.’ “
  • Life in academic poverty as an underpaid university teacher: “They just don’t want to pay” – “As an adjunct, Wangerin is employed on a casual basis and earns somewhere between half and one-third of what a tenure-track professor would make for teaching the same courses. That is significant, because non-tenure track teaching staff – commonly referred to as adjuncts and contingent faculty – now make up approximately 70% of all teaching staff in American higher education. This means that roughly three out of every four courses a student takes are taught by someone without job security who is working on minimal pay.”
  • Do Women Have to Talk Like Men to Be Taken Seriously? And Should They? – This is a profile of a vocal trainer in Washington who teaches women (usually politicians) how to talk so that people will listen. Which is a really sad description for a job that our society apparently deems necessary.
  • How ITT Tech Screwed Students and Made Millions – “In interviews with Gizmodo, dozens of former students and faculty have come forward to tell their stories about the school’s predatory recruiting and lending practices, and the inner workings of a pervasive scam that affected tens of thousands of students across 136 campuses in 38 states.”

Featured Image

Taste the rainbow

Monday, September 26th, 2016 03:28 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Tonight we'll see if Donald Trump is able to pretend to be something other than Donald Trump for 90 whole minutes. Let Trump be Trump. Also: A sad day for baseball; Mark and Homer; Rudy Giuliani is literally atrocious; and Eric Metaxas is a silly, silly man.

Fug or Funny: Miley Cyrus

Monday, September 26th, 2016 03:00 pm
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Posted by Jessica

Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus 
Miley told Elle that she’s not going to walk the red carpet anymore, and she technically didn’t walk a red carpet at this event — wherein she performed with Billy Idol while dressed like the world’s biggest Billy Idol fan — but she still posed for photos, to which I say THANK GOD. She really Read More ...

York: Getting residents and communities involved

Monday, September 26th, 2016 03:05 pm
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Posted by Keith Aspden


Keith Aspden at Heslington Sportsfield which benefitted from Ward Committee funding

I’m back in York after a very enjoyable conference in Brighton. From a local government perspective, I was pleased to participate in important discussions around education, housing, the impact of Brexit, the environment, devolution and more! I was pleased to speak (together with Cllr Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council) at an ALDC training session about how Liberal Democrats can make best use of Area and Ward Committees. I’ve written up my notes from the meeting about York’s Ward Committees below, which I hope might be useful food for thought for other Councillors and campaigners.

What are Ward Committees?

In York, each ward is given a budget to spend on local projects and offer grants to community groups. Meetings are chaired by local councillors who work with residents and ward teams to decide collectively where money is spent.

Our 2015 Manifesto

Key campaigning themes for us in the run-up to the 2015 local elections were the Labour Council being out-of-touch with residents, taking all decisions centrally, and ignoring communities in the suburbs and villages around York. Ward Committees had suffered significantly under Labour – as a result of their cuts, wards had a total budget of just £75,000 across the city.

Our manifesto promised to change this and ‘re-establish proper Ward Committees as a way to put power and budgets back in the hands of local residents’.

Our new system

In May 2015 we were delighted to gain four Councillors against the grim national backdrop. We formed a joint administration with the Conservatives on the basis of a ’12-point plan’ that was full of Liberal Democrat priorities. One of our first tasks was to fulfil our manifesto promise and re-introduce Ward Committees. And this is exactly what we have done! Our new system sees nearly £1million in funding devolved to our 21 Ward Committees around York.

Over the last 12 months, Ward Committee meetings have been happening across York, either as standalone sessions or as part of bigger events like summer fairs. As well as helping to decide where funding is spent, they are also an opportunity for residents to quiz councillors, local police teams, and have their say on a range of issues.


Our near £1million ‘pot’ for Ward Committees is made up of different elements:

  • £250,000 devolved Highways Fund
  • £150,000 for Ward Grants
  • £450,000 Pride in York Environment Fund
  • £75,000 Community Care Fund

This means that in 2015/16, each three-member ward in York received around £45,000 in funding and our single-member wards around £15,000.

Projects and Coverage

Across the city, ward budgets have been used to fund road, cycle and footpath schemes, streetlights, notice boards, disabled-friendly facilities as well as litter and salt bins. Grants have been given to groups managing community gardens, youth clubs and Timebanks, helping the council meet our financial challenges. Meanwhile, events such as ‘strawberry teas’, family fun days and excursions for elderly residents have all been organised through ward funding.

We should always make sure that we tell residents and the local media about the new system we have set-up and the local projects our wards have funded.  Luckily ward schemes are often the sort of stories the local press want: local, non-political, and with human and community interest.

The future and thoughts from conference…

We are continually reviewing the system including setting up a cross-party scrutiny group. Meanwhile, through training and teamwork we are making sure that all Lib Dem councillors are making the most of their Ward Committees. We have a Group away day coming up soon where we’ll be looking at how we spread best practice and encourage innovative thinking around Ward Committee budgets.

It was also very interesting to hear Keith House speak about the area decision-making model in Eastleigh, which includes the devolution of planning and licensing powers. Our ongoing review of the new system will make sure to look at different models around the country to pick up ideas on where we can keep making improvements.

We are also looking to expand Ward Committees as we continue to put power back in the hands of local residents – which is just where it should be!

* Keith Aspden has been the Councillor for Fulford Ward in York since 2003 and for Fulford and Heslington Ward since 2015. He was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in May 2013 and is now Deputy Leader of York City Council

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Rough Sex

Monday, September 26th, 2016 11:00 am
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Please oh please don't let the Internet take this the wrong way.

New comic!
Today's News:

let's get together and feel all right

Monday, September 26th, 2016 10:40 am
musesfool: darth vader saying "He said what about his sister? Gross." (he said what about his sister?)
[personal profile] musesfool
Personally, I will not be watching the debate tonight. I don't need to feel any more anxious and nauseated about this election than I already do. I'll watch the Mets and feel uncomfortable about not wanting them to lose despite feeling like the Marlins should win after Jose Fernandez's tragic death. I just can't get over how young he was, and how much he'd already been through, and how much of his life was still ahead of him. I mean, Arnold Palmer was 87! At a certain point, it's sad, but you're like, he lived a great life, it's time to go.

also, L. has her first chemo treatment today, and I feel so helpless. *hands*

2016 can go suck an egg.


Star Wars Rebels
spoilers )

Speaking of Star Wars, I posted a story yesterday:

Just a Little Bit of History Repeating (@ AO3)
Star Wars; Darth Vader & Princess Leia; AU; g; 3,735 words
"I'm in charge of security, Your Highness," Vader said, haughty and automatic, and had to shove away a sudden onslaught of memories. It was this building, he thought, and the presence of a small brunette senator with a smart mouth. That was all.

As I said in the note when I posted, there's a ton of these Luke & Vader get stranded and have to work together and bond etc. stories, and I love them, but I'm always like, but what about Leia??? And the truth is, you can't really have that kind of story within the OT timeline with Leia, because torture and Alderaan etc. So I set this before that, when she's still new in the Senate, and giving Vader a strong sense of deja vu all over again.

As the author *snerk* I can say that it was indeed the Emperor pulling the strings behind the scenes, for his own amusement, and in order to poke Vader in his sore spots and see what would happen; he didn't know about Leia's parentage, but he did pick up on the resemblance to Padme. What he didn't see was how he just orchestrated his own destruction, several years ahead of schedule.

(I guess this is where I confess that my super secret shameful Star Wars...secret is wanting some super dirty bad and wrong time travel Anakin/Leia that I will never ever write [because logistics of time travel make my head hurt] where they don't know! Anakin's like, she's cute and feisty and he figures he needs some experience before he meets Padme again! And Leia's like, I have no time for boys but he's cute and I'm never going to see him again [in my head he comes forward in time and Leia's at some kind of retreat for up-and-coming legislators? and they're both about 16, and they don't even use their real names! it's all very green worldy] so why not get it out of the way? But you as the reader are completely horrified at every turn! *facepalm*

Gosh, I can't believe I'm not deleting this, but eh, maybe I have finally given up on shame. Let the shunning begin.)

ANYWAY. I had this idea on Saturday and dinked around with writing it, but then I couldn't sleep so I was up early on Sunday morning and 3000 words later, there was a story. Originally they were going to be somewhere else, but I thought, no, it has to be Tatooine, for symmetry, but also because out in the Jundland Wastes, Obi-Wan is waking up in a cold sweat and has no idea why. If I do write a sequel, it will probably start with that. *snerk*

Speaking of whom, I have this other wip and Obi-Wan, who was previously Sir Not Appearing in This Story, has suddenly shown up and I'm like, 1. you are not supposed to be here and 2. I still have no real grasp on how to write you! at least it's not in his POV. I was going to delete and retrench, but then banter started happening and I am powerless to resist. Sigh. I guess we'll see if he sticks around.

Writing is hard!


Pfizer Says They Won’t Break Up

Monday, September 26th, 2016 01:37 pm
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Posted by Derek Lowe

Pfizer has been mulling over the idea of turning into at least two Pfizers for a long time now, but they’re out with an announcement this morning that they’ve decided that their current structure is the one that will help them be the best Pfizer that they can be. That’s going to disappoint a lot of folks on Wall Street, because you can collect the heftiest investment bank fees when companies split up. Or merge, whatever, as long as they’re doing something instead of just sitting there running their flippin’ business.

So Pfizer’s flippin’ business will continue to contain both their Innovative Health and Essential Health divisions, as they’re calling them. Apparently, when they first started running the numbers on a split, it looked as if the two could be worth more apart, but over time, they say, that gap has closed, and now it’s more trouble than it’s worth to split up. That again runs counter to what appears to be the motto of the investment banking industry, that nothing’s more trouble than its worth so long as you do it with them, but I’m willing to bet that in a few years the breakup thesis will appear to make sense again. Every large company seems to go through these cycles. Buy something, you need help/you have too much cash, then break up, you’re too spread out/have too much hidden value.

As a side issue, looking through that Pfizer press release, I note that it says that since 2010, the company has received 20 new drug approvals. I sure couldn’t name them, so I worked back through some lists. Here’s what I have:

2016: Troxyca (oxycodone/naltrexone)

2015: Ibrance (palbociclib, a Parke-Davis drug project that Pfizer had shelved for years)

2014: Trumenba (meningococcal vaccine),

2013: Duavee (estrogens/bazedoxifene, acquired with Wyeth)

2012: Equilis (apixaban, a Bristol-Myers Squibb drug that Prizer has been co-developing), Xeljanz (tofacitinib), Inlyta (axitinib), Elelyso (enzyme for Gaucher’s), Bosulif (bosutinib, acquired with Wyeth)

2011: Xalkori (crizotinib), Oxecta (oxycodone formulation)

That ain’t 20 new drugs – in fact, I’d count about 8 new drugs that actually get counted to Pfizer on that list, and three of those were acquired. Clearly they’re counting new indications, which are certainly real, and take real work and real money. But if you read the Pfizer statement as referring to 20 new drugs, then no. They’re certainly not the only company that does this; inflation of this sort happens all the time. But it’s worth keeping in mind next time you see a reference to some such figure.

(no subject)

Monday, September 26th, 2016 10:04 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
We finished that last episode of Star Wars: Rebels around noon yesterday. I really want to see season three now, but we don’t have Disney XD and can’t afford to get it.

Scott did the grocery shopping at about 2:00. We went to the library about 4:30 then finished cleaning up the portals at the science center. After that, Scott mowed the lawn and grilled some fish. I cooked some potatoes in the pressure cooker.

I have a pretty strong suspicion that I’m not going to be able to keep taking Zoloft. I’m getting bruises on my legs that I can’t remember sources for. I’m not absolutely sure that it’s connected as it’s only three so far, but bruising is one of those side effects that can be serious, so I’m going to pay attention and see if other bruises turn up.

I went into the bedroom at 8:00 because Scott and Cordelia wanted to watch Once Upon a Time. I gave up on that midway through season one, and, while I don’t mind it, I didn’t want to deal with Cordelia hassling me about how I shouldn’t watch until I catch up. I’m not likely to get around to it. I hit a point where I couldn’t deal with the things I could see were obviously coming in the flashbacks.

We have a mattress with adjustable pressure air bladders. I’m finding that the comfortable pressure for me to sleep on is absolutely not comfortable for sitting on. Basically, I need my mattress very soft for sleeping, but that leaves it so flabby that, when all of my weight is concentrated by sitting, my behind sinks far enough to hit the hard platform under the mattress. If I’m going to go in there regularly and sit, I think I’ll want to pump up the air bladder and then take it back down at bedtime.

I ended up not sleeping all that well last night. I slept okay up until about 4:00. After that, I think I had a few minutes here and there. I was awake from when Scott got up until Cordelia got up then drowsed while she got ready for school and then again after she left for about forty-five minutes. Most of this is related to needing the bathroom. Needing to pee every two to three hours makes for disrupted sleep, especially when the timing for my bladder doesn’t map onto the timing of other things that will wake me.

I’ve narrowed down my probable Yuletide offers to about fifteen things that I’d actually be thrilled to write. Three are things I’ve written before. I wouldn’t mind writing them again, but maybe I should just offer things I haven’t written? If I match on, say, the Chronicles of Amber, I might choke on having too much of that fandom since I’ve completed two fics in it this year and have two more I’m working on (plus, there’s the UCon game to write).

I also have two longish lists of things that I’d be interested in writing but that I’m not sure I can write well, either because of the voice of canon or because of the nominated characters, or that I don’t have ready access to or that are too long to review in the time I’ll have. At least one is something for which I’d love to write one of the nominated characters but don’t think I could offer any of the others. I always dither at this stage because I can see that it’s possible, in theory, that one of the fandoms I don’t offer might have a request that I’d adore writing. Experience tells me that I can’t/won’t write treats or NYR fics. I have old Yuletide requests from five or six years ago that pinged me enough for me to save them but not enough to actually, you know, write them.

Tag Set Queries Post 1

Monday, September 26th, 2016 10:48 am
[syndicated profile] yuletide_admin_feed

Posted by morbane

Thanks for all of your corrections!

Some corrections require a bit more input. If you were the nominator, or are closely involved in the fandom, could you please comment on the following questions by 9pm UTC 30th Sept (When is this for me?):

Don Carlos - Friedrich Schiller / Don Carlos | Don Carlo - Verdi/du Locle/Méry

It’s possible that these tags are (almost) in order; it’s also possible that some of the tags have migrated weirdly.
Currently nominated under Don Carlos - Friedrich Schilller, we have: Carlos | Carlo (Don Carlos - Friedrich Schiller), Élisabeth de Valois | Elisabetta di Valois (Don Carlos - Friedrich Schiller), Felipe II de España | Philip II of Spain (Don Carlos - Friedrich Schiller), Philippe II | Filippo II (Don Carlos - Friedrich Schiller), Rodrigue | Rodrigo (Don Carlos - Friedrich Schiller).
Apart from the duplication of King Philip, could any nominators please comment on whether the characters are appearing in the right place and whether any were meant to appear in the Verdi/du Locie/Méry canon?

Austin & Murry-O'Keefe Families - Madeleine L'Engle

Emily Davidson was nominated in this category. Could the nominator please confirm they meant Emily Davidson, or did they mean Emily Gregory?

The Fall (2006)

Many of the characters were submitted with pipes for their hospital & story selves. Roy and Alexandra ere both nominated as separate characters and also Alexandra | The Bandit’s Daughter, and Roy | Black Bandit. Could the nominators please comment on whether they would prefer Alexandra and Roy’s identities in the movie be combined or piped, with reasons?

Heian jidai | Heian Period RPF

The character Benjei is ambiguous. Does this mean Musashibō Benkei, or someone else?

The Inheritance Trilogy - N. K. Jemisin

Could the nominator please specify which Shahar Ahameri was meant (high priestess or descendant?), and suggest a label that makes this clear?


Midnighter Comics is nominated with characters Apollo, Dick Grayson, The Gardener, Henry Bendix, Midnighter.
Midnighter (New 52 Comics) is nominated with characters Apollo, Dick Grayson, Jason, Midnighter.

The Midnighter (New 52 Comics) are fine. However, The Gardener and Dick Grayson don’t belong to the Midnighter comics produced by WildStorm. Could the people who nominated Midnighter please confirm if they meant WildStorm or (New 52) DC?

Myst (Series)

It’s been pointed out that the character “Zandi” could mean more than one person. Could the nominator please confirm if they mean Elias Zandi, Jeff Zandi, or someone else?

Terminator (Movies)

The current nominated characters are Pops (Terminator Genisys), Enrique Salceda, John Connor, Kate Brewster, Kyle Reese, Marcus Wright, Sarah Connor

It has been suggested that this category be separated out - either by separating into different movies, or by attaching disambiguation tags to the characters to the characters to show what their movie backstory is. Before we do this, we’d prefer to hear to from the nominators as to which characters they meant and what their intentions were.

Baseball RPF

We have removed a character from the tag set for a very sad reason. José Fernández of the Miami Marlins died recently in a boating accident and we extend our sympathies to his fans. We are removing the tag from the tagset in compliance with the wishes of the nominator.

Please continue to let us know about inconsistencies and problems in the tag set.

Young people and grammar schools

Monday, September 26th, 2016 01:22 pm
[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Nigel Jones


This is the slightly edited text of the speech to party conference on Sunday 18th September, moving the motion with the same title. The text of the motion can be seen here.

We believe in social mobility, but social mobility is more than simply plucking a few from disadvantaged backgrounds, by unreliable assessment and unfair procedures, at the age of 11.

In any case, all-embracing division at age 11 sends a damaging message about how we value each young person.

Actually, we believe in more than social mobility; we want even people who choose to stay in particular social groups to be better educated and better off. Not only is that good for them, it is necessary for our economy.

Gone are the days when unqualified youngsters from secondary modern schools could walk into a good job.

Gone, we hope are the days when an educated elite takes charge of everything and the rest are merely simple-minded servants.

Likewise we need more education for our society and our democracy; local and national governments and voluntary organisations have more complicated decisions to make, requiring greater understanding and participation on the part of all our people.

Theresa May accuses her opponents of  ideology. So what ! We Lib-Dems have ideas that fit the practical needs of everyone, including the working class. SHE simply has the dogma of a past elitist system inappropriate  in a competitive, complicated globalised world. She cannot justify that dogma on the basis of providing opportunity for the few to step up the ladder; she has already reneged on her promise to govern for everybody.

Some parents are understandably excited about the possibility of their children getting into a grammar school; schools branded good as judged by high exam results, due largely to selecting only those who can achieve them. I say to these parents, do not be deceived; the majority of your children will not benefit from this policy. Sam Freedman, former advisor to Michael Gove, wrote a few days ago “Selective schools destroy choice… As a parent I don’t want a shot at a good school place, I want a guarantee and that is impossible in a system with selective schools.”

Children in selective systems who do not get into grammar schools do worse than their equivalents in comprehensive systems and there is little correlation between test performance at age 11 and later achievement. Only 3% of children in grammar schools are from disadvantaged backgrounds compared to 19% in other schools.

Even if there were a reliable fair way of dividing children at age 11, the idea would still be flawed.

Children are highly-sensitive human beings who have a huge and complex variety of talents, that can still change and develop so much. Dividing children at age 11 into just two types is crude in the extreme. It is an unintelligent approach.

Now, I used to hear a few left-wing teachers and recently some trade unionists say that in a comprehensive school they must all be taught the same. That is the opposite mistake. Likewise in a grammar school some do not benefit from all being taught the same.  Comprehensive schools are there to cater for the complex mix of talents and very many of these schools have shown it can be done, including, ambitious parents note, for the very bright

Now, learning is not just about academic knowledge; the mix of talents in one school can itself be stimulating for all children.  With discipline and a caring environment, being in the same school with your peers in all their differences is itself a good lesson.

Lets not just be negative here. The positive alternative is to focus on the right kind of flexible natural selection within schools and where necessary for neighbouring schools to cooperate in providing for those with exceptional talent or particular problems. Most important of all is the quality of teaching, the continuous training of a variety of talented teachers and quality support in the first 5 years of a child’s life.

Finally, if we really want to improve life for the disadvantaged we cannot expect the schools to do it alone. The school’s community matters.  In 2013, an organisation called Research and Information on State Education, said that up to 80% of the differences in performance in schools was accounted for by what goes on outside the school.

So let’s say to Theresa May; if you really want to improve life chances for everyone, you must abandon your proposals for grammar schools; concentrate on resourcing local services so they can all work in partnership with our schools; improve early years  AND above all, ensure good quality well-supported teachers.

* Nigel Jones, newly-elected chair of the Liberal Democrat Education Association, 13 yrs as a local councillor until May'15 and Parliamentary candidate (Newcastle under Lyme 2010, Walsall North 2015); spent all his working life as a teacher in schools and FE and now a Methodist Local Preacher

Once Upon A Time season 6 episode 1 review: The Savior

Monday, September 26th, 2016 12:17 pm
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Posted by Article Importer

Elizabeth Rayne Review
Sep 26, 2016

Regina is done with apples, Rumplestiltskin isn’t redeeming himself, & Hyde is still evil on the Once Upon a Time season 6 premiere...

life lived in dot points

Monday, September 26th, 2016 09:24 pm
fred_mouse: crystal mouse, looking straight out at the viewer (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
 on the good
  • mulberry season has started!
  • got to see some of the state skate comp before taking youngest dancing
  • craft is progressing nicely - might have three of the current list done, if only I can get my rear end moving more quickly. 
  • !compactus was rearranged yesterday, I can now access the non-fiction shelf. Am seriously contemplating rehoming rather a large number of books. Have managed to pull out half a dozen, wondering whether I should bother with the pain management and health quackery books. 
  • went to monthly Monday gathering, despite assorted unwellness. 
on the bad
  • found error in analysis that means the nearly complete paper isn't
  • went 'what the hey' when grilled fish (from the local chippy) came with something bready (I was probably told this, I just failed to hear or ignored). Unable to finish the piece, stomach pains somewhat worse than the last time I made this mistake. Incremental responses are Not My Friend. 
  • completely failed to remember that middlest has drum class on Monday. Only eldest was home, and zie did not think to pay drum teacher for turning up 

How did I do?

Monday, September 26th, 2016 09:15 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
Weekend To Do List:
1. Do laundry. Always and forever. I did one load, and it turned out the machine in the basement is not, in fact, fixed. Luckily, it was all lightweight clothes I could wring out after Spin!Fail. They're currently hung on racks to dry. The wet clothes were really heavy to carry upstairs. I also changed my bedclothes, so I still have two loads to go, and both will need to go to the Laundromat.

2. Pick up hemmed jeans and mended shirt, if they are in fact done; the lady said it might be Tuesday, since everybody gets things altered in the fall. Done! But the shirt wasn't ready yet, so I will have to pick that up later.

3. Write book review. I've already finished the book. Done! Next up, read review book that's due the end of October.

4. Start writing story for October 15th deadline. !!! I say it here so I will at least sit down in front of the computer and start typing. I did not do this, sigh.

5. Start packing for CapClave. I didn't manage this, either, but I have a little time yet.

(no subject)

Monday, September 26th, 2016 08:05 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[tumblr.com profile] swingandswirl linked to a fundraiser for the Sankofa Collective Northwest, an organization breaking off from PFLAG Portland after its president closed the PFLAG Portland Black Chapter and laid off its employees. They are trying to rebuild the org independently to continue to serve the community in Portland and need funding to help; you can read more and reblog here or give directly here.

[personal profile] minxy linked to an indiegogo campaign for a Deaf-community created film called Mather, a "fantastical space Western" whose creative team, including the cast, are Deaf artists and actors. You can read more about the film's plot (which sounds totally fascinating) and support the film here. There are several great perks including behind-the-scenes films, credit shout-outs, and film swag.

[tumblr.com profile] shrewreadings linked to a unique opportunity to win a newspaper: the Hadrwick Gazette, a weekly newspaper founded in 1889 in Vermont. Its owner would like to retire but wants to see the paper continue; you can give to the Kickstarter for the paper here or enter an essay contest (entry fee $175, to support the paper) to win the newspaper.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received. You can read more and help out here.

[livejournal.com profile] editrx has been struggling to keep her indy bookstore afloat for this past year, and on top of her troubles there, she's now been the subject of a violent assault by her housemate. She's dealing with mounting medical bills and trauma from the assault and needs a lawyer to ensure her attacker is charged properly and convicted. You can read more and give here, send a giftcard for groceries (to editrx@gmail.com) or support Starcat Books by purchasing here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form or via email at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Three Ages of Japanese Man

Monday, September 26th, 2016 01:52 pm
steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
Three factoids I picked up from three different conversations with my Japanese friends on italki.com this week.


When Japanese women give birth, it is customary for hospital to take the umbilical cord and put it in a little box. The mother is then presented with it as a memento on leaving the hospital.


There is a kami who specialises in straightening out badly behaved children. His twisted staffs symbolising the crooked behaviour of the children he has to deal with, usually as a result of a prayer of the parents.

mami kami

Also, he gets to ride on a fox.

Man's Estate

Whenever a train is late and it is deemed to be the driver's fault, the driver is made to write a letter of apology to the customers. However, whenever a Japanese salaryman feels that it's all too much and throws himself in the path of a speeding shinkansen (as happens all too often), the family is made to pay a large amount of compensation to the train company - pour encourager les autres, presumably.

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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