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Alexey Feldgendler
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Funny joke, but the comments to the original post are even better. Look at all the zealots taking it seriously!
"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl." 

The priest asks, "Is that you, little Joey Pagano?"

"Yes, Father, it is." 

"And who was the girl you were with?" 

"I can't tell you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation." 

"Well, Joey, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?"

"I cannot say." 

"Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?" 

"I'll never tell." 

"Was it Nina Capelli?" 

"I'm sorry, but I cannot name her." 

"Was it Cathy Piriano?" 

"My lips are sealed."

"Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?" 

"Please, Father! I cannot tell you." 

The priest sighs in frustration. "You're very tight lipped, and I admire that. But you've sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself." 

Joey walks back to his pew, and his friend Franco slides over and whispers, "What'd you get?" 

"Four months vacation and five good leads..."
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Yet another example of how the patent law is flawed. Facebook came up with an idea and decided not to do it. Great, now nobody can do it, even if they think of the same thing by accident.

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If you live in the U.S., chances are that your kid starts hating school before ever going to school.

The absurdly competitive society pushes the stress earlier and earlier down a person's life: to get a better job, you should attend a better college, for which you should attend a better school, for which… you should attend a better kindergarten! There's no time to play when you can already start working on shooting ahead of the pack. That's why kindergartens in the U.S. now target academic performance criteria and compete on how well they can prepare children for a particular standardized test.

Apparently competition can trickle even further down (see the link to The Oregonian publication in the first paragraph): guidelines are made for parents on what they are expected to teach their children even before kindergarten! That is, if you want your kid to go to a good kindergarten, so they can go to a good elementary school, so they can, omitting a few steps, get a good job, so they can afford a good kindergarten for their kids.

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It is appalling that something called “direct instruction” (which is, flatly teaching chidlren exactly what they're going to be tested on, through scripted repetition and strict discipline) is still even considered by anyone — and here we're talking about preschool children!

Not only do the alleged benefits of DI boil down to slightly better performance on the target test and only the target test, which lasts for about a year, but the dreadful practice is also harmful in a number of ways. The article quotes studies that link DI to lower academic success at the age of 15, to aggression and anti-social behavior, and even to failure to form stable relationships.

The article is from 1999, which may explain why it might not have been so obvious back then.

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A thought-provoking article on play (as in what children do) in Psychology Today.

The whole piece is absolutely worth reading, though I was particularly impressed with point 4: “The point of play is that it has no point”. In our utility-driven lives, this simple realization comes as a shock at first, and we start rationalizing it away by viewing play in terms of its benefits such as improvement of skills. This is obviously not why children play! The only reason to play is that it's fun, i.e. brings instant gratification.

This quote is also something to note: “If you're keeping score – in fact, if you're competing at all – then what you're doing isn't play.”

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A small brewery turns negative reception by an industry committee in its own favor.

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The Semicolon Guardian and other punctuation sentinels.

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Cats in Thailand
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4/13/14
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Trees in Thailand
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4/13/14
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