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The Life Slant - page 10

College

Some Will Go To College – All Will Go Through Life: Part One- Curves, Tests and Grades

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Teachers, school administrators, school boards and government agencies across America work diligently to educate our youth, yet the U.S. consistently ranks squarely in the middle of worldwide achievement in Science, Math and Reading.  How can this be in what we all like to think of as the greatest nation on earth?

There are two underlying fundamental problems with the American education system in the 21st century.  The first is that there is not now, nor has there ever been, an American Education System.  From the time of the first New England schoolhouse to today, local education has been paid for by local tax dollars, with local government setting curriculum and standards for hiring teachers in accordance with the bidding of local voters.

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Cherry Blossoms

Celebrating Cherry Blossoms

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Hundreds of thousands of visitors come from around the world to witness the spring majesty of Washington D.C.’s flowering cherry trees. This breathtaking event reminds us that trees are remarkable.

There are over 80,000 tree species and their progenitors have inhabited our planet for over 350 million years. They provide watersheds, supply drinking water for billions of people, protect cities from stormwater runoff, and reduce cooling costs to our homes and buildings by as much as 40 percent. City trees also absorb mega-tons of air pollutants each year.

Trees and ancient forests are superlative carbon dioxide warehouses. In return, ancient forests provide more than one of every three breaths of oxygen. Ancient forests provide invaluable habitat for animals. They are also vanguards of some of the most potent cancer, coronary and pain medicines known to science.

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Father and Baby

A Father’s Journey – Part 3. Independently Breathing

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* A small victory; independently breathing


Stephen Pecevich, a single dad of three in the Boston area, had his life take a complete detour when his youngest child was diagnosed with cancer before she she was even 60 days old.  Follow the story of how this devoted father found faith and strength on what Stephen calls “a life detour”, as we publish regular excerpts from Stephen’s own memoir, which will be available in its entirety in the near future.

January 22nd

Dear Sydni,

You stepped forward today (figuratively speaking of course). Your dedicated overnight nurse said you slept well all throughout the night (your first good night’s sleep). And then, at 11:00 A.M., the ICU staff began weaning you off the respirator.
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Ocean Pollution

Chemical Chaos in the Ocean – the Death of Dolphins and Sea Turtles

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Dolphins and sea turtles are in dire jeopardy. Necropsies, or autopsies performed on animals, show that as poisons are brimming in the oceans, animal deaths are piling up.

Over the previous several months, hundreds of scrawny, frightened and bloated gray dolphins have been stranded along Rio de Janeiro’s coast. Their autoimmune systems were completely compromised by a measles virus. These highly intelligent mammals were discombobulated, covered in grotesque rashes and gasping for oxygen – a terrifying way to die.

Dead dolphins and sea turtles
Photo credit: Instituto Boto Cinza.
The tragic death of dolphins and sea turtles is a wake-up call to stop polluting our planet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Never Stop Learning

Investing in Education = Investing in our Future

The bell rings and twenty-nine angelic faces look to her for guidance. In that moment she realizes that while as Governor overseeing the statistical lives of her state’s almost four million citizens is a huge responsibility – one she takes seriously, being entrusted with the actual lives of these twenty-nine cherubs is a grander burden.

Initially an eager participant in the new ‘Leaders in School’ program, the Governor is becoming increasingly dismayed as the reality of spending an entire day working as an educator in the public school system is becoming clear. It was bad enough that she had to make her own coffee and breakfast this morning and then actually drive herself to school, but facing a day without her personal assistants seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

The day is only forty seconds old, and she is already looking for a light at the end of an awfully long tunnel.

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Crossing Light

Responsible Right of Way

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Once upon a time in a land called America, schoolchildren were taught how to cross the street by their parents or their older siblings.  Red light means the cars stop, and green light means the cars go. Pedestrians were not so confused by basic traffic etiquette.

Wait for the red light and make sure the cars have stopped, look both ways, carefully cross the street.  For decades, first graders across the nation successfully crossed the street without tens of thousands of dollars worth of flashing lights and annoying beeping and counting and pictures of a cute little walking man at every stinking intersection.

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Sydney Australia Skyline

Aussie Glimpse at a 2.4C World

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There is a revived fossil fuel fever taking hold of the climate Down Under.

Burning fossil fuels releases CO2, which triggers the release of two other planetary, heat-trapping gases: methane and nitrous oxide. These three gases together are known as CO2 equivalent (CO2eq).

Currently, CO2eq is 495 parts per million and rising. According to the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fourth Assessment Report, Earth is committed to a temperature increase of at least 2.4C (4.3F), which translates into climate instability with more frequent and intense extreme weather e.g. heatwaves, droughts, firestorms, insect epidemics and flooding.

Dead mangroves in Queensland Australia
Photo credit: digitaljournal.com Tatiana Gerus. 200,000 people from 22 towns were affected from extreme weather, torrential rains and flooding, December 30, 2010.

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Ability Matters, not Age

Pre-employment Predictors of Prejudice

*When you look at job descriptions, many times there are phrases and descriptions of prejudice that, apparently, are not recognized as prejudiced. Diversity is more than ethnicity, race or gender, but I will leave it to you to determine what other factors should be considered. But don’t take my word for it; the U.S. Congress said so in 1967, when the Gen-Xers and Millennials were just a gleam in their parents’ eyes.

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Arctic

Toxic Tar Sands Cooking Our Planet

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On February 24, 2018, the mercury at the Cape Morris Jesup weather station, northern Greenland, soared to 43 degrees (F), 70 degrees above normal – unprecedented. During that month, temperatures in northern Greenland were above freezing for 61 hours, three times the number of hours in any previous year. Terrifying. Our planetary life support systems are rapidly overheating, deteriorating, dying, and dead.

Emaciated Polar Bear
Photo credit: inhabit.com photographer Kerstin Langenberger
As the Arctic melts, the incidence of starving polars will escalate quickly. How much longer will people turn a blind eye to the death of animals and plants as Earth’s rising temperature accelerates from burning fossil fuels?

The Arctic is warming twice as quickly as any other region on the globe. For example, the Arctic has just experienced its warmest winter on record. February Arctic sea ice cover was 521,000 square miles (almost twice the area of Texas) below its normal – the lowest monthly record ever witnessed. At the South Pole, the summer Antarctic sea ice cover reached its minimum extent, the second lowest since the inception of satellite data.

The missing Arctic sea ice and the heat escaping from the Arctic Ocean into the atmosphere is unhinging the polar jet stream. It’s linked to record-breaking flooding, firestorms, heatwaves, droughts, torrential rains, blizzards and even China’s airpocalypse.

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Opiates

Hey Doc – a Little Help? Life In the Era of Opioids.

* I did it. *

I turned down the Vicodin during the pre-op appointment.

When he asked why, I replied, “I like it too much.”

Vicodin

Instead of considering the acknowledgement I’d just made that I am to some degree addicted to opiates, or perhaps even complimenting me on my self-restraint and self-awareness, he pressed the idea that I would need some pain relief over the weekend, and we compromised on a prescription for ten pills of something ‘similar’ to Vicodin.

During interactions with doctors, nurses and support staff in the hours before and after my surgery, I told five other people that I like Vicodin too much. Each time I expected them to make a note in my chart but no one did, although Heaven knows that anything else you tell them gets noted and is then impossible to get deleted, even if it is in error!

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