Columbia University - B.A.
Political Science with a Specialization in
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism
So what's so amazing about these sports festivals? Japanese schools put a lot of emphasis on responsibilities of the children; especially the 5th and 6th graders, or kou-gaku-nen 高学年 (1-2: 低学年 lower grade level, 3-4: 中学年 middle grade level, 5-6: 高学年 upperclassmen). The 高学年 pretty much run the show. To give you an idea, I'll try to explain everything that is going on all at once.
During the course of the day, spread out between other events, each grade level has races. There are 4 teams: white, blue, yellow, and red, but white and blue are both white and yellow and red are both red regarding the over-all two team system.
The students running are lined up in the middle of the track.
The four ready to go are in position.
The announcer at the microphone is one of the students.
The people holding the goal tape are students.
There are four students at the finish line with 1,2,3 and 4 jerseys. It's their job to take the appropriate person after the race to the right line.
The score board is managed by students
There are two cheerleading teams or more within the track trying to get the audience to make some noise.
The next group of students for the next event are waiting just outside the track.
When an event is over, the cleanup and prep for the next thing is all done by students.
Basically, the teachers are just supervising, leading the classes to line up when they go on next, and shooting the cap gun to start the race.
This kind of responsibility is not just limited to the sports festival. Students clean their classrooms after lunch, which they serve themselves. The 高学年 clean the whole school based on groups that rotate and have different responsibilities. There are groups with other responsibilities that meet every few weeks after school to do things like sort library books, plan morning assembly activities, etc.
The clubs are run by teachers in elementary school, but in middle school its almost all self run. Imagine a soccer club with no adults. Imagine them doing drills and not goofing off. Pretty unbelievable, but that's the power of the sempai-kouhai system (upper-lower classmen). Middle school is 3 years, and the 3rd graders have the power (and size) to keep the younger kids in line. Respect is key.
Chiyoda is the cream of the crop, though, in terms of public schools in Japan. Parents with the means will try to get their kids in these schools because of the predetermined path from k-12 and into universities. It isn't that unlike the US, except that the US is so much bigger that there are a large number of different paths, and few paths lead past high school. Usually after high school you're kind of on your own depending on how you did. Imagine how that might be different if the US was only the size of California. The best public high schools would be well known by the universities and all the parents would try to get their children in as early as possible.
Elementary schools in Japan are far superior to those I have seen in the US. Even the poor ones in Saitama were better than the one I went to, but the ones in Chiyoda are (pure speculation) better than our private schools in the states. I say that for a few reasons, but this time I'm only going to talk about the sports festival that happens in every school once a year.
This event is from about 8:30am-3 or 4pm with lunch in between. All the parents and anyone off the street who feels like coming show up, and there are a series of events, some competitive and some not. In most schools the children are divided into two teams: red and white. Cheer leading is a big thing, but cast away all your preconceived notions of 'cheer leading' from the US, because it is nothing like that. The famous song the red and white team sing together is awesome too. It has two parts that overlap beautifully (click here for mp3.. ). First Red sings, then white, then together. (Red = aka, White = shiro). Translation by me.
Edit: Note that the sun is considered Red in Japan, not yellow.
ぼくらは かがやく We will shine
たいようのように like the sun
もえあがる きぼう with burning aspirations
ちからいっぱい がんばろう full of strength we do our best
あかあかあか ゴーゴーゴー Red red red Go go go!
あかあかあか ゴーゴーゴー Red red red Go go go!
もえろよ もえろ Let's burn! Let's burn! (Let's get fired up?)
あかぐみ Red Team!
ぼくらはしろい いなずまだ We are white lightning
つきすすむ ひかりのや a plunging white light
かみなりのおと とどろかせ the roaring sound of thunder
げんきいっぱい がんばろう full of energy we do our best
ゴーゴーゴー しろしろしろ Go go go! White white white!
ゴーゴーゴー しろしろしろ Go go go! White white white!
ちきゅうをまわる いなずまだ We are lightning that cracks the earth!
しろぐみ White team!
Great song. The mp3 doesn't do the it justice compared to see hundred of kids sing it at once.
Anyway more later.
She evades questions and is full of crap. Nothing but soundbites. My favorite quote:
Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.
Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.
I am so pissed that this is not front page news on every news channel. How can she get away with so many lies in her FIRST speech as the VP pick? Most people will never hear about this crap because I bet FOX news won't even mention it, but CNN isn't much better with their casual way of laughing it off. "Oh yeah, we should probably fact check the other stuff she said.. la de da, oh well that's all the time we have.."
We are gonna lose this thing. Why? Because despite having great candidates the right will always have one advantage in America. They can say ANYTHING they want with no accountability. I will be happy when I see a Sarah Palin or McCain article in a major news source with the word "LIES" in the title. I should have to settle for nothing less.
I wish there were public access pianos. If I were moving into an apartment complex I would much rather it had a nice piano than a nice pool. Quite a few complexes in Davis had pianos in the study room. They also had pools. Apartments here have nothing for the community. I've never even seen an apartment with laundry machines, but I'm sure they exist (and to be fair, a lot of people have their own).
I think classical music education is done all wrong. Why is it that students are taught how to play other peoples music for the majority of their education, and only those who really pursue it for a career ever get into composition? I wish classical educators would jazz things up, so to speak, and get students to CREATE rather than interpret. Rather than look at a piece of music and play it how you think the composer wanted it, take it and from the start assume it isn't complete. Assume it needs work, and you can make it better. Change the music. Ad lib. Theme and variation.
Imagine if all painters did for the first 10 years of their education was to copy masters' works. They would surely learn the techniques necessary to create masterful art, and they'd probably learn a lot of art history. But how many would bore of the practice and give up on art all together? Why do we teach music this way?
Whenever I go back home I hear Peter playing song after song that I've never heard before. Always reading. I hope next time he tries breaking away from the page more. Sight read once and then play from memory with your own thoughts filling in the gaps.
AET達とJET達がやさしくて子供達も元気よく本当によかった。AETというのはAssistant English Teacher（me)そしてJETはJapanese English Teacher。JET達は大学生だから年下だし経験あまりなかったけど本当に信じられないぐらい頑張った。最後の気持ちは家族みたいな感じだった。
Unfortunately according to google, use of "an historic" is fairly prevalent with "a historic" at 7,780,000 hits and "an historic" at less than half that, but still a significant 3,440,000.
It's simple people! If it's a vowel sound, use 'an', if not, don't.
As for the part about skin on skin.. wouldn't that be solved by asking and telling? I imagine in that situation they don't go coed either.
Science fiction has spent a lot of time on the idea of robots taking over after becoming artificially intelligent. Terminator, the Matrix, etc. But they always make the robots out to be another race who competes with humans. The reality is that they in no way need us once they can replicate themselves. They won't need to be malevolent, greedy or evil. They just need to be able to reproduce. And if they do so at our expense, or at the expense of the planet and its resources, we are screwed. The fragility of it never really occurred to me.
Bump (Romeo and Juliet)
more info here.
He also created a lot of phrases and idioms we use to this day.
From Bernard Levin's The Story of English:
If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I were dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness' sake! what the dickens! but me no buts - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare. (Bernard Levin. From The Story of English. Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil. Viking: 1986).
I'm sure there are racists in every country throughout the world. I don't think racism depends on age, but rather the way one is brought up and educated. Xenophobia, on the other hand, is directly related to conservatism. It is for that reason that I think it goes up significantly with age, and is much more prevalent in homogenous societies like Japan. I would say I experience almost no racism, or at least none directly targeted at me, but I see xenophobia all the time. One interesting affect of xenophobia here is that foreign born Japanese people experience it too.
There is a anime based on a manga that runs in the train I ride on my commute. If it were to run in the USA it would be considered extremely offensive and probably would never be published. It's called 'My Darling the Foreigner.' In it are absurd oversimplifications, generalizations, and plain and simple xenophobic lies. What bothers me most is that with just one change, the author could simultaneously make it inoffensive and retain all the meaning and humor. Instead of 'My Darling the Foreigner' make it 'My Darling, Tony' Everyone would know Tony is a foreign name. Then instead of saying 'Foreigners blah blah blah' say 'Tony blah blah blah' which, to her credit, she sometimes does. It's a real shame that the show is so offensive, because some of it has potential to be cute or even funny. Today there was an episode about how Saori learned that 'the' changes pronunciation depending on the next word (the apple vs the banana, for example). She triumphantly tells Tony her findings only for him to shrug and say 'oh, really? I never noticed that before' and hilarity ensues. I like this episode because it's about them, and it's educational. It doesn't have any needless generalizations about foreigners because it's personal.
Conservatives Depress Me
I feel like I understand where conservatives are coming from, but it is so clear to me that they are wrong about some fundamental issues. How often do you hear people say they want the government to build the roads, protect the borders, deliver the mail, and get out of the way? What percentage of those people are rich? I understand that they probably think everyone can become rich, opportunities are everywhere, and so on. But even if that were the case (which it isn't) I still find it to be a bleak, selfish outlook on life. Why do people insist that taxes are bad? Why don't we hear more politicians working on ways to eliminate wasted or poorly allocated tax money, instead of simply cutting taxes and spending the same amount? I see taxes like this:
Imagine you live in a small dorm with 100 people. Everyone has to pay for internet who wants to use it. You could each pay X$ for it, or you could all split the money and set up some kind of wireless system. Arguments against this system are obvious: What about Johnny who doesn't use internet? Why should he pay?! Well, like many things we pay taxes for, like roads, it is often impossible to tell who uses it and who doesn't. But the price should be cut by so much that it doesn't really matter. And the more things the government can provide en masse for low prices, the lower every individuals daily cost of living. Sure you keep 50$ less of your paycheck, but your cost of living just went down 100$! Sweet! Well... in theory.
I've decided to call myself an opportunistic vegetarian. I don't buy meat to cook or take home (and I'm cooking 1-2 meals a day now), and if there is a decent vegetarian option when eating out I'll order it. School lunches often have meat, but not eating it would be more trouble than it would be worth. I am also going to avoid leather and other animal hide products. I think a lot of people don't realize the scale of damage to the environment by cattle and other animals. It really is staggering. Here is a very good TED talk on the issue.
Sex is the safest tranquilizer in the world. It is ten times more effective than Valium.
It is cheaper in India to have sex with a prostitute than to buy a condom.
In Kentucky, 50 percent of the people who get married for the first time are teenagers.
The only acceptable sexual position in Washington, DC, is the missionary-style position. Any other sexual positions is considered illegal.
Texas is the only state that permits residents to cast absentee ballots from space.
The day after President George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, Canada's main immigration website had 115,000 visitors. Before Bush's re-election, this site averaged about 20,000 visitors each day.
The fertility rate in states that voted for George W. Bush is 12 percent higher than states that favored John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
George Washington spent about 7 percent of his annual salary on liquor.
In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed to kill her adulterous husband, but may only do so with her bare hands.
Quebec City, Canada, has about as much street crime as Disney World.
There are at least two reported instances of British college students auctioning off their virginity on eBay.
Residents of an Austrian village called Fucking voted against changing the name in 2004, but did replace their road signs with theft-resistant versions welded to steel and secured in concrete to stem their frequent theft. (The name is pronounced to rhyme with "looking.")
Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide their body odor-hence, the custom of today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Two weeks ago, The Observer revealed how 17-year-old student Rand Abdel-Qader was beaten to death by her father after becoming infatuated with a British soldier in Basra. In this remarkable interview, Abdel-Qader Ali explains why he is unrepentant - and how police backed his actions. Afif Sarhan in Basra and Caroline Davies report
Afif Sarhan in Basra and Caroline Davies
The Observer, Sunday May 11 2008
For Abdel-Qader Ali there is only one regret: that he did not kill his daughter at birth. 'If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her,' he said with no trace of remorse.
Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British solider in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant. Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city's Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death.
Abdel-Qader, 46, a government employee, was initially arrested but released after two hours. Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. 'They are men and know what honour is,' he said.
Rand, who was studying English at Basra University, was deemed to have brought shame on her family after becoming infatuated with a British soldier, 22, known only as Paul.
She died a virgin, according to her closest friend Zeinab. Indeed, her 'relationship' with Paul, which began when she worked as a volunteer helping displaced families and he was distributing water, appears to have consisted of snatched conversations over less than four months. But the young, impressionable Rand fell in love with him, confiding her feelings and daydreams to Zeinab, 19.
It was her first youthful infatuation and it would be her last. She died on 16 March after her father discovered she had been seen in public talking to Paul, considered to be the enemy, the invader and a Christian. Though her horrified mother, Leila Hussein, called Rand's two brothers, Hassan, 23, and Haydar, 21, to restrain Abdel-Qader as he choked her with his foot on her throat, they joined in. Her shrouded corpse was then tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.
'Death was the least she deserved,' said Abdel-Qader. 'I don't regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion,' he said.
Sitting on a chair by his front door and surrounded by the gerberas and white daisies he had planted in the family garden, Abel-Qader attempted to justify his actions.
'I don't have a daughter now, and I prefer to say that I never had one. That girl humiliated me in front of my family and friends. Speaking with a foreign solider, she lost what is the most precious thing for any woman. 'People from western countries might be shocked, but our girls are not like their daughters that can sleep with any man they want and sometimes even get pregnant without marrying. Our girls should respect their religion, their family and their bodies.
'I have only two boys from now on. That girl was a mistake in my life. I know God is blessing me for what I did,' he said, his voice swelling with pride. 'My sons are by my side, and they were men enough to help me finish the life of someone who just brought shame to ours.'
Abdel-Qader, a Shia, says he was released from the police station 'because everyone knows that honour killings sometimes are impossible not to commit'. Chillingly, he said: 'The officers were by my side during all the time I was there, congratulating me on what I had done.' It's a statement that, if true, provides an insight into how vast the gulf remains between cultures in Iraq and between the Basra police the British army that trains them.
Sources have indicated that Abdel-Qader, who works in the health department, has been asked to leave because of the bad publicity, yet he will continue to draw a salary.
And it has been alleged by one senior unnamed official in the Basra governorate that he has received financial support by a local politician to enable him to 'disappear' to Jordan for a few weeks, 'until the story has been forgotten' - the usual practice in the 30-plus cases of 'honour' killings that have been registered since January alone.
Such treatment seems common in Basra, where militias have partial control, especially in the districts on the outskirts where Abdel-Qader lives.
While government security forces and British troops have control over the centre, around the fringes militants can still be seen everywhere on the streets or at the checkpoints they have erected. And they have imposed strict laws of behaviour for all the local people, including what clothing should be worn and what religious practices should be observed. There are reports of men having their hands cut off for looting and women being killed for prostitution.
Homosexuality is punishable by death, a sentence Abdel-Qader approves of with a passion. 'I have alerted my two sons. They will have the same end [as Rand] if they become contaminated with any gay relationship. These crimes deserve death - death in the name of God,' he said.
He said his daughter's 'bad genes were passed on from her mother'. Rand's mother, 41, remains in hiding after divorcing her husband in the immediate aftermath of the killing, living in fear of retribution from his family. She also still bears the scars of the severe beating he inflicted on her, breaking her arm in the process, when she told him she was going. 'They cannot accept me leaving him. When I first left I went to a cousin's home, but every day they were delivering notes to my door saying I was a prostitute and deserved the same death as Rand,' she said.
'She was killed by animals. Every night when go to bed I remember the face of Rand calling for help while her father and brothers ended her life,' she said, tears streaming down her face.
She was nervous, clearly terrified of being found, and her eyes constantly turned towards the window as she spoke. 'Rand told me about the soldier, but she swore it was just a friendship.
'She said she spoke with him because she was the only English speaker. I raised her in a religious manner and she never went out alone until she joined the university and then later when she was doing aid work.
'Even now, I cannot believe my ex-husband was able to kill our daughter. He wasn't a bad person. During our 24 years of marriage, he was never aggressive. But on that day, he was a different person.'
The mother is now trying to raise enough money to escape abroad. 'I miss my two boys,' she said. 'But they have sent a message saying that I am wrong for defending Rand and that I should go back home and live like a blessed Muslim woman,' said Leila, who is now volunteering with a local organisation campaigning for better protection for women in Basra.
One of those running the organisation, who did not want to be identified, said that Rand's case was similar to so many reported in Basra, with the only difference being she was in love with a foreigner, rather than an Iraqi.
'There isn't too much to say. Rand is dead. It is a tragedy and will be a tragedy for many other families in Iraq in the days to come.
'According to information we have been given, some from Rand's colleague, we have doubts that her love was reciprocated. We have the impression that Rand was in love, but the English soldier wasn't. But, for a girl to be paid nice compliments about her beauty and her intelligence, it was enough for her to think she was in love.
'She isn't here any more for her mother to ask any of the questions she would like to. Rand's case had repercussions because she fell in love with a foreigner. But what about the other girls murdered through "honour" killings because they fell in love with some of a different sect, or lost their virginity, or were forced to become prostitutes?'
Rand's mother used to call her 'Rose'. 'That was my nickname for her because when she was born she was so beautiful,' she said.
'Now, my lovely Rose is in her grave. But, God will make her father pay, either in this world ... or in the world after.'
Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.
The Bride: [English] I beg your pardon?
Hattori Hanzo: [English] Oh..."drink" [makes drinking motion with hand]
The Bride: [English] Oh, yes, a bottle of warm sake please.
Hattori Hanzo: [English] Warm sake? VERY GOOD.
Hattori Hanzo: [Japanese] One warm sake.
Sushi Bar Assistant: [Japanese] Sake? In the middle of the day?
Hattori Hanzo: [Japanese] Day, night, afternoon, who gives a damn? Get the sake.
Sushi Bar Assistant: [Japanese] How come I always have to get the
sake? You listen well... for thirty years, you make the fish, I get
the sake. If this were the military, I'd be General by now.
Hattori Hanzo: [Japanese] Oh, so you'd be General, huh? If you were
General, I'd be Emperor, and you'd STILL get the sake. So shut up and
get the sake.
Anyway.. lately I've been noticing a few tendencies in mapping and image technology. I predict that within just a few years, we'll be able to tell our phone where we want to go and see real time seamless interactive walk-throughs. I think this could be done almost immediately if it weren't for the fact that the two technologies that are needed are owned by bitter rivals. Imagine combining Google's street view with Microsoft's photosynth (TED demo). Then take a bunch of pictures and boom, you can navigate through anywhere in real time. Construction changed things? No pictures where you are? No problem, just be a good Samaritan and take some updated pictures! Phones like the iphone know where you are and can add that information to the picture easily, then upload it to flickr or something. The pictures automatically update the servers image of the area. Someday!
Economic Left/Right: -3.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.56
I think my biggest problem with the test is that it's hard for me to tell if I should answer what I think should happen in the real world or in an ideal world. Usually it's the same answer, but not always. I think it's important to take the results of tests like this with a grain of salt for that very reason. The way people react in real world situations and the way they think things should be are not always the same. Some might argue that you should vote for someone who has the same beliefs as you or lines up with you on the political compass, but others might say you should vote for who you think can more realistically win and help bring the countries overall compass toward your own.
I would be interested in knowing what scores other people get. Feel free to post in the comments!
This is the first time that I'm aware of the US primary elections. I've never been very interested in the news, having at best a hazy idea even of Swedish politics. Blogging is entirely responsible for my heightened awareness of US political matters over the past two to three years. I've taken to reading US blogs and hanging out in web forums dominated by Americans. And what I've learned scares me.
US politics often look absurd from a European perspective, since the entire bipartisan system maps onto the conservative half of European politics. A case in point is that the US "Left" is called "the liberals", while the Liberal Party in Sweden is part of the Right wing. How could it be otherwise? Liberalism is about free-market capitalism, small government, low taxes, all Right-wing ideals. Yes, both US parties advocate low taxes. Normal taxes are 30% to a Swede. And that's rock bottom, before adding the effect of progressive taxation. That's how we can afford universal health care. Hint, hint.
So, believe me, US politics don't have a Left. Looking at the presidential candidates, I am frankly appalled. None of them would be a viable politician in Sweden. They all support the death penalty, none advocates strict gun control and all make frequent mention of their religious beliefs in public. These are extremist stances. Not even the tiny Christian Democrat party mentions God publicly in Sweden, for fear of alienating the pragmatic rationalist majority.
From a European perspective, US politics are an ongoing battle between the extreme Right and the middle Right. The Republican presidential candidates are really, really scary people in my view. Still, all of us in the world at large who live under the shadow of US political hegemony are holding our breaths, hoping that Clinton or Obama will make it into office. They're pretty bad, but the alternative would be unspeakably dreadful.
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (30th anniversary edition)
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Book 1)
Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials Book 2)
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Book 3)
Ones I own and haven't read yet:
Sam Harris, End of Faith
Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell
Steven Hawking, A Brief History of Time
Excited about, but waiting for paperback:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
Neil Shubin, The Inner Fish
Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, Coming to Life
Others I want:
Jeff Hawkins, On Intelligence
Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype
Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watch Maker
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
Any Recommendations? I'm interested in evolution and the brain. What other Steven Hawking book should I read? How was the Elegant Universe?
These are issues that affect the whole world and I think it's about time people started paying attention. "...tolerance of intolerance is cowardice."