If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul
by a flower in spring bloom,
maybe your soul has never been in bloom.
Although today’s predicted is a mere 54 degrees (that’s 21 less than the beauty we had yesterday), I’m planning to spend as much time out in the sunshine and down in the dirt as possible. So here’s just a quick few of the links that caught my eye this week:
“The bottle is made from bio-based raw materials, including switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. In the future, the company expects to broaden the renewable sources used to create the “green” bottle to include orange peels, potato peels, oat hulls and other agricultural byproducts from its foods business.” An awesome example to be setting: a huge corporation taking a green initiative that presumably will also save them money. Can’t wait to see how this pans out, and whether other companies will follow suit. (Also, feeling a little less guilty about my daily Pepsi indulgence.)
In this corner: “Legislators and farming groups respond that they’re only trying to prevent people from fraudulently seeking jobs in order to shoot videos that may give an unfair perspective on livestock operations.” And in this corner: “They’re trying to criminalize someone being an eye witness to a crime.” I am so beyond biased against Big Ag at this point that I will refrain from comment, but I’d love to hear what you think about whistleblowers being prosecuted.
This week I learned that nuclear disasters are rated on a scale of 0-7; Three Mile Island was a 5, and Chernobyl was a 7. (Last I saw Japan holds steady at a 6.) Just after this was reported (notable, I think, that France reported it quite a bit before I saw any US articles), the search term Chernobyl was trending all over the place, which made me wonder how much the average person even knows about the disaster. My brother and I have a particular fascination with Chernobyl, the depressing yet ethereal beauty of a land abandoned. There are over 2000 towns & villages within 250 kms of the Chernobyl reactor that are being reclaimed by nature. Elena Filatova likes to visit them on her motorcycle and take hauntingly beautiful photographs.
Inside the multimillion-dollar essay-scoring business: Behind the scenes of standardized testing (via Twitter, from Kelly at The Centsible Life)
I freaking loathe standardized testing, and lest you point to sour grapes, I consistently scored 99.9% all through my grade school career. You know what that means? Not that I’m smarter than the average bear. It just means I’m really good at taking standardized tests. Know how many well-paying jobs require you to take standardized tests all day? NONE. Those scores never did anything for me. But today, they take up weeks of my kids’ time, not to mention the god-only-knows how many hours of teaching to the test, not to mention the fact that school funding and teachers’ jobs depend on the outcomes. And according to this article, there’s no guarantee at all that the scores are even accurate. STOP THE MADNESS. No Child Left Behind hurts everyone.
Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School: New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire.
“Direct instruction really can limit young children’s learning. Teaching is a very effective way to get children to learn something specific… But it also makes children less likely to discover unexpected information and to draw unexpected conclusions.” Love this article as a counterpoint to the woman suing a NY preschool for ruining her 4yo’s chances at Ivy League, but also as it points to the sagacity of the Montessori method. My question is, why are we limiting this discussion to young children? (Hat tip goes to my sister-in-law for finding this.)
The moon tonight will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter due to its relative proximity to the earth. It’s recommended that you check it out at sunset, as the horizon will make the illusion of super-bigness more intense. Make sure you include other elements in your frame to provide a point of reference— one full moon looks pretty much like any other hanging solo in the night sky (as evidenced by my attempts last night). Grab your camera and head outside!
Blatant self-promotional link! Spring starts Monday: are ya spring cleaning, decluttering, getting your house & life in order? I’m giving away a copy of Pretty Neat: the buttoned-up way to get organized & let go of perfection; you should enter to win it.
Bonus, apropos of nothing:
You may or may not have heard about the Rebecca Black “Friday” video that’s gone viral. I just wanna say I really like the Bob Dylan version.