Facts in Five: 29 November 2009

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A quick look at five interesting stories that might be worth a little light weekend reading, especially if you are currently watching the Grizzlies game. You know, I hear that Joe Glenn is looking for a job again, and I don’t remember him losing three first round playoff games at home while he was at Montana. Is that too snarky?

  • Joe Posnanski, one of the nation’s best baseball writers, has a great piece up about George Steinbrenner as the Yankees owner finally steps down from control of the team.
  • I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this story in the New York Times, about six deep-sea divers who are working 70 stories underground, living in a tank that is 97% helium, trying to fix a 36 million gallon leak in one of the tunnels that supplies New York City with its water.
  • Love interesting technology? Check out Lifehacker’s Most Popular Top 10s of 2008, including 10 Obscure Google Search Tricks and 10 Easy Ways to Look Sharp.
  • I have a lot of mixed feelings about the tenure of Michelle Rhee, chancellor of D.C.’s public schools, but I have to say that I do admire this quotation: “The thing that kills me about education is that it’s so touchy-feely.  People say, ‘Well, you know, test scores don’t take into account creativity and the love of learning.’  I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t give a crap.’ Don’t get me wrong. Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”
  • Diarmuid O’Connell, VP of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors, says that the Big Three automakers should not be able to convert Energy Independence and Security Act money into funds for the bailout: “It would be an enormous mistake to refashion the ATVM into a bailout. The original spirit and intent of the program is critical for the nation’s economic security – and the importance of the program is even greater given the harrowing economic climate.”
  • Okay, Facts in Six. Roger Ebert wrote a great blog post about the death of serious film criticism and a culture that is more interested in triviality than thoughtful writing about art: “The celebrity culture is infantilizing us. We are being trained not to think. It is not about the disappearance of film critics. We are the canaries. It is about the death of an intelligent and curious, readership, interested in significant things and able to think critically. It is about the failure of our educational system. It is not about dumbing-down. It is about snuffing out.”

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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  • I've got to disagree with you about Ebert. While some of his reviews are certainly hard to endorse, I find him to be one of the most thoughtful critics around. I like his approach–of reviewing each movie for what it is–rather than by some rarefied standard of artistic excellence. I like the fact that Ebert seems to appreciate the idea that there is a place for a dumb comedy once in awhile.

    Though I think he has become more generous in recent years, in general, I find his review to be an excellent guide for whether or not I will enjoy a film, and his "Great Movies" reviews are a film education.

    I can't defend the Garfield reviews, though. 🙂

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