Edline: A Technology Solution That Helps Schools?

Edline is a comprehensive, end-to-end, web hosting solution that can be used to supplement your current school websites, or be used to completely serve all of your school or district’s web hosting needs. With Edline: The district and every school in the district receives its own website.

All school and district subgroups receive a complete website solution (no page or traffic limit):

Every class has its own website/homepage (with homework, grades, calendars, and more) within the district or school site.

Every team and club has its own website within the district or school site.

Every staff group or parent group (PTA, school committees, etc.) has its own website within the district or school site.

Link: Edline – Solutions.

Every student, parent, teacher, and administrator receives a unique user account for personalized security, permissions, and access (essential for making grades and other private information available at your school’s website).

The public can view general school information at any time without a password, but private information is visible only to visitors that login with a screen name and password.

Email alerts notify parents, students, and teachers of critical new information at your school’s website (attendance, new grades, policies, etc.) Works with any email provider.

Real Impact. Because Edline is easy to use (visitors to your school’s website are immediately presented with personalized links to the classroom, team, or other group homepages that apply specifically to them), comprehensive (everything from lunch menus to teacher-only resources to classroom-level progress reports for parents), and secure (you can post private grades and reports for personalized access with 128-bit encryption), Edline has tremendous impact on school performance and will enable you to:

Increase Parental Involvement.

Improve Internal Communication.

Reduce paper-based costs (photocopying, envelopes, etc.).

Improve Student Achievement

Want to live to be 100 and healthy?

Those who do it also do these things, according to The Canyon Ranch: Guide to Living Younger Longer:

Work hard throughout your life and never functionally retire

Exercise for fun and pleasure — keep playing

Make and maintain social connections

Stay curious, explore, learn — and keep laughing

Cherish and preserve your independence

Find meaning and purpose in living

Believe in something bigger and better than yourself

Link: Worthwhile: Jump Start on Those New Year’s Resolutions.

Curcumin and Health

Curcumin has been found to inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and also break up existing plaques, according to research involving genetically altered mice. Researchers also discovered curcumin is more effective in inhibiting the formation of protein fragments than many other drugs being tested as Alzheimer’s treatments. Moreover, the low molecular weight and polar structure of curcumin allow it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier effectively and bind to beta amyloid.

Widely used as a food dye and preservative and in some cancer treatments, curcumin has undergone extensive toxicological testing in animals. It also is used extensively in traditional Indian medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

Researchers point out the logical step in the process is a clinical trial to establish safe and effective doses in aging patients. Let’s hope this natural treatment is found to be safe and useful, considering the prevalence of Alzheimer’s among adults ages 70-79 in India is more than FOUR TIMES LESS than the rate in this country.

Link: mercola.com: Curcumin May Fight Alzheimer’s.

Airedale Dog versus Siamese Cat

Ann and I visited my sister Joyce and her family in Richmond, VA, at Christmas. On the day after Christmas, we went to Linda and Chuck’s home across the street. They have a Siamese cat named Grendel. Grendel is a handsome cat with brilliant blue eyes. But he didn’t have time to socialize.

Joyce’s Airedale Chelsea had followed us to the front porch. Grendel apparently doesn’t like dogs on his territory. Nose-to-nose, Grendel growled and yowled, and Chelsea barked and snapped. He and Chelsea were only an inch apart, separated by the glass in the storm door. Grendel couldn’t leave the battle for long, so we didn’t get to be friends.

I regret not having my digital camera along for pictures and a video of the action. Grendel must have the heart of a lion to be ready to tackle a dog that outweighs him by about 60 pounds. However, his vocal power and yowling volume fall far short of our Scooter cat, which is a blessing for Linda and Chuck (and their neighbors).

Islam and the Future

Theodore Dalrymple provides some insight into the Muslim mindset.

Islam was from its inception both church and state, one and indivisible, with no possible distinction between temporal and religious authority. Muhammad’s power was seamlessly spiritual and secular (although the latter grew ultimately out of the former), and he bequeathed this model to his followers. Since he was, by Islamic definition, the last prophet of God upon earth, his was a political model whose perfection could not be challenged or questioned without the total abandonment of the pretensions of the entire religion.

But his model left Islam with two intractable problems. One was political. Muhammad unfortunately bequeathed no institutional arrangements by which his successors in the role of omnicompetent ruler could be chosen (and, of course, a schism occurred immediately after the Prophet’s death, with some—today’s Sunnites—following his father-in-law, and some—today’s Shi’ites—his son-in-law).

Link: City Journal Spring 2004 | When Islam Breaks Down by Theodore Dalrymple.

Compounding this difficulty, the legitimacy of temporal power could always be challenged by those who, citing Muhammad’s spiritual role, claimed greater religious purity or authority; the fanatic in Islam is always at a moral advantage vis-à-vis the moderate. Moreover, Islam—in which the mosque is a meetinghouse, not an institutional church—has no established, anointed ecclesiastical hierarchy to decide such claims authoritatively. With political power constantly liable to challenge from the pious, or the allegedly pious, tyranny becomes the only guarantor of stability, and assassination the only means of reform. Hence the Saudi time bomb: sooner or later, religious revolt will depose a dynasty founded upon its supposed piety but long since corrupted by the ways of the world.The Islamic doctrine of apostasy is hardly favorable to free inquiry or frank discussion, to say the least, and surely it explains why no Muslim, or former Muslim, in an Islamic society would dare to suggest that the Qu’ran was not divinely dictated through the mouth of the Prophet but rather was a compilation of a charismatic man’s words made many years after his death, and incorporating, with no very great originality, Judaic, Christian, and Zoroastrian elements. In my experience, devout Muslims expect and demand a freedom to criticize, often with perspicacity, the doctrines and customs of others, while demanding an exaggerated degree of respect and freedom from criticism for their own doctrines and customs.

If they were content to exist in a seventh-century backwater, secure in a quietist philosophy, there would be no problem for them or us; their problem, and ours, is that they want the power that free inquiry confers, without either the free inquiry or the philosophy and institutions that guarantee that free inquiry. They are faced with a dilemma: either they abandon their cherished religion, or they remain forever in the rear of human technical advance. Neither alternative is very appealing; and the tension between their desire for power and success in the modern world on the one hand, and their desire not to abandon their religion on the other, is resolvable for some only by exploding themselves as bombs.

People grow angry when faced with an intractable dilemma; they lash out.

But the anger of Muslims, their demand that their sensibilities should be accorded a more than normal respect, is a sign not of the strength but of the weakness—or rather, the brittleness—of Islam in the modern world, the desperation its adherents feel that it could so easily fall to pieces.

Islam in the modern world is weak and brittle, not strong: that accounts for its so frequent shrillness. The Shah will, sooner or later, triumph over the Ayatollah in Iran, because human nature decrees it, though meanwhile millions of lives will have been ruined and impoverished. The Iranian refugees who have flooded into the West are fleeing Islam, not seeking to extend its dominion, as I know from speaking to many in my city. To be sure, fundamentalist Islam will be very dangerous for some time to come, and all of us, after all, live only in the short term; but ultimately the fate of the Church of England awaits it. Its melancholy, withdrawing roar may well (unlike that of the Church of England) be not just long but bloody, but withdraw it will. The fanatics and the bombers do not represent a resurgence of unreformed, fundamentalist Islam, but its death rattle.

via Atanu

Separateness

"A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty…"
— Albert Einstein {1879 – 1955}

Link: Good Morning Thinkers!: Good Morning Thinkers! Favorites #4.

Finland: The World’s Best School System?

In an effort to understand how to improve schooling in America, sometimes we look at other countries. Whether or not Finland is pertinent, we need to find a way to get more students interested in math and science if we want to compete with China and India in 20 years.

Finland, according a major international survey, has the best educational system in the world. This study, in turn, comes on the heels of several others showing that Finland has the highest rate of teen literacy in the world, the highest percent of "regular readers," and the most "creatively competitive" economy.

The BBC has devoted a whole series of features to looking at why this might be true. The Finnish education minister says that heavy investments in education are a matter of economic survival for a small, affluent high-tech-based nation. Finland spends more per elementary, middle- and high- school student than any other nation on Earth, and comes in second on spending for higher education. School lunches, health care, most class materials and university tuition are all free.

Maybe it’s the schools themselves. Students stay in the same school from about age 7 to 16. Schools are local, community-based affairs, with extremely low turnover in their teaching staffs and strong expectations on parents. Students are all expected to study languages, math and science (and in Finland, girls now outperform boys on science tests). Two thirds of them go to university. On the other hand, maybe the secret is what they don’t do: Finnish students spend less time in class than students in any other industrialized nation.

via WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Finland: The World’s Best School System?.

Globalization and Terrorism

Prof. Thomas P.M. Barnett’s view of why traditional Muslim societies are so angry. This makes sense to me.

When globalization rolls into traditional societies — and those are the only societies left outside the Core — it has certain profound effects. Globalization is Borg-like in its integration abilities: it remakes you more than you can ever remake it. When it comes into traditional societies, which are pretty much defined by male control over females, it suddenly alters the character of some of our most important relationships and decisions: marriage, sex, births, family economics, the whole shebang. And globalization has proven itself time and time again to empower women disproportionately over men. That is a direct threat to the nature of traditional societies.

Link: WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Thomas P.M. Barnett: The Worldchanging Interview.

If you’re serious about ending transnational terrorism you’ve got to end disconnectedness. You’re got to grow the global economy in a fair and a just manner. And we’ve got to find ways of bringing in that one third of humanity who still have their noses pressed to the glass (some of whom are pissed off about it).

To grow connectedness, though, you are going to necessarily involve yourself in the tumult, the resistance, and the violence, frankly, that comes about as that global economy expands and overruns traditional societies.

Bin Laden is part of the resistance to the global economy. He’s saying in effect, your system is corrupt, it changes our traditional way of life, it asks too much in terms of lost identity and cultural distinctiveness and we’re going to fight it and do our best to keep a firewall between us and you.

We need to understand this and we haven’t. There was this sense in the 90s when the global economy was growing so well and so fast, that you didn’t need to care about the consequences of having a Gap, because — and this was essentially the argument Tom Friedman made in the Lexus and the Olive Tree — globalization itself would just sort of spread all over the planet, and erase poverty, and integrate everybody, and by doing so it’ll handle any problem you can dream up.

When we got 9-11, we realized that wasn’t the whole picture, that those who feel shut out of the global economy are going to be unhappy about it, and in their unhappiness, they’re going to send us their pain, and that pain can take profound proportions. 9-11 proved that the global economy can’t police itself.

Now we know that there’s no way to ignore the fact that a good third of humanity feel shut out of the global economy. That doesn’t make them all threats. What it does mean is that if you’re going to be serious about this trans-national terrorism issue, you’re going to have to confront the reality of that one third. If you want to attack terrorists by shrinking their area of operations, in a classic military way, to reduce their ability to move around and squeeze them out of existence, then you have to integrate the rest of the world that remains left out.

Prof. Thomas P.M. Barnett, Senior Strategic Researcher at the U.S. Naval War College, is maybe the hottest military thinker in the world right now. His work, which focuses on the connections between development and security, and in particular his book, The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, has become deeply influential with forward-thinking members of the military. Whether or not Worldchanging readers agree with what he has to say, Prof. Barnett’s vision for the future of the U.S. military is worth knowing about.