Truth? Try here . . .

September 4, 2007


And if you come back to check, you’ll note that the truth changes, occasionally.

Truth is, I’m just going for the iPod.

More fiddling with formats

September 4, 2007

Several complaints about the template I had been using, especially about the way it loads in Internet Explorer (switch to FireFox!).

Especially if you had problems with the last format, let me know if this one works better.

All complaints happily read.  Some even acted upon.

Little Rock, 50 years later

September 4, 2007

Elizabeth Eckford leaves Little Rock's Central High after being denied enrollment

50 years ago today.

Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, leaves Little Rock’s Central High School after having been denied the chance to enroll. Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus called the Arkansas National Guard to duty to prevent nine African American students from enrolling.  (Photo by Will Counts – see his series here.)

Elizabeth Eckford graduated*, went on to a career with the Army as a journalist, and is the only one of the nine students (all of whom graduated and did well) to live in Little Rock today. Central High school is a National Historical Monument — and still a high school.

What I want to know is this: The woman in back of Ms. Eckford, face thoroughly engaged in delivering a piece of her mind, I suppose: Who is she, and where is she, today? Does anyone know?

Sample of Texas embarrassment to come

September 4, 2007

The “Godly” mathematics curricula at a San Antonio church school, and the ridicule it’s gotten, give a glimpse behind the curtain of what could happen were the Texas State Board of Education to succumb to sectarian calls to gut evolution out of biology texts.

Mathematician John Allen Paulos — known best to educators for his book Innumeracy — does a column for ABC News’ website. His latest column details some of the history of mathematics and religious lunacy, and problems with creationism; he concludes:

. . . the curricula cited above and others like them are a bit absurd, even funny. In private schools they’re none of our business. This is not so if aspects of these “creation math” curricula slip into the public schools, a prospect no doubt devoutly wished for by some.

One hopes the board will stick with letting the textbooks describe the world the Creator actually created, as opposed to a world created in the fantasies of creationists.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula, whose note on this blog‘s original posting of the curricula from Castle Hills First Baptist School is probably what got the attention of Dr. Paulos in the first place; a tip of the scrub brush with lots of soapy fervor.

Cuneiform in a digital library

September 4, 2007

Irony sometimes means happy surprises. Cuneiform on the world wide web?

Tablet (Cornell 78) w inscriptions to Babylonian King Sinkashid (about 1800 B.C.) The University of California system is working hard to deliver important information to scholars on the web. One of these projects is the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). Here is the official desription:

The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) represents the efforts of an international group of Assyriologists, museum curators and historians of science to make available through the internet the form and content of cuneiform tablets dating from the beginning of writing, ca. 3350 BC, until the end of the pre-Christian era. We estimate the number of these documents currently kept in public and private collections to exceed 500,000 exemplars, of which now more than 200,000 have been catalogued in electronic form by the CDLI.

Some of the photos demonstrate the beauty of everyday history and archaeology. These are instructional photos, but some are works of art. Examples of drawings of the writing are available, which can be used in the classroom to show students what the writing looks like.

The image here is described: The tablet . . . (Cornell 78)
contains an inscription of the Old Babylonian king Sinkashid of Warka/Erech (ca. 1800 BC)
. (copyright by Cornell University Library)


  1 {d}suen-ga-szi-id “Sinkashid,
  2 nita kal-ga strong man,
  3 lugal unu{ki}-ga king of Uruk,
  4 lugal am-na-nu-um king of Amnanum,
    e2-gal his palace
    nam-lugal-la-ka-ni of kingship
    mu-du3 did build.”

Some sites in CDLI allow searches by topic. Students, consider these school tablets, and thank your lucky stars, inventors and the trees for paper and ink. Can you imagine lugging these things in a backpack?

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