A contagious confluence, metaphorical hydraulics in chronofluidity, multiple rippling effects.

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Extinction Index and Other Measures of the Chronic Flow

French and Swiss astronomers have detected the farthest galaxy to date. Abell 1835 IRI916 started glowing 13.23 billion years ago, less than half a billion years after the Big Bang switch was flipped. Meanwhile, in Florida, vandals armed with slingshots and ball bearings shattered the top three panes of Our Lady of Clearwater, a former office building made into a shrine when a 30-foot likeness of the Virgin Mary was detected in its top windows in 1996. The Chamber of Commerce estimates that more than a half-million tourists had visited the site. Street vendors picked up the glass fragments and began selling them as “Our Lady’s Teardrops.”

The extinction rate is 0.7 percent over the past fifty years, according to a recent UN study. Your results may vary, but that rate exceeds what the study calls the “natural background extinction” rate by 1500 times.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Education Reform in Kansas

A legislator from a very small Kansas town has attached a rider to the education funding bill which will require that all textbooks used in the state be written in one-syllable words. “It’s too easy to hide lies inside big words,” he said, resorting to a couple of two-syllable words himself. The Single Syls, as they’ve come to be known, have slowly gained traction on the fringes of education, and their influence has not gone unnoticed among textbook publishers. If the bill passes in its current form, publishers will be on deadline to revise their titles for the new school year. Modern Principles of Mathematics will become Math Facts Now, Introduction to English Literature will be revised to Meet Brit Lit, and of course The American Story: Our Nation's History will be changed to Our Past. Meanwhile, in a floor debate about raising sin taxes, a suburban legislator from Back East startled awake and protested that the legislature has no business meddling with the English language. Reaction was split along party lines.