Jan 2005 posts

Monday, January 10, 2005

Fascinating word research


Don’t delete this because it looks weird. Believe it or not you can read it.

–The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid —

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in wahtoredr the ltteers in a wrod are; the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the fristand lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and youcan sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos notraed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh! andI awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!

Someone might take our capacity to read this paragraph as proof of the usefulness of the “whole-word” style of teaching reading. But I don’t think that’s true. We already know what these words mean and that’s why we can perceive what they really are. We may read familiar words as a whole, but I think we learn best with phonetics, as it teaches you how to “figure out” an unknown word.

But it’s still an incredibly interesting research finding!


Some of my favorite quotes


First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out–
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out–
because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out–
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

by Pastor Martin Niemoller, Berlin, 1939.


“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be
heard or welcomed. Butwhen we are silent, we are still
afraid. So it is better to speak,remembering we were
never meant to survive.”

Audre Lorde (1934-1992)


Success: fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Emily Dickinson
Not in Vain

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.


“Justice will be secured in Athens when those who are not
injured by injustice feel as indignant as those who are.”
–Solon, 6th century, B.C.

posted by Barrington | 11:44 PM |

SUvs and wartime sacrifices


We’ve all seen the movies from World War II and the sacrifices that people back home had to make. Many types of foods or materials were rationed or weren’t available at all. People knew there was a war going on; the war very much affected their everyday lives.

Today American military forces are involved in fighting in many countries. But unless we know someone in the military, our lives back home haven’t changed at all. It has really, really amazed me that we don’t have leaders exhorting us to do our part to diminish our dependence on foreign oil – by driving less, by carpooling, by using bikes or public transportation, and most importantly, by not continuing our love affair with either SUVs or gas-guzzling sports cars. This period in our history really seems like the most opportune of times to lead the nation in viewing fuel efficient vehicles as patriotic… To point out to us that we use the most world resources of any nation, even those with more people… and that maybe, just maybe, that’s not a good thing…

Politicians and government manipulate us all the time. Why not use those skills to help us walk more softly on the world, and at the same time, become more independent of those who might abuse us? They could have started a nation-wide movement to help us see ourselves in a new light – Americans as world-conscious, Americans as people who conserve resources rather than use than up, Americans as people who leave some of the world for the developing countries, Americans as something more than gluttonous consumers… it could all start by encouraging people to see fuel efficient vehicles as patriotic…

But of course, if you’re a government in bed with big business and the oil industry, you’re going to manipulate us instead to keep spending, to keep using up resources, and to keep supporting wars designed to maintain our dominance over the the “foreign oil pipeline”… 



The other day on NPR, Chris Rainier, a reporter for National Geographic, was talking about the Tsunami. I didn’t catch which country he was in, but he said that this people’s “mythology” told them to run if they noticed such severe weather/environmental changes. Many of these people subsequently survived; their “mythology” had served them well.

I believe he was talking about the religion of these people. Now, why is it considered okay for him to call it “mythology”? I still don’t understand why we call ancient Greek religion “mythology”. What makes one thing a religion and another thing a mythology? Certainly, the disbelief of the speaker – it isn’t his/her own religion. Also, the belief system in question is not a part of the culture of the speaker’s own country. What else? 

Palestinians voting


Why is it that the media are reporting that “Palestinians are voting”? Only Palestinian MEN are voting. And if Palestine is like most countries (not China, which aborts female fetuses), women outnumber men. So when the majority is still not allowed to vote, why is this event being portrayed as a huge democratic success?

If the Palestinians had decided that only light skinned Palestinians could vote and not the darker skinned ones, we would be crying foul – but about this, we’re mute. If they had decided that only educated people could vote, we’d be all over that. Apparently Palestinians don’t care about women, but with no outcry, maybe we don’t either…. 



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