A little taste of everything

Spring has arrived, in all its depressing, beautiful glory. With the semester coming to a close I find myself working to prepare for final exams, and yet at the same time so many obscure things are happening that I have an opinion on. So I have compiled several of them to get them out to the world efficiently while I prepare for finals.

The first item is not so obscure, actually. The West Virginia coal mine explosion was the worst in America’s history since 1984. Though demonstrating advances in mining isn’t it about time we got a robot to do that? They make our cars, vacuum our floors, diffuse bombs, but they can’t blow out a wall underground? Yes mining is more complicated than that, but if we’re not going to develop alternatives to coal mining, a process that would admittedly take years or decades anyway, and although robots aren’t cheap, when they are it might be worth thinking about. Before they try and take over the world, I mean.

Officially the recession is over. Though on a purely statistical level, apparently. Nevertheless, unemployment is still high, though jobs are becoming available again. Meanwhile Detroit faces bankruptcy. Maybe tearing down large chunks of the city is a bit drastic, but at the rate we’re going the city is heading for even worse problems. Detroit and Michigan are linked, for better or for worse, and have been for hundreds of years. It says something about Detroit when the version depicted in Robocop was an improvement over reality.

Scrabble has decided to include proper nouns in its game per changes to the rules. They say it’s to appeal to a younger audience. Perhaps it would make more sense to release a separate version of the game, then? Really this matter isn’t such a big deal. House rules can always be included to prevent the use of proper nouns, but it does seem odd that they would be included after all these years. The economy strikes again, possibly.

Public education in Michigan is facing serious economic troubles, too, but what state isn’t? Hometownlife.com has an article mentioning districts facing bankruptcy, which forces very difficult decisions like closing schools and reducing staff.

The problem is if education is subpar, then the future of America is subpar. If the people running the country are idiots, what will be said of the next generation of leaders? Public education has always been a part of Michigan life; it’s in our Constitution and Michigan has always strived for education, through both schools and teaching future teachers.

With no alternative, the future of American education could be a very bleak one, unless new reforms are taken, standardized testing minimized and the crippling grasp of the unions curtailed. President Obama has been working against the teachers unions to get merit-based pay; maybe the unions should work to have competent people being teachers.

Higher standards and a better curriculum in public schools will save a lot of headaches later. That’s when those students will have to take remedial classes in college and struggle to deal with a very different system of learning from what they’ve had before.


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