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May 29, 2014 05:43 PM

I would have taken more science in college if my profs had sung to me. Dr. Richard Alley brings together my love for folklore with the dangers of climate change in this glacier-oriented version of  "The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night."

Alley created this video and others like "Peaceful, Easy Obduction" for his Geology of the National Parks course, according to his YouTube page

"The Great Penguin Waltz" was apparently not for his class, but is educational nonethless — points for rhyming the words "Aptenodytes patagonicus look good in their nighties."

May 28, 2014 12:24 PM

The Common Core approacheth: Starting with the 2014-15 school year, Oregon public schools will do away with the old OAKS testing and usher in the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a new standardized test that evaluates student performance by Common Core standards. If you're not sure what the Common Core is or wondering why it has parents, teachers and students all out of sorts, check out EW's story here first, but then come back and hop onto NPR's Common Core FAQ, published yesterday. In it, you'll find all sorts of interesting answers to questions, such as, "Where did the Common Core come from?" Turns out, the standards have surprising connections to corporations like Exxon Mobil and Microsoft. Or, there's this little bit of information:

21) Who is making money off of Common Core?
 
Potentially lots of people. The size of the K-12 instructional materials market in the U.S. was estimated at $20 billion in 2012 (PDF). By comparison, the size of the trade publishing market was $6.53 billion in 2012. According to a survey last year, 68 percent of school districts planned to purchase new materials aligned with Common Core.
 
The transition to Common Core coincides with the ongoing transition to digital educational materials like apps and e-books. That means that it's not just the traditional textbook publishers and test makers, like Pearson and CTB/McGraw-Hill, that are lining up to create Common Core-stamped products. It's also big technology companies like Apple and startups like Amplify — a brand owned by News Corp. that produces a tablet designed for classroom use and a multimedia Common Core-aligned curriculum.
 
Other potential profit centers from the Common Core will be in professional development for teachers to prepare them to teach the standards, and extra tutoring and test prep for students to help them learn the more rigorous standards and pass the new, harder tests. Parents already spend an estimated $11 billion (PDF) on tutoring, test prep and counseling services.
 
Also of note: Earlier this month, Oregon's teacher's union, the Oregon Education Assocation, called for a moratorium on Smarter Balanced. "Oregon is moving forward with a new unproven, high stakes standarized test — Smarter Balanced — as soon as next spring," OEA president Hanna Vaandering says on OEA's website. "When the timeline doesn't allow for giving 100 percent to preparing our students, none of us should be suprised by the prediction that 65 percent of all students will fail the first test. This makes absolutely no sense. Why would we spend millions of dollars on a test that students are predicted to fail?"
 
 
 
 
May 28, 2014 10:47 AM

Western nations have been embroiled in Middle East politics for centuries, actually millenia, but do we really understand the complexities of that part of the world? The Bush-Cheney administration, for example, was clueless in getting us involved militarily in power struggles that have been going on for centuries. This Vox.com website has a series of historical maps that can shed a little light on why the Middle East is the way it is today.

http://wkly.ws/1rl

May 28, 2014 12:46 PM

Windham Hill recording artist Scott Cossu will be at The Jazz Station in Eugene Saturday night, May 31. Show begins at 8 pm. Joining him with be John Croarkin and Bruce Cole. $10 or $8 for members. Email office@thejazzstation.org to get on the mailing list.

May 27, 2014 04:22 PM

If you've missed out on Bike Month thus far, there are still chances to celebrate before May runs out.

Friday, May 30, celebrate Breakfast at the Bridges from 7 to 9 am at Blue Heron Bridge, behind Cesar Chavez  School on the Fern Ridge path.

Saturday, May 31, roll with the Eugene Circus Bike Ride beginning in Monroe Park at noon and ending at Island Park in Springfield. After the ride is a barbecue picnic potluck and free circus show. More info at wkly.ws/1rj.

Saturday, May 31, is also the date of Springfield's first-ever Kidical Mass. Families will ride from Willamalane Center to Volunteer Park, enjoy (bring-your-own) lunches and free snow cones. After the picnic, the ride returns to Willamalane. See smarttripsspringfield.com for more info.

May 22, 2014 04:53 PM

Corvallis attorney and Pacific Green Party activist Blair Bobier has an essay in Common Dreams today on "The Power and Potential of DIY Democracy."

"A seismic shift in the American political landscape has gone largely unnoticed," he writes.  "Yet, the implication of this political earthquake knows no bounds."

http://wkly.ws/1rb

May 21, 2014 12:50 PM

Bill Moyers takes a look at the radical right-wing agenda of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, that is trying to change national policy through manipulating state legislatures.

May 21, 2014 12:26 PM

Frank Moore, age 91, is well known in Eugene and around the region for his longtime conservation work on behalf of Oregon rivers and his unique story. He spoke at the McKenzie Flyfishers monthly meeting May 19 and has given a TEDxPortland talk about his life.

May 20, 2014 01:44 PM

Rachel Maddow takes a look at more odd political goings-on in the Beaver state this week, including Loren Parks and his weird interventions into Oregon causes and candidates.

May 19, 2014 12:51 PM

Federal Judge Michael McShane ruled at noon today at the U.S. federal courthouse here in Eugene that Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage was unconsitutional. That's not the only good news. By 12:20 Lane County had send a press release announcing the Lane County Clerk's office will begain issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at 1 pm and "The Clerk’s Office will also officiate for same-sex couples wishing to marry, according to the press release below, which also asks people to remember that the clerk's office also has to handle tomorrow's elections.

Lane County to Begin Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Contact: Public Information Officer Anne Marie Levis, 541-915-4659

Under direction from the Oregon Vital Records Department, the Lane County Clerk’s Office will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Clerk’s Office will also officiate for same-sex couples wishing to marry.

“Our staff strive to provide the highest level of customer service as we go through the expected influx of marriage licenses. In addition to issuing marriage licenses, our staff is also responsible for Tuesday’s election,” said Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart. “We appreciate the understanding of couples awaiting this important moment.”

Marriage Information

Where:

Deeds and Records Office, inside the Lane County Courthouse, 125 E 8th Ave., Eugene

 

When:

Licenses are sold from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

Weddings are performed most mornings, and slots are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Purchase of a license is required before time for a wedding ceremony may be reserved.

 

Cost:

License: $60

Waiver of three day waiting period: $10

Marriage Ceremony: $100

Certified copy of completed license (proof of the wedding, needed for name changes): $4

 

According to the Oregon Health Authority Center for Health Statistics, same-sex couples have the option of choosing between marriage and a domestic partnership, which has been available in Oregon since 2008. Couples who are in a domestic partnership may marry their current partner. Someone in a domestic partnership who wishes to marry another person must dissolve that partnership prior to any marriage. Same-sex couples who were married in another state do not need to take any action: their marriage is already recognized under Oregon law.

May 16, 2014 01:25 PM

This just in from Oregon United for Marriage:

May 16, 2014 11:51 AM

UO radio station KWVA and Portland television station KATU have aired interviews with an alleged witness to the events in the the UO rape investigation. The UO's SWAT (Sexual Wellness Awareness Team) questions the paper's coverage of the alleged witness's story writing that it just serves to discredit and get people to question the victim's story in a viewpoint in the Oregon Daily Emerald.

The Daily Emerald followed the KWVA airing of the witness interview with a report headlined "Self-proclaimed witness talks to KWVA about alleged forcible rape involving Dotson, Artis and Austin."

The Emerald writes: 

UO student Kelsy Alston explained during the interview what she witnessed in connection with the March 8 incident.

“Throughout the party, she was migrating, leaning towards these men,” Alston said during the Quack Smack segment on KWVA. “I had spoken to her friends about that interaction. They gave their opinions on how she interacts with men typically and it mirrored what she was doing at this time.”

Alston — who made it clear that she did not know the alleged survivor prior to the party — suggests the night were different than that described in the police report.

The UO's SWAT responded to this and other concerns about the Emerald's coverage with a viewpoint that reads, in part:

Additionally, we would like to express our anger over the publication of your and KWVA’s article interviewing the “self-proclaimed witness” at the party. Whether or not this person was at the party, this article seems to exist for no reason other than to discredit and cause people to question the survivor’s story. You quote this “witness” as saying, “I had spoken to her friends about that interaction. They gave their opinions on how she interacts with men typically and it mirrored what she was doing at the time.” The survivor’s behavior around men previous to the assault or even the next day does not “disrupt the evidence” given in the police report; it is completely irrelevant. In fact, using a person’s previous sexual attitudes or desires to determine the validity of their experience is the definition of slut-shaming.

The criticisms of the interview are also relevant to the KATU story. KATU's story might call for harsher criticism as it makes claims such as that that the interview "calls into question" the victim's story.

 

Duly noted: Writing about rape and rape allegations is not easy and the Emerald has sought to use its terminology very carefully, refering to the woman in the case as a "survivor." Also, Oregonian reporter Andrew Greif,who was the sports reporter is I believe who broke the story by noticing something was amiss with basketball practices, is an Emerald alum.

May 16, 2014 01:06 PM

I caught up with YG on DJ Mustard's tour bus for a few shots after his sold out show last night at Dusk. The place was literally a sauna. I had to wipe my lens between shots to even see through the glass. There were some sound issues but YG played it like a pro and had the crowd roaring his lyrics back at him acapella till the power came back. His "My Krazy Life" tour hits Portland tonight at the Roseland