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‘Thanks for Ruining My Life’

Dec 10, 2012 12:00 AM EST
A teen tweets against her attackers—and upends the courts.

Savannah Dietrich says she was furious when she blasted out a defiant tweet this summer, naming two boys who had sexually assaulted her. “There you go, lock me up. I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell,” the 16-year-old high-school student wrote.

Her green eyes lined with charcoal, hair swept aside into a loose braid, she recounts the June episode on a crisp fall day in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, sitting at a neighborhood coffee shop. Normally, an underage victim of sexual assault would not be named in these ­pages. But Dietrich wanted to go public.

Her ordeal began when two 16-year-old boys stripped off her bra and underwear after she had passed out at a party. The boys took turns pushing their fingers into her vagina, documenting their actions with cellphone photos. When Dietrich pressed charges, the boys pleaded guilty in a deal offered by the prosecutor, but she faced a new and unexpected problem: the judge ordered her not to talk about what had happened to her—an apparent infringement of her right to free speech, according to legal experts and to Dietrich herself.

The court was trying to “gag a victim,” says her mother, Sharon Dietrich, to “hide a crime.”

The teen, already feeling that the boys were getting off easy under their plea agreement, started tweeting. “Everyone thought I was this little girl they could intimidate,” she says, with a slight Kentucky lilt.



Air rage: Chinese screaming mad over delays

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Airline crews and ground staff are assaulted, passengers storm a runway, and a person yanks open an emergency exit door on a plane.

In China, angry passengers are resorting to extreme measures to protest delays as the country's restricted air corridors are becoming clogged with millions of new fliers each year -- a fact attributed to the fast rise of the middle class and cheap flights.

There have been dozens of incidents involving irate travellers on both domestic and international flights this year, as airlines struggle to stick to their schedules.

"When flights get delayed, passengers make a lot of trouble. Sometimes they even beat our staff," Wang Zhenghua, founder and chairman of Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines, told Reuters in an interview earlier this year.


Scientists Have Discovered An Ancient Lizard That Lived with the Dinosaurs and Named It Obamadon

By Casey Chan

Yale scientists have discovered an ancient, small, insect-eating lizard in the badlands of Montana and have named it Obamadon, after President Obama. The lizard, which is less than a foot long and had "elaborate teeth with three cusps on each tooth and a slender jaw", existed 65 million years ago.

Researchers from Yale and Harvard discovered Obamadon, or Obamadon gracilis if you want to get scientific, by re-examining fossils across the country to try and figure out what happened to lizards and snakes when dinosaurs started dying off. The name Obamadon was actually given before the election results but if the election went a different way, well, Yale paleontologist Nicholas Longrich says:

"I was seriously thinking, if the election had gone the other way, I would have yanked it," Longrich said. "It might have seemed like we were mocking it, naming a lizard that goes extinct after that, seemed kind of cruel."

So what happened to lizards and snakes when the mass extinction of dinosaurs began? According to the scientists who discovered Obamadon speculate that because the ecosystem collapsed, insect-eating reptiles probably did better since bugs probably survived when plants and other dinosaurs couldn't. Why the Obamadon name? Just from the smart-ass idea of naming a dino after the President. Seriously, Longrich said, "it was catchy, and it seemed like a fun thing to do." For sure.


Tuesday Toon Roundup 4- The Rest




Tuesday Toon Roundup 2-Republicans

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3- Cliff or Bluff?

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- Seasonality

The Silent Treatment: A Day in the Life of a Student in ‘No Excuses’ Land

Meet Carolina. This college-bound fifth grader is fortunate enough to attend a charter school where expectations are high and innovation and excellence abound. There’s just one wee catch. In order to realize her goal of opportunity and the promise of independence, Carolina must spend the next SEVEN YEARS in near silence. Sweet Carolina is not a novice in a convent or an inmate in a children’s prison but a resident of a horrifying place called “no excuses” land that, while often lauded by education rephormers, is rarely seen from within.

You see, Carolina is a would-be student at a proposed new school, Argosy Collegiate Charter School, in Fall River, Massachusetts. As part of its application to the state Board of Education, Argosy included a detailed hour-by-hour look at what Carolina’s typical school day is like (note: Day in the Life begins on page 144 of the application). The following is an excerpt from Carolina’s day.

7:10 am – Carolina, an Argosy Collegiate fifth grader is ready to board the school bus on the corner of South Main Street and Mt. Hope Avenue. Just like every morning, Carolina’s mother, Mrs. Medeiros, an Argosy Collegiate Volunteer, supervises her daughter and the other four students who board the bus at this stop. Mrs. Medeiros asks each student if they are ready to learn today. Students respond with an enthusiastic, “Yes, I’m ready to learn today. I can’t wait to learn something new!” “Excellent,” responds Mrs. Medeiros. Once the school bus arrives, Carolina and her peers board the bus one at a time and in silence, other than a greeting for Ms. Oliveira, the bus driver, who responds with, “Good morning, Carolina. Are you Determined to learn today?” Carolina responds, “Yes, Ms. Oliveira, I am Determined to learn today!”

7:27 am – Carolina arrives to Argosy Collegiate on time, and waits for the bus to come to a complete stop before gathering her belongings. She and the other students on the bus look for Mr. Silvia, one of her math teachers, who boards the South Main St./Mt. Hope Avenue bus every day as part of his morning duties. Mr. Silvia makes eye contact with Carolina and Dante, and signals them non-verbally to stand and walk off the bus. Mr. Silvia continues this procedure, row by row, and the students maintain their silence except for a quick “Thank you, Ms. Oliveira” from Carolina and each of the scholars until all 28 scholars have vacated the bus.



What a horrible childhood

Doonesbury- "It's Too Late Now!"

MoMath: Manhattan's Museum of Mathematics

MATHEMATICS is awesome, full stop. That's the philosophy behind a new museum opening next week in New York City.

The founders of the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) know they have a fight on their hands, given the pervasive idea that the subject is boring, hard and scary. But they are determined to give mathematics a makeover, with exhibits that express an unselfconscious, giddy joy in exploring the world of numbers and forms.

"We want to show a different side of mathematics," says museum co-founder Cindy Lawrence. "Our goal is to get kids excited, and show them the math they're doing in school is just one tree in a whole huge forest."

To this end, mathematics pervades every aspect of the design, sometimes in surprising places. Take the museum's Enigma Café. At first glance, it looks like any other trendy, modern Manhattan cafe. But instead of coffee, puzzles will be served. And a careful look reveals that the floor is a 6-by-6 grid, the walls are made of Tetris-like puzzle shapes called pentominoes, and the tables are arranged as a knight would progress across a chessboard.

"We try to hide math everywhere," says Lawrence.

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