Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Our Educational System vs Singapore's
You know how we always hear about our kids doing worse than kids from other parts of the world in math and science? Well, Fareed Zakaria, in an interview with Thaman Shanmugaratnam (try saying that!), minister of Education of Singapore (rated #1 in global science and math rankings for schookids), points out that all is not quite as it seems.

"I asked the minister how to explain the fact that even though Singapore's students do so brilliantly on these tests, when you look at these same students 10 or 20 years later, few of them are worldbeaters anymore. Singapore has few truly top-ranked scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors, business executives or academics. American kids, by contrast, test much worse in the fourth and eighth grades but seem to do better later in life and in the real world. Why? "We both have meritocracies," Shanmugaratnam said. "Yours is a talent meri tocracy, ours is an exam meritocracy. There are some parts of the intellect that we are not able to test well—like creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure, ambition. Most of all, America has a culture of learning that challenges conventional wisdom, even if it means challenging authority. These are the areas where Singapore must learn from America.""
But before you think all is roses in America, you should read the rest of the article at the link above.

Immigrants - Weren't we all Immigrants Once?

In this week's Newsweek, Anna Quindlan comments
"Explain to the smart little girl from Guatemal that no matter how hard she works, how much she cares, she's shut out of the big job. Explain it to the mother who lifted a listless kid from a crib in Siberia and now has a son who loves baseball and Fourth of July fireworks. Once they'be become citizens there's no way to justify the exclusion; in a country allegedly built on fairness, it's just not fair. Maybe one of the very best places to look for the presidents of the future is among the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. After all, as any religious person can telly you, converts often make the most passionate believers"
I'd love to see Anna come on Lou Dobb's show on CNN - now that would be a treat.

Quote of the Day
I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. Anna Quindlen

Monday, January 02, 2006

Browsing Tip
Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy brother reminded me that I could save an extra 1.57% of purchases at, simply by using the A9 search engine . All you need to do is browse there for a few days and then the next time you visit Amazon, you'll notice the symbol to the left appearing next to the word Amazon. Give it about 3 days to appear. Once there, you're good for that extra percent off. Can't beat that. It even works if you've gone through Ebates first - better yet

The Critics
Stumbled across a new web site that is worth bookmarking - If you want the latest Movie Reviews, DVD Reviews, TV Reviews, Music Reviews, Book Reviews and Game Reviews, this is the place to visit.

Goodyear Viva Tires
For those of you who keep looking up Goodyear Visa tires in Google and finding this web site, well I can tell you that they lasted me about 40,000 miles on a '92 Accord. Their life came to an abrupt end when I slid my car into the back end of a van and totalled it. I wasn't going very fast, but the pavement was wet and when I slammed those brakes, I slid about 65' with no grabbing whatsoever. There was still tread on the tires , more so in the middle, than on the edges, but I think tires get less "sticky" with age, tending to harden and lose their grip. These tires are warrantied for 80K - sorry, but that's a pipedream. It's another reason it pays to keep your original receipt in the glove box, so when you head back to swap them out, you can get the next set for 1/2 off (or better yet, buy some Michelins - just not the Symmetry - didn't have much luck with that tire either). Next time I think I'll give Bridgestone Potenzas a try.

New Firefox Extensions?
Looks like there might be a new Peer to Peer extension forthcoming for Firefox - Bloggers appear excited over this new feature, believing it will encourage more and more folks to switch to Firefox. Read more about it in this ZDnet article .

If you're into blogging, there is also a new Firefox extension for that as well - "Performancing for Firefox is a full featured blog editor that sits right within Firefox. Just hit F8 or click the little pencil icon at the bottom right to bring up the blog editor and easily post to your Wordpress, MovableType or Blogger blogs." You can read more about it at Performancing for Firefox . I haven't tried this out yet, but plan to.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Tech Tip
Image hosted by Photobucket.comIf you use a Palm Pilot or Pocket PC and use AvantGo , then you can automatically add RSS feeds for particular web pages you choose by installing the RSS feed link button in your browser toolbar. Then anytime you find an interesting page that you would like to have on your handheld as an RSS feed, you just click on the button. Next time you sync with your PDA, the new feed is installed in the AvantGo section of your PDA. Slick. You can find the button and the simple instructions for adding it to your browser at AvantGo Autochannel for RSS . (link may only work if you are signed up at AvantGo - a quick simple and free procedure.)

Live Bookmarks in Firefox
Want to know how to set up "Live Bookmarks" in Firefox? Here's a handy tutorial.

Word of the Day
Cloture - A parliamentary procedure by which debate is ended and an immediate vote is taken on the matter under discussion. Also called closure. French clôture, from Old French closture, probably alteration of closure, closure "Only 52 Senators voted for cloture, well short of the 60 needed to cut off debate.."