Thursday, October 18, 2007

Does Rick Adelman belong in the Hall of Fame?
I don't see why not.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Post-service angst among Bush former staffers

Wapo has an article on the soul-searching of Bush stafers as they leave service of this Presidency--quite possibly the worst in history.

Dumbing down academic standards

. . . does not solve problems. Interesting Wapo story about Cardozo High in Washington DC and stories of members of class of 2005.

Danielle Chappell had no reason to doubt she was a solid student. She
earned decent grades, even scoring some A's in English and math, while balancing
schoolwork with basketball, track and a spot on the dance team.

Then she graduated from Cardozo High School and arrived at the
University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she bombed the placement tests so
badly that she had to take remedial English and math. She failed the makeup math
course twice before passing it. Low grades overall put her on academic
probation. Finally, mid-sophomore year, she was forced to withdraw.

Chappell sometimes thinks back to the Cardozo math teacher who, instead
of assigning algebra homework, would have students clip photos of motorcycles
from magazines and do other projects unrelated to math. "I thought it was
strange and weird," Chappell said, but she did not complain because the class
was "an easy A."

She wishes now that she had demanded more from Cardozo, and that
Cardozo had demanded more from her.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Inca "Fattened" Children for Sacrifices

From Yahoo News

Hair samples taken from child mummies suggest the ancient Incas "fattened" up children chosen for ritual sacrifice months before actually killing them, British researchers said on Monday.

A chemical analysis of four mummies found high in the Andes mountains
also indicates the Incans took the children on a lengthy pilgrimage prior to the killings, the team said. In the case of the 15-year-old "Llullaillaco Maiden" the road to death started at least 12 months before.

"We are looking at a process that began a considerable amount of time before their death," said Andrew Wilson, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford, who led the study. "The maiden was essentially being fattened up or prepared for her final fate at least 12 months before her killing."

The frozen mummies, some of them extremely well preserved, come from the world's highest archaeological site and offer insight into the victims' backgrounds and how they were elevated in social status and prepared for the rituals.

The vast Inca empire, with its advanced culture and powerful armies,
spanned most of the Andes along South America's western coast at the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century.

"This is the very first time we are hearing the account from the individuals themselves -- what they were eating and when they were separated from their normal existence and set on this path," Wilson said.

The researchers, who published their findings in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, analyzed hair samples up to 25 cm (nearly 10 inches) long in the children aged 6 to 15. This length represented about two-and-a-half years of hair growth, which gave researchers a picture of the doomed children's' lives over a fairly long period of time.

Changes in isotopes, or chemical signatures, in the earliest samples
showed the children were fed a steady diet of vegetables typical of a peasant background, Wilson said. But in the 12 months prior to sacrifice, the diet suddenly changed to food reserved for the elite such as maize and meat, likely representing the children's elevated status as offerings to the gods, the researchers said.

Other isotopic changes indicate that in their final three or four
months, the children began a pilgrimage to the mountains, likely from the Incan capital Cuzco after receiving ritual haircuts, Wilson said. The researchers do not know exactly how all the children died, though at least one was killed by a blow to the head.

"It looks to us as though the children were led up to the summit shrine
in the culmination of a year-long rite, drugged and then left to succumb to exposure," said Timothy Taylor, a researcher at the University of

What is it about the gods and fattened calves or kids. Is this the desire of
the gods, or is it simply an attempt at appeasement and not a requirement?