May 30, 2007
Anthro majors gone wild!
I showed "24 Hours on Craiglist" to my Life Online class last week, a film our a/v guy handed to me that morning and which I had not pre-screened. It's great.
One of the Craigslisters interviewed was a young woman who explained that after graduation and her discovery that no jobs awaited her, she had decided to sell her services as a "wife" to gay men on Craiglist. "What did you major in?", she was asked. "Anthropology." Ack!
Happy, then, I was to find this profile of someone who found/created a good job for herself with a B.A. in the field: Sarah Rich
Another Sarah, Sarah Thibault, was mentioned in yesterday's L.A. Times piece on gutter punks in the Haight-Ashbury district. Thibault pulled herself out of said gutter, majored in anthropology at SF State and now works at an assistance center in the Haight.
A rare non-anti-Chavez op-ed
Today's L.A. Times has an amazing rarity: an op-ed piece that doesn't lament Hugo Chavez's non-renewal of Venezuelan tv station RCTV as a blow to "freedom of the press." Under the (print) headline "Chavez didn't start this media war," journalist Bart Jones reminds us of the role this station played in the 2002 coup attempt.
May 9, 2007
American pilots blamed for Gol crash
According to this BBC report, the Federal Police have recommended criminal prosecution of the two American pilots involved in the mid-air collision that killed 154 people last September. The article cites their being unaware that their transponder was malfunctioning as the source of their culpability (and not, apparently, flying at an altitude different from that of their original flight plan). Certainly in a US civil proceeding, this would be worth some small percent of contributory negligence, but they are facing serious criminal charges in Brazil.
Anyone who has followed the myriad revelations over the last eight months of utter confusion; repeated, sometimes near-fatal errors; poor morale; and ridiculous pay and work conditions of Brazilian air traffic controllers (who work under the Air Force) must wonder whether the pilots can get a fair trial as the Brazilian government reels from controller scandal. On the scale of blame, it would seem that the controllers who erroneously cleared the American pilots to fly at the incorrect 37,000 ft altitude plus the several others who subsequently failed to notice the mistake plus the poorly implemented radar and radio system that prevented contact with the pilots until it was too late, bear the brunt of it. Barring radio contact with some tower which noticed the transponder was not transponding, I don't know how they would have known that or how they could be blamed for the deaths because of this. I think that in the civil lawsuits already filed in American courts evidence of the past year's massive incompetence in Brazilian air traffic control will result in minor contributory guilt at most, but I confess to little confidence that a nationalistic Brazilian criminal jury will think the same way.
May 5, 2007
Benchmarks versus timeline
"Benchmarks" mean points in time when we can blame the Iraqis for their hellish situation; "timeline" means a point in time when we can finally all agree the Bush strategy was a total disaster.
Our tax preparer (!), a month ago, said Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby. We spent the first of half of the race smugly happy our hundred dollars stayed in the bank account and the second half disappointedly spending our non-existent $450 winnings in our heads.
Panderers or Morons?
At the risk of mystifying science and confirming stereotypes of a contemptuous elite, I have to say that Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, and Tom Tancredo are either shameless panderers to the religious right or just three more garden variety morons. Unless, of course, they've got some brilliant, paradigm-breaking theory of biology up their sleeves.