Friday, May 30, 2008

New Reading Statistics

From a Random House/Zogby poll:
Despite the growing availability of other formats for reading-such as online or with an e-book reader or PDA-- the vast majority of readers still like to read the old-fashioned way - 82% said they prefer to curl up with a printed book over using the latest in reading technology, a new Random House/Zogby poll shows. Women (85%) are more likely than men (79%) to say they prefer reading printed books. Reading printed books also has greater appeal among older respondents, although it is by far the preferred method among all age groups.

Just 11% of respondents said they are comfortable reading books in other formats, such as online or with an e-book reader or PDA. Men (13%) are more open than women (8%) to reading books in other formats, as are 13% of those younger than age 30, compared to just 6% of those age 65 and older.

And yes, most of the polled readers admitted to judging a book by it's cover.

Read the rest here.

Reflections at The End of Another School Year

Yesterday was my last day teaching and now we are (finally!) on summer break. It was pretty crazy and we simply let the kids party all day (which is more tiring to teachers than when we are learning - go figure!). At the end of the day I had to face saying a permanent goodbye to half of my class, those who are moving on to a new location in the fall. I hate this part every year. I didn't think I would miss my "teacher testers" (class trouble-makers), but you know, I think I will. I find it interesting that those who are hardest to deal with are usually the most loving overall towards their teachers. They would come in all excited in the mornings, wanting to give me a big hug and tell me about anything special they might have done between the time I had sent them home and they returned, as opposed to my well behaved children who calmly walk in and could care less for the teacher's notice. Funny, huh? Anyway, as I spent some time with a parent picking up his child yesterday afternoon (a tester child), I noticed that he kept dropping hints that referred to his wife being by herself and having to care for their four children on her own. The light began to dawn and I began to think quickly of a tactful way to ask if they were separating. Sure enough, the dad is moving to another part of this area. Suddenly I felt a rush of sympathy for my little problem student. No wonder he had been so difficult this year. All the turmoil and frustrations he had witnessed at home influenced his behaviour when he was me. He was only trying to express his hurt and confusion. If I could only take back our spring semester, I would have be a more understanding, patient teacher with him. I would have spent more one-on-one time with him, hugged him more often and tried to make school time a joy for him, as it must have been the one stable event in his unstable life. One thing I have learned is to not just assume that the child is at fault for their behaviour, but to try and understand if there is more at work than what I can see. I do sincerely regret my missed opportunities with that little boy. God help me to learn from the mistakes that he graciously shows me I have made.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Human Hybrids

This is sickening:
Scientists at Newcastle University announced last month that they had created the first part-human, part-animal hybrid embryos in the UK.

Sadly, this is being considered as a "moral" and "ethical" procedure in Britain:
The measures, part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, are aimed at updating laws in line with scientific advances.

They will be voted on in the House of Commons over the next two days.

Mr Leigh opened the debate on Monday, with an amendment prohibiting outright the creation of hybrid "admixed" embryos.

Unfortunately, the BBC reports that ...After making a strong personal case for using hybrid embryos at the weekend, Mr Brown is expected to be backed on this part of the bill.

Writing in the Observer newspaper, Mr Brown called on MPs to back the use of hybrid embryos, saying such scientific advances could speed up treatment for cancer and conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

Read the rest of the report here. God forbid this comes to pass...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Kathryn at Four Months

Celebrating Mom

Ashley's lovely table arrangements

What could possibly be in this box?

Special cupcakes from our favorite cupcake bakery

Monday, May 05, 2008

Myanmar Death Toll: 15,000

This is so tragic. My heart goes out to the people in Myanmar. I am curious about the Christians there since it is a country under an oppressive military rule and non-Buddhists are often persecuted.* It makes me sad to think of the many people swept into eternity so quickly. Sometimes I reflect complacently on the globalization taking place, the new missionary outreaches which were previously unavailable to closed countries. This tragedy reminds me that the work is far from over, every day people are dying who have never heard of Christ and the cross. I hope I shall never again be complacent and satisfied to sit back while others perish. Even if I can't go to Myanmar personally, I can go there in prayer.

If you are interested in praying more specifically for this impoverished nation, here are some websites with information:

Myanmar country profile and statistics on wikipedia

Persecution of Christians

Pictures of the devastation and more here

CNN story of the disaster

*From wikipedia:
Many religions are practiced in Burma and religious edifices and religious orders have been in existence for many years and religious festivals can be held on a grand scale. The Christian populations do, however, face religious persecution and it is hard, if not impossible, for non-Buddhists to join the army or get government jobs, the main route to success in the country.Such persecution and targeting of civilians is particularly notable in Eastern Burma, where over 3000 villages have been destroyed in the past ten years.