Sunday, December 13, 2009

top 30 - the education issue

Having only had a Statcounter account for a year or so, I'm not sure how long people in schools, universities and other educational establishments have been accessing Tales from a Draughty Old Fen, but it's gratifying that they do. It's also, for me, a timely reminder that not everybody in these institutions ascribes to trendy views of sinister left-wing bodies, for whom ideological hegemony in educational systems is key.

So, without further ado, here's the top 30 as accessed by schools boards and associations, universities and educational charities, etc. I haven't counted or identified individual schools whence the blog's been accessed.

Maureen Hamilton, who allowed her last days to be captured to show young people the risks of smokingUnderage smoking is more stupid than criminal An unorthodox but time-honoured way to discourage an underage smoker, using inclusion instead of stigmatisation. Accessed by schools authorities internationally.

Was the presidential election a set-up?When Goulong Li went head-to-head with Tom Chigbo for the presidency of Cambridge University Student Union, university dons took the unprecedented move of briefing against Li in local and even national newspapers, professing their shock at his opinion - which he had spoken freely for a year and a half - that homosexuals could be "cured". But the point at which he lost the election may have been when, during the filmed hustings, he took his Bible from his pocket. This post was very popular in both Cambridge and universities across the US.

Cannabis policy's in no more chaos than usual As Frank Nutt's supporters predict Bad Things for drugs policies in the wake of his removal as head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, I find myself in the unusual position of supporting the government on his sacking.

celebrity culture eats its own children, and nobody profits more than editors like Abigail BlackburnAbigail Blackburn and the truth about pregorexia Celebrity culture eats its own children, and nobody profits more than editors like Abigail Blackburn. Written about a documentary by singer and model Louise Redknapp, the post has been enduringly popular within and outwith educational establishments.

Anne FrankAnne Frank In the display on Anne Frank in Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital - the foundation was delivering diversity training - we saw the world famous picture of Anne staring into a future she would never see. Accessed by some universities, but predominantly by schools.

Norman Tebbit and the art of Risk Former Conservative Party chairman Norman Tebbit showed a magisterial understanding of the concept of risk when he suggested voters could elect smaller parties as a reaction to the MPs' expenses crisis. Councils, schools and insurance companies take note.

population control is a fatal misconceptionFatal Misconception - the struggle to control world population Indira Gandhi's first government collapsed in chaos because of population control measures drawn up by white westerners, but eugenics has returned. Very popular in India for reasons that become obvious, but also internationally, and by some surprising institutions.

Good taste back on the horizon - how mad are you? A documentary recreating David Rosenhahn's 1972 experiment involving "pseudopatients" admittied to a psychiatric ward - with surprising results.

contains spoilers!Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows From Harry Potter through such stopping points as Odysseus and back - but contains spoilers: big ones! Both unis and schools seemed to like this one.

Chlamydia, koalas and killer sex education The government is attacking the epidemic of chlamydia in young people on two fronts: firstly, by grafting it onto its campaign to delay early sex; and secondly, by handing out condoms to the population it's trying to delay early sex within.

Louise Redknapp on a more useful mission
Claire Sweeney's big fat... What exactly was Claire Sweeney's motivation to put on as much weight as possible in a short time? No offence to the starlet, but it was a bit of a relief to see this post out of the top two for a change; US and Canadian universities seemed to like this one.

Baby RB and the misery of medics When Baby RB's parents went to court because the mother felt his congenital myasthenic syndrome meant he would be better off dead and the father disagreed, medics showed what side they were on by employing the language of counselling instead of a medical vocabulary. It fell to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children's Anthony Ozimic [pictured] to draw a line in the sand. [Baby RB's father decided he agreed with his ex-wife during the court case - the child is now dead.]

Alexander RybakEurovision Song Contest 2009 - the music won Alexander Rybak took the prize at the best Eurovision for years. It's just a pity Terry Wogan had to retire to get the sleaze stopped. Obviously popular in Europe, but for some reason really took off in Turkey.

Have I got bad language for you? When comedian Frank Skinner decided to monitor and reduce his swearing in his act as a reaction to the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand answerphone fiasco, he found the result positive. But the BBC's own reaction to the fiasco was more sinister than anything.

New Labour's science propaganda would shock soviet censorati into silencePropaganda in words and pictures An actual GCSE Science paper, showing the sort of propaganda our children are confronted with daily as regards issues related to the beginning of life.

Gail Trimble, Corpus Christi College's 'human google'Why does the BBC hate intelligent women? The BBC's shameful persecution of Oxford's Corpus Christi College University Challenge team, fronted by the "human google" Gail Trimble, revealed the corporation's underlying misogyny. Accessed by lots of English universities.

Altruistic octopodes and going the extra mile In one of his Life documentaries, David Attenburgh showed us an animal's way of protecting its eggs that was a welcome relief from the usual ichneumon wasp which - in its defence - never intended to spark a crisis of confidence in Victorian Christians.

An early appearance of the golliwog in gallant modeGolliwog-gate:the racism of anti-racists When Carol Thatcher, daughter of the former prime-minister, was accused of racism, were there sinister undercurrents at play?

Children in need of morally competent adults Children in Need is unusual in the modern BBC, in that it not only presumes but demands moral givens.

Top ten songs about ghost stories We are a narrative species. Storytelling is as fundamental an activity for human beings as eating or sleeping, and ghost stories are an integral part of this. This is one of two of my "top ten songs about..." posts that made it in.

Francis Galton, spiritual father of Richard DawkinsBBC - Murdoch throws his agendas into the debate When James Murdoch said he wanted to see the BBC broken up, he indicated that the marketplace should be a matter of the survival of the fittest - a phrase which horrified Charles Darwin because it typified the social Darwinism which so horrified him.

Jimmy Saville presents Top of the Pops in 1979Margaret Thatcher - it was 30 years ago today The anniversary of the election of Great Britain's greatest peacetime prime-minister.

Remembrance Sunday 2009On how a small village ceremony participated in the remembrance services worldwide.

Top ten songs about water In the ancient Church, catechumenates used to meditate on water during Lent prior to their Easter baptism. I can't promise a meditation, but here's some songs and some thoughts. Schoolboards in Canada liked this one.

the seventeenth-century architect of much of the last century's conflictsLockerbie and the moral limits of diplomacy What happens when politicians with the skills of neither a Richelieu nor a Bismarck mess about with international diplomacy?

"Tear down this wall!" With only 365 days in the year, a lot of anniversaries are competing for a linmited number of anniversaries. Kristallnacht on November 9, for example, even though it's now famous for another event.

then three come at the same timeDon't go down the road to hell, it's jammed with bendy-buses How an amusing article by comedienne Ariane Sherine was subverted by radical militant atheists with sinister agendas.

an unborn crocodile inside its shellCrocs, giraffes and the vagrant nerve: inside nature's giants Richard Dawkins attends the dissection of a giraffe's recurent laryngeal nerve by,among others, Joy Reidenberg, but fails to forward his agenda with the innervation of unborn vertebrates.

Takako Fuji stars as KayakoHalloween - don't grudge horror from Japan Takashi Shimizu's The Grudge, starring Takako Fuji as the ghost Kayako, marks the beginning of the end for Hollywood's ego-fuelled grip on the horror film.

Bridget Driscoll - first driving casualtyDrink driving campaigns - a worked out example Bridget Driscoll was the first driving casualty in 1896, and unfortunately the deaths haven't ceased. Here's one example of a national anti-drink-driving campaign.