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Happy Thanksgiving!

By R. Neal, Thu, 2014/11/27 - 9:32am

Who wants pie?

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Developers look to create underground NYC park

By jbr, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 9:14pm

This made me wonder about the underground part of North Gay Street. How much of an area is there? Are there ever any historical tours?

From Yahoo …

Street-level solar collectors would be used to filter the sun about 20 feet down to bedrock, turning the dank, subterranean space into a luminous, plant-filled oasis. The park would offer city residents a place of refuge and host art exhibits, music performances, readings and children's activities.

Developers look to create underground NYC park

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Audit of KCS capital fund accounting complete

By Tamara Shepherd, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 6:53pm

Per Gerald Witt with KNS, the county’s Audit Committee "has sent a resolution to the County Commission asking for better reporting on school construction accounts."

In a nutshell:

The audit found the maintenance money was used in some new school construction. Auditors said internal controls over capital project accounting process were needed.

But for whatever reason, KNS does not link at its website the full text of the audit? I've asked in comments that they please do.

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Pianist Dr. Eric Littleton and Muse Watson schedule Christmas show at the Princess

By fuzzbert, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 5:28pm

Pianist Dr. Eric Littleton and special guest Muse Watson have scheduled their Celebration of Christmas Music show for December 19th, at the Princess Theatre in Harriman. Tickets are only $10!

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EPA to propose tougher rules on smog-causing ozone, setting up clash with GOP

By jbr, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 5:07pm

From the Washington Post …

McCarthy said the EPA’s long-awaited proposal would lower the allowable ozone level from 75 parts per billion, set in the final years of the George W. Bush administration, to a new standard “in the range of 65-70 parts per billion.” As part of the rule-making process, the EPA would accept comment on a wider range of possible limits, from the current 75 ppb to as low as 60 ppb, according to other officials familiar with the EPA’s plans. The agency is expected to adopt a final rule next fall.

EPA to propose tougher rules on smog-causing ozone, setting up clash with GOP

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Feel good dog story

By bizgrrl, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 3:33pm

Swedish athletes competing in the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador made friends with a dog. The dog, Arthur, ran with them and swam with them. When it came time for the kayak leg of the race they decided to leave the dog behind.

"Mike, Simon, Staffan and Karen put their kayaks down in the water and set off, but Arthur refused to be left and started swimming. This was too heartbreaking for the team, and Mikael helped Arthur up in the kayak. "

Arthur is now in Sweden with his new best friend.

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Free content on the web

By Sandra Clark, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 2:26pm

A humorous look at the free-content-on-website debate:


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Tre Hargett wants you to know that Tre Hargett is all about Tre Hargett accountability

By R. Neal, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 2:15pm

Phil Williams interviews Tre Hargett about Tre Hargett's taxpayer funded purchase of Tre Hargett "I Voted" stickers and other Tre Hargett swag.

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Half a Million Sign Up for Obamacare in First Week

By jbr, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 1:20pm

From NBC News …

What a difference a year makes. More than 460,000 people signed up for health insurance on the federal government’s website during the first week of open enrollment, officials said Wednesday. And there were no outages or other technical glitches.

More than 3 million people visited during that first week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters. “We have seen more than one million people speak with one of our call center representatives,” she said. “We’re off to a solid start.”

Half a Million Sign Up for Obamacare in First Week

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Deal alert: Moto X (2014)

By R. Neal, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 10:07am

I don't usually participate much in the Thanksgiving weekend shopping hysteria, opting instead to mostly hibernate. BUT, if you're thinking about getting a very cool Moto X (2nd Gen.) on Verizon, you might want to wait until "Cyber Monday." Starting at noon (Eastern) on Monday Dec. 1st you can sign up for a discount code to get $140 off the no-contract price or get one for $0.01 on contract at Verizon. Limited time, limited quantities. More info...

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Is our children digitally learning?

By R. Neal, Wed, 2014/11/26 - 8:12am

NPR: Is Digital Learning More Cost-Effective? Maybe Not

Politicians from Jeb Bush to President Obama like to hype the revolutionary power and cost-effectiveness of digital learning, but a new study suggests, in many cases, it is neither more powerful nor cheaper than old-fashioned teaching.

Billions of public dollars have been directed toward digital learning initiatives in recent years, and the report from the National Education Policy Center, a research institute at the University of Colorado, found that they rarely improved outcomes. When they did, they cost more money, not less.

Here's an interesting quote from the study:

Personalized Instruction is based on the metaphor of personal desktop computers -- the technology of the 80s and 90s. Today’s technology is not just personal but mobile, social, and networked. The flexibility and social nature of how technology infuses other aspects of our lives is not captured by the model of Personalized Instruction, which focuses on the isolated individual’s personal path to a fixed end-point. To truly harness the power of modern technology, we need a new vision for educational technology. We need technologies that are based on what we know about the process of learning and take advantage of the mobile, networked technologies of today. [..] The focus of the systems reviewed thus far is exclusively on instruction, and not on the process of learning. Learning has always been an interactive experience -- observation of others, questioning and being questioned, dialog, discussion, and debate. These are interactions between people. The relationships between people that are formed during these interactions help students not only to understand new information but to trust it and to value it. The irony here is that an approach that reduces the time students spend interacting with teachers and other students is called "personalized."

The study: NEPC: New Interest, Old Rhetoric, Limited Results, and the Need for a New Direction for Computer-Mediated Learning

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By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/11/24 - 10:21pm


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Latest UT athletics drama

By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/11/24 - 7:32pm

UT basketball assistant resigns

I have not been following the unimpressive (to me) hire of Donnie Tyndall for UT Boy's basketball coach until recent news of NCAA investigations into his past activities came to light. The latest casualty has apparently been with Tyndall at two previous schools, both of which have had some NCAA troubles.

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TNGOP disappointed that new AG still not crazy enough

By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/11/24 - 2:05pm

Slatery Disappoints Tea Partiers, Refuses to Pointlessly Rave Against Obama

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Google Fiber advancing in Nashville?

By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/11/24 - 1:06pm

Nashville Business Journal: Google Fiber takes important step, files for state franchise certificate

California tech giant Google has filed an application for a state-issued certificate of franchise authority with the Tennessee Regulatory Authority for its super-fast gigabit Internet network, Google Fiber.

The article notes, however, that Google says cities shouldn't get too excited about regulatory filings and such. This is a next step, they say, and they hope to announce by the end of the year whether the project is a go.

At any rate, I guess AT&T might end up being sorry they got what they wished for by spending millions lobbying for statewide franchises, which as far as I can tell hasn't done much to expand broadband access in the state. At least not by AT&T.

PREVIOUSLY: Nashville being considered for Google Fiber

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ACA enrollment events for 2015

By B Harmon, Mon, 2014/11/24 - 12:28pm

Open enrollment for ACA plans has started is going well.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you are wanting a new ACA plan or a change in your existing one to be effective on January 1, 2015, you MUST make that happen by December 15th. Open enrollment ends on February 15, 2015.

Mayor Rogero has posted here all of the locations of enrollment events offered by the Tennessee Health Care Campaign throughout the region (including Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Loudon, Knox, and Sevier counties).

In addition, you can call to schedule an appointment for enrollment at the Knox CAC on Western Avenue at (865) 214-7626, that will be on a Tuesday or Thursday. Leave a message and we will call you to schedule a time.

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Sad pet store story

By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/11/24 - 10:18am

WATE has this report about a couple who bought a Mini Schnauzer from a pet store in Morristown. The couple learned a sad and expensive lesson about buying puppies from a pet store.

The report does not say where the puppy came from, i.e. who was the breeder. Unfortunately, puppies in pet stores frequently come from puppy mills. We don't know in this case, but it would be a good follow up for WATE to find out. It should have been part of the report. (UPDATE: Don Dare says in an email that the puppy came from Missouri, so there you go.)

This is an even bigger problem during the holiday season, when people are thinking about buying puppies to give as presents. That's a bad idea, regardless of where the puppy comes from.

Do not buy puppies from pet stores. Find a responsible breeder, contact a rescue or go to your local shelter to adopt. And don't give puppies as Christmas presents.


ASPCA: Puppy Mill FAQ

Humane Society: Pet Store Doublespeak

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Ravitch: Education reform is a hoax

By R. Neal, Sun, 2014/11/23 - 10:09am

Tennessee Education Report:

Education scholar and activist Diane Ravitch spoke at Vanderbilt University in Nashville last night at an event hosted by Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE), the Tennessee BATs (Badass Teachers), and the Momma Bears.

Ravitch touched on a number of hot-button education issues, including vouchers, charter schools, teacher evaluations, and testing. Many of these issues are seeing plenty of attention in Tennessee public policy circles both on the local and state levels.

She singled out K12, Inc. as a bad actor in the education space, calling the Tennessee Virtual Academy it runs a “sham.”

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UT discontinues Lady Vols Hall of Fame

By R. Neal, Sat, 2014/11/22 - 5:48pm

KNS: UT pulls plug on Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame

The Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame, which began in 2001, apparently won’t be adding any more inductees. Athletic department spokesman Jimmy Stanton said this week that discussions are underway about “how to best honor and recognize the accomplishments of all of our former student-athletes moving forward.”

The disrespect of UT women's athletics continues. Guess Pat Summit was making the men's teams look bad.

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Friday night lights

By R. Neal, Fri, 2014/11/21 - 11:27pm

Congratulations to Alcoa, Maryville, Fulton, West and Webb who all advanced in TSSAA championship playoffs.

Tough loss for South-Doyle to end their awesome previously undefeated season.

Also props to WATE for their excellent high school football coverage.

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