Saturday, February 04, 2012


So how many people have ever lived?

Hint: More people have died than people who are currently alive, contrary to widespread belief:

So what are the figures? There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived.

This means that we are nowhere near close to having more alive than dead. In fact, there are 15 dead people for every person living. We surpassed seven billion dead way back between 8000BC and AD1.

It was fun believing the myth while it lasted. The myth didn't account for the extremely high mortality among infants and children of centuries gone by.

If Texas is leading the charge against standardized testing, maybe there's hope after all for this country:

Now, with Christopher in fourth grade, Ms. Chamness will take a more drastic step: She intends to pull him out of standardized testing altogether this spring, in protest of the system that she said had sapped her son’s love of learning.

Ms. Chamness’s approach is more radical than what most parents are willing to do — and district officials are quick to point out that school policy does not permit students to miss test days for any reason. But it is part of a budding backlash against standardized testing in the state that spawned No Child Left Behind and its assessment-driven accountability requirements.

Widespread outrage, with parents leading the way, will stop this madness. Teachers can't really do it alone because of the blowback from their "betters" in administration.

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