The Toxic Twenty

Since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, our air quality has gone downhill significantly. Before this revolution, we used human and animal power, as well as water and other natural resources to slowly create what we needed. It was a slow process, but there were very few harmful by products. With the creation of […]

Since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, our air quality has gone downhill significantly. Before this revolution, we used human and animal power, as well as water and other natural resources to slowly create what we needed. It was a slow process, but there were very few harmful by products. With the creation of the engine, people realized that they could create things much faster. But it took quite some time to realize exactly how harmful all of these by products were to us, long-term. It took quite some time for us to develop the technology to measure pollutants in the air, and realize that chemicals remained that we couldn’t see.

This infographic, found on Good.is, shows the toxic 20, or the top 20 air polluted states. Is your state on the list? It also shows the health risks involved in breathing in these chemicals. It’s no wonder that health problems have significantly increased in recent years. And finally, it shows the main ways this pollution gets into our air.

Discuss with your students the causes and implications of air pollution. Do they think it is worth it, to be able to have all the amenities we have today? How is there generation going to suffer 20, 30 or 40 years from now, or the next generation? What can we do to stop and even reverse this pollution?

Blog: http://goo.gl/LQ2dR

Who Wouldn’t Want Students to Learn Critical Thinking Skills?

I mentioned this on some social networks the other day, but thought I’d post it here as well.

I recently got a call from an automated polling service, which promised me a trip for two to the Bahamas if I would complete the short political survey. I pressed the number for “yes,” more out of curiosity than a burning desire for the Bahamas.

Here are the first two questions, as I remember them.

Question #1, What issues should the presidential candidates be most concerned with in the 2012 campaign?

  1. Rising gasoline prices
  2. U.S. involvement in the Middle East
  3. Staggering unemployment
  4. Health care reform.

I pressed “4” and to my surprise, was asked the same question again. I pressed “4” again, and the same question was repeated. This time I answered “3” and the poll continued on to the next question.

Question #2, Where do you get most of your political news?

  1. CNN
  2. Fox News
  3. The New York Times
  4. (I don’t remember what 4 was)

I pressed “3” and the same question was repeated. It was at this point that I hung up.

Now the critical thinker in me first considers whether the survey automation server is broken. Then I wonder, if it’s not broken, and this exchange was designed, then why? What might someone have to gain by contriving this exchange?

I won’t delve further into the same conclusions that most of you have already made.

Critical thinkers see through manipulations and perhaps might even extend their scepticism to question any and all political survey findings of a similar political tilt — in which case, this type of information fixing would backfire.

My reason for including this story here is that we are told by almost all quarters that..

..They want schools to help their children become critical thinkers.

I mean, “Who wouldn’t?”

New Development: 

Yesterday (May 29) I got an automated call from “Independent Survey Group” asking me the same questions as above and accepting my left-wing Obama’esque answers. Then a human voice came on the line, evidently to offer me two way tickets to the Bahamas. Go figure!