Friday, 5 March 2004

Newsletter Issue 76, March 2004


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 76, March 2004
Hi guys,
Interested in education reform debate? Then read What is Truth? below. Recently released articles and books are at the bottom of the article if you want to learn more.
A bit more on McDonald's interesting strategies for market share in  ...And Now a Word from our Sponsor
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

What is Truth?

Recently I was reading an article about private school education from a religious organisation, about the criticism that private schools are receiving in the media and from government about "teaching dogma" and "indoctrinating" children. The article stated that, not only do private schools follow the national curriculum as well as their own, specialist subjects, but that state schools aren't free of dogma either, that our national curriculum is in fact far from neutral.
My initial reaction to reading this was "of course our national curriculum is neutral"; and then I stopped and really thought about it. Our national curriculum is in fact non-denominational, which most definitely does NOT make it neutral.
Our national curriculum demands that we teach evolution. This permeates all aspects of integrated teaching from the Arts to the Sciences; we read stories about dinosaurs to primary school children, we teach evolution in science and we use Darwinism as the core of our biological approach. I understand that those religions based on Judaism (maybe 60% of organised religions, including Jews, Christians & Muslims) believe in creation; that God created the world in seven days as per the book of Genesis in the Old Testament.
All children in New Zealand are supposed to be taught evolution as per the national curriculum, regardless of whether or not they or their families hold strong religious creation beliefs. As both our National and Labour governments - via NZQA - have overseen all aspects of education including the curriculum, criticism levelled at the government having a hidden agenda to further marginalise religious groups has some merit for consideration.
Perhaps we need to have some discussion around whether our national curriculum is neutral, whether it needs to be neutral, and if so, how we can make it more neutral... without going against accepted scientific and professional knowledge?
All this discussion, when too many of our young people are not getting a thorough grounding in literacy and numeracy; regardless of whether they believe in creation or evolution!
For those of you who want to read more, there has been several publications released in NZ recently on educational issues, promoting choice and reform in education;
  • Education Forum report, "A New Deal - Making Education Work for all NZers" (for a pdf download click here)
  • Deborah Coddington’s "Let Parents Choose" (for reviews click here and here)
  • Nick Smith with the National Party's "Schools of Excellence" (for reviews click here and to download click here)
  • Maxim Institute's Paul Henderson, "Vying for our Children" (for reviews click here and here)
Do the reading and find your own informed "place where you stand" on these issues.

...And Now a Word from our Sponsor

A bit of an update on the brand protection article in the last issue - have you heard about the push by McDonald's to sponsor Sesame Street?  This caused a furore in the States in late 2003.
It is completely understandable why McDonald's would want access to Sesame Street's audience of impressionable young children, but why would PBS want to deliver the children of America to McDonald's? Parents entrust their children to PBS TV because they are trustworthy. It is doubtful that enticing kids with junk food is part of that "trust".
McDonald's, in a statement, said its partnership with Sesame Workshop was part of its support for children's literacy. Pity they aren't more concerned about the health of these children once they grow up.
And also in 2003, McDonald's Corporation lost a class action to the effect that McDonald's had deliberately misled vegetarians by using animal fat in their French fries. Not only did McDonald's have to pay a $10m settlement, but they were to issue an apology and donate $6 million to vegetarian organisations dedicated to the "values of vegetarianism".
However, McDonald's have managed to slide out of having to pay the vegies; they have made recommendations that a large chunk of the settlement money should go to either non-vegetarian or to anti-vegetarianism groups. Huh? How did that work?!
McDonald's attorneys argued to the court that many vegetarians "eat fish and fowl" (umm? I thought that the whole point of being a vegie was that you DIDN'T eat meat?). McDonald's also successfully argued that a "vegetarian organization" could be an organisation that promotes meat and (interestingly) has a longstanding financial relationship with McDonald's, as long as that organisation promised to use settlement money to "benefit vegetarians"...
So McDonald's sautéed the vegies twice - once when they told porkies about including animal products in their products, and a second time when they promised to donate $6m to vegetarian groups but instead gave the dosh to their own suppliers. McPerfidy.

Reverse Order Autonum in Word

Ever needed to have reverse auto-numbering in a Word table for - say - a count-down or some sort of log document, where you have wanted to have the most recent changes showing at the start of the doc? 
Well, while you can autonum table rows using the numbered bullets, they only go in ascending order; ie can only start and 1 and work your way down. You can't go up. 
And with any sort of log, you want your numbers to go from top to bottom in descending order, and have the SAME row number permanently assigned to each item (all lines with an unchanging a unique identifier). And you want to add a new higher number in each new row at the top of the table, right where you can see it and not have to scroll down 90 years to where the document ends.
So how can we do that? Well, there is a way.
Let's suppose you have 407 rows. Try this: 
  1. Where you want the first number to appear, press Ctrl & F9. You will get two curly brackets { }
  2. Move the cursor inside the { } brackets and key Ctrl & F9 again. You should now have { { } }
  3. Fill in the field codes so it looks like { = HighNumber - { SEQ A} }
  4. Select all of the text { = HighNumber - {SEQ A} } & press Alt+F3. You've created an autotext entry. Name it whatever you like (eg revnum, for reverse numbering
  5. Where you want the second number to appear, type "rn" (no quotes) & press F3
  6. Repeat step 6 for each place you want the number
  7. Press Ctrl+A to select the whole document
  8. Press F9 to update all the fields.
All done!
 
TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • WLAN, Wireless Local Area Network. Wireless LANs are tipped to replace cabled LANs for businesses with remote offices, but they have to have access to good communications services to be effective
  • LOL, Lots of Laughs. Internet short-speak

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All those hotkeys for you again, but this time we are "minusing" as well;
  • Access "Remove the selected data column from the query output" - (Minus)
  • Access & Excel "Delete the current record/selection" Ctrl & - (Minus)
  • IE "Zoom out" Alt & - (Minus)
  • Frontpage "Apply subscript formatting" Ctrl & - (Minus)
  • Outlook "Switch to week view when using general keys for moving around in day/week/month view" Alt & - (Minus)
  • Outlook "Collapse selected group" NUM & - (Minus)
  • PowerPoint "End a slide show" - (Minus)
  • PowerPoint & Word "Collapse text below a heading in document outline" Alt & Shift & - (Minus) NUM
  • Word "Customize Remove Menu Shortcut" Alt & Ctrl & - (Minus)
  • Publisher & Word "Add a non-breaking hyphen" Ctrl & Shift & - (Minus)
  • Publisher "Add an optional hyphen" Ctrl & - (Minus)
  • Windows "Display the system menu for MDI programs" Alt & - (Minus)
  • Windows Explorer "Close everything under the current selection when working in Tree View or collapse the selected folder" NUM & - (Minus)
Hot Linx
Need to check the weather before you leave town (wise, these days!). Then the Met Office have the right page for you at http://www.metservice.co.nz/forecasts/short.asp
Want to know any weird tips about US product uses? Then check out http://www.wackyuses.com/index.html. Also see Kiwi shoe polish at http://www.wackyuses.com/wf_kiwi.html
Needing a street address for business or residential customers in the UK? Then check out the white pages at British Telecom here or yellow pages here
Travelling for business & want to know what to expect at your destination? Then this xtra site, while only really focused on NZ & Oz so far,  might be of assistance to you. Go to http://xtramsn.co.nz/travel/0,,11311,00.html 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here