No More Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room: Tracking Chips On the Rise for Junior High and High School StudentsPosted: November 27, 2012
I have a child in junior high and a child in high school. Every day, both of them must wear their school-issued identification card on a lanyard around their necks at all times. The doors to their schools are locked at 8:30 a.m. After being checked out on a video camera and buzzed in, parents and other visitors must present a driver’s license upon entering the building, and then that visitor is issued a sticker with a scanned image of their license picture and their name in bold letters. The sticker must be worn at all times while on school grounds.
My children do not attend school in the Gaza Strip. They are in a small Texas suburb where, honestly, the biggest threat to their well-being are West Nile mosquitoes, all of which, sadly, are too tiny for State-issued sticky-IDs.
Still, it is not enough. Now in addition to their dog-collars…err.. I mean “IDs,”… soon, they, like thousands of other Texas’ kids, will be required to have their IDs “chipped,” as in microchipped with GPS tracking devices that will let administrators and, presumably, teachers, know where they are at all times.
Not surprisingly, there has been backlash. One student, Andrea Hernandez of San Antonio, Texas, just won the right to refuse to wear the embedded identification. While Hernandez’s reasons for balking at the requirement may be unusual (she believes the tracking is “Satanic”), many parents and students also contend that the practice is invasive and in violation of their rights. It all feels a little too creepily “Big Brother-ish” to lots of dissenters.
For their part, schools are embracing the GPS IDs because increased attendance means increased funding. Additionally, they claim that students’ “rights being violated” is inapplicable since the students are under age. Moreover, there are voices on all sides, parents, teachers, administrators, and students, who argue that there should be nothing to worry about and no objections…if your student (or you) are where they (or you) are supposed to be.
What do you think? Yes to chips or no? And why?
A couple of years ago, my then 10-year-old son declared that “everything is the best it could ever be.” He was quite sure that, new iPhone in hand, nothing could surpass the (then) current marvels of the Modern World. I was just as sure that everything could and would be surpassed. Twenty-five years ago, if you told any adult that typewriters would be as extinct as the buffalo, no one would have believed it. Today, 95% my 19 and 20-year-old students have never even touched a typewriter. I have seen card catalog cabinets busted up for firewood (not really, but you get it). I remember when floppy disks really were floppy. Now there aren’t even disks! I remember when…. excuse me, “Hey, kid! Get off my lawn!!”
Anyway, a group of friends and I got into a discussion about what has changed in the last ten years. I asked them to come up with sentences that would have made no sense to someone in 2002. Here is what we came up with:
1. There’s an app for that!
2. You can download movies to your tv and control it with your Android tablet.
3. Did you check in? I’m the mayor of this coffee shop.
4. “I’ll Facebook you.”
5. “I’ll Text You”…”I’ll IM You.”
6. I just got this 4D camera.
7. I can de-friend anybody I want to.
8. I am going to put all these thumbnails on my flashdrive.
9. I asked a silly question and got over 60 responses from all over the country in a matter of a few minutes.
10. I 3D printed a new handle for my suitcase.
11. Call Homeland Security.
12. Dang it! I got busted by a red-light camera.
13. Did you see the Tupac hologram?
14. There’s a fee for checked in baggage.
15. Let me check Snooki’s Twitter feed.
16. I drove over a cliff because I trusted my GPS.
17. Hey, wanna Skype?
18. Gay marriage was approved by voters in several states.
19. We elected a black president. Twice!
20. I store my books and music in the cloud.
21. I don’t know what time that show comes on. Everything’s on the DVR.
22. Send that PDF to my FTP.
23. Stream it.
24. I’ll download the podcast from iTunes.
25. Park in the Blink so we can recharge the car.
26. thx ttyl kbye o_0
27. “Can I haz cheeseburger?”
28. Do you have a Tumblr?
29. Would you take a picture of my paycheck and send it to BofA?
30. Occupy Wall Street
31. Fracking destroys water supplies.
What about you? Can you think of any more words in common use that would not have made sense in 2002? We’d love to hear them. Who knows what is coming, and what will be obsolete by 2022.
“Which story do you prefer?”
Have you been following the trailers for Life of Pi?
After months of anticipation, I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of it last night. The new movie is the cinematic adaptation of Yann Martel’s celebrated 2001 novel, is directed by Ang Lee, and has been generating Oscar buzz for weeks thanks to its imaginative art direction and astounding special effects. But there’s more about the film you should know…
There are a lot of movie adaptations set to be released in the upcoming months–The Hobbit, Anna Karenina, and The Great Gatsby to name a few–the wait for which brings excitement to the literary masses, though the products often bring disappointment; avid readers time after time conclude that the magic that comes with reading a novel just cannot be translated onto the big screen. And I am usually one of them.
But Life of Pi is a unique case. For one thing, I actually didn’t even enjoy the book all that much. My apologies in advance to the die-hard fans out there, because I know you’re there; the novel has such a polarizing effect, it seems that everyone I’ve ever talked to about it either loved it or couldn’t finish it. On the one hand, its manuscript was rejected by five publishing houses before it was accepted by Knopf, on the other it was endorsed by President Obama in a private letter to Martel as, “an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.” Oh yes, and it won the Man Booker Prize in 2002.
What kind of precedence does that set for its translation into film? Well, having watched the movie, I can say that it’s given me a new appreciation for Martel’s storytelling. His writing, so hard for me to get through on paper, has been transformed into a format that can celebrate all of its surrealist qualities and make them magical. Just watch the scenes on meerkat island if you don’t believe me.
But you’d have to celebrate that surreality to make the film a success. In a novel, the allegorical tale of a boy sharing a lifeboat with a massive Bengal tiger just works. In a movie, the fact that it’s impossible to throw your lead actor in with a real-life mankiller is only upstaged by the greater challenge of bringing character to the animal and making him real. On that I will only say that I was told that fewer than a quarter of the tiger shots in the film depicted a non-CG tiger. Good luck picking out which ones. Not only do we end up believing Richard Parker is real and alive, but we, like Pi, believe in his soul, all thanks to the reality-bending technology of computer graphics and the artistry of Parker’s animators.
Because of his embrace of the novel’s surreality, director Ang Lee has not only managed to retell Martel’s story, but to bring to it a spark of magic that is normally only reserved for the original book, something relatively unheard of in an adaptation.
Based on Martel’s own words from the novel, I think he’d agree:
“That’s what fiction is about, isn’t it, the selective transforming of reality? The twisting of it to bring out its essence?”
–Life of Pi
So, are you excited to see a movie based on this bestselling book? What are your thoughts and expectations for movie adaptations, or this one in particular?
More on Life of Pi from eNotes:
The Life of Pi eNotes Study Guide, a perfect reading companion complete with chapter summaries and analysis. Have a question? Post it to our Q&A area for the novel and our expert editors will provide answers.
Test your knowledge of the novel with eNotes’ Life of Pi Study Questions.
Teachers, planning on teaching Life of Pi in the classroom? We have an eNotes exclusive Teaching Unit to help you with that, plus related lesson plans from Prestwick House Publishers to aid your instruction.
Naming your baby is a weighty task. Most people strive to select names that either have a connection to family or ones that have a certain panache. But then there is that portion of the public where the name they select for their newborn is either offensive, unpronounceable, or unbelievable…sometimes all three. In the United States, you can name your baby Dustpan Ghoul III if you please. Hey, freedom of speech, although I am guessing none of the Founding Fathers would have envisioned this right being applied to Lil’ Dustpan. Some countries, however, are not so laissez-faire. In New Zealand, as much as you may want to, you are officially, not, nope, no way, allowed to name your bundle o’ joy “Anal” and your fall-back choice, “Prince of Darkness,” is out too. Here are a few odd names from history that you will probably be glad you never heard screamed at you on the playground.
1. Armand Hammer, famous industrialist born on 21 May 1898 in Manhattan, New York. His father “had named him after the symbol of the Socialist Labor Party.” As a youth, he sometimes claimed that his father had named him after Armand Duval, a character in the Alexandre Dumas novel La Dame aux Camélias (1848).
2. Ima Hogg: Ima Hogg’s first name was taken from The Fate of Marvin, an epic poem written by her uncle Thomas Hogg. She endeavored to downplay her unusual name by signing her first name illegibly and having her stationery printed with “I. Hogg” or “Miss Hogg”. Although it was rumored that Hogg had a sister named “Ura Hogg”, she had only brothers.
3. Christine Daae: The Phantom of the Opera fan “changed her name from Victoria Bohm by deed poll” so that “if the Phantom came back today he would have a Christine Daae who would stay by him at the end.”
4. Kal-El Coppola: Is there some sort of pretentiousness contest when celebrities have babies? I vote for Superboy, aka Kal-El, son of He-of-the-Perpetually receding hair-line, Nicholas Cage.
5. Velveeta: Anyone who has taught for as long as I have has their own personal stash of unusual names. My all-time favorite was a woman named “Velveeta.” She simply explained her mom loved the … cheese… and liked the sound of the product name. Velveeta, the woman, isn’t famous yet but I would not be a bit surprised if she was one day.
6. Ikea: My 15-year-old daughter has a classmate named “Ikea.” My guess is that the Dr. Spock manual was about as helpful as assembly instructions in Swedish.
7. Lady Bird Johnson: If I had titled this image “Claudia Alta Johnson” I bet those of you non-Texans would have no clue who this woman was. She is in fact, the former First Lady of the United States, wife of Lyndon Baines Johnson. “Though she was named for her mother’s brother Claud, during her infancy, her nurse, Alice Tittle, commented, she was as “purty as a ladybird,” which is a brightly colored beetle. “That nickname virtually replaced her actual first name for the rest of her life. Her father and siblings called her Lady, though her husband called her Bird, which is the name she used on her marriage license. During her teenage years, her schoolmates had called her Bird, though mockingly, since she reportedly was not fond of the name.”
8. Tupac Shakur: One of most recognizable faces and one of the best-selling artists of the 1990s and beyond, Tupac is indeed his given name and he was named after an ancient Incan warrior and chief.
9. Dovakiim: Completely, 100% accurate representation of the offspring of two obsessed Skyrim fans. I think I hear Triumph the Insult Comic Dog warming up in the background… On the plus side, he need never leave his parents’ basement as the reward for naming him “Dovakiim” is a lifetime supply of free games from Bethesda.
10. Napoleon: Perhaps you want to honor your French heritage. Perhaps you just like the polysyllabic name Napoleon. Everyone knows the dangers of giving your child a lofty name to live up to. Maybe it will work out for Cash, or Lakshme, or Sultan. But it might also be this…
How about you? What memorable names have you come across? Whether it be someone you know, a name from history, literature, a celebrity, whether you have been given an unusual name yourself, or given someone a unique name… we’d love to hear them!