Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Vanishing Parachute Trick

Many moons ago, when I took high school biology, each of us in the class had to do a project. One of the oddballs in the class, a clever guy with a strange sense of humor, forgot that the project plan was due at the end of class one day. When he discovered his mistake, then and there during the class session he wrote up something that he'd turn in as his project description. It went something like this.

A mouse wearing a parachute would be dropped from a certain height to see if the mouse survived the fall. If the mouse survived, then the next day the experiment would be repeated except the radius of the parachute would be shrunk by an inch. Then again for the following day and the one after that, till either the mouse was dropped successfully without a parachute, a validation of evolution in the field, or the mouse would splatter on the ground, supporting the counter hypothesis. I thought it both funny and ballsy that the student would turn this in. Needless to say, the teacher didn't agree. My friend got an "F" on that project.

That was forgotten long ago and I wouldn't have recalled it except for reading this piece on NCLB. Lo and behold, it sure looks like the authors of NCLB plagiarized from my friend.

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