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Posted at 2:37 PM ET, 09/ 4/2009

7 Things I Learned This Week

By Valerie Strauss

1) Community colleges are hotter than ever.
A new study by the Democratic Leadership Council concludes that jobs for community college graduates with two-year degrees will grow at nearly double the national average--and even faster than jobs for four-year bachelor’s degree holders.

2) If you are driving a vehicle at 55 miles an hour and take your eyes off the road for three to four seconds, you will travel the length of a football field.
Tell this to kids when discussing why texting and driving is a bad idea. I learned this from the D.C. Driver’s Manual, which I was reading to help my daughter study for her learner’s permit.
(Also useful to know: Each year, more than 40,000 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents and over three million people are injured. In more than 50 percent of all accidents, driver inattention was indicated as a contributing factor.)

3. Hopscotch and yo-yoing are in and dodge ball is out in Joanna Faerber’s physical education classes in Baton Rouge.
She must be doing something right because she was named the new Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the National Association for Sport & Physical Education. “This is not your mama’s PE,” she told the Associated Press. Her kids engage in activities such as inline skating, square dancing, bowling, gymnastics, juggling, fishing, rope jumping. Sounds like more fun than spinning.

4) There is now a place to ship your kid to break a computer addiction.
ReSTART, which claims to be the first residential rehab clinic for Internet addiction, has opened near Seattle, somewhat ironically near Microsoft headquarters. For $14,000, a video addict can be weaned from obsessive computer use during a 45-day program. Internet addiction is not officially labeled a disease by the medical establishment, but some doctors think it should be.

5. Yellow carrots are as nutritious as the orange ones.
This discovery opens up a whole new world for me because I pack school lunches each day for a child who eats the carrot as her only vegetable. Post food whiz Bonnie Benwick says there is no real difference--yellow has lutene, which is good for the eyes, while the orange has a lot of beta carotene. This fact allows me the illusion of variety. And, sometimes, illusion is good enough.

6) Humongous jellyfishes really exist.
My youngest daughter showed me a picture on the Internet of jellyfish much bigger than a diver. I thought it was a fake but it turns out that there are giant jellyfish in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea that are more than 6 feet 7 inches wide and over 450 pounds. They are a big nuisance along Japanese coasts, cutting fishermen’s nets. The huge jellyfish are increasing in number but nobody knows why. Global warming is one theory--and why not: It seems like it is responsible for everything else.

7) I survived my first week as a blogger.
I had worried that after more than 30 years as a newspaper news reporter, the switch might be too much for my metabolism. It wasn’t—though next week might be another story.

By Valerie Strauss  | September 4, 2009; 2:37 PM ET
Tags:  computer addiction, giant jellyfish  
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Next: A Lesson on Labor Day

Comments

That giant jellyfish thing is really cool, and I'm going to show it to my 6-year-old when I get home.

Posted by: J2-D2 | September 4, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"I had worried that after more than 30 years as a newspaper news reporter, the switch might be too much for my metabolism."

I suspect you're overthinking this. We're not looking for different quality work from you, just work that's presented in a different format. If you've been a reporter for 30 years, you know how to gather information, synthesize it and give it to us. That's all we want you to do here ... you're just doing it using some different computer commands.

Good job!! Keep it up!

Posted by: mccxxiii | September 7, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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