NASA's LRO Spots Apollo Landing Sites

Wow, what a set of images! Come on Moon Hoax types, put this in your pipe and smoke it. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken some great images of the Moon's surface during its commissioning phase. Resolution will improve in the near future as the orbit is lowered to its mapping altitude and the Sun rises higher to improve the signal, but even so you can see the landers, instruments left behind and tracks in the dust.

It won't persuade the dyed-in-the-wool deniers, but will be useful in turning students away from the dark side, having been left hanging by a naïve treatment in history lessons.
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Pay Offer to be Staged

I've just seen the new pay deal offered by sixth form colleges, and it wasn't what I expected. The pattern for the last few years is to match school teachers, who have been offered a 2.3% rise in September. The deal for college teachers is 1% in September rising to 2.3% in April.

This will be tricky for the unions in the current climate. With many in the private sector having pay cuts or job cuts and the government briefing the press that the public sector has done well in recent years, few teachers will have the stomach for a fight. But teacher pay has risen below inflation for a while now and has fallen 10% compared with other service sector employees in the last five years.

College funding is rising this year faster than student numbers, and there is money in the coffers to pay the award in full, so expect the unions to make plenty of noise over the next few weeks. Last year's increase was delayed until the new year due to wrangles between the staff side and the employers — looks like we'll be waiting a long time for a resolution again.

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Why Are Lying Parents Socially Acceptable?

Listening to Any Questions on BBC Radio 4 this week, I was surprised by the panellists' response to a question from the audience about parents who lie on school application forms. It followed the case of Mrinal Patel, who was accused by her council of fraudulently filling in an application for an over-subscribed primary school.

The panel, comic Will Self, columnist Rod Liddle and a couple of historians, all seemed to approve of parents who are economical with the truth because any good parent will do anything for the kids. Since when has the responsibility to push your offspring further and higher trumped any objection to being a deceitful two-faced liar?

Desirable school places are a limited resource - it is a zero sum game. What one parents gains from underhand behaviour, another will lose from following the rules, and this is an objectionable and immoral position to take. Claiming to be doing it for your child is a cop out - next we'll hear the great and the good on the wireless smugly claiming that they jump the queues at Tesco and Disneyland rides for the kids.

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