Memo to the state Department of Education: The 1980s called and wants its software back.
As News reporter Denise Jewell Gee blogged in School Zone, State Ed is still generating reports on state aid for school districts the way it has since the ’80s. For you history buffs, that computer application was written in the COBOL programming language and runs on a Unisys mainframe computer. According to the dry understatement of a Board of Regents budget request, it is “reaching the limits of its useful life.” The board wants a pricey (but inevitable) $2 million to move to a modern system for creating state aid models based on funding formulas.
COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) is one of the oldest programming languages, primarily designed by Grace Hopper from 1959 onward. It’s an oldie and apparently still a goodie, at least for State Ed. On the bright side, there’s little chance the system will get hacked.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie showed no interest Thursday in answering questions on the scandal that has become known as Bridgegate, the closing of access lanes at the George Washington Bridge. Meeting with voters for the first time since the scandal broke in early January, Christie wanted to talk only about Hurricane Sandy relief. Apparently, most of the crowd at the VFW hall in Middletown wasn’t interested in tangling with the guv, but one supporter did mention the obvious disapproval from Christie’s all-time favorite musician, Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon spoofed the guv on Fallon’s old late-night NBC program in a parody of “Born to Run.”
The governor, who has attended 132 Springsteen shows, will not be so easily rebuffed by the superstar, who once told him they were friends. Christie reportedly said: “I live in the hope that he will wake up and say we can be friends.”
Things have worked out well for Luna and the people who care for her, though the path that led to Wednesday’s development at the Buffalo Zoo had its twists and turns. Luna, of course, is the world’s cutest polar bear cub (or was. Have you seen the new one at the Toronto Zoo?) and her continued residency here depended upon construction of a new habitat. The same goes for her partner, Kali, who was orphaned by a hunter in Alaska and brought to Buffalo.
Now, after years of fund-raising, some shortfalls and reconfigured plans, construction began on Wednesday on that new home. When it is completed, the $14 million, 1.5-acre Arctic Edge exhibit will also be home to arctic wolves, Canadian lynx and American bald eagles. And Luna and possibly Kali and the rest of the Buffalo bears. All in all, it was another signature day for the Buffalo Zoo.