A very nice shot of the Pacific Northwest with minimal cloud cover. Notice the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon.
The Final Days of Albert Einstein
This is from the Princeton University Press Blog,
November 24, 2015 by
In April of 1955, shortly after Einstein’s death, a pathologist removed his brain without the permission of his family, and stored it in formaldehyde until around 2007, shortly before dying himself. In that time, the brain of the man who has been credited with the some of the most beautiful and imaginative ideas in all of science was photographed, fragmented —small sections parceled to various researchers. His eyes were given to his ophthalmologist.
These indignities in the name of science netted several so-called findings—that the inferior parietal lobe, the part said to be responsible for mathematical reasoning was wider, that the unique makeup of the Sulvian fissure could have allowed more neurons to make connections. And yet, there remains the sense that no differences can truly account for the cognitive abilities that made his genius so striking.
Along with an exhaustive amount of information on the personal, scientific, and public spheres of Einstein’s life, An Einstein Encyclopedia includes this well-known if macabre “brain in a jar” story. But there is a quieter one that is far more revealing of the man himself: The story in which Helen Dukas, Einstein’s longtime secretary and companion, recounts his last days. Dukas, the encyclopedia notes, was “well known for being intelligent, modest, shy, and passionately loyal to Einstein.” Her account is at once unsensational and unadorned.
One might expect a story of encroaching death, however restrained, to chronicle confusion and fear. Medically supported death was a regular occurrence by the middle of the 20th century, and Einstein died in his local hospital. But what is immediately striking from the account is the simplicity and calmness with which Einstein met his own passing, which he regarded as a natural event. The telling of this chapter is matter of fact, from his collapse at home, to his diagnosis with a hemorrhage, to his reluctant trip to the hospital and refusal of a famous heart surgeon. Dukas writes that he endured the pain from an internal hemorrhage (“the worst pain one can have”) with a smile, occasionally taking morphine. On his final day, during a respite from pain, he read the paper and talked about politics and scientific matters.
“You’re really hysterical—I have to pass on sometime, and it doesn’t really matter when.” he tells Dukas, when she rises in the night to check on him.
What did Einstein believe at the end? We can’t know, but An Einstein Encyclopedia opens with his own words,
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose….To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.
Sweden is Now Recycling 99 Percent of its Trash. Here’s how
Sweden is Now Recycling 99 Percent of its Trash. Here’s how: http://themindunleashed.org/2014/09/sweden-now-recycling-99-percent- trash-heres.html
America should take note of this process considering we only recycle approximately 34 percent of the garbage we throw away: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/2012_msw_fs.pdf
How does Sweden do it?
- They have an aggressive recycling policy, which goes in an order of importance: prevention, reuse, recycling, recycling alternatives, and as a last resort, disposal in landfill.
- Amazingly, just 1% of Sweden’s trash ends up in landfillsMuch of the left over waste is taken care of by using “recycling alternatives”, such as the Waste-to-Energy program, which is explained in the video, “Importing garbage for energy is good business for Sweden” http://vimeo.com/103801887
- Waste is sorted, then remaining waste is incinerated and converted into electricity
- 3 tons of garbage contains as much energy as 1 ton of oil
- Sweden is so good at recycling its trash in fact, that it now has plans to import 800,000 tons of garbage from other countries in Europe in order to create heat for its citizens through its Waste-to-Energy program.
Google Converter Tool
Use this tool to make easy conversions. Link: Conversion Tool You can change the cateogories, then select variables for the units of measurement for each category.
Click “More Info” (Green arrow in above image) for this link: Calculator and unit converter
China Successfully Launches Rover Mission!
China has launched a lunar rover, only the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union. The rover, named Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese) is solar-powered, has 6 wheels and four cameras. It also has mechanical arms that can dig soil samples up to 30 meters deep. It can travel up to 200 meters per hour and weighs 120 kg.
Yatu’s mission is to explore the moon’s surface and look for natural resources. The rover was able to send photos of itself back to Earth. A rover “selfie.” Link
Humans to travel to Mars? First humans to depart in 2024.
Mars One first mission planned for 2018: Mars One will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Unmanned missions will prepare a habitable living environment. Crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2023 or 2024. Our first unmanned spacecraft will land on Mars in 2018. Mars One website: http://www.mars-one.com/en/
Can I apply to become an astronaut?-It is currently not possible to apply. The closing date of this first online astronaut application round was 31 August 2013. Mars One will start new selection programs regularly, so you will have the possibility to apply for subsequent astronaut selection programs.
If you want to stay up to date, you can sign up for the Mars One Newsletter, and receive all Mars One updates.
View these application videos: https://applicants.mars-one.com/
Best Applications for a one-way trip to Mars: National Geographic’s Picks
Mars One will conduct a global search to find the best candidates for the first human mission to Mars. The combined skill set of each astronaut team member must cover a very wide range of disciplines. The astronauts must be intelligent, creative, psychologically stable and physically healthy. On this page, Mars One offers a brief introduction to the basics of our astronaut selection process.
Five Key Characteristics of an Astronaut:
- Ability to Trust
- Creativity / Resourcefulness
Age requirements , physical and medical requirements, country of origin and language (English will be official language) area all part of the selection process.
Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions
Alaska is Huge! Also a link to the best map of USA ever made!
ReDiscover the USA / Alaska is so big that…
…if Alaska were divided into two states of equal area, Texas would be our 3rd largest state, even if it included Louisiana. –Dave Imus
Russia had acquired Alaska in the mid-18th century and wanted to sell the vast territory. In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, after very intense negotiations, was able to help the USA to buy Alaska from Russia, for $7.2 million. This worked out to a cost of roughly two cents an acre, which is an amazing price, even back then. However, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s folly,” and “Seward’s icebox,” and it was ratified by the U.S. Senate by a margin of just one vote! Of course nobody could predict the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, or the wealth of the oil fields and other resources abundant in Alaska, making the purchase one of the best deals in history. More info: HERE
This map and info on Alaska is from a FaceBook post put out by the company that makes these maps, Imus Geographics. (I have nothing to do with the company, I’m just sharing a great map/company) My father-in-law bought me a copy of The Essential Geography of the USA,, made by company founder and owner, cartographer Dave Imus. It is the best map I have ever seen! I absolutely love geography and this map is at the very top of the list! Read all about the map and even order one of your own at the website below.
“Until the publication of the Essential Geography of the USA, Americans lacked the most basic tool of geographic understanding, a general map of the place we call “home.” By allowing us to visualize the basic layout of our country, the Essential Geography, the first and only general map of the United States, has the power to increase awareness and understanding of basic US geography, and help start a new tradition of geographic literacy in America.”
David Imus, Cartographer
The best map ever made of the USA: http://www.imusgeographics.com/map-of-the-usa
Links to various maps of states and regions in the USA: http://www.imusgeographics.com/maps-of-the-states-of-the-usa
Website: The Essential Geography of the United States of America: LINK
Yosemite’s Frazil Ice and Giant Snow Cone (and Horsetail Fall)
This unique phenomenon takes place in March and April, in Yosemite National Park, as a slurry of slushy, watery, snow pushes down Yosemite Creek and into the Yosemite Valley. A giant snow cone is formed under the falls and pieces of ice fall off the cliff onto the cone. (watch at about 4:30 for the snow cone)
“Horsetail Fall looks like a glowing fire fall in February” (6:53) See additional video below
“The Snowcone, at the base of Upper Yosemite Fall” (7:00)
Horsetail Fall – At about 4:00 watch people push coals over the edge to put on a show for spectaors below
Handicapping the Kentucky Derby- Picking the winner
There are many strategies, techniques and angles and systems used to choose a winner in the Kentucky Derby. Each year brings a new crop of 3 year old horses to analyze and study. See links and info below:
Racing form for Derby and Oaks contenders: HERE
How to use the Daily Racing Form: HERE
2013 Daily Racing Form Kentucky Derby Top 20 (includes early odds, last race, Beyer numbers, comments and more): HERE
**Handicapping the Kentucky Derby (Information, tips and more): http://www.predictem.com/horse/kentucky-derby-betting.php
Analyzing the Top 2013 Kentucky Derby Contenders (Goldencents, Normandy Invasion and Overanalyze are picked with a point system): HERE
Derby prep race charts and videos – free from DRF HERE
Daily Barn Notes – for the Derby and Oaks HERE
Derby Horses sold at auction and the prices: HERE
Handicapping Kentucky Derby General tips article from 2004, open link for full list, shortened list below. Full article: HERE
- Don’t pick a horse with a trainer or jockey making his first trip to the Derby.
- Don’t pick a horse with a new jockey.
- Stay away from horses with no two year old starts and/or fewer than 6 starts lifetime.
- Your pick should have finished in the money in his last pre-Derby start. Since 1957, only Sea Hero and Thunder Gulch have broken this and they were both 4th in their final prep. A strong late move in that race is a big plus.
- Your pick must be a stakes winner and have run in at least one 1 1/8 mile prep race.
- He must have either 3 or 4 prep races since January 1st, no more, no less.
- Don’t pick the post time favorite or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner.
- Pay close attention to the horse’s Churchill Downs workouts. 5 furlong or longer works are important.
- Horses with good tactical speed and the ability to stalk have preference over pure speed or rally from way back types. Proven ability to handle bad traffic situations is a plus.
- Stay away from geldings. No gelding has won since 1929 except Funny Cide in 2003. Flip side of this is not many geldings are entered as horses good enough for the Derby are rarely gelded.
- Dosage index of 4.0 or lower
- At least one race on a Kentucky track is a plus.
- If a trainer enters more than one horse, beware the one they don’t hype. Thunder Gulch and Charismatic are perfect examples of this.
- The Derby has a huge field, up to 20 horses, so traffic is a big problem. Remember that anything can happen with all the bumping that will go on.
How to Find a Key Horse That Can Lead to Boxcar Derby Payoffs
by Kenneth Strong, Professional Horse Handicapper of Predictem.com http://www.predictem.com/horse/kentucky-derby-betting.php
(Highlights from article, click above link for entire article) Finding your Key Horse in the Kentucky Derby- All we have to go on is history, but combining that with decent handicapping skills will give us a better shot than 90 percent of the crazies that will be betting house numbers, birthdays, names, colors and just about anything else you can think of on Derby Day, including horses that wink at people in the post parade.
- Favorites and Speed Rarely Win
- Poor Works Better Handicapping Angle than Fast Works
- Watch Key Derby Prep Races Closely- Any horse that can get within four lengths in a key prep race for the Derby deserves a second look, especially if the horse made a bid to win the race. A decent late rally to get within four lengths in an important prep could mean the horse is perfectly suited to the longer distance of the Derby.
- Beware of Romping Winners- Horses we like to avoid in the win spot in the Derby are those coming into the race off numerous romping wins.
- Beyer Speed Figures- We’ll be looking for horses that have cracked the 100 Beyer mark at least once in their lives and preferably run 105 or higher. Keep in mind that the horse with the top Beyer Figure coming into the Derby often loses, possibly because a number of runners may still be improving. Horses that have run a lifetime best Beyer Speed Figure in their race prior to the Derby can and do improve enough to win the big prize.
- Outside Posts Better Than Inside- Many bettors think that outside posts can hurt a Derby runner but in fact an outside post is probably better than an inside post and is at least as good as a middle post.
- Jockeys and Trainers – Experience Required- Don’t bet a Derby horse to win unless a top jockey is aboard. The same goes for trainers.
- Dosage a Minor Factor- As far as pedigree goes we’ll be looking for a horse with a dosage of 4.0 or less but won’t throw a horse out unless their dosage is over 6.0.
- Kentucky Derby Betting Summary – Bring Your Wheelbarrow There are only two horse racing days a year in North America when you truly have an excellent chance of making a monster score for a modest outlay of cash – Breeders’ Cup Day and Derby Day. Watch the prep races closely prior to handicapping and betting the Kentucky Derby – look for courage under fire and apply the principles above. You’ll find your key horse. A horse you can wheel – all the way to the bank.
Sight is a short futuristic film, which may not be that far-fetched.
In fact, Google Glass has many similarities to what is shown in Sight.
- Google Glass:http://www.google.com/glass/start/
- What it does: http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/
- Take Google Glass for a spin: http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-it-feels/
The Redesigned $100 Note
The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced that the redesigned $100 note will begin circulating on October 8, 2013. This note, which incorporates new security features such as a blue, 3-D security ribbon, will be easier for the public to authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. Full press release: http://www.newmoney.gov/stakeholder/journalist/release_04242013.htm
The Redesigned $100 Note
The new $100 note is the latest denomination of U.S. currency to be redesigned. Over a decade of research and development went into its new security features. Read more: http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/default.aspx
New Security Features
The advanced security features offer a simple and subtle way to verify that a new $100 note is real.
- 3-D Security Ribbon- Look for a blue ribbon on the front of the note. Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the blue ribbon. You will see the bells change to 100s as they move.
- Bell in the Inkwell- Look for an image of a color-shifting bell, inside a copper-colored inkwell, on the front of the new $100 note.
Additional Design and Security Features
- Portrait Watermark- Hold the note to light and look for a faint image of Benjamin Franklin in the blank space to the right of the portrait. The image is visible from either side of the note.
- Also: security thread, a color-shifting “100” on bill, raised printing, and more.
Security Features: http://www.newmoney.gov/uscurrency/redesigned100.htm
Volcano under Yellowstone bigger than we thought!
Yellowstone National Park is actually a giant caldera, which is the large cauldron-like feature formed by a volcanic eruption. Driving through the park is much different from what people may expect. The park is unique and amazing, with wildlife, geysers and more to thrill visitors, but it does not have the towering peaks that other Rocky Mountain parks, Like Glacier or the Tetons offer up. The park is actually on top of a massive volcano!
- Yellowstone’s underground volcanic plumbing is bigger and better connected than scientists thought, “The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imaged.”
- Knowing the volume of molten magma beneath Yellowstone is important for estimating the size of future eruptions.
- The last caldera eruption was 640,000 years ago. Smaller eruptions occurred in between and after the big blasts, most recently about 70,000 years.
- The magma chamber seen in the new study fed these smaller eruptions and is the source of the park’s amazing hydrothermal springs and geysers.
- Previously, researchers had thought the magma beneath Yellowstone was in separate blobs, not a continuous pocket.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/04/18/yellowstone-volcano-bigger-than-thought/?intcmp=obinsite#ixzz2RPK4MANY
“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Albert Einstein
It’s April 15! What does that mean? It means that this is the final day Americans have to file their taxes for 2012. Here are 10 interesting facts to know about tax day while you file those last-minute income returns. Source: http://newsone.com/2384605/tax-day-2013/?omcamp=EMC-CVNL
55% of Americans felt their taxes were fair this year: http://www.parade.com/5180/viannguyen/were-your-taxes-fair-this-year/
What have taxes ever done for me? Public education probably helped you learn to read. And when you anything on the Internet, you’re using technology invented with tax dollars. Taxes bring other benefits too, too numerous to mention, including the greatest one of all:
You’re alive. You haven’t died of smallpox or any of the other diseases which are restrained by tax-funded public health programs. You haven’t been crushed inside a collapsing building, mangled by a grain solo, or met any of the other grisly deaths prevented by tax-funded safety programs.
You didn’t burn to death in a home that was never inspected for fire hazards, trapped helplessly as the flames rose and knowing there were no firefighters available to answer your call. You and your significant other weren’t shot down like Batman’s parents on the streets of an under-policed and lawless metropolis.
Taxes provide us with many important services, often far more cheaply and efficiently than the private sector. It wouldn’t be painful to pay taxes in a well-managed economy where everyone prospered. The thriving America of the 1950s and 1960s had top tax rates as high as 91 percent, and those taxes helped create the prosperity that’s so sorely lacking today.
The payroll tax “holiday” wasn’t the best way to give middle-class and lower-income Americans a much-deserved break, but at least it helped. Now that it’s gone they’re struggling even more, and a new (and better-designed) tax break for working Americans isn’t even “on the table” in budget talks. But the Bush tax cuts are still in place for income of up to $400,000. So are the tax breaks that let some of the ultra-wealthy pay little or no taxes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/the-upside-of-taxes_b_3082295.html
Where do your taxes go? For the third consecutive year, the Obama administration is offering taxpayers an online tool to “understand how and where” their federal tax dollars are being spent. The gadget, called “Your 2012 Federal Taxpayer Receipt,” allows users to enter how much they paid in Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes in 2012, then calculates a personalized breakdown of what money went where. http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/15/where-do-your-tax-dollars-go-the-wh-has-an-app-for-that/
Your 2012 Federal Taxpayer Receipt: http://www.whitehouse.gov/2012-taxreceipt
Congressional Budget Office statement on taxes: Over the past 40 years, federal revenues have ranged from nearly 21 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2000 to just over 15 percent in fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011, averaging roughly 18 percent of GDP over that span. Under current law, revenues will rise significantly from their recent low relative to GDP over the next few years as the economy recovers from the recession and the tax reductions originally enacted in 2001, 2003, and 2009 expire. CBO analyzes the budgetary and economic effects of various features of the current tax code and proposals for changes in the tax code. http://www.cbo.gov/topics/taxes
CBO on Economic Policy: Economic Effects of Policies Contributing to Fiscal Tightening in 2013- Significant tax increases and spending cuts (took effect in January 2013), sharply reducing the federal budget deficit and causing, by CBO’s estimates, a decline in economic output and an increase in unemployment. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43694
A Wild Story of Geologic Cataclysm
Megafloods of the Ice Age: About 15,000 years ago, in the waning millennia of the Ice Age, a vast lake known as Glacial Lake Missoula suddenly burst through the ice dam that plugged it at one end. In the space of just 48 hours, geologists believe, the collapse sent 500 cubic miles of water cascading across the Pacific Northwest, creating overnight such unusual landscapes as the scablands of eastern Washington State. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/megafloods-of-the-ice-age.html
The Hero: A geologist named J. Harlen Bretz, proposed in the 1920s that the topography of eastern Washington State was the result of a massive catastrophic flood. He named this area of eastern Washington the Channeled Scablands. The idea that sites such as the Palouse Falls Gorge were the results of floods was thought to be outrageous, and described by some as near lunacy since the area receives very little rainfall today. It took many decades for Harlen Bretz to finally receive the credit he deserved. In fact, it was not until the area was observed from the air that many of the Scabland features were accepted as flood deposits, such as the giant ripples in the Misoulla Valley, which are up to 30 feet high and 250 feet apart.
Almost fifty years following his original proposal, Bretz was hailed as a hero, and in 1979, at the age of 96, he was given geology’s highest honor — the Penrose Medal, which rewards one researcher each year for exceptional contributions to geology. The Channeled Scablands have now been dedicated to Harlen Bretz, and it is commonly known that this area was destroyed by a massive flood catastrophe. Source: http://www.nwcreation.net/scablands.html
Interesting stie with interactive and a video: http://hugefloods.com/Scablands.html
NOVA interactive website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/explore-the-scablands.html
Channeled Scablands; Scientific Bias Against Catastrophism: http://www.nwcreation.net/scablands.html
Ice Age Floods (YouTube video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Na-yPW-52I
Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
The right man, in the right place, at the right time!
Martin Luther King Jr. has now been dead longer than he lived. But what an extraordinary life it was.
- At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy.
- At 34, he galvanized the nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech.
- At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
- At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today
Special MLK website by the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.com/special/mlk/
How can you help others? MLK Day of Service: http://mlkday.gov/
2012- Year in Review
Google Zeitgeist 2012- Year in Review- What did the world search for?
The Zeitgeist- (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought which typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time. For example, the Zeitgeist of modernism typified and influenced architecture, art, and fashion during much of the 20th century.
www.google.com/zeitgeist/ 1.2 trillion searches. 146 languages. See what the world searched for.
Google’s revealed its annual list of the year’s top searches, with the death of Whitney Houston gleaning more requests than even the Gangnam Style juggernaut and site powering over 1.2 trillion searches. One Direction topped the most searched image category, while events like Hurricane Sandy and the Olympics made an impact both in the primary top ten and the people we searched for. The top searched-for gadgets saw a conspicuous absence of the iPhone 5, likely due to its launch in the second half of the year. The new iPad (well, iPad 3) claiming first place, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S III. We’ve included Google‘s obligatory uplifting video after the break, if you’ve already started to forget what happened this year.
Top 10 Global Searches
- Whitney Houston
- Gangnam Style
- Hurricane Sandy
- iPad 3
- Diablo 3
- Kate Middleton
- Olympics 2012
- Amanda Todd
- Michael Clarke Duncan
These were the top 10 news stories, according to the Associated Press: Click HERE
USA today’s top stories: HERE
Reuters 2012- Year in Review: HERE
Google “Street View” Expands
In its ongoing effort to create the perfect map of the world at ground level, Google took a trek into the Grand Canyon this week. Although this is part of its Google Maps Street View project, there are of course no streets in the national park.
NASA/ISS Photographs of Earth – Where in the World Quiz
Where in the World Quiz. (Very interesting and fun) http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/quiz/quiz.pl?
Advance to next picture by clicking “Click to Refresh” near top of page. This took me awhile to figure out.
The Gateway to Astronaut Photographs: This is a great link for any one who has a passion for geography, space, etc… http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/
This is a video of the International Space Station flyover of Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/#issborealis_iss_20120423
Earth Observatory: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Coll/EarthObservatory/PostedSort.htm
Photos by map search: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/clickmap/
Cities of the World: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/cities/
Pictured above: Puget Sound, WA, USA. Seattle is near center.
Rodney King- Interesting Individual
Rodney King ended up playing a part in American culture, politics, violence and peace, he never intended to play. He was a reluctant figure in civil rights, a victim, a peace-maker and an occasional criminal. Quite a mix. He appreciated life, yet died at the relatively young age of 47 years.
Many of us who followed the story focused on the verdict and the violence the broke out after it was announced. The public was also concerned about who was at fault in the violent arrest, which was caught on film and played in the media over and over as we all became jurors in the case. However, what many don’t realize, or may have forgotten, is the severity of the injuries suffered by King, or the emotional and mental anguish he dealt with following the riots which took the lives of 53 people.
Below: NPR with an interesting piece on Rodney King-
Audio with text transcript: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/27/151526928/rodney-king-two-wrongs-dont-make-a-right
Smoking Humpy (pink) Salmon
Walked down an alley in Everett, WA and smoke was pouring out of this little, wooden shack. A wooden sign on it said “Smoke house.” Every other year, the Pink Salmon (Humpy) runs are incredible in the Pacific Northwest, as the fish head back to their birthplace to spawn and keep the cycle going. Some get caught along the way, cleaned, and hung in cool little shacks like this to be cured with smoke, a tasty way to preserve and enjoy the fish!
Man Wrestles Elephant!
This guy is tough! He had no takers, so he had to switch species and take on an elephant!
This first link, from History.com, has volume and the commentary is good! http://www.history.com/videos/elephant-wrestling#elephant-wrestling
Fox News Bubble Bursting?
“It’s a sad commentary on the state of American media when the battle for news dominance is between a right-wing propaganda outlet and a comedy channel.”
Waiting for Superman
Why is our society so obsessed about “broken schools?” Is is a surprise that we have troubled young people when we have so many “broken homes?” The US divorce rate is one of the highest in the world: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo_div_rat-people-divorce-rate
My point is, families are letting the schools down. The family isn’t sending kids to school prepared to learn. Many students come to school with little or no manners and have to learn social skills that should probably be learned at home. Many students also come to school hungry and tired, and are victims of abuse and violence. These students are difficult to teach, but public schools in the United States do what they can, with amazing results. These students (and their families) facing challenges are often intimidated and threatened by the school system and are probably not even aware of charter school options and will not benefit from charter schools. In fact, since many of the better students do choose to leave their schools and attend charter schools, the students left behind lose their peer tutors and the overall quality of their education suffers even more.
It is a shame that people with little or no experience teaching in public schools, seem to know how to fix those very schools which, in many cases, they didn’t even attend. Bill Gates attended a private high school, then dropped out of Harvard. This is our public education savior? Davis Guggenheim is free to express his opinion, and he seems to dislike teachers and unions. He admits that he drives past three public schools to take his child to a charter school, and he says “it haunts me.” I guess it doesn’t haunt him enough to help out his local public school.
Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools say she “knows” students are getting a crappy education? Get rid of her negative thinking, find somebody positive with energy. Someone who can talk parents and families into fulfilling their obligations and raising their children with the support they need.
A common theme to improve public school performance seems to be to fire bad teachers and break unions. I believe this is backwards and negative thinking, looking at the glass as half-empty. Instead, let’s screen and hire great teachers. Teaching is difficult to evaluate and measure. Many of the evaluators are administrators, who were not great teachers and wanted out of the classroom. Many great teachers just “have it.” The current system takes new and beginning teachers and focuses on staff development in the early years. For a teacher who doesn’t “have it,” this could be a waste of time. Bad teachers should have never been hired in the first place. Bad administrators hired them. From this point on, let’s hire only the best.
Whatever we do, let’s all look in the mirror. Are parents sending their children to school prepared? Are they supporting their schools? It all starts at home!
We see all this money pledged to reform schools. Make smaller learning communities, buy more supplies, better curriculum. If we focused some of this on parents doing a better job at home, the change would be dramatic. If each family spent one hour per day/night on schoolwork with their children, test scores and performance would surge. Bill Gates could stop worrying about teacher pensions.
Here is school reform; HOME REFORM. FAMILY SUPPORT. Let’s be obsessed with “broken homes!”
United States Government by Administration
Nice information on United States Government by Administration
Wolfram/Alpha Widgets: (These things are awesome)
Mt. St. Helens, 30 years since eruption!
GPS, London Cabbies, and Brain Swelling
Are GPS navigational devices damaging our sense of direction?
London cabbies must take a test called “The Knowledge” which requires them to memorize 25,000 streets and thousands of landmarks. Here is a link to the Knowledge; http://www.the-knowledge.org.uk/main/
Apparently, the back part of the hippocampus in the brains of cabbies is enlarged compared with brains of the average person. However, the front part of the hippocampus shrinks.
Then and Now- Clam Digging
1960 and 2009. Clam digging in Ocean Shores, Washington. Very cool!
Questionnaire for Sotomayor
Next time you get stressed out filling out paperwork, forms, applications or resumes, think about the process US Supreme Court nominees must endure. Then they have to put up with months of analysis and scrutiny, and even harassment. Robert Bork went through it all for nothing. The nice thing is, if you make it, job security is rock-solid.
The background check/resume is quite extensive. 170 page.pdf file
A very intense way of working out, just beating the crap out of yourself!
Great website to learn and participate: http://www.crossfit.com/
Drinking Urine in Space
Very Dangerous Shuttle Mission to fix Hubble
Introduction to Washington
What is wealth?
Check out the view of wealth and luxury in Finnland. I don’t mind the idea of high taxes. I think college should be free in the United States. I also think every kid should be fed at school. We can afford to give our students free breakfast and lunch. Many kids have parents who don’t qualify for free and reduced lunch, or they won’t fill out the paperwork, or the kids are too embarrassed. They go hungry, and that is a crime. While we are at it, everyone in the United States should have free health care. It is time to face it.
Skid Row is a very sad situation. Just blocks from skyscrapers, people live in despair. NPR has a very interesting video on their website. Check it out: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103289221
This is a streaming video camera of a family of Bald Eagles in a nest, in Sydney, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada.
There is a pair of eagles and a baby in the nest. Sometimes you can see them feeding the baby.
GET Program, good deal? For who?
Washington state has the GET program, a guaranteed tuition college savings program, where the family can save for the future student by buying future credits at current prices. Sounds good, but in my opinion it favors the upper middle class and the wealthy. Those who can’t afford to buy credits today will be forced to pay even more for future credits to make way for those who participated in the GET program. I realize that maybe those diligent and responsible folks who where able to fork away the money should benefit. But it seems to come at a high cost, even higher tuition for those who didn’t participate.
Now it appears the program is having funding problems:
Alabama and other states are worried they won’t be able to keep the tution promises: