Monday, May 29, 2017


Perspective and controversy. At

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Joy in rhythm. Booooooiiiiiiiii!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Just Ask

Open doors. At New York.

How to Look

Seeing through. At Star Talk.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Scout's Honor

Seeking yonder. At TEDxPSU.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Starting From Scratch

What exactly does it mean to be scientifically literate?

If I really wanted to become "scientifically literate", to have a fundamental foundation to learn, explore, and understand the physical world, and processes involved in that discovery, what basic knowledge would I need? If I were going to do some self study to acquire this foundation, and if I was building my own educational curriculum, what kind of coursework would I want to mimic in my learning?

The most concrete examples of guidelines I could find came from Drake University, University of Oregon, University of Buffalo (UB2), Loyola University of Chicago, a New Hampshire State K-12 Scientific Literacy Framework, the AAAS, the Minnesota Literacy Council, the Earth Science Literacy Initiative, and a Big Think video featuring Charles Vest.

Cumulatively, it looks like things generally add up to the following below. Any way I look at it, it seems like a lot of work.

The Big Four
Physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Or, more specifically, the equivalent of physics I and II, chemistry I and II (and III depending on who you ask), organic chemistry I and II, and biology I and II. For math, at least algebra and trig. Calculus, statistics, and symbolic logic helpful.

Human health, nutrition, wellness, fitness, the science of sex. Human psychology, biological basis of social behavior, biocultural diversity. Anthropological inquiry, origins, ecological footprint.

Everyday Physics
Physics of sound and music, the internet, energy and the environment. Quantum mechanics. Foundation of physics.

Earth & Space
Astronomy, solar system, meteorology, planetary and stellar astronomy. Geology, geography.

Soils, plants, and foodways. The sea, marine science, freshwater ecosystems.  Biogeography and Biodiversity. Energy and the environment. Environmental locality, hazards, issues, sustainability. Climate, climate change, human impact on the environment.

I suppose the one big thing the combined curriculum misses, for me, is coverage of the infrastructure, utilities, and technology we use everyday. I guess this leans more towards engineering. Electricity, energy, water systems, roads, bridges, etc. Automobiles, cell phones, wi-fi, etc.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Stair Climbing

This man cracked me up when he was like "this is a problem for eighth
graders." I'm trying to learn this for my discrete math class right now. I guess things come easier for some than for others. Original link here since posting on blogspot seems to always cut parts off of the full view.  Related links here, here, and here.

Friday, May 5, 2017

And on and on...

I sort of want people to understand all this... Whatever comes out of the Senate (and I hope it's good), if anything does at all, it would have never even been considered if Obama hadn't gotten the ball rolling. That's sort of the point. The only reason that healthcare for people at large was considered important by the current cohort in the first place is because of the previous president (it's both a shame and a good thing I suppose). More specifically, not because they wanted to actually help people, but because they wanted to oppose the previous president as a matter of... principle (can you call it that)? And, politically there's really no way out of that. It took that man and a vote by a sea of blue for the current majority to even consider what might actually be good for the people at large when it comes to healthcare. Meaning, before now, there was more concern for power and politics and "free markets" (a term that has lost its significance - leaning too heavy on the ideas of deregulation/capitalism or socialism in isolation alike will both have adverse consequences, beyond lacking context in a post-recession age of relatively heavy inequality) than there was the basic health of Americans at large. You are riding that boat. Hopefully, we are at a point where that approach has changed. Hopefully, if something is to be done about it, you'll decide to make actual improvements that benefit the people of this country at large. And hopefully, in the future, politics and power and ego won't take precedent over the people. That was the benefit having of a man in office who had before that dedicated his entire career to public service. By default, the thought of what and why things should be done is first and foremost considerate of the people. Not of image. Or wealth. Or brand. Or anger. Or Twitter. Every time this new sitting President opens his mouth, I'm reminded of all the things he isn't, never was, and probably never will be. And it's mostly by choice.

Sigh... Australia

Also also outlawed use of guns (unless you a rural farmer) with positive benefits. I suppose we could follow suit there too.

Still doesn't change what was said before. Only adds more to it.

This Whole Healthcare Thing is Funny (in a not so funny way) To Me

Basically, the motivations seem to be political. Meaning, it's not the benefits of the citizens of the U.S. that are of most concern. It's about imagery and show and sense of authority.

Yet, this essentially affirms the need for the purpose the Obama administration's legislation by proposing healthcare legislation that would have never had a chance of existing if it weren't for Obama in the first place. It's saying

"You were right. People's health is important. We're on a platform that wouldn't be possible without you. That people can tell their children's children they benefitted from. We could do some things so that would allow those same people to tell their grandkids the great things we've (not just Obama) have helped done for their health. But we're going to use this platform to screw over those people. And their children's, children's children can tell them about the time under Obama, when the government actually considered healthcare for the everyman to be something of worthy concern."

This seems... illogical to me, given the motivations involved. Like chasing your own tail. And because there's so much emphasis in trying to get this through to replace something of universal benefit (if I'm more clear something that personally benefited me) rather than taking the time to think of something most beneficial to the citizens of this county, it looks like something that's likely to create a mess down the road (more for ordinary, and especially poor, folk than politicians or for those who wealthy enough to be able to afford not to care).

But oh well. When you are driven by image and power, what makes sense, (or what's good for the people), isn't priority for you. And it kind of shows.

Not really a surprise. It's exactly the kind of thing I expect from the people in charge.

Math and Art?

So I'm trying to come up with more analogies as I learn this stuff. And some interesting thoughts occurred to me. If you paired up calculus, discrete math, and linear algebra with any of the arts, which would each best represent?

Discrete Math as Music (or, more precisely, as rhythm): So, discrete math really, to me, feels like patterns, which in turn feel like rhythms. The first thing you have to do is understand the basics of the language. Or, if you liken to music, to be able to read or play/recognize each note. Then you need to understand how they are used in certain conditions. And you need to play. You kind of learn by doing. I found, for example, that actually going through and doing breadth-first and depth-first searches helped far more than the definitions. Once you get the "rhythm" of the things, of the patterns you are creating or identifying, it all feels like less of a mystery. And I kind of get the sense that it could eventually be intuitive. Also, a concept like bipartite (which I got wrong on my last test) is probably easier to understand if you think more in patterns than in formal definitions.

Calculus as Sketching: This really came about because I might eventually be taking a physics class. And I did some basic reading here and there. There seems to be three skill sets that will help you do OK in physics: math (often calculus), concepts, and sketching out visual representations of the problems you are trying to solve. And if it becomes second nature for you to be able to sketch out what you are thinking, maybe it's easier to give workable shape to the physical body problems you are trying to solve in your head. Reading about learning basic physics kind of made me interested in taking my school's Basic Drawing class.

Linear Algebra as ?: Honestly, I don't even know. Nothing came to mind here. I guess I start thinking more about architecture, engineering, or space than any art.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Heroes Do Exist

Tucked away. At Monocle.

Binge-watching. At Epicstream. (they missed a lot of things though)

Flight. At Yahoo.

Fix stuff. At Repair Cafe.

Beyond tofu. At One Green Planet.