Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Lays of Ancient Rome

This is hefty reading but great for the background of our civilization.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Penn State Live

Penn State Live: "It may be unfair to compare the general population of public school students with children educated at home, cautioned Marshall. As he noted, the National Education Association has asserted that 'a better test would be a comparison of homeschooled children with a subset of public-school children who have high levels of parental involvement and whose families place a high value on education.'"

It may be unfair but it seems like the public schools have turned into day care facilities not educational institutions.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

RAND: Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks

RAND: Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks

After the hurricanes, we should not forget the other disasters we can face.
This guide is good for those.

The Herald Standard - News - 10/27/2005 - University to provide assistance for math

The Herald Standard - News - 10/27/2005 - University to provide assistance for math: "
CONNELLSVILLE - Connellsville Area School Board members are hoping a $5,500 agreement between the school district and a Pittsburgh university to provide assistance and development for its secondary mathematics program will improve test scores.

The board on Thursday agreed to hire the University of Pittsburgh Tri-State Area School Study Council after 11th-grade students failed to meet the math proficiency levels outlined in the benchmarks of the federal No Child Left Behind Act."

It is good to see that they're working together but will it solve the problem of about half of college students needing to take remedial math?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New blog feature

If there is a problem with blogs is that anything you post will eventually leave the front page and get sent to the archives.

So I have added a new feature to this blog a Buy Now button for my How to Teach Your Children Numbers and Counting ebook.

It took only two weeks for our daughter to be able to count to 10. She is already working on 20.

So far the only downside has been that doing a 1, 2, 3 count to being in trouble doesn't work as she will start counting along and continue up to 20.

U.S. National Debt Clock

U.S. National Debt Clock

This debt clock show us how much the Government (eg us) owe. Ask yourself how this is going to affect your children's future.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 - College gender gap widens: 57% are women - College gender gap widens: 57% are women: "'We think there's value in having equal numbers,' says Jim Bock, admissions dean at Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College. Last year, the school admitted more women than men, but it admitted a greater percentage of the male applicants than female. The student body's male/female breakdown is about 48/52."

Gender balance in a university is nice and all it makes picking a marriage partner easier but is that all that important. Do they really have to practice affirmative action to get more boys in?

The question they should be asking is WHY boys are not going to college. I wonder if they are just not seeing much value to it any more. They are growing up in a time when their fathers are changing jobs and careers more often then ever. While not getting a degree has some downsides, they might be wondering what the upsides are supposed to be. Especially after counting th cost of student loans.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The New York Times > Technology> Review> WHAT'S NEXT; Soaring Into the Air With a Boost From a Laser Beam

The New York Times > Technology> Review>
WHAT'S NEXT; Soaring Into the Air With a Boost From a Laser Beam
: "SOMEWHERE, Nikola Tesla is smiling.
More than a century ago, Tesla -- as famous for his discovery of alternating current as for his claim of inventing a giant death ray -- dazzled onlookers by sending bolts of electricity crackling 30 feet through the air. To him this was proof that one day information and electricity would be sent across the skies instead of through copper cable."

Tesla was great, he had an intuitive understanding of science and technology that was amazing, he invented the AC motor/Generator while on a walk in a garden which he promptly drew into the dirt to capture it. It is better to carry a Hipster around now.

He also invented the fluorescent bulb. It is amazing what he did. He is worth some study if you are into the history of technology.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Time Machine - Discover Magazine - science news articles online technology magazine articles Time Machine

Time Machine - Discover Magazine - science news articles online technology magazine articles Time Machine: "It is a clock, but it is designed to do something no clock has ever been conceived to do%u2014run with perfect accuracy for 10,000 years."

This is very cool. And all it takes is a it of math to figure out.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Oldest noodles unearthed in China

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Oldest noodles unearthed in China: "The 50cm-long, yellow strands were found in a pot that had probably been buried during a catastrophic flood.
Radiocarbon dating of the material taken from the Lajia archaeological site on the Yellow River indicates the food was about 4,000 years old.

I love food history this is a fun find.

Instapundit- U.S. position in science is eroding - : " I love science and engineering, and my friends from high school who went into those fields think I would have been good there. I don't know if they're right, but I'm pretty sure that I've had a better career in law. And much as I love law and lawyers, I suspect that a country that makes law a more rewarding career than science and engineering is likely to wind up with more and better lawyers than it has scientists and engineeers."

That is the problem isn't it, law is much more rewarding and less stressful then engineering or science. Have one of your bridges fall down and what happens, a lawyer feeding frenzy. Spill a coffee in your lap and the lawyer makes millions too.

Lawyers can't make a safer, more fuel efficient car only engineers and scientists can. Lawyers may ask even demand better cars but they couldn't make one if they needed to.

It reminds me of a joke:
"An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, 'Ah, you're an engineer -- you're in the wrong place.' So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.
One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, 'So, how's it going down there in hell?'
Satan replies, 'Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.'
God replies, 'What??? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake--he should never have gotten down there; send him up here.'
Satan says, 'No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him.'
God says, 'Send him back up here or I'll sue.'
Satan laughs uproariously and answers, 'Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?'"

Engineers like teachers are way undervalued.

2.009 Product Engineering Processes: Archimedes

2.009 Product Engineering Processes: Archimedes: "Intrigued by the idea and an intuitive belief that
it could work, MIT's 2.009ers decided to apply the early product development
%u2018sketch or soft modeling%u2019
process to the problem."

Very much an engineer-type solution. Try it, it might work.

100 Benefits of Journaling

Journaling is something I do, okay not totally consistently but I am working on that.

For me one of the best things to do is to write down what I have learned. It helps me keep track of what I have done and where I want to go.

Journaling helps more if you rewrite your goals every day. You can copy yesterdays goals, you can add new goals or delete old goals that just aren't important any more.

Journaling is a touchstone in your day.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sudoku The Numbers game


This is a fairly simple game, and a good way to learn logic and thinking. Fill a partially pre-filled grid with numbers from 1-9, there is no math like a Magic Square puzzle which adds up to 15 in row and columns.

Fun stuff.

The Homeschool Bug

The Daily News Online: "Melanee Evans notices that 'people always ask about socialization' when they hear about a homeschool. 'They never ask about academics. ..."

Isn't that the truth. It makes you wonder about how important people think academics is. With these kind of questions not very much.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Turning the Pages%u2122, the British Library

Turning the Pages%u2122, the British Library

Now this is a really fantastic resource. Scans of the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Jane Austen and Lewis Carroll among others.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is a computer good for you child?

That is a good question. From my point of view it is just a tool (the article goes into that), sometimes you have to get the children out from in front of the monitor and get them out into the world playing, practicing and doing stuff.

There is no damage in telling your children to "Go outside and play." it is also exercise or any number of activities to help them learn how others think and live.

When I was a child my parents took me on a trip around the world. We met people from all walks of life from executives in thousand dollar suits to peasants scratching in the dirt with sticks. It was amazing and eye opening to see the contrast, and a computer will help you see those things without leaving home, the impact may not be as great but it is still there.

You can't let the computer do the work for the child but it can help them learn the work. You are the parent be in charge don't let something else take over.

Orion > Orion Magazine > September | October 2005 > Lowell Monke > Charlotte's Webpage: "'There have been no advances over the past decade that can be confidently attributed to broader access to computers,' said Stanford University professor of education Larry Cuban in 2001, summarizing the existing research on educational computing. 'The link between test-score improvements and computer availability and use is even more contested.' Part of the problem, Cuban pointed out, is that many computers simply go unused in the classroom. But more recent research, including a University of Munich study of 174,000 students in thirty-one countries, indicates that students who frequently use computers perform worse academically than those who use them rarely or not at all. "

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Momma, Don't let your kids grow up to be Engineers.

i-Technology Viewpoint: When to Leave Your First IT Job @ SYS-CON Media: "The first layoff is tough. After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward? To summarize how I felt: Disillusioned. Only one thing kept me going -- pure ego. You know when the schoolyard bully says something about your mom in front of everyone? But, ignoring the size difference and the fact that he's already shaving daily at age 14, you step forward and say 'Oh yeah?', with a Brock Sampson-like eye twitch the only warning of the impending ownage? That's the kind of ego that kept me determined to give software engineering a second shot. Over the course of the previous year, my friends quickly learned I liked to talk about work less and less. When I did open up about it, they were astounded by, well, let's say various factors of the work environment. Each and every time it was discussed with my peers in the field, time and time they gave me the same advice: Get out."

Engineering is a tough field. It is better to be a business owner.

Where is our education system going? Looking to Asia.

The Korea Times : Deplorable Education System
: "The majority of the high school student population in Korea spends every moment of their time studying, all of them with hopes of getting into one of the top three universities in Korea: Seoul National University, Yonsei University and Korea University. However, in reality, only a limited number of students out of the total population of 600,000 are accepted to one of these three each year. News of several students committing suicide after exams has become a yearly phenomenon."

Is our education system heading this way? It might be. Tests are getting to be a stronger and stronger influence on our children. There are plenty of stories of parents stressing their children just to get into the "right" preschool.
With this kind of educational program you would think Korea would be top of the world, they seem to be generating lots of intelligent people. But I don't think they are getting smart people. People who can understand and take risks and do some great new thing. Sadly, after all that work, all they seem to have are carbon-based robots.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

INSIDE JoongAng Daily

INSIDE JoongAng Daily: "The days of hiring robots as English tutors in Korea may not be too far away. The Korea Advanced Intelligent Robot Association, an organization developing artificial intelligence technology under the Ministry of Information and Communication, announced yesterday it has begun operating, on a test basis, robots that can help young students pronounce English words. "

Robots are just computers and computers are the stupidest things in the world. They only do what you teach them. You can do a better job yourself.

Monday, October 03, 2005

WorldWatch - September 11, 2005 - Freakonomics Or You Have to Find the Facts Before You Can Face Them - The Ornery American

WorldWatch - September 11, 2005 - Freakonomics Or You Have to Find the Facts Before You Can Face Them - The Ornery American: "In the effort to improve education rather than throwing more and more money
at a system that gets worse and worse, the Congress and the President passed
the 'No Child Left Behind' legislation that mandated testing. But they didn't
invent the idea -- state and local governments had been experimenting with
standardized tests for years.

The trouble is, with budgets, salaries, and jobs becoming dependent on test
results, the incentive for cheating on these tests has vastly increased.

And since in many places the tests are administered by the very teachers who
will be rewarded or punished based on the test results, the opportunity to
cheat is there as well.

How, though, do you catch them? Call an economist."

Go read the whole thing.

Ending the Left's Death Grip on Higher Education

: "The Left%u2019s
domination of American higher education, from humble community
colleges to Ivy League universities, has been repeatedly and convincingly
demonstrated for nearly two decades. The irrefutable evidence
of this domination includes the overwhelming imbalance of Democrats
versus Republicans on college faculties and administrations; the
corresponding rise of major universities (e.g., Harvard and Berkeley)
as the leading donors for Democratic Party candidates; the pervasiveness
of %u201Ccritical%u201D pedagogical approaches that emphasize %u201Cinequality%u201D
and %u201Coppression%u201D based on race, sex, class, and sexuality; the
denial of objective, universal standards of meaning and logic
under the guise of %u201Cdeconstructionism%u201D; harassment of conservative
students and organizations; and rampant political correctness.
The result, as Allan Bloom, David Horowitz, and others have argued,
is the ongoing transformation of the college experience into the
main front of the radical political assault on American society

Whether an "enclave" or "parallel" system is created is not the big things, homeschoolers are doing this already. Unless you are in a hard science or engineering field the diploma seems little more then a card that says, "Yes, I can read & write and can survive sitting in endless meetings."

Independent Online Edition > Health Medical : app4

Independent Online Edition > Health Medical : app4: "Toddlers who are looked after by their mothers do significantly better in developmental tests than those cared for by nurseries, childminders or relatives, according to a study to be published today.

The findings will show that those given nursery care fared worst. They exhibited higher levels of aggression and were inclined to become more compliant, withdrawn or sad.
Those looked after by grandparents and other relatives fared a little better.
Youngsters looked after by childminders and nannies came second in terms of their development to those who stayed at home with mother.

Good to see science finally catching up to what everyone already knew.

Hit be Comment Spam

Looks like I got hit with comment spam.

I've turned on Word Verification to slow them down. If a bot can't post it then it is not worth their time to do it.

I hate spammers. They act like our time is free and it isn't.

Cleaning and Stain Removal

Last night our daughter drew on the floor with some crayons. Oh, boy what a mess. She even got some on the cover of her bed.

We've been trying to get her to sleep in her "Big Girl Bed" but success has only been partial so far. This is a bit of a set back for us, maybe. My wife was completely shocked by this. I was surprised but hey it's just carpet, she's only three. Though we are still not sure how the crayons got into her room.

The internet is a great library of information. I found that has a great guide for removing all of their products. In a couple of hours we got it pretty much clean. Crayon is actually rather nasty because it is not water soluble, so you have to use WD-40 to clean up the crayon and some detergent to get up the WD-40. Though Oxyclean got it up very well.

I know that keeping the house clean is a major chore. We share duties and it takes lot of time and energy. Our daughter is just big enough to help pick up her toys and books and she does a good job with that most of the time.

I am an engineer and our rallying cry is "There has got to be a better way!" and in searching for cleaning tips found (link above) which has a massive list of cleaning tips and tricks. Go check it out. %u2022 100 Most Often Misspelled Words %u2022 100 Most Often Misspelled Words: "its/it'sThe apostrophe marks a contraction of 'it is.' Something that belongs to it is 'its.'"

English is a very important part of educating your children.
One of the big problems is that the background of English comes from a dozen different other languages. And the result is that spelling can be a bit of a challenge from time to time.

This is a very helpful list of words you will want to use as a major part of your spelling list. These are the most often misspelled words in English. If your children have these words down then they will do better then most people.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Some first hand impressions of China

First off, I think we are all in big trouble and bigger than we can imagine. The scale and speed of things is amazing. For example the PuDong area of Shanghai.... 15 years ago it was a rice patty... today there are 300 skyscrapers there including the worlds 4th tallest building and a radio tower that dwarfs that.... imagine looking at Manhattan.... and then realize it is all new. There are construction sites everywhere.... they do work with both hand and machine.... you'll see rope and tackle derricks right next to cranes..... they work construction 3 shifts a day... this way you can build a 50 story building in a year and half or so. As for cranes... those big tower cranes that on a large construction site you might see 4 or 5 in the US.... well it seems like in Beijing there are more of them than trees....... at the site of the new terminal at the airport there must have been at least 50 of them. An other thing that seems strange to our western eyes...... scaffolding made of bamboo all tied together with rope but maybe 20 stories high surrounding a modern glass building. We went through a new town.... maybe only 3 years old.... big wide streets and apartment buildings about 12 stories high for as far as you could see.... I think the guide said 500,000 people will live there soon!
These folks work.... I think that is all they do. I saw very few things to do with spare time..... only one golf course..... no ball field (unlike Japan where they are everywhere).... I don't think these folks play much. I didn't even see that many toys in the markets.

The future that your children, heck you, will have to compete in.

China right now seems a lot like Turn of the Century America and UK. If you work hard you can get ahead in life. These were the circumstances that produced people like: Carnegie, Van der Bild, and Rockefeller. It is going to be fun.