Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What business people don't want to hear We read too many business books.: "Control destroys relationships. Control blinds you to opportunities. Control shuts down your inner voice. Control is driven by your ego's need to serve itself. Control is an illusion you cling to primarily to alleviate your fears"

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why should a Kid build a Catapult?

Why should a kid build a catapult? (Also known as backyard artillery!)

Because the world needs good engineers and scientists, and because the kids who will grow up to become engineers and scientists need a way to get hands-on experience with physics, math and engineering.

In this age of 200-plus channels of TV, the Internet and computer games, kids are also spending far less time building tree houses, tinkering with engines, or designing downhill racers. We believe those are important skills to have. They help form the basis for good problem solving skills and an innate understanding of the real, physical world that you just can't get from a computer game, no matter how good its physics simulation software is.

Ballistic motion was one of the key players in the development of the science of physics. The word "engineer" even originated as the builders and designer of Siege Engines

Why is a budding engineering student expected to take a year or two of calculus in high school, but she isn't expected to have any real-world experience in building or working with machines and materials? Pencil and paper (or computer screens) are only one part of the learning experience. Where will she apply all of the stuff she learned in geometry and trig? Without physical projects to touch, feel and see, the lessons become abstract, their utility questionable.

A catapult project gives students a chance to see that science and engineering really can be fun, and it's a lot more than just numbers on paper. The real payoff for an engineer is in the field, where she can see and enjoy the results of her ingenuity. And it may seem counterintuitive, but engineering projects not only help kids learn math and science, they are also great at getting kids back outdoors, away from the massive over-exposure to video games, TV and the Internet.

Why all this interest in getting kids to study science and engineering? Because it's important to our society, and it's great mental cross training regardless of what field of work the kids eventually go into. Most people develop a sense for what they want to do in life while they are still in high school or even earlier. A catapult project is fun and interesting enough to inspire some kids to study the science behind how they work, and then go on to become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow.


I seem to recall building matchstick rockets, then model rockets, then Chinese rockets and learning about force, thrust, motion, weight and more. This is too cool!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline - Psdtuts

Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline - Psdtuts:
"Fortunately, it isn't required to go to design school in order to be a graphic designer. A good foundation in graphic design history, theory, and practical application will help you hit the ground running. There are plenty of resources available in which you can learn graphic design on your own. Don't set your expectations to high at first, as it will take enthusiastic study for years to become great. You can do it though!

If you would like to learn graphic design from the ground up, through self directed study, then this article lists some great resources that will get you started with your design education. Also, even if you do go to design school, at least three-fifths of your education will be through self directed study anyway. Let's get to it!"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Alec on a pony

Alec on a pony
Originally uploaded by kcsporttour
At the Merriam Turkey Festival

Alec in the paper

Alec in the paper
Originally uploaded by kcsporttour
Alec made the front page of the Community section of the Liberty Tribune. (he's in grey leaned over) fron the April Science Club at HMS Beagle in Parkville, MO

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Un der Chickie en der yard, um, good!

Overland Park Code, 18.370.020 para. L says I have to have a special use permit to keep chickens. Shazbot. But fortunately, there's a Chicken Movment taking place:

And it's spreading to OP:

Bork Bork Bork!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Excess Death: Risk Threats

Just poking around some numbers.

Coal fired power plants cause upwards of 24,000 excess deaths from pollution, radiation, etc. each year. Assuming we've had 70 years of serious coal fired power plants, thats 280,000 excess deaths.

Nuclear power plants caused between 0 and 19 excess deaths in that same time frame in the US; up to 4,000 worldwide including the Chernobyl foulup.

(The 19 comes from a vociferous anti-nuclear group. (or another, quoting 'just borderline statisticaly significant [deaths]') - the 4,000 is from Greenpeace, who'd be happiest if we weren't here.) The zero comes from everywhere else. Further reading:

What's that Opt Out clause in my kids school packet?

Ever wonder what that Opt Out clause was in your kids school packet when you enrolled them? Or did you even read it? "Percent of schools receiving No Child Left Behind Act funding that must give personal student information to the military unless student opts out: 100%" . . . (from arse poetica)

Magic and the Brain: Teller Reveals the Neuroscience of Illusion

Magic and the Brain: Teller Reveals the Neuroscience of Illusion: "'Reality seems so simple. We just open our eyes and there it is. But that doesn't mean it is simple.'"