Sunday, October 15, 2006

Post delay

I probably won't be posting for a while because I totally ruined my Ubuntu OS, and it'll probably take me a couple of days to finally be able to fix it. Hope you can understand the delay. All right, see you when I finally fix it. Boy will there be a long post on that.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Centaurs and Chickens

There have been two VERY interesting articles absolutely PACKED with information in the prestigious Annals of Improbable Research. The first is the Anatomy of the Centaur, and the second is called Chicken Chicken Chicken. I must admit, being a fan of Ed, Edd n Eddy, I like the second one. For those of you who like what you see, you can subscribe to the magazine, or have the monthly mini-AIR delivered to your inbox.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Pill Universe

Oh wow, apparently, there's the possiblity that the universe might be a slight ellipsoid. Now, it's not certain, and there's still a lot more evidence that could come in, but the thought of it is still pretty cool. Though, I must say, a universe like a Rubix cube would be MUCH more interesting. And if we were to control this Rubix cube, that would make interstellar travel MUCH easier. Although we might kill off an unknown source of life by rotating their Sun away from them, it'll still be cool.

Sick days

Ugghhh, I absolutely despise sick days. They're days of confusion and horror. If it were up to me, I would NEVER be sick. But unfortunately, I can't make that decision. Sick days bring an emptiness of knowledge and a hole of homework. It sucks to catch up. Every time I get sick, I always say to myself, "I NEED to get the phone number of a friend", but for some reason, I fall back on that advice. Well, now that I wrote it down, hopefully, I'll remember it. If you haven't guessed it now, I'm sick. But luckily, it's not that serious, and I'll probably be better tomorrow. I think oatmeal really helped. And why am I on the computer anyhow? Oh well.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Substitute Teachers

Subs, a blessing for some, a curse for others. Well, not really. At my school, substitues are synonymous with socialize. But unfortunately, they are the bringers of busywork. Where assignments from teachers are designed to keep you quiet. But I can't blame 'em, a room full of kids with nothing to do, won't be a pretty sight. Luckily, only a handful of kids disregard the assignment and socialize. But another common thing is working together, this I find good. Unfortunately, I typically the one who works by himself, but I finish early. Sometime, I pull out a book, other times, I join the socializing kids, depending on the class and substitue. I really can't imagine a situation where a substitute is bad news, unless you're really sensitive to noise. In that case, it'll be the worst-case scenario.

Now, to actually go somewhere with this post. I find that some of the most effective substitutes were those who took charge but were friendly. Those were the ones that people would wave hi to during lunch. One substitute I know always related to the kids. He said how when he wasn't at work, he swore like a sailor, but when he was teaching, he had to watch his mouth, and that the students should do the same. Another effective substitue was the one that had indoor activities, not like heads-up 7-up, but other games, especially those that are original. These games usually involve moving desks, and creating a rule that everybody has to be quiet is always a plus. These games are usually played when everybody finishes their work, or during the last 15 minutes of class.

I personally think these substitutes are the most effective. The first more with high school, and the second with middle/elementary school. I find that the more the substitute practices these, the more popular he/she gets, and the more he/she is requested by teachers. I recall some substitutes that I saw nearly every day on school campus. And when they were subbing, just about everybody had a good time, even the sub.

It's the weekend once again

Another week has gone by. Ever since last year, I've though how fast school has come and gone, one weekend at a time. Well, just 36 more of these and it'll be summer once more. Well, unfortunately, I'm not doing much this weekend, so if I find something to blog about I probably will. I might do a segment on substitute teachers.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Timeline 2.0

Hey everybody, I finally released my Virtual Timeline 2.0. It's available on Larry's blog, which was where I originally hosted it before I got my own blog. I decided to just keep it there. And leave comments on there if you have any, thank you, and hope you enjoy my timeline. This one took a FREAKIN' long time to debug.

The War on Evolution

So, there has been commentary on this editorial by Paul Hanle from a college professor, PZ Meyers, and a scientist, John Wilkins, so, I decided to add commentary from a student's perspective.
Proponents of "intelligent design" in the United States are waging a war against teaching science as scientists understand it. Over the past year alone, efforts to incorporate creationist language or undermine evolution in science classrooms at public schools have emerged in at least 15 states, according to the National Center for Science Education. And an independent education foundation has concluded that science-teaching standards in 10 states fail to address evolution in a scientifically sound way. Through changes in standards and curriculum, these efforts urge students to doubt evolution -- the cornerstone principle of biology, one on which there is no serious scientific debate.
First I must say, I am thankful that I never grew up in one of those states. Except for the Association of Christian Schools suing the UC university system there hasn't been much antievolution activity on the high school level that I know of. But for those who have grown up like, in Kansas or Georgia, I like to wonder. If I was one of those people, what would I be like?

These trends can only worsen if students come to regard evolution as questionable or controversial. Thirty-seven percent of the high school Advanced Placement biology examination tests knowledge of evolution, evolutionary biology and heredity, according to the College Board. Students who do not thoroughly understand evolution cannot hope to succeed on this exam; they will be handicapped in competitive science courses in college and the careers that may follow.

OOohhhhh, the AP Bio test. I can certainly aTEST (pardon the pun) to the role of evolution in it. There was even an essay question that required a pretty thorough knowledge of evolution ( I think I can disclose knowledge on the essay questions). But even in regular biology courses, there was ample time for stuff like natural selection and evolutionary relationships. But anyways, there aren't too many creationists at my school. Those that were, were usually not very old, and used the old straw-man arguments. But at other schools, I could probably understand a fairly large number of creationists. I think about the teachers in those schools, how they're able to cope with them (especially the verbal ones). My hats go off to them.

Last year, a report from the National Academies' Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century showed us a glimpse of the future. Of all the patent applications reaching the U.S. Patent Office, the report noted, the most by far still come from the United States. However, from 1989 to 2001, the rate of increase of patent applications from the world's fastest-growing economies, such as China and India, was nearly three times that of the United States. By that measure, innovation in those economies will blow past ours in little more than a decade -- just about the time the current classes of high school biology students will be starting their research careers.

Oh great, the responsibility lies on us now. I swear, there better be a good turnout of scientists because of all the things we'll have to deal with. Oh wait, according to the article, there won't be. Aw great. I really really hope things change.