Friday, July 27, 2012

The problem with education


This definitely resonates with me... however, while defining the problem is good, what is the wide-scale solution to this? De-templatizing education creates a lot of potential for inequality (which, granted, is already a problem, and the struggle for equality has been a big factor leading to the current situation) and makes governance difficult. It would take a lot of work and the transition could be a very unstable period. Would it mean breaking apart the current public education system and re-wiring it to at the least cover a few of the major types of learners, potentially leaving the edge cases left behind on the side of the road? Or should charter schools be given more incentive and creative freedom?

It's an obvious problem, but I would like to hear the obvious solution(s), and see how feasible they are. Public schooling has a hard time making this shift due to its scale, and private schooling has issues due to the radical nature and risk involved, and needing to have a way to find acceptance and ultimately show comparison results.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Our day at the zoo

We went to the San Diego Zoo for the Bridgepoint Education Family Picnic. We all went around 9:30 (Sophia, Lara, me, Karen, Leonilda), but Lara got tired early and left around noon. Sophia and I stayed until about 5pm, then took Karen to the airport for her trip to Texas for 5 days. She completely crashed in the car on the way home, while simultaneously telling me she wasn't sleepy. Sophia LOVED her pink cat face painting, and was sad when we washed it off at bath time. She told EVERYONE about it at dinner in Daphne's, Subway, Jamba Juice, and Starbucks, and got a lot of attention.

Overall a good day, and a great reward for her filling up her Heart Board! (probably more on that later). Anyway, typing this on my phone, so forgive terseness and any oddly autocorrected words!

"I'm ready to go to the zoo!"
"But first, let me show you my zoo dance!"
Sophia plots our course
The first major hit, the duck pond!
We realized there was a direct relationship with how much they liked certain animals to how close they could get to them.  The ducklings and goats won first billing as Sophia's favorites, followed closely by the snakes, turtles, and the polar bear that could have eaten from my hand.
"Can I ride the peacock?"
Mammoths are much bigger up close... but this one hiding here was Sophie-sized
Riding a saber-tooth cat - I'm not sure it likes it, but she sure did
The extinct American Lion.  HUGE!  I wouldn't have wanted to run into one of those around here a few hundred thousand years ago!
This is my friend Frank the polar bear.  We really bonded while he chewed the meat from his bone.  He could have bear hugged me if not for the foot+ thick glass.  Probably a good thing.
Lunch with a few thousand of my closest friends from Bridgepoint
Sophia saw the face painting booth, and suddenly wanted nothing else.  I didn't think she could hold still, but she did an amazing job hopping right up on the chair, tilting her head back and closing her eyes and just waiting, before the woman even told her to!  She sat more still for a longer time than I can remember ever having seen her do, ever!  
The end result... Note:  this is NOT a pink tiger!  And she wasn't a real cat... she just has a pink cat face, she was still a person-girl.  She wanted to make that very clear.
Self-pictures are a LITTLE easier with a mirror... she spent a while staring into this mirror, and we came back to it several times
We petted goats, lambs, and a little horse.  The Wild Animal park (er, I guess now it is the Zoo Safari) is a bit more interesting, letting you pet gazelles, but she still had fun petting these.
She was very interested in the giant snapping turtle.  And I do mean giant, it was as big as her!  Me: "Sophia, smile!" Sophia: "Ok daddy... turtle, SMILE!!!  SMILE turtle!  Daddy, is he smiling?!"
A nearby group pitied my outstretched-arm self portrait attempts, and took this.. glare, sadly, keeps you from seeing the TURTLE (who I'm sure was smiling), but it at least got us
Me: "It was a long day, and you didn't have a nap.  Are you sleepy or tired?"  Sophia: "No, Daddy, I'm not tired at all!  I still want to see more animals!"
About 10 seconds after the above picture, mid sentence claiming she wasn't tired, she trailed off.  I talked a bit, no response, so looked back and saw this.  She didn't wake up with a little voice prompting, was totally out.  Clearly "not tired"!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reincarnation

It has only been three years.  I know that sometime in that time period, I had made posts saying I was hoping to try to get in the habit of posting something more often, which I actually never did.  What I don't know is where those posts actually went, because they are no longer here.

I have done a bit of cleanup, and while the layout isn't the most spectacular website you will ever see, it is now easy for me to post to via phone or web site, and it includes my twitter feed directly... not that I use THAT all that often either.

There are easy ways to get to most of my profiles, as well as the ability to subscribe via RSS or email, for the two or three people who care about what I put here.  I could potentially even open posting up to my wife and/or kids (who at the moment can't quite spell, but eventually... they will probably laugh at my outdated idea of a 'blog' by the time they are proficient enough to communicate digitally, though).

So much has changed since last posts... our youngest is now our oldest, and is clearly a real person now.  Our new youngest is getting there, getting around very well and beginning to communicate.

Kung fu has slowed down but not stopped, and I'm hoping that I can get back into it soon, with kids old enough to share in the pain.

My wife and I are both pursuing new degrees in our vast free time.

Overall, things are good.  I'm curious to see if anything gets posted here in the next 5 years, but if not... Hi me from the future!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wired puzzle solved - apparently I was fifth...

Well, figured out what I needed to do at about 1pm yesterday, but wasn't able to actually DO it until 10:30pm. Once I finished, I did find out I was the 5th person to complete it... but now I have to figure out what to do with my spare time. :p

I would have gotten it much faster, I guess, but not knowing HOW well hidden everything was, I spent a lot of time on super-deeply layered clues that I guess weren't actually clues at all... ah, well.

However, I'm still not sure this was really the final end... I got the solution for the issues meta-puzzle, but there was more than one allusion to the fact that there might be 3 meta-puzzles in the issue, with a meta-meta puzzle on top of those... and I found a number of unsolved hints in the issue (or they SEEM to be.. maybe they are just me seeing things that aren't there)... but I'm still curious if there is more, and still looking. :)

I guess the guy who got first beat me (Steve Bavacqua) by days, though.. of course, I didn't really even get the mag until Apr 18th, and didn't look at it until the 19th, but still...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/arts/television/21wire.html?_r=1

http://stevebev.tumblr.com/

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wired puzzle

After hours of thought and examination, I finally got to the 'apparent' end of the Wired meta-puzzle... was an interesting puzzle, I enjoyed it... I still wonder if it really IS the end, as there are still a couple things that seem kind of hanging from my search, and I'm still thinking the solution to this meta-puzzle is only part of the solution to a greater meta-meta puzzle (which was even vaguely mentioned in the issue itself, though whether it was just defining or hinting at its actual existence, I can't really be sure)...

The final result was pretty cleverly hidden, completely in plain site... it actually felt very similiar to the color-coded puzzle near the end (p126), but on a much larger scale...

Now I'm sad it's over and I have to find new mysteries to puzzle out... unless... it's NOT over... *sigh* I wish I knew for sure before I invest billions of neuron-firings into the discovery. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wired magazine - the Mystery issue

The latest issue of Wired is a Mysteries and Puzzles issue, with guest editor J.J. Abrams. It is filled with a number of obvious puzzles, and articles about various mysteries, puzzles, and other related topics. It was a good read overall, but I'm obsessed with one particular aspect of it.

They stated quite a few times throughout that there were various clues hidden throughout the issue (one time saying there were 15), and that the issue itself was a meta puzzle of some sort. I've found a number of things that I think relate to that, and NOTHING about it on the 'net as a whole yet, and am wondering if I'm scanning WAY too deeply or not.

First and most obvious, there is a Lost-related page in the middle that looks like an ad at first glance, and doesn't SAY it's a puzzle... simply a page with some numbers on it, but a quick glance around shows the upper right corner has an image of a lottery ticket with the 4 8 15 16 23 42 numbers on it. The rest of the page has a series of numbers which might relate to any number of things, on which I have a ton of theories...

Numerous other things I've noticed might be clues, or might be me seeing patterns where there are none...

Also, quite a few odd things as well... for instance, at the bottom of the rants page, it says 'we no longer acccept rants at the phone number (67)24-552-8464, so don't call it."

Um, really? ok, that is an odd thing to say, and I'm almost sure it is some type of clue, or was just a tongue in cheek comment that has become a major red herring for me... :) But I DID call, not being able to resist, and of course, it's left to right not a valid number... 672 doesn't seem to be an area code in the US, it could be a country code and a valid number, but doesn't match any of the other non-us numbers at the front of the magazine, and it's inclusion as a number specifically not to call almost BEGS you to either call it, or otherwise make use of it....

Then there are the bright orange "START" blocks, of which there seem to be 10, with a black bar and an odd orange bit that starts at distance from the start that the last orange part ended, if it's size and/or position are at all relevant, I've not been able to grasp the meaning... and if they aren't, they've consumed a lot of brain power I could have spent elsewhere. :)

The obvious puzzles throughout are relatively easy to figure out, with a bit of thought, but think, if there is a meta-puzzle, or a meta-meta puzzle (which, btw, is listed as jargon in a Jargon sidebar, with a comment about Microsoft and MIT organizing meta-meta puzzle hunts.

The Test boxes with the 6 black boxes that are orange 1 at a time, except in the 2nd case, where 2&3 are both orange... this is the "how we rate" section, and you'll notice that some of the letters are ever so slightly emphasized... These letters, in order, are: "tvBranDshiftspaytwosteps" ... TV Brand shifts pay two steps? Does that make sense on its own, or possibly an anagram of something? OBVIOUSLY, though ,that is relevant in some way...

And the scattered appearance of the JJA puzzle logo, trying to find a pattern in that, too, but so far that is eluding me.... I really wish I knew if any of it was really this deep, or if I'm making it far more complex than intended... somehow, though, I don't think I am.