Archive for March, 2008

The Illusion of Television

Posted in Books / Movies / TV, Meanderings on March 24, 2008 by weirleader

I just got through reading a gushing ‘heads up’ to Lost fans about the upcoming continuation to the season (post Writer’s-strike) and I guess it just really rubbed me the wrong way. I know I shouldn’t really take personally what ultimately are the tastes and/or opinions of others, but I suppose as a reformed ‘Lost’-oholic I just feel like it’s a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes and I don’t like seeing perfectly respectable and intelligent people duped.

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Baby Names

Posted in Meanderings with tags , on March 18, 2008 by weirleader

Very cool app!  Check it out!

(yeah, yeah, Freakonomics again…  they’re too cool for words!)

To Lead A Gang

Posted in current events, Humor with tags , , , on March 18, 2008 by weirleader

I so should have blogged about this sooner, but I just hadn’t had time to watch the video.  This is very interesting and very funny.  (would post it here, but WordPress won’t allow it for this type of video)

I should also point out that I first found the video on the Freakonomics blog and that I first became acquainted with Sudhir Venkatesh due to his pieces on What Do Real Thugs Think of The Wire?

Funny Farm

Posted in Deep And Profound Brain Things, Gaming, Toys & Games with tags , , on March 18, 2008 by weirleader

Came across this puzzle via the Freakonomics blog (as usual), and it’s really quite interesting. It’s basically a word-association puzzle, but it’s designed to use cookies so it will automatically save your game. AND there’s a feature that let’s people share their solutions to collaborate.

Try it out!

If you want to collaborate, let me show you how: click on the ‘save game’ button and it will provide you with a link to your saved content. Paste that content into a comment here for us to share our results.

My progress so far (only use it if you want to – you can start on your own by using the link above). My recommendation is to begin it on your own and only use my progress if you’re getting stuck. To add my progress to yours, again click the ‘save game’ button and there’s a field where you can paste in somebody else’s progress (just paste in the above link).

Gender and Education

Posted in Education, Mathematics on March 14, 2008 by weirleader

This interesting article brought to light some interesting statistics that I wouldn’t have guessed on my own.  I’m not really sure what to make of it just yet, but I’m hoping that I might at least use the information to encourage my students, especially girls that might not see themselves as capable of going into an engineering-related filed.

Part of the program I work with encourages students to choose a path as they enter their junior year: the Biomed path, or the Engineering path.  Overwhelmingly, the girls tend to prefer Biomed.  That’s not necessarily a problem (before I get flamed for insinuating otherwise) – I just want to make sure all students feel they are capable of either choice.  Last year, for instance, out of about twenty students, only two were girls.

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Posted in Books / Movies / TV on March 14, 2008 by weirleader

We finally got around to watching Rabbit-Proof Fence last night – it’s been sitting by the TV for over a week (thankfully, Dais has Netflix so we weren’t in any rush). Though it didn’t strike me as great, I enjoyed it; the actors, for the most part, were little-known (which is refreshing) and did a very good job. The story, based on a true story, is quite fascinating – though I mostly was irritated by the condescension and closed-mindedness of Mr. Neville (played by Kenneth Branagh)… but I suppose that’s the point.

To summarize, over 75 years ago Australia adopted a policy of “caring” for the half-caste (read half-white) children being born to the aborigines. This policy effectively gave the aforementioned Mr. Neville the legal power to remove them from their families and “civilize” them. They were placed in an internment camp with other young half-caste children and it was run quite strictly (in the movie, at least, by nuns). The heart of the movie revolves around a girl’s attempt to return to her home – over 1500 miles away – on foot, with her sister and cousin (the eldest was 14). The rabbit-proof fence of the title is what makes this possible, as it stretches nearly the entire length of the land in an effort to separate the ballooning rabbit population from Australian farmland.

Thinking about my reaction to this movie has reminded me of something M-mv blogged about recently. She said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” Now, in all fairness, she clarified that what she really hates is having to write, but my point is this: I sometimes don’t feel in the mood to watch some movies, but I love having seen them. I guess I’m sort of a cataloger – I want to know it all and see it all, even though perhaps it’s not the most interesting or exciting thing out there.

…and STILL so little time!

Posted in Books / Movies / TV, Education with tags , , , , on March 12, 2008 by weirleader

Way back at the beginning, I confessed that I do the procrastination thing and, as you can probably tell from my three blog entries today, I’m very, very busy!  😉

One of the ways I cope with stress is to clean my In-Box.  Before I began this cleaning session, I had accrued 30 “New” messages (mostly these are old ones that I leave new so I remember to do something with them) as well as other, less-important “keepers” that I leave in the In-Box, yet labeled “Read”.  Am I confusing you, yet?  It works well, yet gets unwieldy once I reach a critical mass of about 60 messages lounging around.

Anyhow, in the process of cleaning I come across this list pointed out to me by my brother that I would absolutely LOVE to read, yet have practically no time for at the moment…  and I think to myself “Self, what are you going to do here?  Are you going to archive this message and never again peruse this list (unthinkable!)?  Are you going to leave it cluttering your life (and, consequently, providing fuel for more episodes of distractability)?  A-ha!  You’re going to blog it, so that it’s preserved for posterity’s sake!” And here we are, folks…

okay – I’d really better get back to writing my Geometry test.