Legos and Play Young-at-Heart, Young-at-Smart

5 08 2011

If you haven’t seen this yet and don’t realize what it is, go do your homework! And let your kids both little and big, help.

And when that gets you in the mood to think more about Legos and how we love them, you can go do reading for extra credit here and here.

Oh, and here and here too, geez, JJ is long-winded on the most esoteric topic! 😀

p.s. Young Son says this will confuse alien life about our nature . . .





Symphony of Science: the Poetry of Reality

14 05 2011




Blind Pig Homeschoolers and Truffles of Ham

25 03 2011

Even academically indefensible homeschoolers sometimes wind up doing the right thing for the wrong reason or put another way, even a blind pig sniffs out a mouldering truffle now and then (this is a childish play on the man’s last name, get it, get it?)

Either way, if banning Ken Ham for life from churchy corporate-corrupted homeschool conventions is wrong, I don’t wanna be right . . .

Ken Ham, the man behind the Creation Museum and the future Ark Encounter amusement park, has been disinvited from a homeschool convention in Cincinnati next week because he made “ungodly, and mean-spirited” comments about another speaker, according to the convention’s organizers.

Ham also will be excluded from future conventions, according to a statement by Brennan Dean of Great Homeschool Conventions.

Here’s my favorite part though. Guess who Ham’s ungodly and mean-spirited comments were meant to discredit, the man who was also invited to speak and has NOT been banned?

Read the rest of this entry »





Nothing is Immutable, Including School Rules

31 01 2011

Neither the philosophical nor scientific meaning of of life itself is immutable. The magnetic core of the planet upon which humans live (so we can argue about conflicting rules and broken authority and inhuman corporations and what’s in a name) is not immutable. It’s moving all the time and sometimes even reverses polarity!

Magnetic north has of late moved right out from under our airport landing strips. It literally isn’t where we thought we left it even though we were right at the time; it’s not there anymore.

How much less immutable then, are our standardized textbooks and test scores? Seems to me the smarter and better educated we really are, the more likely we will be to admit and accommodate the reality of change as the closest we come to unchanging.

Nothing about school is immutable, none of the who, what, where, why, when or how, certainly not its administrative authority over the rights of sovereign citizens such as the legal construct of uncrossable school zones say, conceived and enforced as critical borders worth sacrificing children to, nor how to mark the race box on school registration and test forms, much less academic pronouncements even when they aren’t borne of changes in religious or political power of story — which planets aren’t planets anymore when the rules and definitions change, say, or something as seemingly cut and dried as how to spell a word correctly:





Why Educate Our Kids? Because Anti-Vax Isn’t Science

4 06 2010

And it’s not even good ethics, good politics or good parenting.

Cock of the snook to Meg for this brilliant public communication (supported by real science here) on science being more moral than stupidity and selfish isolationism much less celebrity as authority, when it comes to loving our neighbors as ourselves and the Golden Rule:

When Favorite Daughter watched this video, she grabbed my notebook and linked to a related anti-antivax post she warned me was for a crass young male demographic but I should read to the end anyway. I did. You might want to, too, but just in case you can’t stomach it, here’s the gist:

Don’t Listen to Jenny McCarthy Read the rest of this entry »





Snook Animals We’ve Known and Loved

28 05 2010

UPDATE: How could I forget Snook’s Boston Terrier for Memorial Day??

. . .If we took a close look at dominionists including the homophobic and misogynistic . . . would THEIR humanity measure up to Alex the parrot and Washoe the chimp? Maybe they’re worried it might not, and that explains why they fight so hard against any such changes or letting anyone but them and their beliefs in on the thinking and defining?

So I got to thinking about voters in chicken suits and wondered how many other animals have factored into our human thinking about ourselves here. Below is a surprisingly long and varied list of animal posts and discussion, that in connecting us to their nature may help us learn about our own:

While We’re Debating Who Deserves Humanity . . .:
How we think of and treat animals — caused by our needs and changes more than theirs — teaches us more about ourselves than them, just as robot theologian Anne Foerst teaches and preaches.

Her philosophy is that everything really is all about us. . .

Chickens

Cows

Baboon, parrot, chimp as service animals

Sheep and their herd mentality

Katherine Harris on Horses

Schrodinger’s Cat

Ceiling Cat

Stray cats and dogs, Animal Farm, pigs

Pythons and a dead grizzly bear

What’s Up at PussyCat’s? (parrot, rabbit, tiger and haddock in discussion)

Rabbits, poodles and implied death of animals as empathy test

Monkey-Man god of business

Guinea Pig Wooed for TV

Guinea Pig part one

Guinea Pig part two

Large dogs in small apartments

Sheepdogs, pigs in a blanket

Dog days for first daughters

Fly and cat-killing, animal dissection as school science

Mama and baby deer

Pups at play, kitty strollers and a spotted hound surfing

Snake!

Bonobos

Gators

Beetleness

Insect (boats)

If you can find more, post in comments!





If a Fact Falls in the Forest and No One Hears It . . .

17 05 2010

Do scientists “believe” or do they “know?”
Is evolution a “theory” or a “law?”
Should scientists take such cultural communication questions seriously?

See Training Scientists to Be Better Communicators, Chronicle of Higher Education, excerpted from a new book by Dennis Meredith, Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work (Oxford University Press, 2010):

Science suffers from its lack of a culture of explanation.

Scientists and engineers tend to communicate poorly in public controversies because—compared with, say, doctors and lawyers—their professions have not valued explanation. Their career advancement doesn’t depend on having lay-level explanatory skills. To progress professionally, scientists really need only to explain their work technically to other scientists—their colleagues, department heads, and granting agencies. But imagine what would happen to a doctor who couldn’t explain diseases to patients, or a lawyer who couldn’t explain the law to clients and juries. Their careers would be over.





Science Can Answer Moral Questions: Sam Harris at TED

12 05 2010




Time for “T-Shirt as a Second Language” Test, Ready?

7 05 2010

If you were here for this, get your serious thinking hats ready for this:

That wasn’t the only symbolic protest on Cinco de Mayo. About 20 students showed up at Pioneer High School wearing “Border Patrol” T-shirts. By the end of the day, administrators asked them to remove the shirts, which they apparently did with no problems . . .

Snook’s community of thinking parents host ad hoc honors seminars from time to time: Harry Potter and book banning, homeschool hegemony and the parents’ rights movement, Sarah Palin and fightin’ mad white women. One of the topics that just keeps on giving is the power of story in school speech and dress codes, particularly combined on t-shirts.

No “evolution” shirts in marching band, we can’t have a high school associated with gasp, science! Though it was admittedly “not directly against the school’s dress code” and not reasonably construed as anti-bible, even unintentionally, a few offended parent/teachers nevertheless successfully demanded the band’s new shirts be collected, destroyed and replaced with school budget money.

There was no issue of students (or their parents?) starting a riot at school over the marching band shirts, or none I recall. One boy sent home in another state — for wearing his heritage-proud kilt to school — was told it was for his own safety, to prevent not a riot but just stereotypical school bullying (for wearing girly clothes, as the principal saw it.) Another boy was sent home for “being disruptive”, supposedly, when he wore Pastafarian pirate regalia to school. Were all the anti-pirate toughs about to beat him up too?

Confederate battle flags and t-shirts in the South do start school riots, disrupt “the learning environment” and get kids hurt for real, never mind the slogans and songs — been there, done that, let’s don’t play it again:

With the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear the case, this leaves in place the lower court’s August 2008 ruling that upholds the school’s policy. The appeals court states that Read the rest of this entry »





What We Did for MLK Day: Musical Theatre of Course!

18 01 2010

You know the kids and I watch “1776” for the Fourth of July.

So this year in honor of Martin Luther King Jr, we decided to watch this. It was Google’s graphic today that inspired it, because there’s a scene in the movie that looks just like this:





Sunday School Science Teacher Costing Schools Credibility and Cool Half-Million

31 12 2009

Remember this guy?

Creationist John Freshwater, branding kids for Christ while on the public payroll as mild-mannered public school science teacher. . .

(Evidence of the monstrous harm done when kids are taught alchemy, that leaden lies can be transformed into golden truth, if only you believe hard enough and get a bunch of other people to believe it too?)

But wait, there’s more! This true story keeps getting less believable and more costly as the hearings drag on and his attorney plays games.

Freshwater is expected to be the last direct witness in the hearing that has been held, on and off, over about 14 months and has cost the school district more than $500,000 in legal fees. Rebuttal witnesses might be called in coming weeks.

The latest plot twist being reported this festive Christmas week is that Freshwater taught his creationist ideology as science not just with cool magnetic lab equipment, but by rigging “experiments” to exploit the awesome intelligence built into playful, wholesome, trustworthy kid-magnet Legos — sacrilege!

Freshwater described using Lego blocks to show that cars, buildings and other structures cannot build themselves.

I beg to differ.

Did you know the word “lego” is a creative fusion of the Danish words leg and godt, which my playful mind notes with glee, literally means “play well” and not the seemingly obvious “shin and calf of deity” that an illiterate literalist might insist on imagining is factual?

. . .[Celebrating Legos] gave me a gift too, a story with power to play with in the real world, imagining how all the elements of man’s myth and reality can connect to build the most wondrous cities . . .Legos are limitless fishes and loaves in every room of OUR house, how about yours?

lego evolutionm t-shirt from thinkgeek dot com

Freshwater’s religion belongs in his church and if he wants to get paid for teaching holy truth to kids who want to learn it, that’s fine too. Let his church put him on the payroll, not the school district. As for what my own children are learning, the true meaning of intelligent design taught through Lego power of story was found under our secular Christmas tree by unschooled and unchurched Young Son.
On a t-shirt of course. 😀

Please know the message war is not just about “science” class any more (never really was, you knew that, right?)

So forget curriculum; today’s lesson is education by t-shirt. And if you and yours are on holiday from dogma and curriculum, at least this week if not permanently, then please enjoy this intelligently designed gift together free from church or state politics, the gift that truly keeps on giving:

Cobbling Together the Best Real Learning We Can





Maine Repeals Gays as Human; Public School Parent Protests Gays as Animals

4 11 2009

Dan Delong of Carlinville, Ill., at teacher at Southwestern High School in the nearby town of Piasa, will face a school board hearing November 2, after being suspended from teaching. A parent of one unidentified student thought the optional reading assignment was inappropriate for her child . . .

When this and this coincide in the same week, what are kids actually learning do you think, about the values woven into America’s power of story?

The teacher’s disciplinary hearing was Monday night, and perhaps there’s a better lesson in how it ended than in how it started, a fitting lesson of today’s American president as true to yesterday’s American precedent: Read the rest of this entry »