Monthly Archives: February 2006

Montessori

We went to the Montessori school in Hartford today.  If you don’t know what a Montessori school is, go to the AMI website and read a few things. 
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised. I observed two different classrooms, one primary (ages 3–5) and one, I’ll call it secondary (ages 6–9), but that’s not the right name for it.  Before I go into specifics, here are a few general observations that I made.  The first thing I noticed was that the teachers or assistants never raised their voices.  I was really impressed by this, especially with the teacher in the primary class.  There were a few things that I definitely would have seen a teacher in a traditional classroom raise their voice at.  I’m not sure if the teachers did this on their own, or if it’s one of the things all Montessori teachers do.
I’m not going to go in order of observation, but rather order of student age. So I’ll start in the primary class. The students in there had a broad range of abilities.  There were also a few students who didn’t speak much English, only Spanish.  The teacher defiantly had her hands full in this room.  There were some students who didn’t seem to be doing much of anything.  On the other hand, there were kids learning multiplication.  The teacher in this classroom also made quick comments to me as she was working with the kids.  She just said a sentence or two about why they were doing whatever they were doing.  Once or twice, her quick comment really explained a lot to me.  It was good to make the connection.  For instance, she had the students start walking around a circle on the floor.  Then, she had them take off their shoes and do it, so that the students could feel the line with their feet.  I was sitting near the circle, so as she passed by she told me that this was a meditation technique.
When she told me that I realized why she was doing it.  She used it to calm down a few of the students so that they could then focus on doing something.  After they walked the line, they all sat down and read a book that used a lot of rhyming words.  While I was in the classroom, the teacher was primarily helping those students.  Over on the carpet though, there was one girl who was working quietly and diligently on either addition or something with numbers.  It was little hard to tell because I wasn’t near enough to her to see everything she was doing.  There were also a few students doing a geography activity.  They were working together on it.  They weren’t arguing or getting loud or anything.  Of course they are kids, so they didn’t work together perfectly, but they were very controlled and focused on what they were doing.
The secondary classroom was much different.  The students were all calm and working.  They helped each other out much more.  They listened to the teacher while she was teaching.  They didn’t yell or get loud at all.  I was very impressed with the classroom and the students.

I realize that this entry is pretty long.  I’ll probably write more tomorrow after we have a class discussion about everything.

Now playing: DiggnationDiggnation 035

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Grab, staple, toss, repeat

Today I tripled the total number of things I’ve stapled in my life.  Think about everything you’ve stapled in your life, everything, and try to put a number on it. One hundred, maybe two?  That’s a lot of stapling.  Today I stapled around 1000 papers.  That’s just the stuff I stapled, not the stuff I folded.
I handled probably around 5000 sheets of paper today, and I didn’t get a single papercut. It’s actually beneficial to chew on your fingers. It builds up calluses that paper can’t cut through easily.

After all that stapling was done, I switched to the other mundane task of boxing ink.  When you buy ink at a store, it usually comes in that plastic box that the cashier unlocks.  Well, it doesn’t get shipped to the store in those boxes.  Asses like me have to put it in there.  Grab, open, put in, close, lock, repeat.
So that’s how I spent the better part of 8 hours today. Jealous? I thought not.

And the Gmail Gtalk interface is rather annoying.

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Olympics Figure Skating

Does anyone care about figure skating anymore?  They’re been showing it all week in primetime.  Now they’re even showing the exhibition stuff.  It’s not even the competition.  That’s over with, it’s air time should be too.  Show bobsled.  Show skiing.  Show hockey.  Show curling. 
Show something else.  Show something that takes strategy.  Show something will a concrete score, not a subjective mark.

I don’t tune into the Olympics to watch people dance.  I tune in to watch sports.  I tune in to watch athletes compete against each other.  I tune in to watch countries compete. 

Since figure skating is on, I might as well bitch about it.  Before last night, no one cared about Suzka Arakowa.  Now, since she won the gold metal she’s “an extraordinary talent”, “the pride and joy of Japan”, and “so graceful and beautiful”.  I just quoted the announcers.  I didn’t make those up.  What a freakin’ joke.

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Tucker Carlson, HA!

How big of a douche bag is this guy?  I’ve never heard someone ask such agitating questions.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt before, when he hosted Crossfire, but now he has his own show on CNBC.  It sucks even more than Crossfire.  It was bad enough when he was half of the show, now he’s the whole show.  Not to mention his stupid bow-tie.
He even interviews ridiculous people.  I think the guy he had on today was drunk.  Here’s a picture:
Drunk GuyFirst, look at the guy’s complexion.  Yeah.  Also, his tie is tucked into his shirt!  Have you ever seen a person who wasn’t drunk or crazy that tucked in their tie like that?
His eyes also give it away. They stayed like that the whole interview.

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Group Blogging

Here’s what I want to do.  Have a blog, that multiple people can post to, but only one person is the administrator.  Does anyone know of free service that I can do that with?  It also needs to be easy to use.
I tried some stuff with the wordpress.com blog, but I don’t get how this stuff works.  Any suggestions?

On a completely unrelated note, I cut my right pointer fingernail horribly short.  I don’t know why, but I have this sort of obsession with cutting off all the white tips of fingernails.  My pointer fingernail has gotten shorter and shorter over the last month or so.  I wonder how short it will get, or should I say, how short I’ll make it?

I bought a bluetooth v1.2 USB adapter the other day, because it was only $10.  The only problem is my phone’s bluetooth is really locked down.  I’m not nearly 1337 enough to crack it, or do anything with it for that matter.  The bluetooth software is also bugging the hell out of me.  It put an icon on my desktop, that I didn’t want.  Now it won’t let me delete the icon.  I un installed everything from the add/remover programs, device manager, and anywhere else I could find, but this crap is still here.  I don’t know how to get rid of it.

I just had an idea from a car commercial.  Dealerships should pay people to walk around their lot, looking interested like they’re shopping.  Then, have them casually talk to other real customers and talk up the cars.  Consumers are suckers for a ‘real person’s’ opinion of something, especially computers.  I imagine the same is true for most big purchases (electronics, cars, etc.). 

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FIRST

I said I’d do this last night, so here it is:

OK, here goes.
There was not a real time display of the score. I don’t know if it was because there isn’t going to be one,or FIRST was focusing on getting the field working.
I’d say that they were making sure the field was fully working, which it was. To my knowledge there was only one interruption during game play. For some reason the field didn’t choose who won autonomous mode, and it froze up. Other than that, the field seemed to do well.
We did start to rely on the HPs counting the number of balls they threw.

Autonomous.
Car Nack seemed to be right. That percentage will be even higher during elimination rounds, near 90%.

Defense.
Is very easy. Unless a robot plants itself down, which most don’t, they will be defendable. You thought 2002 was a game for strong drive trains? You haven’t seen nothin’.
Most teams mounted their shooters fairly low, which makes it easy to block shots.

Center goal.
If a robot can score 4 or 5 balls in the center goal while some one is playing defense on them, pick them. If that same team can score in either the center goal, or the corner goals with their load of balls, pick them.

Ramp.
While most teams have the ability to climb the ramp, if you play any sort of defense on them, they’ll either tip over or not get on the ramp at all. And I don’t mean tip over in a bad way, just that robots tip over easily when on the incline. Most robots that I saw tip weren’t tipped on purpose. Overall the matches were played pretty clean. Rough, but clean.

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A few things

When did the first billboards come about?  A simple wikipedia search come up with this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_(advertising)#History, but when did the first one actually go up on the side of the road.  Were people annoyed by it?  How many crashes did it cause because people were looking at it instead of driving?

I’m going to make a prediction.  Shaving razors will have no more than 6 blades in a row.  Adding anymore than that and the razor becomes too big to still be practical.  The Gillette Fusion has six blades, but only five of them are together.  The other is separated from the main blades and is used for trimming small areas I guess.  Am I out of touch with the new, ‘hip’ razors?  My razor has 40% the amount of blades that the Fusion has.  I’m old school.

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