sobota, 29. junij 2013

Different kinds of smart in Scottish School

“Some people believe that increasing assessment increases standards, but we’ve moved away from that,” said Barry Smedley, the school’s deputy head. “It used to be that only students who did well on exams were thought of as the smart ones. But we’ve learned that there are different kinds of smart, different kinds of intelligence.”

"/.../ we decided it would be better to spend less time jumping through hoops, making the syllabus more flexible and more interdisciplinary.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/world/europe/scottish-schools-focus-on-more-than-just-tests.html?pagewanted=all

The changes mean a slightly longer school week, and more time for music, drama, sports and community service: precisely the areas that have been squeezed in England by the need to prepare students for so many exams.

Using the Scottish expression for “outside,” Mr. Moulsdale said, “A lot of the learning here happens outwith the classroom.” Students are encouraged to write, but also to make things, give oral presentations and staging performances. “We’re trying to develop higher-order thinking skills, not just to regurgitate facts,” Mr. Moulsdale said.

With her students “constantly actively thinking,” Ms. Macleod said she found teaching the curriculum “more enjoyable.”

Take that, people who constantly compare our own country with that of the "Western" world.

PS - Have you read Carl Honore's In Praise of Slow? It's nice.

petek, 28. junij 2013

IMF riot and fascism in USA

Nothing really new, really. For those who seek such 'news' out. (I say news, because a large portion of it seems to be carefully constructed propaganda of the either side.)
Still, worth reading and considering, sharing. Why? Well, I keep pointing out the Niemoller's poem, since I believe at some point it might be too late to react.

Aaand, as always, cum granum salis. Not everything is as bad as it may seem at first glance. Some of it is probably exaggerated. Some of it, probably not. Lots of link from the mentioned newsitem are from PrisonPlanet or InfoWars, sites associated and (partially) run by Alex Jones. If you know him, you know he uses scare-the-people-into-action rhetoric and is a huge conspiracy theorist. [But if he's right on 10% of what he says, golly-gee, 'we' are in trouble.]

Curious. Very curious. The "IMF riot"? Does seem logical in a way to me. Perverse, immoral, unethical, ..., but logical. [link also below]
HOWEVER, potatoes, prunes and apples, as well as cabbage are being tossed in the same pot here. For the in-expert reader, the ideas of the article might sparkle one-line of thought, though I would say several lines coincide here. For example, banishing the coal factories and so-called "war on coal" goes anti-big capital of the oil and gas (and coal) companies, which are sometimes referred to as the same line of people and money as the bankers. At the same time, it might be more environmentally prudent, i.e., more visionary to ban big emitters and polluters.
 
However, having said that, I believe lots of laws and passages in legislation serve to create police super state, with nobody left to opose it. Obama, O, bummer. I mean, not all is good and happy in the land of the plenty.

Compare with the passage below and the "war on whistleblowers" like Asange, Snowden, the other guy, ... And the internet rights, which have come to symbolise (not yet fully and not yet acknowledged by far) the right to speech.
"The Obama administration's passage of NDAA legislation that authorizes kidnapping and indefinite detention without trial of American citizens on U.S. soil serves to create the framework for mass arrests of protesters and journalists in a time of declared national emergency."
 
"The Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies are actively engaged in spying on social media as well as news websites to look for reports or comments that "reflect adversely on the U.S. government and the DHS." "
 
 
PS - Ever heard of drones? Well, their unmanned aerial vehicles, right? What harm can they .. doooeeeaaah. You arm them, then legitimize their use (they're already being used outside US soil) in homeland.
"Under the NDAA, the whole of the United States has been declared a "battlefield," meaning that drones may soon be used to execute American citizens on U.S. soil."
 
 
Additionally, headlines and themes like this are being juxtaposed:
California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk [link]
  
40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial.

torek, 25. junij 2013

We're all here to play. Even the girls.

From a nice article, titled Pass the disc, hold the sexism:

Over the years I’ve noticed a trend: when I join a new group of primarily male players, I will be largely excluded from the game until I make no fewer than three spectacular plays. After that happens, everyone gets all impressed and people begin passing to me. But I have to prove myself first. /.../

After each game, think about how many women there are on the team and how often you passed to them versus the other players. If you didn’t pass to a woman at all, then why? Were they open? Were they doing a good job of clearing out of the cutting lane? Could they break their defender? If the answer yes to these questions then consider adjusting your behavior. If the answer is no to some of these questions, offer them some constructive feedback, and pass to them anyway. After all, we’re all here to play. Even the girls.

Link: https://disruptingdinnerparties.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/pass-the-disc-hold-the-sexism/

sreda, 05. junij 2013

O koristnosti in Zakaj zbirati podatke o hroščih?

Vsake toliko me kdo vprasa: "Zakaj je ta vrsta koristna?"

In to je za biologa najbolj tecno vprasanje. (In mislim, da bi moralo biti 'tecno' za vsakega razumnega cloveka.)
Zakaj?
Kako pa lahko odgovorim na vprasanje, ki bi mi ga zastavil Nezemljan: "Zakaj pa potrebujemo Cloveka? Zakaj je ta vrsta koristna?"

Douglas Adams je pred leti pisal o ogorcenju, ki so ga prebivalci Zemlje izrazili nad rumeno vogonsko floto in njenim komandantom. In logiko, ki jo je Adams briljantno vzporedil z rumenimi bagerji in hiso Arturja Denta. Nekaj takega kot 'Saj so bili plani za hiperprostorsko obvoznico na ogled v vasi lokalni pisarni oddelka za planiranje na Alpha Centauri ze zadnjih 50 vasih Zemeljskih let. /.../ Kako to mislite, se niste bili na Alpha Centauri? O, moj bog, clovestvo, saj je vendar samo stiri svetlobna leta stran! Mislim, res mi je zal, ampak ce se ne morete zmigat tolko, da bi se pozanimali o vasih lokalnih zadevah, je to vas problem. /.../"
 

Spodaj, kot pove ze naslov nekaj izvleckov iz sestavka, Zakaj zbirati podatke o hroščih?, clanek Dragice Jaksetic (Delo.si, 22.5.2013).

"V neki vasi so nam s ponosom pokazali svoj pravi pravcati travnik. Nepokošenega, takega z marjeticami, zlaticami, grabljiščem, nokotami, solzicami, maki.. za naše oko nekoliko preveč živopisnega."

"Poslušali smo tudi, kako Škoti iščejo in tekmujejo za najvišje drevo, najdebelejše, najstarejše. Ker so divje rastoča drevesa tako redka. Kako v parku simbolično »zakupijo« drevo in za njegovo nego prispevajo denar."

"Kozlički, bukovi ali hrastovi, ali pa katerakoli druga vrsta drobnega, nepomembnega, nekoristnega mrčesa, ki jim je preprečeval Razvoj, so bili praviloma glavni razlog za smeh in posmeh nekaterih izmed tistih, ki so v pomembnih vlogah rešiteljev kake nerazvite občine poudarjali, da se naravovarstveniki lahko zgolj nerazvoju teh občin zahvalijo, da po njihovih gozdovih še vedno nekoristno tavajo živali, ki jim človek še komajda reče žival."

ponedeljek, 03. junij 2013

Always cheers me up - a Chromodoris nudibranch

When I find the link to the pic, I will post it here, until now:
it's a sea creature. Probably toxic. (See below.)

But it's got a BIIIIG SMILE (they way I see it:)

 
Aand indeed, it is toxic. :) What else could it be, with such bright colours and big "smile"? (It's probably softly humming to itself: "Can't touch this, naaa-na-na-na.")
Photographer: David Doubilet, who, not by chance, has many other famous and thrilling, exotic under-da-sea photos (like this one).
The species above or rather, genus, is Chromodoris, and it's a nudibranch.

Also of note, as a spinoff:
Through countless media interviews, books, testimony before Congress, and on public, private, and academic stages worldwide, she [Sylvia Earle] strives to help us understand the consequences of everything we put into and everything we take out of the ocean—noting that every breath of air we take and every drop of water we drink depends upon its health. (Link here.) Funny enough, at the bottom, you'll find her interview with Stephen Colbert, in the Colbert Report.