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Archive for the ‘Science and Learning’ Category

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.
   —   Dr. Leo F. Buscaglia,
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On This Day In:
2020 All You Can
2019 No Wall And Not One Dollar
‘Cause It Makes Me Scratch
2018 Mirror, Mirror
2017 Keep On Keeping On
2016 Reflections
2015 Is It Time Yet?
2014 Ask Any Follower
2013 Cornered Or Surrounded?
2012 Escape
2011 Achievement
Not Unreasonable Enough

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There can be an infinite number of polygons, but only five regular solids.  Four of the solids were associated with earth, fire, air and water.  The cube for example represented earth.  These four elements, they thought, make up terrestrial matter.  So the fifth solid they mystically associated with the Cosmos.  Perhaps it was the substance of the heavens.  This fifth solid was called the dodecahedron.  Its faces are pentagons, twelve of them.  Knowledge of the dodecahedron was considered too dangerous for the public.  Ordinary people were to be kept ignorant of the dodecahedron.  In love with whole numbers, the Pythagoreans believed that all things could be derived from them.  Certainly all other numbers.
So a crisis in doctrine occurred when they discovered that the square root of two was irrational.  That is: the square root of two could not be represented as the ratio of two whole numbers, no matter how big they were.  “Irrational” originally meant only that.  That you can’t express a number as a ratio.  But for the Pythagoreans it came to mean something else, something threatening, a hint that their world view might not make sense, the other meaning of “irrational”.
   —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 The Butterflies Are In Trouble
2019 The Deep Center
2018 Oh, Heaven (Too)
2017 Now Pausing Makes Sense
2016 Just Spicy
Only One Part
2015 Positive Acts Of Creation
2014 One Thing Is Clear
2013 Corrections
See Greatness
2012 Gemutlichkeit
2011 Back On The Asphalt

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He who learns to play music in his eightieth year will play at the resurrection.
   —    Turkish Proverb
[About a month ago I convinced my wife to let me buy a guitar (Orangewood acoustic dreadnought: Austen (model) for $195).  I’m playing it almost every day for 10 minutes to an hour.  Most days about 40 minutes.  It’s coming along slowly, slowly, but I’m enjoying it.  I’m just watching videos on YouTube and then going off to practice…    —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Working On My 2019 Tax Returns
2019 Three Beliefs
2018 He Found Them On-Line
2017 Maybe In A Future World
2016 Largely A Mystery
2015 Tools And Weapons
2014 Likes And Dislikes
2013 Pillars Of Learning
2012 Another JCoM Review
Move It
2011 Expected Value

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This afternoon, my wife and I both got our first COVID vaccine shots!  We’re also scheduled for our 2nd shots towards the end of March.  Two weeks after that we should be “fairly” safe from COVID.  So far (after 6 hrs), the only after-effects are a little shoulder soreness at the injection site.
It is important for everyone to understand: the vaccines do NOT prevent you from getting COVID or from developing long-term  COVID related illnesses OR transmitting COVID to others.  The vaccines are only supposed to prevent you from getting “seriously” ill and dying.  We got the Pfizer version which is 95% effective at preventing “serious” illness and was 100% effective preventing deaths during trials.  We still do not know how long the vaccines remain effective and / or if we will need periodic boosters (like the annual flu shots).
The bottom line is that even after we have reached some level of local / state / national / worldwide herd immunity, we will probably need to keep wearing masks and maintaining “some” social distancing.  We just don’t know enough yet and we will have to follow the science / data when it becomes available…
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On This Day In:
2020 Decide, Support, Vote
2019 Aware Some
2018 Know Any Christians?
2017 The Only Thing I Can Give…
2016 Wiser But Less Cocksure
2015 Not Today
Wicked
2014 …Am Too
2013 Credible?
2012 Both
2011 Risking Hidden Linkage

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The man who is striving to solve a problem defined by existing knowledge and technique is not, however, just looking around.  He knows what he wants to achieve, and he designs his instruments and directs his thoughts accordingly.  Unanticipated novelty, the new discovery, can emerge only to the extent that his anticipations about nature and his instruments prove wrong.
    —     Thomas S. Kuhn
From his book: “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
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On This Day In:
2020 A Steep Price Ahead
Möbius
2019 Eureka!
2018 Learning About My Humanity
2017 Laugh Or Shake Your Head
2016 The Expected Cure
2015 Of Two Minds
2014 Pride And Remembrance
2013 Repeating Bad Memories
2012 No Sooner
2011 Just Cheesy!
Are You Illin’?

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Cumulative acquisition of unanticipated novelties proves to be an almost non-existent exception to the rule of scientific development.  The man who takes historic fact seriously must suspect that science does not tend toward the ideal that our image of its cumulativeness has suggested.  Perhaps it is another sort of enterprise.
If, however, resistant facts can carry us that far, then a second look at the ground we have already covered may suggest that cumulative acquisition of novelty is not only rare in fact but improbable in principle.  Normal research, which is cumulative, owes its success to the ability of scientists regularly to select problems that can be solved with conceptual and instrumental techniques close to those already in existence.
  —   Thomas S. Kuhn
From his book:  “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
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On This Day In:
2020 Where #45 Is Leading The Republican Party
2019 Your Own Blog Posts
The Man With A Code
2018 Choose Goodness
2017 Developing Translations
2016 Think Like A Hero
2015 Reductionism
2014 Gravitation, n.
2013 Ups And Downs
2012 Nerd Heard – And Good-Bye
Your Continuum
2011 Career Tips (Part 2)

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In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.  It is up to us.
   —    Carl Sagan
[An Inauguration and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords are just a start.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Hoping For #46 In January 2021
2019 Interesting, But Not Fascinating
But Try To Eat The Low-Hanging First
2018 Me, Too
2017 Apt Enough?
2016 Now Or Ever
21, Pause, Restart
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
Lucy & FSND-2
2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
Fred Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

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I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
   —    Carl Sagan
[Perhaps, having seen the corruption and malevolence of the Trump Administration, the next four years can see the beginning of an American renaissance…  I hope so.  As I prayed four years ago:  “I may not agree with all (or any) of this President’s policies, but I pray he makes America a better place.”  Hopefully #45 was the “just” the darkness before the new day’s dawn.   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Posting As A Continual Exercise
2019 Border Security – Yes, Border Wall – No
2018 Supporting Survival Values
2017 Inauguration Day 2017 [Sometimes, I hate it when I’m right! — KMAB]
2016 Or A Pot Of Gold After The Storm
2015 One, Two, Three…
2014 Lend Your Hand
2013 Amnesty, n.
2012 Best Resolv’d
The Clock Is Running
2011 Magic

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History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
   —   Abba Eban
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On This Day In:
2020 Careful About Myth Telling
2019 My Irish Diet
Fighting With Oneself
2018 Feeling Both
2017 Just Start
2016 Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall
2015 Restraint At The Inn
2014 To Not Discovering
2013 I Have Less To Say
2012 Not The Best Prediction I’ve Ever Read

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Since this series’ maiden voyage, the impossible has come to pass:  Mighty walls that maintained insuperable ideological differences have come tumbling down; deadly enemies have embraced and begun to work together.  The imperative to cherish the Earth and protect the global environment that sustains all of us has become widely accepted, and we’ve begun, finally, the process of reducing the obscene number of weapons of mass destruction.  Perhaps we have, after all, decided to choose life.  But we still have light years to go to ensure that choice.  Even after the summits and the ceremonies and the treaties, there are still some 50,000 nuclear weapons in the world — and it would require the detonation of only a tiny fraction of them to produce a nuclear winter, the predicted global climatic catastrophe that would result from the smoke and the dust lifted into the atmosphere by burning cities and petroleum facilities.
The world scientific community has begun to sound the alarm about the grave dangers posed by depleting the protective ozone shield and by greenhouse warming, and again we’re taking some mitigating steps, but again those steps are too small and too slow.  The discovery that such a thing as nuclear winter was really possible evolved out of the studies of Martian dust storms.  The surface of Mars, fried by ultraviolet light, is also a reminder of why it’s important to keep our ozone layer intact.  The runaway greenhouse effect on Venus is a valuable reminder that we must take the increasing greenhouse effect on Earth seriously.
Important lessons about our environment have come from spacecraft missions to the planets.  By exploring other worlds we safeguard this one.  By itself, I think this fact more than justifies the money our species has spent in sending ships to other worlds.  It is our fate to live during one of the most perilous and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful chapters in human history.
Our science and our technology have posed us a profound question.  Will we learn to use these tools with wisdom and foresight before it’s too late?  Will we see our species safely through this difficult passage so that our children and grandchildren will continue the great journey of discovery still deeper into the mysteries of the Cosmos?  That same rocket and nuclear and computer technology that sends our ships past the farthest known planet can also be used to destroy our global civilization.  Exactly the same technology can be used for good and for evil.  It is as if there were a God who said to us, “I set before you two ways:  You can use your technology to destroy yourselves or to carry you to the planets and the stars.  It’s up to you.”
   —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Willing
2019 Another Prayer
2018 After Silence
2017 Are You Looking Forward To A Trump Presidency?
2016 Three Errors From Eureka
2015 Limiting Choices
2014 Praise The Lord And Pass The Hypocrisy
That Sound
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.
   —    Daniel J. Boorstin
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On This Day In:
2019 His Promises, OUR Hopes
2018 Where I Write
2017 At Last, An Honest Philosopher…
2016 Fake It ‘Til You Make It
2015 Hell Toupée
2014 Corrected And Amended
2013 Too Few
2012 Three Characters
2011 Universal Payment
2010 Privatizing the TSA? (An old – and long – post, but still relevant!!)

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Many scientists deeply involved in the exploration of the solar system (myself among them) were first turned in that direction by science fiction.  And the fact that some of that science fiction was not of the highest quality is irrelevant.  Ten-year-olds do not read the scientific literature.
    —   Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 Happy Thanksgiving (2019)
2018 And Smiles…
2017 Or Savor A Little Longer…
2016 Sometimes I Just Want To Smell The Flowers
2015 One Truth – Done Well
2014 Now In Imagination, On The Other Hand…
2013 No Plan, No Map
2012 Singing About Love
2011 The Awesome Power Of Truth

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Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
   —    Daniel J. Boorstin
[This education thing is taking a lot longer than I was told it was going to take back in kindergarten / grammar school.    —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Will John Bolton Testify?
2018 Just Maybe
2017 Police In My Review Mirror
2016 Full And Rich
2015 Go Deeper
2014 Intentional Mapping
2013 The Sweet Path
2012 Living Free And Abolition
Morning Wood
2011 I Resemble That Remark

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America’s greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments.  Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive.
   —   John W. Gardner
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On This Day In:
2019 Many Forms
2018 Serenity Prayer
2017 But The Clock Says It’s Already Two Minutes 30 Seconds to Midnight
2016 Towards No Regret
2015 109 And Beyond
2014 Are You Waiting?
2013 Traditional Human Sacrifice
2012 A Division Of Men
2011 Miles, Legends and Superwoman
Got Tragedy?
2010 My Company For A Prince!!
On The Shoulders Of Titans

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Since man is a moment in astronomic time, a transient guest of the earth, a spore of his species, a scion of his race, a composite of body, character, and mind, a member of a family and a community, a believer or doubter of a faith, a unit in an economy, perhaps a citizen in a state or a soldier in an army, we may ask under the corresponding heads — astronomy, geology, geography, biology, ethnology, psychology, morality, religion, economics, politics, and war — what history has to say about the nature, conduct, and prospects of man.  It is a precarious enterprise, and only a fool would try to compress a hundred centuries into a hundred pages of hazardous conclusions.  We proceed.
   —   Will and Ariel Durant
From their book:   “The Lessons Of History
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On This Day In:
2019 How #45’s Father Raised Him For Incompetence
2018 Describing #45 – “The Loser” – As A Successful Businessman
Raking – #PresidentIdiot Proposes Full Employment For California
2017 Federal Deficit, National Debt And Tax Cuts For The 1%
2016 Picky, Picky, Picky
2015 Another Limitation On Religion
2014 Enduring
2013 Tell Me More…
2012 Passing…
2011 Fake It ‘Til You Make It

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