Monday, February 28, 2011

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

You have just twelve hours to send in your entry for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at Notes From A Homeschooling Mom.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Saturday, February 26, 2011

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Liberty and Freedom

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Raising Real Men.

The carnival starts with:

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling!

Liberty, and especially the freedom to parent our children as we choose, is something that can’t ever be taken for granted. After hearing this week about a family in Spain being sentenced to jail for successfully homeschooling their child, it was a pleasure to see homeschoolers fighting for their rights in Illinois. Dave  at Home School Dad is rejoicing It’s done! It’s done! The home schoolers won! After all, the research proves Homeschooling Works! as Barbara Frank of Cardamom Publishers says at Barbara Frank Online.

Carnival of Homeschooling

We're back

Janine and I took the children on a three day / four night Carnival cruise.  We just returned last night.  We spent a day at Catalina Island, a day at Ensenada and a day out at sea.  We had a great time. 

Now I need to catch up on dozens of items.

(One of the best parts of coming back was being able to read a week's worth of comics in one setting.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A reason to always encrypt your smartphone

Why you should always encrypt your smartphone has some interesting thoughts:

Last week, California's Supreme Court reached a controversial 5-2 decision in People v. Diaz (PDF), holding that police officers may lawfully search mobile phones found on arrested individuals' persons without first obtaining a search warrant. The court reasoned that mobile phones, like cigarette packs and wallets, fall under the search incident to arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

California's opinion in Diaz is the latest of several recent court rulings upholding warrantless searches of mobile phones incident to arrest. While this precedent is troubling for civil liberties, it's not a death knell for mobile phone privacy. If you follow a few basic guidelines, you can protect your mobile device from unreasonable search and seizure, even in the event of arrest. In this article, we will discuss the rationale for allowing police to conduct warrantless searches of arrestees, your right to remain silent during police interrogation, and the state of mobile phone security.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Federal Government spending is not helping education

Andrew Coulson recently gave testimoney at the US House of Representatives.  The Impact of Federal Involvement in America's Classrooms is the text of his testimony.

The graphs show that all the involvement by the federal government has not improved education in America.  Something you might share with your friends who call for more federal government programs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homeschool Showcase #66 is up

The recent Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Good thoughts about marriage

I enjoyed Carletta's thoughts about Homeschooling and Marriage.

Homeschooling to college

We are long-term homeschoolers. Since we are outside the norm, we often get questions like, "What about high school?" and "How will they get into college?"

Our oldest daughter is in the "11th grade" (what ever that means for a homeschooler). So, the college question is very much on our minds. Since she is our first, she is also our learner child. If our strategy doesn't work well for her, we can try something different for the next kid.

This is our college strategy:

She will attend community college for a year or two and then transfer to a 4 year university. Our oldest has started her second class at a local community college and we plan for increasingly more classes during her "senior" year of homeschooling.

Our local community college system allows concurrent enrollment. High school juniors and seniors can take up to 6 per semester for free. I think they can take even for than 6 per semester if their principal (me) signs a waver.

However, our oldest daughter is also taking all the standardized tests (SAT, ACT), so that she could apply as a freshman. The universities that she would like to attend will take homeschool students with reasonable SAT or ACT scores. These universities require higher scores for the homeschool students than the traditional students. Our oldest tests well, so it shouldn't be an issue.

A friend's son ran into problems applying to a university we are considering. He scored high on the SAT but they wouldn't accept his CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam) as proof of high school completion. The wanted him to pass the GED. However, students are NOT allowed to take the GED until they are 18 years old, which is a little late for the regular application period. There is an exception to the GED testing age. Youth who have been incarcerated can take the GED early. We joked that he needed to get himself arrested so that he could take the GED, so that he could go to college on track with his friends.

We hope to avoid this issue with a transcript from the community college. However, we also hope to get scholarship offers from the SAT and ACT scores.

In addition to the community college classes, we are encouraging our daughter to take a few CLEP tests. I started university as a sophomore because of CLEP credits. However, the universities that are on the top of her list don't accept CLEP credits. Since many of the California Universities do accept the credits and we don't know where she will end up yet, we figure it can't hurt to have the credits. If the school doesn't accept the credit, it can still make her homeschool transcript look more impressive.

Our goal is for our daughter to get accept to a good university with a scholarship of some sort. We will keep you posted on how well this plan works for us.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Humor - Future Technology

A friend posted this on Facebook:

I might be able to get behind this Constitutional Convention

Corresponding action reports on an interesting idea:

The tremors of change are beginning to shake the nation. Americans are waking up to the way the federal government is overstepping its bounds, whether shoving socialist health care down our throats or spending us into bankruptcy.

Among other stirrings, here in Utah Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, supports an amendment to the Constitution requiring a majority of states to approve any increase in the federal debt ceiling. He's sponsoring a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to propose that to other states.

In at least a half-dozen state legislatures, resolutions have been introduced calling for a convention aimed at passing amendments to require state approval of increases to the debt ceiling.

A convention is also needed to force Congress to balance the budget. The time is ripe: $14 trillion of national debt alarms Americans. Republicans now control more state legislatures than they have since the 1920s. And although that party hasn't always lived up to conservative values, it is gaining more adherents who want to place limits on federal power.

(Hat tip: Goldwater Institute)

Good news: The Draconian Homeschool bill has been dropped, for now

Mandatory Registration Proposal For Homeschooled Children Dead In Senate reports:

A proposal to force parents of homeschooled children to register with the State Board of Education is dead.

Senator Ed Maloney, a Chicago Democrat, says he pulled the measure from the record because he needs more clarity on who has the right to investigate homeschoolers when there is concern of neglect.

The battle is not yet over, Senator Maloney says he will continue to investigate on "identify the potentially truant homeschoolers.

(Hat tip: Laurie Bluedorn)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Are you spending more time on Facebook?

Facebook Gets a Short-Term Memory, to Keep You Commenting explains that a recent change by Facebook may lead to users spending more time on Facebook:

Facebook may be about to suck up even more of your time. Two weeks ago a feature rolled out that I'm told many users may not have noticed, but that is predicted to soon have them interacting with each other more on the the social network.
That feature was instantly updating comments, and it turns every piece of content on Facebook into an instant messaging chat room. Any time you add a comment to, say, a photo or status update it will now appear instantly in front of anyone else looking at that same page.

Currently I try to limit my use of Facebook to once a day.  I've limited my friends on Facebook to mostly family and a few close friends.  I aim for fifteen to thirty minutes each morning to keep up with recent events.

Have you found that you are spending more time on Facebook?

Fewer subjects may be better

Interesting thought:

The greatest service we can do to education today is to teach fewer subjects. No one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for
- CS Lewis
(Hat tip: MiaZagora via Facebook.)

Would you like to present at a California Homeschool Conference?

The HomeSchool Association of California will have their annual conference in Sacramento from August4th to 7th.

They are taking proposals for workshops.

Anyone seen "Agenda: Grinding America Down?"

Awhile back I came across Agenda: Grinding America Down.

The trailer is a fairly conservative call to action against the increase government domination of our lives.  At least part of the movie seems to be about public schools.

I'm always on the lookout for more movies about education and homeschooling.

Has anyone watched this movie?  Are the sections about government schools a large fraction of the movie?

A good resource for information about homeschooling

The Home Education Magazine has made available 14 years of their articles about homeschooling.

Adding to my extended memory: Some Venture Capital blogs

About nine months after we started blogging I realized that at one level Our blog was becoming an extension of my memory.

This post is partly to capture some information that I may use some day.

I have a friend who has worked at several startup companies.  Recently he was a CEO.  Sometimes I think about starting up my own business.  He mentioned he followed several blogs on Venture Capitalists.  I asked for the list.  He sent these:

His favorites:

Both Sides of the Table
Venture Hacks

A few more:

Ask the VC
Seeing Both Sides
Seth Levine
A Sack of Seattle

I often think of this about our politicians

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.

Did you know that baby monitors open a window into your home?

What's the frequency: Monitors transmit video of unknowing families starts with:

The saying goes, "never wake a sleeping baby." But what if that baby is broadcast for all the neighbors to see?

From Ballard to Queen Anne and Greenlake to Phinney Ridge, KOMO News found unsuspecting families transmitting what's inside their homes without even knowing it.

And they're broadcasting through video baby monitors -- devices designed to give parents peace of mind. But a Problem Solvers investigation found these security devices can be anything but secure.


We've used baby monitors in the past.  I think we'll be more careful now.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

"Weird Al" reads his book "When I Grow Up"

This is fun:

(Hat tip: my brother-in-law)

Another review on Daniel Pink's talk on the Surprising Science of Motivation

As I mentioned last week I've started having my daughters watch TED Talks. My oldest daughter watched Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation.

Here is her review of the talk:

This week I watched a TED talk by Daniel Pink about the science of motivation. In this talk he presented a study done with the Candle Problem. In this study they had two groups.  Group one was told they would be measuring them for norms. Group two was told that those who solved the problem in the top 20% would have a $20 reward. Surprisingly group two on average took three and a half minutes longer that group one.

This study has been duplicated over the years, all with similar results and what they have found is that rewards narrows focus and limits creativity. So for simple rudimentary jobs carrot on a stick works well but for jobs that require ingenuity rewards hinder and distract and causes poorer results.

In Australia there is a software company called Atlassian that once a year has something they call ‘Fed Ex’ days. That is for 24 hours they can work on anything they want and at the end of the day they present it to there coworkers. This they found increases productivity and creativity when they are allowed to work where they want to.

Also Google has implemented something called 20% time where they let there employs work on what they want for 20% of the time. In the past years half of what Google produces is from that 20% time.

These examples show us that financial rewards can limit and reduce productivity when people are working on creative activities.

If you haven't seen the video, it is worth watching:

Again, if you have any suggestions on your favorite TED talks, please tell me.

Another fun comic

I liked Steve Breen's editorial cartoon today.

I think this is my four-year-old's problem

I enjoyed today's Stone Soup.

I am afraid too many adults don't do this before acting.

Sweet - don't stop dreaming

My brother-in-law shared this on Facebook:

Update on the Home School Registration Bill Hearing in Illinois

Guilt-Free Homeschooling and Laurie Bluedorn shared this link on Facebook:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Some good thoughts about socialization

About the only constant criticism these days of homeschooling is that we don't provide "socialization."  Janine and I feel that homeschooling avoids the wrong kind of socialization and provides the right kind.

Holly Van Houten's post Homeschooling and Socilization does a great job of making this point.

(Hat tip: Natalie posted on Facebook)

Review of Daniel Pink's talk on The surprising science of motivation

As I mentioned last week I've started having my daughters watch TED Talks.  My oldest daughter watched Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation.

Here is her review of the talk:

Daniel Pink opened his TED talk with an amusing story about going to Law School and apologizing for having been a lawyer. He then introduced the Candle Problem. A common experiment that measures how fast people can creatively come to the right conclusion. It found that the more money that was offered the slower the participants went, because the promise of money focuses them and limited their creativity. Pink also mentions experiments done by a Professor at Princeton University.

Most of businesses of today are built around If/Then rewards. Pink then introduces Atlassian a software company from Australia. Every once in awhile this company will have what they call a FedEx day. The programmers can work on anything they want but at the end of the day they have to offer something. Google has taken this one step further. Twenty present of their programer’s time is theirs to do whatever productive thing they want. Gmail and Google news came out of this.

A view less well known companies have taken this all the way in what is called a Results Only Work environment or ROW. ROW is when the empolyies don’t have a schedule and instead can do what they want as long as the get it done. This results in higher productivity, higher worker engagement, lower turnover, and higher worker satisfaction.

Daniel Pink sums up with three points. If/Then rewards have narrow application and often destroy creativity. And once the issue of money is out of the way high performance comes not from a promised reward but a healthy drive to succeed.  

If you haven't seen the video, it is worth watching:

The Hands-On Homeschool Carnival is up

Heather is hosting this week's Hands-On Homeschool Carnival at Cultivated Lives.

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

This is your weekly reminder to send in an entry to the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at Raising Real Men.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at The Faithful Homeschool.

The carnival starts with:

Welcome, step right up, have we got a show for you! The Faithful Homeschool's addition of The Carnival of Homeschooling is about to begin!

When I requested articles on "Winter Weather Homeschooling in Small Spaces" I could not have guessed at the array of submissions that would arrive... and what a blessing each one is!


Carnival of Homeschooling

Friday, February 11, 2011

A few other homeschool carnivals

This week's Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

The Valetine Edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Mountaineer Country.

And a homeschooling carnival is up at the Garden of Learning.

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

This is your weekly reminder to send in an entry to the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at The Faithful Homeschool.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I agree with Chester Finn - Nobody deserves tenure

Chester E. Finn starts his column Nobody deserves tenure with:

Nobody deserves tenure, with the possible exception of federal judges. University professors don’t deserve tenure; civil servants don’t deserve tenure; police and firefighters don’t deserve tenure; school teachers don’t deserve tenure. With the solitary exception noted above—and you might be able to talk me out of that one, too—nobody has a right to lifetime employment unrelated either to their on-the-job performance or to their employer’s continuing need for the skills and attributes of that particular person.

Tenure didn’t come down from Mt. Sinai or over on the Mayflower. Though people occasionally refer to its origins in medieval universities, on these shores, at least, it’s a twentieth-century creation. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) began pushing for it around 1915, but tenuring professors didn’t become the norm on U.S. campuses until after World War II (when the presumption of a 7-year decision timeframe also gained traction) and it wasn’t truly formalized until the 1970’s when a couple of Supreme Court decisions made formalization unavoidable.

I love the line: "Tenure didn't come down from Mt. Sinai or over on the Mayflower." 

I totally agree, there is no reason why someone who worked for a couple years and kept their nose cleaned should have a job guranteed for the rest of their life.

(Hat tip:

What are some of your favorite TED Talks?

I've asked my older two daughters to watch a TED talk every week or two and then write up a short summary.  Here are some of the talks I've put on the list for them to choose from:

Sugata Mitra's new experiments in self-teaching

Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Catherine Mohr: Surgery's past, present and robotic future

Hans Rosling: No more boring data: TEDTalks

Christopher McDougall: Are we born to run?

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work
I'd like to put some more on the list.  What are some of your favorite talks?  Thanks!

Good thoughts about work-life balance

I enjoyed Nigel Marsh's thoughts on How to make work-life balance work:

Why Big Government is Bad Government

This captures well some of why I believe Big Government is Bad Government:

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

What do some people appear smarter than they sound?

Fun thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.


Humor - Just in time for Valentine's Day: The Manslater

Judy Aron posted this on Facebook:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It is hard to change our minds

From A.Word.A.Day:

No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
-Miguel de Cervantes, novelist (1547-1616)

There is some quote about when faced with facts contrary to our beliefs most of us will redouble our arguments.  I haven't been able to find the exact quote.  Does anyone remember it?

I have a lot of respect for Ronald Reagan

I like this video:

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys In the Yard.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, February 07, 2011

Is College a Bad Public Good?

Politicians often justify spending our tax dollars on colleges and universities saying they are a public good.  That be "investing" taxes in advance education there will be a huge return with higher future earnings.

Jane Shaw asks a provocative question: Is College a Bad Public Good? 

Here is one key paragraph:

Publicly provided education was among those examples. Education, like other public services, is rife with special interests and political payoffs.  For years, the Pope Center has written about the scandals, administrative bloat, dismal results, and excessive costs that plague our public universities. Indeed, the education that college graduates receive is sometimes so one-sided that it may reduce graduates’ contributions to a well-run community rather than increase them. Higher education looks a lot like a bad public good.

I'm sure there won't be a serious call to defund government universities, at least not in the near future, but her column has several good thoughts and is worth reading.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)


A lesson for school children

The Lesson to You Schoolchildren for Today: People in Authority Are Often Idiots.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

A beautiful picture from Astronomy Picture of the Day

Sergi Verdugo Martínez gave me permission to post his picture from Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Malcolm Gladwell on lessons from spaghetti sauce

Janine and I really enjoy both The Tipping Point and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

Here Malcolm shares some insights we can learn from spaghetti sauce:

The value of books

I really like this thought from A.Word.A.Day:

There is not less wit nor less invention in applying rightly a thought one finds in a book, than in being the first author of that thought.
-Pierre Bayle, philosopher and writer (1647-1706)

Review of a Race to Nowhere

Our local school district arranged a showing of Race to Nowhere. Janine took our second daughter last Monday night and then our oldest and I saw it on Tuesday.

Short summary: It is a strong condemnation of the pressure put on some students, by public schools, private schools and parents.

Vicki Abeles, the producer, does a great job of exploring the heavy workload many children face today. The huge amount of homework assigned can be up to six and eight hours a day for high school students. In addition to all the homework, students are often pushed into extra curricular activities. This stresses children out. Surprise, surprise.

Many human endeavors have more than one factor or cause. Vicki points out several here. The biggest factor, especially in the early years, is the schools just love to assign homework. Even in fourth and fifth grade the students will be assigned several hours a day of homework. In the later years there is still lots of pressure from the schools to do homework, and even more homework, but into high school a new source of pressure emerges as parents try to help their children get ready for college.

The movie correctly points out that hours and hours of homework each week don't improve the quality of learning for ten-year-olds. One expert said that homework was of no benefit in elementary school. In middle school up to an hour a day helped and up to two hours a day for high school contributed to the learning process, but more hours didn't have a measurable improvement.

A few of the problems that result from all this pressure are: suicide and drug use. Vicke shares early in the movie about a young girl who had committed suicide. This young girl was a good friend of the family. She had a lot going for her, but the pressure finally broke her.

Because of the tons of homework assigned some students are now using stimulants to get extra hours for completing the homework.

On the flip side of this was how government schools were rough environments for teachers. One teacher quit because she felt like the schools had sucked the life out of her.

There was several people in the movie who claimed that if only the government schools had more money it would help. Part of the claim was if we gave even more money to the schools, especially for the teachers, things would get better. It wasn't clear what the logic was. Why would an increase of money lead to less stress?

Even after all the pressure on students to perform, they are graduating from high school with very little real education and often with little retained knowledge. Half of the students going into the California UC system have to do remedial courses.

The movie acknowledged that this is not a simple problem and thus there is not a simple answer.

I enjoyed the movie. I felt Vicki Abeles did a good job. I agreed with most of what the movie said, other than the claim that more money would help. If you get the chance to watch the movie, it is worth the 90 minutes.

Here is a few minutes from the movie and an interview with Vicki:

Update I: 25 June 2011
My reviews of the 2010 Education Documentaries:
Race to Nowhere - Students are kept extremely busy.
The Cartel - Problems with public schools in New Jersey.
Waiting for Superman - Public schools are broken, but no one is powerful enough to save them.
The Lottery - Many oppose a successful charter school and the children suffer.

The image distracts from the message

Hal references an interesting study in The Practical Side of Modesty:

In another scientific confirmation of what you already knew or thought to be true, researchers at Indiana University found that men pay more attention to a female news anchor if she’s dressed attractively, but remember less of what she said. So what does that say about how we train our sons? Quite a lot, actually.

You can read the formal abstract of the study from the report in Communication Research, or a more colorful commentary in Salon.

Janine struggles at time to find modesty clothing. It seems like swim suits are one of the hardest to find.

Sixty Symbols - Physics and Astronomy videos

This is a fun resource.  The University of Nottingham has created a good web site.  Sixty Symbols - Physics and Astronomy videos shows sixty symbols and each has a link to a video about the symbol.  I've watched a couple videos and they have been pleasant.

(Hat tip: Natalie posted on Facebook)

Do you need to go to college to be successful?

A friend from India mentioned this on Facebook yesterday:

Jewish Homeschooling Blog Carnival #5 is up

The latest edition of the Jewish Homeschooling Blog Carnival is up at Adventures in MamaLand.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Is it a right to go to college? Should every student be paid to go?

Harvard Study: Maybe Everyone Shouldn't Be Going to College raises the question:  Should everyone go to college?  Good article.  It has this video:

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Credentialed vs. educated

The Anchoress has a post up: Uncredentialed Wonder.

I like Instapundit's summary:

There’s educated, and there’s credentialed. Sometimes they overlap. Sometimes they don’t.

This goes to the heart of homeschooled.  By and large public schools claim that only the professionals, those with credentiuals, can teach.  Homeschoolers keep showing them wrong.

Book review: John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

As a youth I read most of the Tarzen stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have fond memories of the adventure and excitment as Tarzen saved the day again and again. Recently I decided to give a try for another series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I picked up John Carter of Mars.

I wasn't impressed.

I hadn't done any research. I expected this to be the first book in the series. It turns out it is the last. It is two stories thrown together. In the first story John Carter ends up fighting with a 300 foot tall giant. Then in the second story John Carter goes to Jupiter to the "Skeleton Men." The first story had a reasonable conclusion. The second story just stopped. There was no conclusion.

Now I'm wondering what the Tarzen books were like. Maybe in my youth I didn't expect much from the stories and was happy with anything. I'm a bit afraid to go back and check.

If you like old classic adventure stories I'd recommend checking out other books. "John Carter of Mars" should only be read if you want to read the complete series.

Next time you hurt your finger, think of this

From A.Word.A.Day:

The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.
-William Hazlitt, essayist (1778-1830)

Interesting question: Are we born to run?

I enjoyed this TED talk:

Friday, February 04, 2011

When will the education bubble burst?

I have have blogged in the past about the problem of rising cost of a college education. Instapundit calls this an Education Bubble.

Now main stream media is picking up on this problem. Forbes has an article about Universities On The Brink:


Higher education in America, historically the envy of the world, is rapidly growing out of reach. For the past quarter-century, the cost of higher education has grown 440%, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Education, nearly four times the rate of inflation and double the rate of health care cost increases. The cost increases have occurred at both public and private colleges.

Like many situations too good to be true--like the dot-com boom, the Enron bubble, the housing boom or the health care cost explosion--the ever-increasing cost of university education is not sustainable.


Good article to read.

(Hat tip: Instapundit, naturally)

I wish him luck

Senator Rand Paul plans to take a Bowie knife to the federal budget:

While it has little chance of passing in a Democratic-controlled chamber, the provocative Paul budget will force conversation. Its $500 billion in cuts is much higher than the $100 billion House Republicans have pledged to chop.
“People in official Washington think this a pretty bold, maybe overly bold, proposition,” Paul chuckles. “But it only cuts about a third of the annual deficit.”

I hope Senator Rand is successful.  Too long the Federal government has run huge deficits.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Interesting: The US broken down by percent who have college degrees

My brother-in-law posted a link to Adults With College Degrees in the United States, by County.

It was interesting to play with the options of checking the various decades, and the different breakdowns.

My county did pretty good. 

People like Narayanan Krishnan give me hope for the future

A friend posted a link to this CNN report

With all the self inflicted problems in our world as long as we have people like Narayanan Krishnan, I think the human race still has a chance at greatness.

Interesting thoughts on why some experiments don't transition well to larger scales

In The Value of Health Care Experiments Megan McArdle explains why some programs may work well in a small controled situation, but not in a larger environment, even when the processes are the same.  Here is a key point:

Why don't we have more revolutions in human affairs?  For starters, because these revolutionary studies are usually working with a pretty small number of patients.  This means that there's going to be a lot of variance--some will, by chance, show good results; some will, by chance, seem like disasters.  The programs with "good results" will survive and get written up by social science journals and people like Atul Gawande; the programs that end up costing money will collapse and disappear into a welter of administrative embarassment.  Note that I don't say that this is what has happened in the case of these particular programs.  The problem is, with small programs like this, it always has to be at the back of your mind.  That's one of the major reasons why promising pilot programs are so rarely replicated successfully. 

But not the only reason. Even the programs that genuinely work have a lot of things going for them that a broader program won't.  They have a crack team of highly educated experts who are extremely excited about the program, and understand the ideas behind it backwards and forwards.  They work in a controlled environment, and usually have a decent amount of administrative support for their efforts.  They are time limited, which matters--people are willing to endure lots of things for a limited, known duration that they wouldn't do permanently. They are often offering bonuses for participation.

Then they get implemented in the real world, with ordinary people who don't particularly want to change the way they've always done things, don't really care about the noble ideas behind your program, and don't see any end to it.  And the effects disappear.  
Public schools are a great example of this.  There are many, many school programs which have been implemented on a large scale because they once worked on a small scale.  If you want to be really depressed about government schools, read Left Back by Diane Ravitch.  It is a history of education reform in the United States over the last century.  The "Experts" would keep trying the same programs again and again, hoping that this time it would work, because they got it to work on a small scale.
(Hat tip: Common Sense)

Have you ever wondered about the "Speed enforced by aircraft" signs?

This looks into how the police doing the enforcing for "Speed enforced by aircraft."

Pretty funny.

(Hat tip: MiaZagora via Facebook.)

This is also true of parenting

I like this thought from A.Word.A.Day:

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.
-Thomas Carruthers

One of the big goals we have for our children is that they are functional adults and can stand on their own by their early twenties.  We love them enough that we don't want them living with us for the next thirty years.  It is different if there is some emergency, but for most situations we hope our children will be adults and able to live on their own.

Fallacy Detective: An Admonition to Avoid Assumptions

Hans Bluedorn wrote an article: An Admonition to Avoid Assumptions.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

One of the reasons we have trouble getting along with people

From A.Word.A.Day:

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet (1807-1882)

Cute - Colkswagen Commercial: The Force

This is fun:

My four year old is a big Star Wars fan.  He likes to fight me with his light saber.  Sometimes when he drops his light saber he'll gesture at it like he is trying to use to force to get the light saber to come to him.

The recent Homeschooled Kids Blog Carnival is up

This is a new carnival to me:  The Homeschooled Kids Blog Carnival is up at Home Education Resources, from the UK.

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

This is your weekly reminder to send in an entry to the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys In the Yard.
Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Someday it would be fun to go solar sailing

One of the classic science fiction stories tells of a salar sail race around the earth.  The light from the sun provides a small pressure, but over a large surface it can be enough to provide acceleration.

We now have a Solar Sail around the earth today! 

Maybe someday we'll have races around the earth.

Update on IBM Watson Supercomputer and Ken Jennings

It took several attempts for people to train computers to beat chess masters. 

It looks like on the first attempt a computer will be able to win in:  Jeopardy.IBM Watson supercomputer beats Jeopardy champs in practice round.

What is your busiest day?

Fun thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the year.
-Spanish Proverb

Market share is low, profits are through the ceiling

A friend posted on LinkedIn a link to: Apple Has Last Laugh: Android Leads Sales, but Cupertino Most Profitable Handset Maker which starts with:

Don’t cry too hard about Android’s ascension as king of smartphones and Apple losing a few share points. The Cupertino, Calif. company is crying — but it’s all the way to the bank. Although Apple has just 4.2 percent of the entire cell phone market – not just smartphones – the company pulls in 51 percent of the profit.


Apple is doing great.  It is still mind boggling to me that Apple is now worth more than Microsoft.

My first day on the new job went well

I am very overwhelmed.  Even though I am doing work similar to what I've done for the last twelve years, there is still a ton of new stuff to learn.