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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dude, What would Happen?

As a mother I love this show.  As a mother of boys, I love this show even more.  Why?  Simple, because it takes three teenage boys and lets them explore their interests in the cause and effect and lets them see what might happen.  What a perfect way to get kids interested in science today.

 The show lets three boys, CJ Manigo, Ali Sepasyar, and Jackson Rogow conduct experiments according to their interests. Some of the experiement are down right silly, take the show where they changelled a lumber jack to cutting deli meat.  The boys wanted to know who could cut through the deli meat faster; the lumber jack with his ax, or the boys using their bare hands.  Interestingly enough, the boys won. Sure surprised me.

Other's shows are not so silly, and take a more serious turn.  Now, adults know that these experiments, silly or not are all supervised. But the kids watching the show, at least the younger one, like the preteens might not realize this.  This is where the show is at a flaw.  They should state before every experiment that they are supervised and should not be done with out an adult, and expecially without and adult who know what the hell they are doing.  A science teacher would be nice.  I personally know a few of them, and they would LOVE to help out in these areas, if the interested arised.  
These three boys are full of excitement and energy. They are enthusiastic about the experiments they are going to conduct and  this helps a lot when you are trying to get kids interested in what you are doing.  They talk through their ideas and make a plan.  The show isn't overly scientific, and isn't meant to teach anyone thing in pertilar, it is meant to engage the kids, get them interested. That way when they go to their parents or even better their science class and ask questions, trust me the parents and teachers will be thrilled to talk to them about it, why?  Because they are interested in learning and interested in science, they just don't know it yet.  Every show has is flaws educational or not, at this one is looking in the right direction, and seems to be working.  The show is still on and has particiated in the Kids Choice Awards.  So they are doing something right.  What's your opinion?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Way Over My Head

Once a month the magazine Scientific American comes in the mail at my house.  I can see it now, most of you have your eyes popping out of your head and your jaws have dropped.  Stop gawking, and close your mouth.  The magazine is not sent to me.  It is sent to my husband.  He's the brain in my house.  That's not the point though.  The point is, unless you are doing research for a project, or happen to know some really either science minded people or technology minded people who read this magazine, I be many of you have never seen or opened it.  Honestly I hope not, because that would be a shame.

I say this this because as I try to read these articles, (notice I said try-they are way over my head) they are very interesting.  Every month I pick up the magazine and scan the cover to see what topics they will be discussing in this issue, and every time I am fascinated with the topics they have researched.  For example, just in March's issue alone did you know that Mercury will be orbited by spacecraft for the first time this month?  Or that computer images can show how brain cells talk to each other one molecule at a time?  Or how about and I quote from American Scientific itself, "By mapping equatorial rainfall since A.D. 800, scientists have figured out how tropical weather may change through 2100"?

I'm no science major, I don't care.  Well I didn't either until I realized I did.  Or maybe I don't and the writers are just really good and their marketing is great if it can get the eye of an English Literature major from way back when.

My point is.  This is our past, our future.  The articles in this magazine range from nature to technology to psychology.  What really fascinates me is that deep down it is about us, human nature.  Our thirst for knowledge, for compassion, for growth.  Sure the articles are hard to read and very in depth because they are written for people who study these thing themselves or are in a similar field, but if you peel back the layers, take away all the big words and fancy phrases it's a human interest story at the heart of it.  If you get a chance pick up a copy and give it a try.  It's amazing how big the world of knowledge is and where it can take you.

What books or magazines did you read because they were lying around and was glad you did?  Share with me, I'd love to know.  I'm going to find out about the Stonehenge and how the stone circle may have been a part of a larger ceremonial landscape.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Office and it's Quirks

Every office has it's quirks.  Some offices are small and solitary. I say this because many people work from home.  Some offices are busy and hectic. This can be because you work from home and have kids at home with pets; or because you work in a doctor's office and it is the height of flue season.  What ever the reason, most offices, if not overly busy have a constant flow to it.  My office stands somewhere in the middle, we have days when we are really busy, then we have days when we are slow.  Not that there is nothing to do. There is always something that needs to be done, just nothing that is pressing for time.

Offices are all different in another way.  People in offices are quirky.  There is the chatter box, the quite silent hide behind your desk type, the jester, the mother, and the food person.  (feel free to add more depending on your office.) At any given time in my office there is always food spread on one of the tables.  Between 10:30 and 11:00 is snack time.  Every day someone will call out "Is it snack time?"  Right after these words are out the table fills up with food.  It's usually chips and salsa, or crackers and cheese.  Once in a while we will have grapes, or like yesterday I brought in a green bean salad for the tasting.  Yes, string beans. We've also been known to have had carrots and other veggies too. The string beans by the way were a hit. Everyone asked for the recipe. It's not surprising that since we all love food so much that we have parties for every one's birthday and holidays.  You know, it keeps the office happy.  It gives you a chance to talk and relax with each other without the stresses of work.

My office has it's quirks, I bet your does too.  I bet it makes the work day happier and go faster.  What are the quirks in your office?  Share with me.  I'll be making some more green bean salad to share.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jeopardy and Watson

I'm not sure how many of you watch the game show Jeopardy.  I'm not sure how many of you watch  The Discovery Channel either but in today's day and age the two entirely different shows have merged.

My husband bless his heart is a computer geek.  It always amazes me what he can do with a computer, or iPhone for that matter to make our daily lives more efficient.  Every once in a while when there is nothing to watch on TV he turns on the Discovery Channel. Now usually I don't complain because truth be told, many of their topics are very interesting. Hey, I'm a curious bird and I want to know.

Anyway this one particular show was all about, you guessed it computers, but not just any type of computers, robots to be exact.  Turns out IBM has been working on producing a computer that communicates more human like then others.  They named the computer Watson. You can check out the link to Watson here.  The whole idea around Watson is to have computers interact with humans as if they are human themselves.  It's hard to talk to a computer when they 1) have no idea what we are talking about and 2) They don't have the emotions to relate to .  The English language is a difficult  one to learn.  I mean how many words do we have that have more then one meaning.  Quite a few the last time I checked.

A few weeks later Watson, the computer was on Jeopardy. Well not Watson himself, but a portal, for the lack of a better word.  Watson himself takes up an entire room at IBM so there was no way Watson would be able to fit inside the studio.  Long story short. Watson creamed the contestants.  I missed half of it putting the boys to bed, but what I did see was pretty amazing.

Last night we watched The Discovery Channel again and their was another show on computers, robots to be exact.  This time it highlighted different people in different organizations trying to do basically the same thing, but the robots in their designs look like humans for humans.  These robots are being made to do human jobs, like get this taking care of our elderly, or babysit our children.  I'm sorry, but I have a major problem with this.  Making robots that look like humans to care for humans.  Hello, people need HUMAN interaction for a reason.  I don't care how wonderful the robot is, it's not human, and can never relate to a human the way a human needs a human to relate to them. And there is majorly something wrong with a society that has robots taking care of our young and old.  Sound like there is a novel in there.  If you want it take it, not my thing.

Where do you stand on the subject?  Tell me, I'm curious!