Monday, June 27, 2011

Requiem for a dream

Rachel Maddow had a segment analyzing the history and ultimate failure to pass The Dream Act, which was supposed to help people who came into this country as kids but through no fault of their own are illegal aliens. Sometimes this kind of stuff is kind of abstract, so she followed it with this segment of an outstanding individual who had been caught in this same dilemma:

I think the parallels to the more traditional coming out story were strong and well used to illustrate the point, and both Maddow and her guest, Jose Antonio Vargas had some reason to understand that. The website that they mention is   Define America .

Friday, June 24, 2011

Brazil--Where the Nuts Come From

That's not an aspersion on Brazil, that's a line from the famous comedy, Charlie's Aunt. And even though it's going to hurt my own chances of winning a trip there, I thought I'd put up a mention of this great contest the Union of Concerned Scientists are hosting. Take a look at their Climate  Hot Map (on their site, not this one) and then answer the questions here

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Khan Academy

Although I haven't really gotten on to watching The Colbert Report the way so many have, I did just watch several in a row last night, and came across this fascinating project. Salman Khan, who is one of those Ivy League smarties who ended up on Wall Street in hedge funds, began by offering his young relatives some short YouTubes on subjects he had already mastered, like physics and chemistry. The YouTubes spiraled, and Khan went on to make short segments on a variety of other topics, until there are currently 2100 such segments. The videos are all free and packed with content, have been funded by Bill Gates' foundation, and are already making their way as supplementary materials into school curricula.

So if there's maybe a subject or two that you slacked off on at school, here's your second chance. You will find the Khan Academy here.

And here's Colbert's interview with Khan:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Santa Cruz Boardwalk this past weekend

What can I say? I'm a sucker for flash mobs, and now one has hit my home turf...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Michael Shermer's Baloney Detection Kit

In trying to learn a bit more about the word 'quantum' today, I came across the video, which should stand us all in good stead, I think.

Personally, I think there are limits to the scientific mindset, but I think we need to at least have its methodology in mind before we claim to shatter them.