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Freedom for Who on the 4th

I really like TED Talks. I have a subscription, the app on my iPhone and an email subscription. Today is the 4th of July, the day we celebrate our countries birth and freedom from British rule. But, do we really believe in the ideals of freedom and treating all of our citizens as true Americans with the rights afforded by the Constitution? The following TED Talk made me think about that today. Are we a paranoid, politically correct country that believes in freedom if you are like us, not because you are an American?

Think about it, watch the video, what do think before and after watching it?


Tao_Te_ChingI’ve been thinking recently about my job, what I do and what I want to do. One thing that changed in the last year with my new/old position is that what I was doing changed. From projects and helping in schools when a tech was out, to working with instructional LMS, projects for the district, system administration of the LMS and of the district projects. I am studying for my MCSE to be completed by Thanksgiving.

It is a lot of cool things , but what this position has done is give me the opportunity to actually show what I could do. The responsibility that I could accept and get the job done. It has led to new found respect from others within the department and a feeling within myself of confidence that I previously lacked. I had to seek out the pat on the back in the past, whereas I now know that what I do is quality work that is appreciated.

That leads me to a position I am not used to, being wanted. While struggling with some thoughts, I decided to spend part of a day to pick up the “Tao Te Ching” and read it again. Chapter 66 is called Unimportance, it struck a chord that made everything come into sight clear as a mountain stream.

All the world says,
“I am important;
I am separate from all the world.
I am important because I am separate,
Were I the same, I could never be important.”

Yet here are three treasures
That I cherish and commend to you:
The first is compassion,
By which one finds courage.
The second is restraint,
By which one finds strength.
And the third is unimportance,
By which one finds influence.

Those who are fearless, but without compassion,
Powerful, but without restraint,
Or influential, yet important,
Cannot endure.

Should We Teach Algebra?

algebraI was looking something up and I ran across a opinion piece in the NY times called “Is Algebra Necessary?” I was shocked to read the nonsense babbled by the author that we don’t need Algebra as a subject in our schools as a requirement. Really, Are you listening to yourself Mr. Hacker? That is an appropriate name for this gentleman because it really is a poor point of view on his part. This is especially true because Mr. Hacker is a Professor of Political Science which is the one Science that you don’t have to be right because you make it up as you go in politics. Maybe if you cared more about the skills that Algebra teaches the Political Sciences would be more reasonable and you would see more conflicts settled with common sense problem solving skills. Today’s politicians do no problem solving, they just take sides and place their feet in cement.

I have only one point to make about teaching Algebra as a required course in High School and College. It teaches problem solving skills that are useful in every part of life. It makes you think, it makes you  take the time to try to figure something out. There are many studies that show taking more math actually helps in other subjects. One of which I wrote about some years ago “The secret to being good at Science: Take more Math classes”. It says it all. Anyone that thinks you can get by with just basic math in life needs to go back to school, sit in any class and tell me that you don’t see Algebra and its problem solving skills being used.

Right to Work Versus Right to Not Get Bitten While Working

bitingI have been watching intently what FIFA would do in regards to Luis Suarez biting an opponent for the third time in his career in a match. The penalty they handed down was a 9 game ban and 4 months of no contact with any formal soccer related activity. The 4 months runs concurrently with the 9 games and will run out basically the same time depending on how his national team does the rest of the World Cup. Now comes the appeals, whining and outrage from his team and countrymen.

While even the player he bit this time says the penalty is too long and the players union says that it deprives Suarez of his right to work they are off base on this. Lets examine the facts:

  • Biting is socially, and morally wrong. We teach our children to not bite because they do not know better. It is a reaction from the child part of our brain.
  • Medically a bite can transfer diseases from one person to the next. While he is an athlete and supposedly healthy, he does not know if he has an unknown virus or bacteria in his body that can be transferred via a bite in his saliva. If the person he bites gets sick or gets a disease then that is not something the person being bitten should have to worry about.
  • This is the workplace as they are calling it. Does anyone expect to go to work, sit in a meeting, disagree with someone’s proposal and get bitten? No they don’t and it should not be accepted in a sports workplace either.
  • There is no RIGHT to work. We have to work to pay for things to live in this world, but there is no right to work. You earn that right in an interview, in the job you do and how you behave within the work environment.
  • In the whole scheme of things this is Suarez’s 3rd offense for the same offense. He has not learned a lesson from any of the other sanctions, so something more severe needs to be done.

At the same time FIFA cannot turn a blind eye as the sanctioning body for Soccer and not think about the health and safety of ALL of its members, which Luis Suarez is. They need to have to think about his health and seek out a professional in the medical field to work with Mr. Suarez to help him understand why he reacts this way and how to avoid doing it in the future. If FIFA is not thinking about helping and supporting Mr. Suarez, then they are just as much to blame for his actions as he is. In fact, they will be to blame for any further misdeeds by Suarez because they did not treat the real problem, just a symptom.

Lets stop whining, move forward and help Luis Suarez.

UPDATE 6/29/14 – Luis Suarez last night said that he lost his balance and did not mean to bite his opponent. This shows in even clearer words that Suarez needs professional help. If he thinks that any panel or reasonable person, after watching the clip thinks he lost his balance then he is living in a world of denial. This is also supported by his complaining on the ground that he had been elbowed or shouldered in the face on purpose. The film clearly shows the collision, his gaining his footing, taking a step or two and lunging into his opponents shoulder for the bite. His opponent was going away from him and did not make a movement in his direction at all. The more Luis Suarez says, the more he places himself in a bad place and shows how much help he really needs.

Learning the Diabetic Spikes

TriscutsSince I have switched to strictly insulin, I have learned some valuable lessons about serving size and what spikes blood sugar. All doctors will tell you that you don’t have to stop eating sugar or sugar based products just because you are a diabetic. You have to learn how much to eat, in what portion and with what other combination of foods to fight the sugar overload that causes high blood sugar. Actually, for the most part a good, balanced diet will minimize the need to over use insulin to compensate for the high glucose levels.

Of course the need for exercise is important too, but that is another discussion. What I have found is that certain foods will nuke your blood sugar level even with an insulin injection. The reason is the serving size that the label states is not realistic to what any reasonable adult would eat. Examples are Wheat Thins which has a serving size of 16 pieces. Those 16 pieces have 21-22 grams of carbs (really sugars since carbs turn to sugar in the body) and who eats JUST 16 in one sitting? The same for Triscuts and Doritos who have serving sizes almost the same with of 7 and 11, but with the same amount of carbs. Geez, I love those Triscuts and Doritos so much that I think any normal person would eat half the bag in one sitting.

As for meal foods, unless you aren’t real hungry who can only eat 1-2 slices of pizza? To eat rice or spaghetti you can only eat two spoons full or you will need 20-30 units of carb covering insulin.

What have I done to combat these unrealistic serving sizes? The first is to eat a meal with high protein content to slow the ingestion of the sugar from the carbs. Taking the insulin 15 minutes before eating and adding the units needed to move my number from it’s before meal reading to 80 is another. The last thing besides exercise is that I skip the Wheat Thins, Triscuts, Doritos and full servings of Pasta. Remember, you don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Eat the right amount, leave the extra and ask for a take home box.

It’s up to you to make the right choices.

Canadian Olympic Sour Grapes

sour grapesSkating is just the gossip, spoiled sport. It hasn’t grown up at all, even after rewriting the scoring system after massive corruption. It seems that the Canadian Ice Dancing team is upset that their coach, spent more time with the winning American team. Also, Canadian skaters and fans are complaining that the scores were fixed.

Accusations from fans on social media and the Canadian press say that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were “robbed” of the gold medal in ice dancing. Read More Here

Well, no one, not the Americans said that in 2010 when the teams had the same coach and the medal places were reversed. Davis and White have spent 17 years together, they have worked extremely hard and have changed the sport. They skate so effortlessly and they skate flawlessly every time they skate. It comes from effort, determination and hard work. They were gracious 4 years ago, they learned a lesson and they worked hard to earn what they got. I watched the whole program and thought Virtue and Moir were extremely good, but I did not feel them as a couple, it was a great performance, but not something that just flowed. Watching Davis and White was like watching a couple as one. They flowed and made me feel a part of their performance.

It’s like performing a kata at a martial arts competition. You have to be the kata, you have to express it to the judges. They have to feel they are a part of the performance. I’ve won a fair share of trophies this way. I’ve had judges come up to me and tell me that they could feel me coming through the kata.

Sour Grapes, poor losers, call it what you want. You are never really a champion until you can lose graciously.

Are You Doing Incognito?

incogYesterday I wrote about Why Use Google+ in which I talked about why do we even use Google+. I definitely feel the ghost town effect at Plus, while using other sites to just push information to Plus for me. I could do it for other sites, but don’t because those sites are actually useful and user friendly. At the end of my post yesterday I told Google “if you want to know about me here it is.”

One of those things was that I browse private all the time using incognito mode with a shortcut on the desktop. Do you use Incognito? It’s easy, no tracking, no cookie saving, just a little work to get going with it. You create a link to Chrome on your desktop and add the –incognito parameter to the target in the shortcut properties you created on the desktop. The first time you open incognito you will need to enable the extensions that you wish to have enabled. Google lets you know that those extension can leave you open to some degree, so I recommend that you enable wisely. I enabled LastPass, AdBlock and AdBlockPlus, Gremilus for Gmail, Evernote Clipper, FlashBlock and Feedly. That covers all the things I do in Chrome on a regular basis:

  1. Passwords
  2. Blocking Ad’s
  3. Blocking Flash
  4. Mail
  5. Evernote for note keeping
  6. RSS reading

Each time I open Incognito I have to log into LastPass and it then will log me into every other page that needs a password. But, that is the price for private browsing and it’s not that big a price. If you can put up with that, you can enjoy private browsing in piece. In a future post I will add onto this with the use of Sandboxie, a virtual sandbox to keep the browser in it’s own safe area away from the rest of your system.

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Andrew is teaching Alex how to build the Mouse Trap game. Painting after dinner. Lego boy

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