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Let’s start with the “math reform” debacle. For many years there has been a growing awareness that something is rotten in the state of mathematics education. Studies have been commissioned, conferences assembled, and countless committees of teachers, textbook publishers, and educators (whatever they are) have been formed to “fix the problem.” Quite apart from the self-serving interest paid to reform by the textbook industry (which profits from any minute political fluctuation by offering up “new” editions of their monstrosities), the entire reform movement has always missed the point. The mathematics curriculum doesn’t need to be reformed, it needs to be scrapped.

All this fussing and priming about which “topics” should be taught in what order, or the use of this notation instead of that notation, or which make and model of calculator to use, for god’s sake — it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! Mathematics is the music of reason. To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture, intuition and inspiration; to be in a state of confusion — not because it makes no sense to you, but because you gave it sense and you still don’t understand what your creation is up to; to have a breakthrough idea; to be frustrated as an artist; to be awed and overwhelmed by an almost painful beauty; to be alive damn it.

Paul LockhartA Mathematician’s Lament p.36-37 Mathematics in School (via scinerds)

This was one of the books I finished up during the tech break I had. It’s a very refreshing and interesting look into the world of real mathematics as opposed to what traditional educational systems like to pass up as math as lamented through the mind of a mathematician. As someone who has always said things like “Math just isn’t for me” or “I hate math” this was one of my favorite books about math and actually activated an interest in math that no math teacher could ever do for me during my time in grade school all throughout college. It had me wanting to give math another try the minute I finished it. I recommend this book to anyone who likes the sound of “Math is an art, the mind’s way of saying ‘I’m just playing around’”.

(via ikenbot)

thescienceofreality:

Thriving since 1960, my garden in a bottle: Seedling sealed in its own ecosystem and watered just once in 53 years.

To look at this flourishing mass of plant life you’d think David Latimer was a green-fingered genius. Truth be told, however, his bottle garden – now almost in its 53rd year – hasn’t taken up much of his time. In fact, on the last occasion he watered it Ted Heath was Prime Minister and Richard Nixon was in the White House.

For the last 40 years it has been completely sealed from the outside world. But the indoor variety of spiderworts (or Tradescantia, to give the plant species its scientific Latin name) within has thrived, filling its globular bottle home with healthy foliage.

Yesterday Mr Latimer, 80, said: ‘It’s 6ft from a window so gets a bit of sunlight. It grows towards the light so it gets turned round every so often so it grows evenly. ‘Otherwise, it’s the definition of low-maintenance. I’ve never pruned it, it just seems to have grown to the limits of the bottle.’ 

The bottle garden has created its own miniature ecosystem. Despite being cut off from the outside world, because it is still absorbing light it can photosynthesize  the process by which plants convert sunlight into the energy they need to grow.”

So how does it work exactly?

Bottle gardens work because their sealed space creates an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem in which plants can survive by using photosynthesis to recycle nutrients.

The only external input needed to keep the plant going is light, since this provides it with the energy it needs to create its own food and continue to grow.

Light shining on the leaves of the plant is absorbed by proteins containing chlorophylls (a green pigment).

Some of that light energy is stored in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that stores energy. The rest is used to remove electrons from the water being absorbed from the soil through the plant’s roots.

These electrons then become ‘free’ - and are used in chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, releasing oxygen.

This photosynthesis process is the opposite of the cellular respiration that occurs in other organisms, including humans, where carbohydrates containing energy react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, water, and release chemical energy.

But the eco-system also uses cellular respiration to break down decaying material shed by the plant. In this part of the process, bacteria inside the soil of the bottle garden absorbs the plant’s waste oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide which the growing plant can reuse.

And, of course, at night, when there is no sunlight to drive photosynthesis, the plant will also use cellular respiration to keep itself alive by breaking down the stored nutrients.

Because the bottle garden is a closed environment, that means its water cycle is also a self-contained process.

The water in the bottle gets taken up by plants’ roots, is released into the air during transpiration, condenses down into the potting mixture, where the cycle begins again.”

Read more…

Simple explanation of how Jellyfish (español: Medusa) sting. Absolutely fascinating!

astronomy-to-zoology:

How Do Jellyfish Sting?

the science of cnidocytes and nematocysts

jellyfish don’t sting through electricity or by touch. Jellyfish sting through a special type of cell called a Cnidocyte, there are three types of cnidocytes currently known. Spirocysts which entangle their prey, Ptychocysts which build tubes for tube anemones and the most well known Nematocysts. Nematocysts consist of a toxic barb which is coiled on a thread inside the cindocyte, when triggered the barb is ejected almost instantly taking only 700 nanoseconds to fire and firing with a force of five million g’s. A cindoctye can only fire once, and must be replaced when fired a process that could take 2 days.

Source,Source

Paul Stamets at Bioneers (2011)

Presenting solutions for cleaning up petroleum spills and nuclear accidents, replacements for antimicrobial drugs; treatment against flu, pox, herpes, cancer, etc. and pest control that effectively renders chemical pesticides obsolete.

ikenbot:

5 Mayan Apocalypse Myths Debunked


  On Friday, Dec. 21, some say, the Mayan apocalypse will arrive and the world will end. Fortunately, it won’t.
  
  A bold claim, we know, but if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us. The space agency has already issued a press release dated Dec. 22 entitled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.”
  
  The Mayan apocalypse predictions arise from a misunderstanding of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, which wraps up a 400-year cycle called a b’ak’tun on Dec. 21, 2012, the day of the winter solstice. This just so happens to be the 13th b’ak’tun in the calendar, a benchmark the Maya would have seen as a full cycle of creation.
  
  Did you catch that? Cycle. In other words, the Maya had a cyclical view of time and would not have seen the end of their calendar cycle as the end of the world. It wasn’t until Westerners began reinterpreting the calendar in the past couple decades that it got its apocalyptic overtones.
  
  Mayan apocalypse rumors have proliferated on the Internet, running the gamut from beliefs that Dec. 21 will bring a new era of peace and universal understanding to predictions of a devastating astronomical event. We’re all in favor of world peace, but we’re here to put your fears to rest about the likelihood of planetary annihilation. Read on for five common Mayan apocalypse fears and why they won’t come true.
  
  Prediction 1: The sun will kill us all
  
  Much has been made by Mayan doomsday fear-mongers of the fact that the sun is currently entering a maximum activity phase. The sun rotates through periods of quiet and activity that peak roughly every 11 years; active periods are marked by an increase in solar storms and flares.
  
  Some of these flares can indeed influence Earth. When the sun releases electromagnetic particles in such a way that they interact with our atmosphere, solar storms can disrupt telecommunications, though there are ways to protect satellites and other electronics. These charged particles are also responsible for the aurora — the Northern and Southern Lights.
  
  Predictions of a Dec. 21 solar storm that will devastate the planet are not based in reality, according to NASA scientists. This particular solar maximum is one of the “wimpiest” in recent history, according to NASA heliophysicist Lika Guhathakurta, who spoke during an online panel on the Mayan apocalypse on Nov. 28. In other words, scientists have no reason to expect solar storms capable of disrupting our society.
  
  Prediction 2: The Earth’s magnetic poles will flip-flop
  
  What is it with the Mayan apocalypse and electromagnetism? This rumor holds that the North and South Poles will suddenly and catastrophically change places on Dec. 21.
  
  The idea isn’t as totally leftfield as it sounds: The Earth’s magnetic field does actually flip-flop occasionally, though not in the course of a day. The pole swaps happen over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, according to NASA. The switching of magnetic poles could lead to a slight increase in cosmic radiation, but previous flip-flops have not disrupted the life seen in the fossil record.
  
  Predicting the magnetic-pole switch is also tough. The last swap occurred about 780,000 years ago, which puts the planet about due for another change in the next several thousand years. However, there has been at least one period where the magnetic poles stayed put for 30 million years.
  
  Prediction 3: Planet X will collide with Earth
  
  Planet X, sometimes known as Nibiru, does not exist. Nevertheless, some doomsday theorizers have predicted that on Dec. 21, this “rogue planet” will slam into Earth, annihilating all life.
  
  Planet X rumors got their start in 1976, when the late author Zecharia Sitchin claimed to have translated a Sumerian text to rediscover the lost planet Nibiru, which allegedly orbits the sun once every 3,600 years — supposedly explaining why modern man and telescope had failed to notice this planetary neighbor. In 2003, self-described psychic and alien-channeler Nancy Lieder warned that this planet would collide with Earth. When that didn’t happen, the date got pushed back to 2012 to coincide with Mayan apocalypse myths.
  
  Of course, a planet set on a collision course with Earth in mere days would be extremely visible to the naked eye. In fact, Nibiru should have shown up as nearly as bright as Mars in the night sky by April 2012, if that scenario were true. Given NASA’s capacity to peer into deep space, a nearby planet headed for Earth is not going to escape detection.
  
  “We would have seen it years ago,” said Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object program office in Pasadena, Calif.
  
  Prediction 4: The planets will align
  
  Another fear is that the planets will align on Dec. 21, somehow impacting our planet. This one is easy to debunk. Take it away, NASA:
  
  “There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades,” according to the space agency’s 2012 doomsday myths webpage. “Even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible.”
  
  There have been planetary alignments in 1962, 1982 and 2000, according to NASA, and we’re all still here.
  
  Prediction 5: Total Earth blackout
  
  This rumor, circulating in spam emails, claims that NASA is predicting a total Earth blackout between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25. Way to ruin Christmas!
  
  Some emails claim that this blackout will occur as the result of the sun and Earth aligning for the first time, while others spin a wild tale about Earth entering “a still ring” called the Photonic belt. Whatever the alleged cause, this is simply not going to happen, according to NASA.
  
  “There is no such alignment,” agency officials write.

ikenbot:

5 Mayan Apocalypse Myths Debunked

On Friday, Dec. 21, some say, the Mayan apocalypse will arrive and the world will end. Fortunately, it won’t.

A bold claim, we know, but if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us. The space agency has already issued a press release dated Dec. 22 entitled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.”

The Mayan apocalypse predictions arise from a misunderstanding of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, which wraps up a 400-year cycle called a b’ak’tun on Dec. 21, 2012, the day of the winter solstice. This just so happens to be the 13th b’ak’tun in the calendar, a benchmark the Maya would have seen as a full cycle of creation.

Did you catch that? Cycle. In other words, the Maya had a cyclical view of time and would not have seen the end of their calendar cycle as the end of the world. It wasn’t until Westerners began reinterpreting the calendar in the past couple decades that it got its apocalyptic overtones.

Mayan apocalypse rumors have proliferated on the Internet, running the gamut from beliefs that Dec. 21 will bring a new era of peace and universal understanding to predictions of a devastating astronomical event. We’re all in favor of world peace, but we’re here to put your fears to rest about the likelihood of planetary annihilation. Read on for five common Mayan apocalypse fears and why they won’t come true.

Prediction 1: The sun will kill us all

Much has been made by Mayan doomsday fear-mongers of the fact that the sun is currently entering a maximum activity phase. The sun rotates through periods of quiet and activity that peak roughly every 11 years; active periods are marked by an increase in solar storms and flares.

Some of these flares can indeed influence Earth. When the sun releases electromagnetic particles in such a way that they interact with our atmosphere, solar storms can disrupt telecommunications, though there are ways to protect satellites and other electronics. These charged particles are also responsible for the aurora — the Northern and Southern Lights.

Predictions of a Dec. 21 solar storm that will devastate the planet are not based in reality, according to NASA scientists. This particular solar maximum is one of the “wimpiest” in recent history, according to NASA heliophysicist Lika Guhathakurta, who spoke during an online panel on the Mayan apocalypse on Nov. 28. In other words, scientists have no reason to expect solar storms capable of disrupting our society.

Prediction 2: The Earth’s magnetic poles will flip-flop

What is it with the Mayan apocalypse and electromagnetism? This rumor holds that the North and South Poles will suddenly and catastrophically change places on Dec. 21.

The idea isn’t as totally leftfield as it sounds: The Earth’s magnetic field does actually flip-flop occasionally, though not in the course of a day. The pole swaps happen over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, according to NASA. The switching of magnetic poles could lead to a slight increase in cosmic radiation, but previous flip-flops have not disrupted the life seen in the fossil record.

Predicting the magnetic-pole switch is also tough. The last swap occurred about 780,000 years ago, which puts the planet about due for another change in the next several thousand years. However, there has been at least one period where the magnetic poles stayed put for 30 million years.

Prediction 3: Planet X will collide with Earth

Planet X, sometimes known as Nibiru, does not exist. Nevertheless, some doomsday theorizers have predicted that on Dec. 21, this “rogue planet” will slam into Earth, annihilating all life.

Planet X rumors got their start in 1976, when the late author Zecharia Sitchin claimed to have translated a Sumerian text to rediscover the lost planet Nibiru, which allegedly orbits the sun once every 3,600 years — supposedly explaining why modern man and telescope had failed to notice this planetary neighbor. In 2003, self-described psychic and alien-channeler Nancy Lieder warned that this planet would collide with Earth. When that didn’t happen, the date got pushed back to 2012 to coincide with Mayan apocalypse myths.

Of course, a planet set on a collision course with Earth in mere days would be extremely visible to the naked eye. In fact, Nibiru should have shown up as nearly as bright as Mars in the night sky by April 2012, if that scenario were true. Given NASA’s capacity to peer into deep space, a nearby planet headed for Earth is not going to escape detection.

“We would have seen it years ago,” said Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object program office in Pasadena, Calif.

Prediction 4: The planets will align

Another fear is that the planets will align on Dec. 21, somehow impacting our planet. This one is easy to debunk. Take it away, NASA:

“There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades,” according to the space agency’s 2012 doomsday myths webpage. “Even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible.”

There have been planetary alignments in 1962, 1982 and 2000, according to NASA, and we’re all still here.

Prediction 5: Total Earth blackout

This rumor, circulating in spam emails, claims that NASA is predicting a total Earth blackout between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25. Way to ruin Christmas!

Some emails claim that this blackout will occur as the result of the sun and Earth aligning for the first time, while others spin a wild tale about Earth entering “a still ring” called the Photonic belt. Whatever the alleged cause, this is simply not going to happen, according to NASA.

“There is no such alignment,” agency officials write.

This is helpful when developing a single page JavaScript application. Basically, rewrite all URLs to the index.html page. The JavaScript client-side routing code will then display the appropriate view based on the path.

I had originally thought Banksy was a name, but recently I have seen it being used as a term.  Info on the web would suggest that the masses now believe the artist known as Banksy is now seen as cheap and a sell out. I’ve seen some of his/her works. Looks good to me and I see no signs of government/capitalist buy-in.

Using a “what if” strategy can help you cope with building regrets. My move to freelance has definitely helped me to pursue the things that make me tick. And it gives me the opportunity to think of “what if” circumstances that I probably never would have thought of in a career situation.