Friday, March 31, 2017

Cool Coin

There's no requirement that coins be round!

I'm not sure where, exactly, this coin is from, but it's dated 1975 (AD) and 1395 (AH).



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Modern Feminism

Logical, non-crazy equality for people—as a conservative of course I agree with that. But that’s not what feminism is anymore:
Liberal feminist aims gradually shifted from the position:

“Everyone deserves human rights and equality, and feminism focuses on achieving them for women.”

to

“Individuals and groups of all sexes, races, religions and sexualities have their own truths, norms and values. All truths, cultural norms and moral values are equal. Those of white, Western, heterosexual men have unfairly dominated in the past so now they and all their ideas must be set aside for marginalized groups.”

Liberal feminism had shifted from the universality of equal human rights to identity politics. No longer were ideas valued on their merit but on the identity of the speaker and this was multifaceted, incorporating sex, gender identity, race, religion, sexuality and physical ability. The value of an identity in social justice terms is dependent on its degree of marginalization, and these stack up and vie for primacy. This is where liberal feminism went so badly wrong. When postcolonial guilt fought with feminism, feminism lost. When it fought with LGBT rights, they lost too…

In addition to their failure to support the most vulnerable women in society, intersectional feminism cultivated a culture of victimhood, negatively impacting all women in society but particularly young women. Women are oppressed, we are told, by men explaining anything, spreading their legs on a train and committing vague sins like “expecting unequal amounts of emotional labour.” If they call out to us or proposition us, we should be terrified. If obnoxious men attempt to grope us or succeed, we have experienced an appalling sexual assault from which we may never recover. Not only are we oppressed by seemingly all men but by anyone expressing anti-feminist ideas or feminist ones we don’t like. More than this, we are rendered “unsafe” by them, particularly those women who are trans and may have to hear that a trans exclusionary radical feminist has said something in a place they don’t have to go to. It is hard to imagine how women manage to survive leaving the house at all…

I agree with Ayaan Hirsi Ali that western feminism needs to stop focusing on “trivial bullshit.” I don’t have a huge amount of sympathy for women who feel traumatized and excluded by scientists’ shirts or video games.

Orwellian Doublespeak

Orwell was the modern Nostradamus, he saw the future so clearly:
The left doesn't use fixed definitions, but rather uses propaganda terms that can be twisted and manipulated into anything they need them to be at any given time. It's like there isn't a single leftist in the world who owns a dictionary.

The latest example of this is actually a retread of a classic: professors at Wellesley College are claiming that non-politically correct speech is an abridgment of liberty:

In a faculty listserv message obtained by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the two-year-old Presidential Commission on Race, Ethnicity, and Equity said the  recently invited Laura Kipnis and previous controversial speakers were exhausting students with their offensiveness.

The six faculty on the women’s college commission cited the left-wing historian Jelani Cobb’s theory that certain ideas “impose on the liberty of another” if the person hearing those ideas is “relatively disempowered”...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

People Still Do This?

I'm surprised to learn that people still counterfeit coins:
The U.K.’s Royal Mint has released what it describes as the “most secure coin in the world.” The bimetallic £1 coin, which entered into circulation Tuesday, boasts a hologram-style image, micro lettering and a “hidden security feature” designed to beat counterfeiters...

Approximately one in 30 £1 coins in circulation is a counterfeit, according to the Royal Mint.
I'd think you'd want to counterfeit bills, which are worth much more, but then, I'm not a counterfeiter and obviously don't think like a counterfeiter.

And the last paragraph of the article is entertaining:
The U.K. is earning a reputation for innovation in currency technology. Last year the country introduced a new, highly durable “plastic” £5 bill, its first ever bill made from polymer. The bill, however, upset vegans when the Bank of England confirmed that it contains traces of animal fat in the form of tallow.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Priorities

If you think instead of just feel, you get some very interesting comments on this post from Joanne's.  Here's the thrust of the post:
“Close to two-thirds of community college students work to support themselves and their families while in school, and they may be facing homelessness and hunger,” write Collins and Vargas. “Many are single parents, and more than a third are the first in their families to attend college.”

Remedial reforms should include non-academic support services for low-income, first-generation and minority students, argues College Completion: Focus on the Finish Line, by the National Center on Developmental Education.
Here's the first comment.  It's not heartless, it's logical:
While I’m sympathetic to anyone struggling to keep body and soul together, I think it’s more than a little bit crazy to prioritize college in these situations. *First* you see that their physical needs are met, *then* you attempt to nurture their educational needs. To try and do both at once isn’t likely to work, IMHO. How in the world can someone who is worried about where their kid’s next meal is coming from possibly concentrate in a classroom? Lots of people can work their way through school, sure, but not when they are simultaneously the sole parent of young children. Has it become sacrilege to suggest that their first duty should be to the parenting of the children, with education delayed until that duty has been met?

Here’s a simpler statement of the problem: what is *my* obligation towards my fellow humans when they choose behaviors (such as having children and going to school) beyond their means? Are all of us charged with providing all of our fellow citizens with whatever means their lifestyles demand? If *I* want to drop everything and pursue a PhD, who supports me and my mortgage? Why are some animals more equal than others?

I’m willing to assume the obligation of supporting children, since they in no way caused the problem. Supporting the wildest dreams of their parents, however, seems impossible and plainly unfair.
The next several comments are in a similar vein.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

College and Career Readiness

If "equality" means everyone is equally dumb and unprepared, to heck with that kind of equality:
While ersatz “credit recovery” and grade inflation devalue the high school diploma by boosting graduation rates even as NAEP, PISA, PARCC, SAT, and sundry other measures show that no true gains are being made in student achievement, forces are at work to do essentially the same thing to the college diploma.

Observe the new move by CalState to do away with “remediation” upon entry to its institutions and instead to confer degree credit for what used to be the kinds of high-school-level content and skills that one had to master before gaining access to “credit-bearing” college courses.

The new term for these bridge classes for entering college students is “corequisite” and California isn’t the only place that’s using them. One study at CUNY—dealing with community colleges, not four-year institutions—says greater success was achieved when ill-prepared students were placed in “regular” college classes but given “extra support” than when they were shunted into “remediation.” Perhaps so. Perhaps placement tests aren’t the best way to determine who is actually prepared to succeed in “college level” work. But that’s not the same as saying—as CalState seems to be saying—that anyone emerging from high school, regardless of what they did or didn’t learn there, deserves entry into “regular” college classes.

That essentially erases the boundary between high school and college, and not in the good way being undertaken by sundry “early college” and “Advanced Placement” courses, the purpose of which is to bring college-level work into high schools. Now we’re seeing high-school-level work being brought into college, there to count for credit toward bachelor’s degrees.
But, equality!

I despise the term "college and career readiness", as if the two parts are synonymous.  One need not have completed Algebra 2, or a lab science, or a visual/performing art to be career ready, depending on the career.  Take a look at any list of what constitutes "college and career readiness", and you'll see it slants heavily to the college side.  Not everyone can or should go to college, and we (college graduates who work in education) do students a terrible disservice by, in effect, telling them that if they don't go to college, they're failures straight out of the gate.

Maybe, just maybe, many of the students in the article above shouldn't even be in universities in the first place (community colleges are the places for such students).  And Common Core standards, with their myriad misguided emphases, will only exacerbate the problem:
Vince Bertram, president and CEO of an organization called Project Lead the Way, argues that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos must focus less on controversial issues such as school choice and Common Core, and more on the goal of education — which he identifies as straight workforce-development. “DeVos’ most important task,” Bertram writes, “will be to cast a vision for what education can be for our next generation to meet the demands of a global economy.” He uses a litany of progressive-education buzzwords — “critical thinkers, collaborators, and problem solvers” — to describe the types of human products our schools must turn out for industry. If there is any other purpose to education, Mr. Bertram doesn’t acknowledge it.

But is developing a workforce for corporations what schools should be about? Such a constricted view of the purpose of education is in fact a central tenet of the utilitarian Common Core (to which standards Bertram’s organization aligns the curricula it creates), but it ignores the deeper purpose that underlies traditional, classical education. That purpose is to offer students the best in human thought so that they may assume their place as knowledgeable citizens, able to cultivate their own gifts and participate wisely in governing their society. It is to educate children so that they can appreciate life, understand others, and fully exercise their liberties.

Common Core’s “workforce development” view is less about education and more about training. The idea is to teach students skills that transfer directly to the modern world of work. By implication, anything that doesn’t contribute to that goal is less important and should be minimized if not discarded. It is the latest iteration of progressive education philosophy. But make no mistake about it, this is not the type of education to which elitist propagators of Common Core — people like Bill Gates or Barack Obama — subject their children. As Woodrow Wilson argued:
We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class… to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.
Bertram and Project Lead The Way apparently focus exclusively on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines. It’s thus ironic that they would support Common Core — which, as renowned mathematician Dr. James Milgram has repeatedly warned, is so deficient that it cannot prepare students for future STEM studies.
Common Core, coming as it did with a push from the Obama Administration, is fixed in concrete here in California. And of course, we teachers will be asked to jump through even more hoops to try to unscrew what the state government has screwed by adopting these standards, universities will twist into ever more elaborate contortions to keep paying but grossly under-prepared students in their seats.

Essentially, education in California is screwed.  Before too long I wonder if we'll be preparing kids for college or careers.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Results Are In

I scored 96% on my last test, after having failed (yes, literally got an F on) the homework set over the material covered on the test.  Even when I took the test I thought it was much easier than it could have been, which is why I was cautiously optimistic about getting a good grade.

I hope the roughest seas are behind me.  I didn't like experiencing a complete and total lack of clue.

Cool Coin

Fridays are now switching from "cool currency" day to "cool coin" day.

Coins aren't as easy to make "pretty" as paper money is--there just isn't as much room!  And today in the US, we have to have Liberty, In God We Trust, and United States of America on each coin.  Also, the denominations of all of our coins are spelled out in words--the coin says "quarter dollar", not "25 cents".  By the time you get through all that essay writing, there isn't much room left!  Some of our 50 State Quarters (and the 6 territory quarters) looked nice, but the side with Washington was just crowded with verbiage!  I do like our newest cent, though, with the shield on the reverse.  On the other hand, can you even tell me what's on the back of a dime?  And if you look, still I ask if you can tell me what's on the back of a dime!

Countries with monarchs--and even the Commonwealth, many of whose members still put the British monarch on their coins--essentially limit themselves to one side of a coin, since the monarch takes up the other side.  Still, there are many beautiful and interesting coins in the world, and you'd be surprised at what's displayed on them.

So with that introduction, here's our first "cool coin":


8 shillings from The Gambia, in western Africa.  The US quarter is used for size comparisons.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Got A Funny Email Today

I sent out a mass email today to the parents of about 100 of my students.  I told them that the most recent test scores had been entered (go check your kid's grades online!) and also mentioned that I'm legally required to notify them if I think their kids might fail, and suggested that if their student currently has under a 75% in class then it might be cause for concern (the final exam, which takes place in 2 months, is 20% of a student's overall grade).

One parent replied to me three times--each time suggesting, using slightly different terminology, that I'm, uh, a part of male anatomy.  The fourth email was apologetic and included what I call a "hummada-hummada", which is the act of trying to explain why you did something you're not supposed to do.  This parent tried to suggest that he/she thought he/she was responding to a different email, to someone with a name close to mine--despite the fact that the email I had sent was at the bottom of the three (three!) replies.  Far more likely is that the parent actually intended to call me such a name, but rather than forwarding my email--with genitalia commentary--to a friend (perhaps one with a similar name), hit "reply" instead.

This event has made for a great laugh.  I don't mind if someone thinks ill of me--I don't like everyone I have to deal with, either.  It's perfectly natural and OK.  What I found hilarious was the attempt to walk the insult back and the attempt at explaining what occurred.  Clearly this parent is mortified at having sent the emails (three of them!) to me instead of to a friend, and now is trying to cover his/her tracks.

And I just laugh.  It's a great story--better in person, though, because I have to clean it up a bit here and not put in any possibly-identifying remarks (hence, the non-gender-specific pronouns).  But this story was the Belle of the Lunch Table Ball today, that's for sure!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

They Must Really Think We're This Stupid

Here in California the sheeple will believe anything.  We teachers say we want our students to "think critically" but then we feed them crap like this and expect them to accept it unquestioningly.
One in five people in California do not have access to food every day. To help lower this rate we are asking people in the community to do what they can to help. The (school program name redacted--Darren) is holding a food drive starting March 23rd ending April 5th. Please bring non-perishable foods into your classroom, such as canned foods and grains. If you would like to donate perishable foods, such as fruits and vegetables, please bring them on the night of open house when we will be collecting food and monetary donations.
That was the first announcement in our school bulletin today.

Now, there's nothing wrong with having a food drive.  Charity is a wonderful thing, and dare I say it, is the Christian way to solve local problems.  But what's up with that first line?  Does anyone really believe it?

I would like to know the source of that statistic.  Yes, California has among the highest rates of poverty in the entire country.  However, our spending on health and human services is second only to our spending on K-12 education (click on Summary Charts here).  Our schools will feed poor kids not one but two meals a day, and we give parents EBT cards to buy food.  If there's any child that doesn't "have access to food every day", it's because of that child's parents' actions and not because of any lack of empathy in society.  You can't fix stupid.

In fact, genuine hunger is so rare now that activists had to create a new term, "food insecurity", in order to have something to rail against.  Isn't it funny how we can simultaneously have an obesity epidemic as well as one in five Californians' not having access to food every day?

I just don't believe the statistic.  I want some evidence.

But, because I'm open-minded and all, let's say the statistic is true.  Let's grant that one in five people in California do not have access to food every day.  Isn't that the most stinging indictment there is against the one-party-rule state that California has become?  What does it say about the socialist "6th largest economy in the world" if 20% of its people are going hungry?  What does it say about a state in which there is at most a single Republican serving in statewide office, and everyone else is a Democrat, socialist, or communist?

And why, if one in five people in California do not have access to food every day, does this state want to throw open the door to even more illegal aliens--who, I hope we can all agree, are probably the least likely people as a group to be able to support themselves?  Wouldn't welcoming more illegal immigrants just make the hunger problem in California worse?

This is the problem with today's Democrats.  Their views aren't even consistent.  They throw a bunch of crap on the wall, see what sticks, and hope we don't notice it's crap.  They're buffoons, and they're running this state into the ground--patting themselves on the back for their "progressive" views while doing so.

And they're brainwashing the kids to think that the pain caused by the broken arm they get from patting themselves on the back is a wonderful thing.

UpdateHere's a link I used previously, showing that health and human services gets more money in California than K-12 education does.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's A Good Start

I'm glad to see Harvard picking up the ball and running with it:
Eleven Harvard professors and one fellow have signed a statement affirming a commitment to engaging with—and opposing efforts to “silence”—those with opposing views.

The statement, entitled “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression” is co-authored by African and African-American Studies Professor Cornel West and Robert P. George, a Princeton professor. It was published on the program’s website on March 14, and over 600 professors, students, and college affiliates have signed the statement as of Sunday...

“It is all-too-common these days for people to try to immunize from criticism opinions that happen to be dominant in their particular communities,” the statement reads. “Sometimes this is done by questioning the motives and thus stigmatizing those who dissent from prevailing opinions; or by disrupting their presentations; or by demanding that they be excluded from campus or, if they have already been invited, disinvited"...

“This is an issue of broad national significance,” (former Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey) Flier said. “It really is pretty focused on the core issue of what should be the approach of the universities in particular to freedom of speech even on issues that would be seen as controversial or a source of major disagreement.”
I hope this message travels all the way to Berkeley, home of the campus free speech movement a generation or two ago but now home  to fascist attempts to stifle the free speech of those with whom the liberal students object.

California, the New--and Improved!--Lake Wobegon

How good is your neighborhood school?  Who the heck knows?
After three years without a school accountability system, California Superintendent Tom Torlakson lauded the California School Dashboard as “a high-tech report card for our schools.”

The new color-coded system “paints a far rosier picture than in the past,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

“Nearly 80% of schools serving grades three through eight are ranked as medium- to high-performing in the new ratings,” even though the majority of students failed to reach English and math standards in last year’s state testing, according to the Times‘ analysis. “More than 50 of those schools whose average math scores fell below proficiency receive the dashboard’s highest rating for math.”

Why? The dashboard combines achievement with growth.
I teach in a well-to-do area; our students are mostly going to do fine even if we teachers coast.  I like the old system, which can let you know if your school is coasting or not:
For years, the Academic Performance Index gave each school a number, based on test scores, and two decile ratings: Parents could see how the school compared statewide and to schools with similar demographics. It was possible to track improvement.
For years we were in the top couple of deciles--among the highest performing schools in the state. However, when compared to schools with similar demographics, we didn't look so good.  It was an eye-opener.

Now, who can tell?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Nazis

This struck home with me:
And note that the rank and file GOP – of numerous races and religions – were gathered in Saint Paul, Minnesota in early September of 2008 to nominate former war hero John McCain to be their presidential nominee, a man left permanently crippled after being tortured while a captive of real life national socialists in North Vietnam.

60 million people voted for John McCain. Another three million voted for Trump. If you believe they’re all Nazis and Klansmen, it might be time to open the airlock and leave the bubble for a while to see what lies outside the bio-dome. The first step is the hardest, but you might be surprised at what’s out there once you take it.

No Test Grade Yet From Last Thursday's Test

Still standing by, anxious as heck.

If nothing else, I'm sure I did better than the flunking grade I received on the homework assignment that was associated with the test.  Need a high test grade to balance out that low grade.

We shall see....

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How Does Someone Work In An Environment Like That?

My students may not all be going to Stanford, but most of them put forth some effort, even if only a little bit.  I'd feel helpless and hopeless if I had to teach more than one or two of these:
What I got was "I tried" - like that matters when you are unable to correct your erroneous attempts. So I drew the tree diagram. And he quit doing any work for the rest of the period.

I could not get him to see that 1) he needed to write it down 2) he needed to learn it and 3) there is no participation credit in his grade.
Teachers need to prepare high-quality lessons outside of class. But inside class, students need to be working harder than the teacher does.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Liberal Logic: Fix One Government-Caused Problem By Creating Another One

Why are housing costs in California "skyrocketing"?
Amid California's housing crisis, several state lawmakers want to give cities the ability to dramatically expand rent control, including imposing the kind of strict limits that once existed in Santa Monica and West Hollywood but have been barred since the 1990s.
Those who don't know economics are doomed to repeat the mistakes of other liberals. Don't forget this post.

What About Chocolate Milk?

What's scary is that this person expects to be taken seriously:
When you think of milk, what first comes to your mind? If you’re a millennial, you probably think of strong bones, Got Milk? commercials, or maybe eating your favorite cereal while watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. 

What about racism? White nationalism? If you’re having trouble finding the connection between these institutions and milk, you’re not alone. You, along with the rest of the nation, have been so accustomed to hearing the benefits of milk that you probably didn’t even realize the subtle racism hidden in our health facts. 

It may not surprise you that the United States was founded on racism. That every institution we uphold has racist roots that are sometimes difficult to catch and even harder to fight against. This phenomenon affects our voter ID laws, state testing and,  yes, even our federal dietary guidelines. But how can our health guidelines, a system meant to be built upon scientific fact alone, have racist messages? Where there is a deep-rooted tradition to suppress an entire race’s existence, there’s a way. 

The federal endorsement of milk in American diets contributes to the problem by uncritically pushing people to drink milk, despite the potential detriment it has on non-white people’s health.
Yes, it's scary that this person expects to be taken seriously.  What's worse is that I'm helping fund her so-called education.

I Absolutely Do Not Like Hearing This

Reports of sexual assaults increased at two of the three military academies last year and an anonymous survey suggests sexual misconduct rose across the board at the schools, The Associated Press has learned.

The new data underscore the challenge in stemming bad behavior by young people at the military college campuses, despite a slew of programs designed to prevent assaults, help victims and encourage them to come forward. The difficulties in some ways mirror those the larger military is struggling with amid revelations about Marines and other service members sharing nude photos on websites.

Assault reports rose at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, while dropping at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. The Air Force decline was sharp, going to 32 last year from 49 in 2015, contributing to an overall decrease in the overall number of reported assaults at the academies. The total reported cases fell to 86 from 91 in 2015, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.  link
This isn't good for anyone.  And it's just plain foul.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Interesting News

I don't have much bad to say about my principal.  Here's an email he sent to the staff today (Wednesday), which he gave me permission to post here but not until "it" is all over on Friday.  Note the professional tone, the lack of nagging, and the clear expectations:
Colleagues,

Some of you may be hearing that UCLA mens basketball team will be practicing on our site Thursday and Friday in preparation for their NCAA tournament games.  This is true, as I was visited by their CHP escort today to make sure they have smooth practices here this week.  With that being said,  I want to be clear that no student should be leaving your class for the purpose of trying to see the team or view practice.  Their practice is a private closed practice and no students or staff will be permitted to view it.  Thank you in advance for your help keeping the students where they belong on Thursday and Friday.
Pretty cool. Almost makes me wish I cared a whit about basketball :-)

Cool Currency

Unless I buy some more currency, this will probably be the last of my "cool currency" posts--and since my last post dealt with our friends to the south, this one will deal with our friends to the north.

Notes from Canada are not made of paper, but of a polymer--they don't rip, they'll survive in the washing machine, and they're hard to counterfeit since part of them is transparent.  Like the currency of so many other countries, each Canadian denomination has a different primary color:

click to enlarge

The $5 bill is blue, the $10 bill is purple, the $20 bill is green, for example.    Note the transparent strip as well as the maple leaf.

 Now I have to start some "cool coin" posts!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Took My Test Today

That homework set that I submitted incomplete because I just couldn't move forward on it?  I took a bigger hit on it that I expected to.  A much bigger hit.  Today I took the test over that material.  I'm cautiously optimistic, predicting a B or higher.

Putting the Pedal to the Metal on the Road to Cuckoo-Town

Just what you'd expect from the Kalifornia People's Socialist Republik:
In his 2018 bid for governor of California, Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told the the Sacramento Bee he'll propose a universal healthcare system for the state, a response to ongoing efforts by President Trump and the Republican-led Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act.
You can see that, currently, "health and human services" already takes about 30% of our state budget--the largest share, even larger than K-12 education.  How much more would a single-payer health care system cost, and where would the money come from?  Those things don't matter, as we'll no doubt pay not in dollars but in unicorn farts and pixie dust.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Changing the Constitution, One Man's Story

I remember when this amendment was finally passed but didn't know the back story:
The story begins in 1982. A 19-year-old sophomore named Gregory Watson was taking a government class at UT Austin. For the class, he had to write a paper about a governmental process. So he went to the library and started poring over books about the U.S. Constitution — one of his favorite topics...

Gregory was intrigued. He decided to write his paper about the amendment and argue that it was still alive and could be ratified. He got to work, being very meticulous about citations and fonts and everything. He turned it in to the teaching assistant for his class -- and got it back with a C...

He appealed the grade to the professor, Sharon Waite.

“I kind of glanced at it, but I didn't see anything that was particularly outstanding about it and I thought the C was probably fine,” she recalls.

Most people would have just taken the grade and left it at that. Gregory is not most people.

“So I thought right then and there, ‘I'm going to get that thing ratified.’”
And he did.  Go read the story to find out what effort it took!
And with the benefit of hindsight, Sharon says, Gregory clearly doesn’t deserve that C she gave him.

“Goodness, he certainly proved he knew how to work the Constitution and what it meant and how to be politically active,” she says. “So, yes, I think he deserves an A after that effort -- A+!”

And that’s exactly what happened.

This month, Sharon signed a form to officially change the grade. At the Pop-Up Magazine show at the Paramount Theatre in Austin on March 4, we brought Gregory up on stage to surprise him with the grade change.
Isn't there a similar story about the man who founded FedEx?  The answer is "maybe".

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wanna Know How Stressful My Day Was Today?

I'm going to tell you what a stressful day I had.

I didn't sleep much last night.  It was after midnight and I was still staring up at the ceiling.  None of the usual tricks worked, although I admit I didn't think to take a Nyquil.  Not sleeping certainly didn't help my stress level today.

I was so stressed today that the most relaxing part of my day was lying back in the dentist's chair while the tech cleaned my teeth.  Seriously.

I'm going to try to go to sleep now.

Monday, March 13, 2017

You Can't Take The Left's Drama Seriously

Cut/pasted directly from Instapundit:

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:
● Snoop Dogg Shoots Clown That Looks Like Donald Trump In New Video.
Red State.com today.
Snoop Lion Explains Anti-Violence Song ‘No Guns Allowed:’
In many ways, Snoop Lion is the antithesis to Snoop Dogg. The Reincarnated rapper’s new song “No Guns Allowed” featuring his daughter Cori B and Drake counters his 1992 debut on Dr. Dre’s “Deep Cover” where he boasts, “I got the gauge, a uzi and the motherf—king 22.”
The release from his forthcoming reggae album offers a message of non violence.
Rolling Stone, March 25, 2013.

And thus we plunge further into what Michelle Malkin dubbed “The Return of Assassination Fascination” in mid-November, the return of the presidential assassination-obsessed pop culture that existed from the end of 2000 to the end of 2008, after all the left’s promise of a new civility, which lasted, oh, about a week and a half in January of 2011.
They don't mean what they say.  It's all agitprop and theater for them, nothing more.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We're #1!

Yay!  California has the highest state income tax rate in the entire country!

Perhaps I'd be more proud if we had the best roads, the best water storage, the best dams, the best schools, the best....

Not My Idea of an Ideal Weekend

My sister took me to brunch yesterday--win!

Several of us from work met for dinner last night and one of the teachers picked up the tab--win!

So that's the good.  Here's the not-so-good.

We met for dinner last night because we all had to work at the school dance.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes working at school dances.  The sweat, the smell, the noise, the desperation, the hootchie-mama dresses the girls all wear now--nobody likes working at school dances.

And then there's the switch-over to daylight savings time.  Always an unpleasant experience.

And in a few hours I have to go back to school to meet with our visiting accreditation team. 

And when I get home from that I have to study for a test in my master's class.

I would actually look forward to Monday, but tomorrow I have to give up my prep period to meet with the accreditation team again!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

If Only This Would Really Happen

We can only dream:
We give up. You win. From now on, we’ll treat the animating ideal on which the United States was founded—out of many, one—as dead and buried. Federalism, true federalism, which you have vilified for the past century, is officially over, at least in spirit. You want to organize the nation around your cherished principle of states’ rights—the idea that pretty much everything except the U.S. military and paper currency and the national anthem should be decided at the local level? Fine. We won’t formally secede, in the Civil War sense of the word. We’ll still be a part of the United States, at least on paper. But we’ll turn our back on the federal government in every way we can, just like you’ve been urging everyone to do for years, and devote our hard-earned resources to building up our own cities and states. We’ll turn Blue America into a world-class incubator for progressive programs and policies, a laboratory for a guaranteed income and a high-speed public rail system and free public universities. We’ll focus on getting our own house in order, while yours falls into disrepair and ruin.

In short, we’ll take our arrogant, cosmopolitan, liberal-elite football—wait, make that soccer ball—and go home.
Really?  They’ll believe in the Constitution and not try to make the federal govt responsible for everything?  Count me in!!!

Here's a classic excerpt, showing the derision for anyone that doesn't think like the author:
Take Mississippi (please!), famous for being 49th or 50th in just about everything that matters. When it comes to sucking at the federal teat, the Magnolia State is the undisputed champ. More than 40 percent of Mississippi’s state revenue comes from federal funding; one-third of its GDP comes from federal spending; for every dollar it pays out in federal taxes, it takes in $4.70 in federal aid; one in five residents are on food stamps—all national highs. You people—your phrase, not mine—liked to bash Obama for turning America into what you derisively referred to as “Food Stamp Nation.” In reality, it’s more like Food Stamp Red America—something your Trump-loving congressmen will discover if and when they fulfill their vow to gut the program.
Proof positive that the author doesn't understand economics.  Believe it or not, people respond to economic incentives--even bad ones.  If "red states" completely eliminated welfare, for example--which, let's be honest, wouldn't happen, but let's assume the author's premise--welfare recipients would just move to a blue state, where the people would no doubt be happy to support them.  There's a reason that California has a full third of the nation's welfare recipients but 1/8 or so of the nation's population.

There's more like that in the article.  Conservatives should go read the whole thing and cherish the schadenfreude you experience just by knowing how much your very existence annoys the snot out of this author.  I know I'm cherishing. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cool Currency


It was only while looking through my currency that I noticed the relationship between these two notes from Mexico.  Inflation had gotten out of hand in Mexico, so they lopped three zeroes off the peso notes and called them new pesos:

click to enlarge

Beautiful Sonoran Desert scene.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

No Fields Medal, But...

The Fields Medal is to math people what the Nobel Prize is to other scientists.  It can be a big deal.  And no, I'm not going to get one.

But this morning I felt like a math guy.  I was studying for my cumulative final exam, which I have to take in 5 weeks or so, when I came across the proof that there are an infinite number of prime numbers.  It's a fairly simple proof to understand, but then it led me to a realization--aren't all consecutive whole numbers relatively prime?

Logically, it would make sense that they are.  But then I thought I could prove it.  A couple minutes later and I was done!  Assuming I didn't make an error in my proof, I proved my assertion.  QED.

Now, I'm not going to assert that I'm the first human ever to figure this out.  For all I know, this "theorem" is so well known that it has a name!  But I don't recall that I've ever in my life heard this--yet I came up with it on my own, and then proved it. 

Given the rough time I've had in my current master's course, it feels good to have accomplished something mathematical lately!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Time To Move On

For those of you who have been following my travails in my current master's course:

I now have the answer key.  Time to start figuring out what I was supposed to know before I submitted the assignment.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Here Comes My Girl

I came across this list of lesser known but good Tom Petty songs--and I knew only a couple, mostly because most of this list is newer music (and I'm pretty much not listening to new, or even much, music anymore).  I was a Tom Petty fan in high school and was in heaven during his Super Bowl halftime performance a few years ago--but I pretty much haven't listened to much of his music after the album Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) in 1987.

If I had to identify my favorite Tom Petty song, though, it's probably this one off Damn The Torpedoes:

Compromise

For the past few years I've taught only two courses--pre-calculus (incl. trig) and statistics.  As I'm our school's only stats teacher, I make all the decisions myself.  It might be nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of, but I end up doing ok.  I share pre-calculus with another teacher, though, and since the latest push is "equal educational experience", or something like that, we try to make our classes as much alike as possible.  So far that means collaborating on quizzes and tests, as well as giving them on the same day as each other.  It will mean more as time goes on.

The other teacher has a different philosophy of testing than I do.  He's more flexible than I am on the topic, though, so thankfully he compromises more than I do!  He used to give 2-day tests, now we give 1-day tests, for example.  And in many cases I come up with the problems, he types up the test or quiz, and then I format how I like (I like a definite place in which to put the answer, for example).  Then we give the assessment.

Recently we've been covering trigonometric sum and difference identities, double-angle and half-angle identities, and the like.  He's always been one to require students to memorize the formulas, whereas I'm not one much for memorizing things that students will use only once.  I can tell he didn't like compromising on that point, so I threw him a bone:  what if, instead of a bonus question on the test, we give bonus points if students opt to take the test without using the list of identities?  He liked it, we agreed on his determination of how many "bonus" points to grant for doing so, and that was that.

Compromise.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Not Really Satisfied With The Answer

Last night, 5 days after I emailed a request for help/clarification, I got a response from my professor.  I shouldn't fault him for effort, as it's clear that he spent a lot of time and effort on his response.  The problem is that he didn't answer my very specific questions.  In other words, he didn't clarify what I needed clarifying.  He answered in many of the same generalities that currently have me entirely lost.

So now comes the calculus.  I know students do this all the time, make calculated trade-offs in order to get the best possible return given non-ideal circumstances.  I think I'll give the homework one more try, and then I'll just turn it in with the 40% of the problems I have absolutely no clue about undone.  Then he'll send me the solution key for the homework, and from that perhaps I will be able to divine some of the clue I'm looking for--because right now I'm clueless.  I think that's my best shot right now at not entirely bombing the unit test.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Lefties are Fascists

I'm not going to add anything to these pictures.

If you think it's OK to physically assault people who think differently than you do, then you are by definition a fascist.

If you're going to try to explain or justify what these fascists do, I want nothing to do with you.  You are subhuman.

Remember, my side likes the 1st Amendment and the 2nd Amendment.  You'll keep attacking the peaceful, unarmed people because you're cowards.  Much like the Japanese in WWII, though, you won't like the results when you awaken the sleeping giant.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

How I Spent A Few Hours Today

This past week one of my students repeatedly asked me if I'd attend the JV baseball game, against one of our rivals, at Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats.  How could I not go?

I arrived just as our first batter was up.  We took an early 2-0 lead, then went down 7-2.  We were at bat in the top of the 7th (the last inning), and then, with bases loaded, got a walk.  7-3.  And another walk.  7-4.  And another walk!  7-5.  Still, of course, with bases loaded.

We lost 7-5, but what an exciting 7th inning!  And I got a picture of each of my 3 JV players during the course of the game.

So that's how this teacher spent a few hours on a Saturday.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Struggle Worsens

The material we're currently studying in my math class is so far above me that, in an email to my instructor a few days ago, I remarked that "I don't even know what the answer should look like."

It's getting so bad that I'm actually entertaining the horrific possibility that I might not pass this course.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Iceland Pictures and Video--Gullfoss (the Golden Falls)

First, an R&B introduction (from the 90s):

Iceland has many spectacular waterfalls, but the one most tourists see is Gullfoss, on the "Golden Circle" Tour which includes the falls, the Geysir/Strokkur geysers, and a rift valley.  Gullfoss is beautiful, consisting of a shallow falls followed almost immediately by a deep falls that's at almost a 90 degree angle to the first!

First, some July 2015 video so you can see the greenery:
video
video

Didn't I say it was a beautiful falls?  Here is some video I took last week:
video

I have some more HD video, but the size limitations on Blogger prevent me from posting them here.  I'll post them on Vimeo and provide links.  It's over 200 MB of video I'll have to upload, so you'll probably have to wait until tomorrow to see them!

Until then, let's see Puffy and me at Gullfoss one more time :)

And of course we have to contrast it with a summer shot:

Update:  I didn't plan to stay up until the files uploaded, but I did--and here they are: