Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Blog is Moving -->

I am defecting over to wordpress! So sorry blogger friends.

The wordpress features are just meeting my needs better at the moment.

You can read my new blog here:


I have... hmmm... at least one new post there and more to come; though, admittedly, it will be a work in progress for a while. I am also slowly but surely replacing the pictures since blogger compresses them more - they show up much clearer on wordpress.

I hope it is not too much to ask of you to visit a new location, perhaps you can get the RSS feed to help remember to check in :)

I also have a draft of some of the knitting projects I have been working on lately, that I will be hopefully posting soon.

Can't wait to see you over there.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Math Buskers Juggle Numbers On English Streets

Four Years. Go.

"A Campaign to Change the Course of History
FOUR YEARS. GO. is a campaign to catalyze and empower a fundamental shift in the direction of humanity, inspiring collaborative action, connecting individuals and organizations, and amplifying best practices and successes." - from the website.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ghosts of The War

Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov carefully photoshopped photographs from WWII into recently taken photos of the same location.

The effect is stunning and really brings history to life!

More of the photos can be seen here:


Thursday, July 22, 2010

3 April 1943 - 20 July 2010

Can you fix this? It's a broken heart.
It was fine, but it just fell apart.
It was mine, but now I give it to you,
Cause you can fix it, you know what to do.

Let your love cover me,
Like a pair of angel wings,
You are my family,
You are my family.

~ Pierce Pettis, Family

“Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” ~ Carl Sagan

In memory of my Dad
An Explorer's View of Life

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Nature of Existence

This looks fascinating. I wonder when it will be showing locally so I can see it?!


The Nature of Existence - Original Trailer from Roger Nygard.

Why do we exist and what are we supposed to do about it?  What started the Universe and was it a mistake?  Does God exist and why does he seem so interested in our sex lives?

I wrote the toughest 85 questions I could think of, about our purpose and the nature of existence, and then asked hundreds of people all over the globe, such as: Indian holy man Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (The Art of Living), evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), 24th generation Chinese Taoist Master Zhang Chengda, Stanford physicist Leonard Susskind (co-discoverer of string theory), wrestler Rob Adonis (founder of Ultimate Christian Wrestling), confrontational evangelist Brother Jed Smock, novelist Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), director Irvin Kershner (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), Stonehenge Druids Rollo Maughfling & King Arthur Pendragon and many more… How would YOU answer?
Roger Nygard

Friday, June 18, 2010

Painted Ladies

We have been learning about the butterfly life cycle, these last two weeks. We had some caterpillars in an aquarium which grew and fed and eventually progressed to the chrysalis stage. Today they have been emerging.

We saw one emerge but its wings were badly curled and didn't stretch out right away. 
Then it fell onto the bottom of the container, so I got it out and put it in our lilac tree on a flower.

But it flapped its curly wings and then fell out of the tree...it was in the grass on the edge of a recently dug up garden.

At that moment a second butterfly emerged and distracted us. Then when we looked back at the grassy place where the curly one fell, it was gone.

About an hour later we went out again to check and, yes! there was another butterfly that had emerged. We were looking at it and just then we noticed, in the grassy place where the curly one had fallen, was a perfectly formed butterfly stretching it's strong, straight wings.  

That perfect one is the one in the picture on the daisy. 


This is hilarious.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Möbius Strip Fun

I would like to leave this month off on a more positive note so here a few möbius treats.

This image is from the Autologlyphs website. Henry Segerman put the word möbius into a möbius strip. You will also find a cube cube, a torus torus and more.
This may be a little dry if you are not a knitter but I think it is pretty cool that it is possible to knit a seamless möbius strip.

And we can't leave this without Escher's ants and some related math: http://www.cut-the-knot.org/do_you_know/moebius.shtml


Friday, May 28, 2010

Road blocks to active living

*Sigh* well it has finally come down to it. I feel outright compelled to post a complaint. Sorry in advance.

Time and time again we have hit road blocks trying to raise healthy kids. These road blocks are put in place by well meaning adults. They say it is for our children's protection, but it is really about money and fear.

Very slowly the playground equipment from our neighbourhood park has been removed piece by piece and so there is less and less to do there. First the tire swing was taken, "In accordance with the CSA’s national guidelines... where play equipment requires repair, yet doesn’t meet current CSA standards, the component cannot be repaired and the subject piece is to be removed/dismantled," city workers informed us. Great! One of the rocking horses went next and finally the swings were taken. We heard from the city that someone was teaching their dog to chew on the swings so they removed them to repair the damage.

Well, the swings just got replaced but they only put back up 1/2 the number - again in accordance with new CSA guidelines. There are now 2 toddler swings and only one swing for older children. So this means no children over 3 can swing together at the park.

Ok, I can talk to the city about it and all of the park equipment is (wastefully) scheduled for replacement in 2012 anyway. Why the complaining blog post? You might ask. Well, this is a straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back of sorts. Several kids' athletic programs have also slowly been becoming more and more expensive due to rising insurance costs. This causes both less people to wanting to run them in the first place because of scary liability issues and expensive start up costs, and/or more people having to cancel them because they don't have enough participants who can afford to sign-up. 

Where have you CSA/insurance people been?! In case you haven't noticed, we have an obesity epidemic in North America!

CSA guidelines for park equipment is getting stricter and stricter and park equipment is gearing more and more toward toddlers (i.e. becoming less and less fun for the majority of children). At the same time rising insurance costs are preventing kids from accessing extracurricular active programs. No one wants to be held liable when a child is seriously injured and no one wants to have to face the resulting financial crisis.  Sports and active activities are "riskier" by nature and this fear of financial ruin is downright encouraging kids to live sedentary lives in front of screens.

Now here, I should explain that I am not condoning children getting needlessly hurt or risking their lives. I am also not blaming the city workers at all; they have no choice but to obey the legal guidelines. We are really quite lucky to have our neighbourhood park. It is one of the best around. Our park is bordered on one side by a caring neighbourhood and on the other by a beautiful river.  I am even grateful for some changes made to truly, senselessly hazardous playground equipment. But, at the same time, children need to live in the world. They need practice navigating difficult landscapes. If you lock them in a dark room until they are 20, yes they will survive, but you can't convince me that they've lived. 

It makes me wonder which has actually harmed kids more: falling off a tire swing/climber or not wanting to go to the boring park because sitting hours on end and experiencing adventures virtually is actually more exciting? There may be less broken arms this way, but then with that comes increased life-threatening obesity.

Thank goodness nature doesn't have to follow CSA guidelines or pay insurance.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Khan Academy

If you are interested in teaching or learning math or science and you don't know about Khan Academy, you should. It is very simple but fabulously helpful. Salman Khan "received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He also holds a Masters in electrical engineering and computer science, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and a BS in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" 1 and he has set out to tutor the world. He has put together over 1200 ten minute YouTube videos where he delves into math and science topics.

This collection of videos and exercises is the ultimate supplement or recap to math/science learning.  Even for me, I find if I have forgotten how to take a derivative or how did the Krebs cycle work again?, I can get a quick refresher by watching a video. 

check out his website at khanacademy.org

Here is an example of a video on dividing decimals:

Sir Ken Robinson reprise

Sir Ken Robinson presents a second brilliant TED talk about learning and education.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Musical High Jinks: Piano Stairs and Faerie's Aire

While performing on your stairs, be sure to note when to release the penguins... 

Saturday, May 15, 2010


We helped naturalize a local park this afternoon. We removed invasive species and planted a diverse compliment of trees. 

There are some activities involving hard work that kids throughly enjoy, and planting trees with friends at the park is definitely one of them.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Just breathe -

Important reminder for those stressful times...

<a href="http://zefrank.bandcamp.com/track/chillout">chillout by zefrank</a>

(visit the web page to hear the lovely story of how this was put together: http://www.zefrank.com/chillout/ )

A friend posted this on her blog and it was such a great song I had to repost.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Perfect Day for This...

It is 9°C outside and the wind is gusting to 46km/h.
I completely need one of these:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Running the Numbers

Running the Numbers is an art project conceived by Chris Jordan. He shares a way to look at society through statistics.

“Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on...This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the roles and responsibilities we each play as individuals in a collective that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.” ~Chris Jordan


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fixing Math

Dan Meyer, a highschool math teacher, discusses ways to fix how math is taught.


Visit Dan Meyer's Blog here:

He has his entire geometry supplemental curriculum posted there!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Planes vs. the Volcano

According to informationisbeautiful.net (as they have nicely diagrammed above), more CO2 was saved from Europe's cancelled plane flights than what Eyjafjallajökull emitted/day during the volcano's eruption!

Check out the data to see for yourself!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Caleb Charland: Where Art and Science Merge

It's been a busy day here and as the evening draws to a close, I didn't want to let the day end without passing along these fascinating photographs.

“The artwork I create combines my scientific curiosity with a constructive approach to making pictures. I utilize everyday objects and fundamental forces to illustrate my own experiences with wonder. Each photograph begins with the simple question "How would this look? Is that possible? What would happen if...?" and develops through a sculptural process of experimentation.” ~ Caleb Charland

See more here: http://www.calebcharland.com/

I love the Atomic Model and the Helix with Matchsticks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jamie Oliver: Watch the Talk, Sign the Petition

 A couple of months ago Jamie Oliver presented a fabulous TEDtalk about food education.

Now he has a campaign organized to promote food education and improve nutrition in school cafeteria's across the US.

Visit Jamie Oliver's website and sign the Petition, find recipes and cooking instructional videos, and learn more about nutrition and the food revolution.

Frog Season

Warmer spring weather means the frogs are spawning (and the mosquitoes are still in the larval stage).

It is a great time to spend an evening visiting riversides and wetlands and be serenaded by spring peepers and wood frogs.

Here are some frog-related resources:
WWF Wild Finder
Frog Spotter Game
All About Frogs: Lessons and Activities
Wikipedia: Spring Peeper
Frogland: Childrens Frog-Related Crafts and Activities
National Geographic: Poison Arrow Frog Mystery

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Join the Zooniverse

At Zooniverse you can help real scientists learn about the universe. Telescopes are pulling in huge amounts of data and the human brain is better than computers for classifying galaxies and spotting supernovas.
photo source: NASA and ESA

The first Zooniverse project, Galaxy Zoo has provided “many unique scientific results, ranging from individual, serendipitous discoveries to those using classifications that depend on the input of everyone who's visited the site.”

This is a fabulous homeschooling project because it provides kids an opportunity to participate in real scientific research.

And if that is not enough incentive, “To encourage you to keep clicking, [Galaxy Zoo is] still giving away individual prizes to one person at random for each collection of 250,000 classifications.”

Math, from Basic to Baffling

Back near the end of January, Steven Strogatz, a professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, began a fabulous math column for the New York Times.

He says he'll cover topics from “pre-school to grad school.” So far the topics are fascinating.

“The goal is to give you a better feeling for what math is all about and why it’s so enthralling to those who get it.”

You can read through his math columns here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010