February 27, 2003

Recent Finds

Cool things seen recently online:

If you liked the movie Charly, or the short story Flowers for Algernon, you'll love Schrödinger’s Iraq.

Deepak Chopra has had the same inspiring thought that hit me a week ago: send the Pope and the Dalai Lama to Baghdad as a way to stop the bombing. What better way to demonstrate ones point of view?

Even some conservatives are getting uncomfortable with the current worldview in Washington. See
The Madness of Empire for a description of how the PNAC, a relatively obscure think tank, has hijacked national policy.


February 26, 2003

More on Introverts

Here's a great little dictionary showing the differing worldviews of introverts vs. all those other windbags.

My Next Phone

I don't use my cellphone all that much except when I'm on the road and reluctant to pay the exhorbitant rates that hotels ask for long distance calls. I guess I haven't crossed over the line where one becomes cell-dependent. This, though, might pull me across that Rubicon. The SonyEricsson P800 has been talked about and longed for among the technoliterati for a year now, and it's finally shipping. CNET likes it, and those who already have one are effusive. Surfing the web from the car? Taking pictures of each day's random events? Having all my phone numbers in my hand? Yeah... I can get into this. I'll wait a bit longer to see how the synching with OSX pans out, and who rolls out the best plan. Can't wait.


February 23, 2003

Recent Finds

I haven't had much surfing time lately, but here are a few things that have caught my eye.

  • Caring for Your Introvert from The Atlantic. Describes how society so cruelly misconstrues us.
  • Free Online Spanish Lessons - Nicely done in Flash. A teaser for a boatload of CDROMs that I'm tempted to get.
  • The Classical Language Instruction Project at Princeton - Hear Homer, Plato, Virgil and others in the original Greek and Latin.
  • Improving Hill Tribe Education with Solar Power - The chronicle of an IQP (interactive qualifying project) of a student at WPI, my alma mater. It tickles me to see that IQPs are still going strong, as helping faculty figure out what they were was my first post-Peace Corps job in the 70s. What an adventure for a college kid!
  • The Republic of Cascadia - A not-too-serious call for a new nation made up of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. It's interesting to wonder, though, when the map of North America will be redrawn. Nothing lasts forever.
  • eSKUeL - A PHP script that does everything that phpmyadmin does, only better. Very nice!


Back from the Show Us State

I got back Friday from three days of workshops in Missouri with the EMINTS project. What a great group of people: smart, well organized, hard working and congenial. They're using WebQuests as part of a larger effort to promote contructivist teaching in a network of tech-rich classrooms [see video]. Each EMINTS classroom has a computer for every two kids, a smart board, and videoconferencing capability. Each participating school has two such classrooms, usually in grades 3, 4 or 5. The important part, though, is the overlay of ongoing support and motivation provided by a team that has had no turnover over the years.

I've been a regular visitor to EMINTS since late 1998 and I'm proud to be associated with them. Of all the large scale change efforts I'm aware of, this one is my favorite. Missouri has something to teach the rest of us.


February 16, 2003

Afternoon at Arecibo

Today was another one of those days in which I deeply appreciate the life I have. By visiting the radio telescope at Arecibo I was making real something that was previously only a picture in magazine articles. I don't think I ever imagined actually being here. The observatory is about an hour and a half away from San Juan, the last third of those miles along twisty one-lane country roads. When over the farms and flowering trees I first glimpsed a gray spire poking the sky far away, I thought that couldn't be it... it's too big. When I arrived, finally, I was blown away by the size of the structures. Four concrete towers hold the cables in place that house the instruments at the focal point of the of parabola. Most amazing, there was a walkway strung like a rope bridge over the bowl so that the people here can get to the instrumentation. Not a job for phobics..

More pictures here.

Arecibo was one of the hotspots for the SETI project before Congress killed off public support for that. More recently it's been mapping Venus, Mercury and various asteroids as well as deep space quasars, pulsars, whoknowswhatsars. Someday the first hello will cut through the noise. Maybe here.


February 15, 2003

Manifestación contra la guerra en San Juan

I'd estimate that there were around 500 protesters here in San Juan today. Interesting combination of middle aged socialists and college kids and a few like Normal Me. They did some kind of guerrilla theater with a birdlike guy on stilts (America? War?) assaulting a woman on stilts (Innocence? Peace? Iraq?) and then the parade began. We marched in a block-long loop behind barriers so as not to disrupt traffic. There were drums and whistles, and drivers honking their support as they went by; the protest was driven by a samba beat. Much more fun than the kind of marching and chanting I did against Vietnam led by Massachusetts college boys with no rhythm at all.

More pictures available here.

Just as in the 60s, I soon got tired of being part of a mass, danceable though it was. I was glad to be there to show my support, but with ears ringing I moved on after an hour. June and Alex marched in San Diego, too. I think the next protests are going to be even bigger now that the silence has been broken.


February 13, 2003

San Juan, Day 1

I'm here in Puerto Rico for the first time to do a seminar for faculty at Sacred Heart University, or... more accurately, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. For once, instead of just seeing the airport, hotel, conference room and airport again, I've arrived a day early and will be staying a couple of days afterward.

After a breakfast meeting with my host, Antonio Vantaggiato, I went out exploring. Old San Juan is one of the most photogenic places I've ever been. Here's a sample of what I saw.

I've uploaded two pages with dozens of thumbnails and larger pictures. More tomorrow after my presentation.


February 09, 2003

Madonna to Unleash Iraq Video

According to Drudge...

"Madonna is hoping to cause maximum controversy with a new video from her forthcoming CD, AMERICAN LIFE, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal. Editing is in progress on a musical video concept which insiders say may be the most shocking anti-war, anti-Bush statement yet to come from the showbusiness industry."

I'm thinking the song will be called "Material Breach". You heard it here first!


A Thousand Words

Yup. Those Republicans have the business savvy to keep the economy sound. Not like those tax and spend Democrats. Yup.

February 06, 2003

Time to Brag

I just learned today that District Administration magazine has named the WebQuest page as one of 20 Curriculum Web Site Award winners for 2003. The Curriculum Web Site Awards were launched in 1998 to identify exemplary K-12 online curriculum material in every content area. The competition includes free and subscription-based sites. The winners were chosen from a pool of 800 sites.

I'm in good company on the list. American Memory, ENC online, and The New York Times Learning Network are among the others. I'll bet I'm running on the lowest budget and staff of any of them (0 and 1, respectively). Cool!

Interesting Finds

One of the reasons I started blogging was to nail down things I found around the web before I forget them. That said, here are some cool new links.

  1. NewsQuakes - A world map showing the epicenters of each hour's headlines.

  2. A Dove's Guide: How to be an Honest Critic of the War

  3. United for Peace - Want to know where to go on Feb 15 to voice your opposition? I'll be in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Watch for the tall guy near the back of the crowd.

  4. A new random poem every time you refresh your screen from the Poetry Archives @ eMule.com

  5. And finally, something that's either complete baloney or something that will change everything about your daily life. A zero point energy device has been developed by an anonymous inventor and is being closely examined for bogosity. I'm betting on bogus, but always ready to be astounded.


February 01, 2003


What can anyone say? I'm mulling over how this feels compared to Challenger. That day I felt devasted. I remember that I logged into Compuserve and printed out the wire service reports all day. I brought them to campus for my afternoon class and posted them on the hall bulletin board. Getting access to news online was a novelty then.

Today, I'm drained, not devastated, and wondering what's different. Is this one easier because we've already been through this once? Or because I'm older now? Has 9-11 made us all more stoic or jaded?

Watching Columbia's launch in April, 1998 was a high point of our four month family motorhome trip. We listened to the radio as the launch time got closer and traffic bunched up and slowed to a crawl. A few minutes before liftoff, having gotten as close as we could, we pulled off to the side of the road along with everyone else. Though we were miles away from the launchpad, we could feel the deep rumble of the engines in our chests while Columbia rose on a curving column of smoke into the afternoon sky. I'll never forget it.