Saturday, December 11, 2010

A New Standard

Provoked by yesterday's lunch meeting with LLK, Barry Fishman, and Marlene Scardamalia, I had a dream about a new set of standards. I know there's a huge literature about standards, and I don't know what it says, but I think that if we're going to have serious and meaningfully testable standards we've got to move out of the dark ages of the silly testing of tiny byproducts of real learning. Hundreds of years ago the U.S. constitution (among others), whether you love it or not, was written in a style that the most modern of any widely enacted public education standards in our country could quiver standing next to, with it's reflexivity, self-modifiability, and forward thinking of balancing power with power and power with rights (for white men everywhere!)

Here's a first attempt at a list of 10 new standards that can reign down on school children everywhere:
1. The ability to recognize whether a test is evaluating far-reaching contextualized skill sets derived from lived experience and involving the ability to accomplish real world goals that represent a broad spectrum of human activity, and the tandem ability to effectively refute and refuse a test that does not meet this rigorous condition.
2. The ability to work with people who have navigated the learning landscape previously to identify personal motivators, unique to each individual, and choose a pathway through the learning landscape that coincides with a high level of personal motivational learning that discards the idea of retention in favor of transformation and journey.
3. The ability to learn new real (note: real means not simulated) systems and languages in unfamiliar real situations, and the ability to revitalize and maintain an old real system in a known real situation over long periods of time, sometimes under conditions necessitating vast collaborations in the context of variously sized organizations.

I left 4 through 10 blank for others to fill in.

Let the teaching to the test begin!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oak Sol Silver has a middle name.

In case you haven't already met Oak, he's a baby boy born at 11:59pm (procrastination style), 9 pounds (american style) at the end of October. Here is some media about him:
Newborn Pix

1-2 Weeks Old
Video - beau and rachel's song

Middle Name
We just decided on his middle name after 2 weeks of watching for signs.

What is Sol?

According to
Sol is a boy's name who's origin is Hebrew and means "Peace", or it's Spanish and means "Sun", and is a form of "Solomon" who was a king known for his wisdom.

According to
The boy's name Sol \sol\ is a variant of Saul (Hebrew) and Solomon (Hebrew), and the meaning of Sol is "prayed for; peace".
Sol is a somewhat common first name for men (#1050 out of 1220) ... (1990 U.S. Census) Displayed below is the baby name popularity trend for the boy name Sol.Sol

According to Jay and Jodi, Sol is "Saul," "Sun," "Soul," "Solomon," and/or "Peace"
  • Saul: Sol is a form of Jay's middle name "Saul" which is also Jay's great grandpa's name who migrated as a stow away on a ship from Latvia around the turn of the century.
  • Sun: Sol is Spanish for sun. Jodi felt like Oak was a sun inside her belly.
  • Peace: As a variant of Shalom, Sol means "Peace"
  • Solomon: Representing wisdom, as in the king
  • Soul: The homophonous meaning of Sol is "Soul" or essence or spirit
You can pronounce it however you want (really!), and we will love it! Jodi and I will usually (for now) pronounce the "o" sound like "oa" as in "boat" or "mole" like the spanish pronunciation. However, I'm sure some of our Jewish relatives will pronounce the "o" sound like "aw" as in "awesome" and thus like the Hebrew pronunciation, and we will do this sometimes too.

Yay, Oak Sol Silver!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Top 10 Toys for The Creative Scientific Thinker

Jay Silver's Christmas Recommendations for the creative scientific thinker for 2010:

(In no particular order, except the order of my thinking)

1) EyeClops or any lens (but Eyeclops is seriously amazing in terms of modern lenses), binoculars, night vision, see through crystals.

2) A cheap but fully functional stethescope or any other listening device (this is just a good but cheap example, not anything special)

3) Airzooka or a Dyson Fan or anything that provides interesting gas flow situations (but these two are especially intriguing)

4) Ultra Bubbles . I once bought these but don't know where you can buy them now. You can build things with them, decorate with them, and play games with them, plus whatever you can do with traditional bubbles.

5) Dominoes (just one of many good examples) or anything that can be used to set up elaborate machinery without any training (think rube goldberg but more readily accessible). This category also includes marble machine supplies (the guy who made these now works at Exploratorium). I just think dominoes provide so many opportunities for thinking about flow, digital systems, directional branching, etc., and all so visceral. Honestly I also think this is the category that Scratch fits into and it's free. Dominoes and marbles can be procured for free or near free often times.

6) Any kind of persistence of vision toy (this one is a DIY kit)

7) Some nice tree climbing gear (good when paired with a magnifying glass or pocket microscope)

8) Anything that transforms sensory experience especially while letting you build inventions. Drawdio is a great example of this, as are other things built by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum (many of which are free like glow doodle and singing fingers)

9) Any Klutz book by Pat Murphy. Right now there are 3: Invasion of the Bristle Bots , Bang Splat Kablooey , and Flying Machines

10) Any real "professional" sound sampler (or a high quality toy one). Sample Toy is the best one for your money, but there are so many out there.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Diary of Lonely Man (Filmed at Sunseed)

This short 3-minute movie was filmed at my Dad's store in Cocoa Beach, FL. It's a non-profit cooperative health food store with a health and wellness center attached.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Come on Pregz Lady Just Bust a Move

So I'm at my wife's midwife's house, and her son is playing Young MC on his pickup truck stereo, and I'm like what that is some good old school shit. So later that day I jump on groove shark and start jamming out some Young MC, and Jodi starts dancing. So I pull out my camera and this is what happened. Shot in 5 minutes. Edited in 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Singing Fingers

Singing Fingers Lets You Finger Paint with Sound

Make a sound while moving your finger to record a sound-drawing. Touch the drawing you just made to play the sound back: forward, backward, sideways, or any way. That's it! Singing Fingers Basic Explanation Singing Fingers lets you see music, hear colors, and re-see everyday sounds for the beautiful playground that they are. Singing Fingers lowers the floor to let beginners play with sound as if it was finger paint, and raises the roof by letting advanced DJs break out of the grooves of the records into a world where sounds take any shape you give them. Your own fingers are like the needles that play the sounds back. Just like records and tape recorders were breakthroughs in simplicity and power, Singing Fingers has no complex buttons, menus, or rules. One simple medium, one simple touch of the finger, millions of possibilities.

How it Works
While you drag your finger across the screen, your voice or any other sounds nearby are turned into colors on the musical canvas. The pitch of the sound is translated into a color, while the loudness of the sound determines the size. If you start on a blank white space you are recording. If you start on a colored space you are replaying. Use up to five fingers to play back many sounds at the same time, forwards, backwards or sideways.

Making Instruments, Telling Stories, Performing, Exploring, and Drawing Pictures
Tap the keys of a piano or sing a scale while dragging your finger on the screen, and you'll have just drawn your first playable musical instrument. Tell a story while drawing the story on the screen. Explore a sound in the world, like rain or thunder, visually and see what it sounds like forwards and backwards. Use your voice as the "paint" to draw a picture. Laughter and yelling gives dozens of colors, Scribbling with Singing Fingers while whistling a note can give you a specific color.

Cross-Sensory Creative Thinking
When you holler out and move your finger around on the screen, Singing Fingers turns the sounds into a concrete visual object. By transforming the pitch of the sound to a color and smearing it across the screen, people can learn to "see music" and "hear colors." What is sometimes referred to as "synesthesia" or "cross sensory thinking" becomes an everyday part of playing with sounds. One of the goals of the people behind Singing Fingers is to help people to see the invisible and re-see the everyday world as the beautiful playground that life is.

The Next Evolution of Sound Recording and Remixing
A long time ago, only advanced technicians with handmade machines could record sounds. Exciting advancements like record players and tape recorders meant more people could play and record sounds, while cultural revolutions like scratching records and making summer mix tapes meant more people were mixing and remixing music. Computers have opened up many new ways to play with sounds, but none have been as huge a leap for people's expressiveness as we would hope for: iPods let you play music, complex software lets you mix it together, DJ Record and simple programs let you record sounds, but where is the big leap forward? We see Singing Fingers as a step toward the next big cultural transformation, putting all the power of recording, playing back, and remixing, literally at the tip of the finger for the most improvisational, fluid, sound interface we could come up with. Singing Fingers lowers the floor to let children play with sound as if it was finger paint, and raises the roof by letting advanced DJs break out of the grooves of the records into a world where sounds take any shape you give them and your fingers are like the needles that play the sounds back, with as fine control as your hand will allow. The scratching of records, the recording of tapes, the visualization of the graphics equalizer, and the remixing power of computers, in one little app that takes seconds to learn and years to master.

Interface Simplicity Lightning and Birds
Just like record players and tape recorders were simple and powerful new ways to work with sounds, Singing Fingers simply gives you a blank page. To manipulate sounds you only need your fingers to smear them onto the page and to play them back. No complex buttons, menus, or rules. In fact, to record, play back, and remix sounds there are zero buttons or menus (the buttons are only for file manipulation: saving, loading, and getting a new one). One simple medium, one simple touch of the finger, millions of possibilities.

By Eric Rosenbaum and Jay Silver at MIT Media Lab.

Real Sugar, and the Ants Know It

The Can Reads
PEPSI -- Throwback: Made with Real Sugar, Limited Time Only

So I've been going on and off drinking different sodas over the last several years (just went off, hooray!), and I started to become very aware of the exact ingredients including, for example, the exact milligramage of caffeine, and the type of sugar. For example take a 12 oz can of Coke or Pepsi as a unit of caffeine (aka the most common upper in the world). Then a coffee is 4 units, a black tea is 2 units, a green tea is 1 unit, and mountain dew is 1.5 units. Mug Rootbeer will net you zero units, and Barq's just over a half. Redbull is 2 and a half, and here's some you might be surprised by: mellow yellow is the same as mountain dew, A&W Cream Soda is just less than 1 while sunkist orange is just more than 1 (wtf?). (By the way 1 unit of coffeind is about 35mg of caffeine.)

So what about sugar? Well I started looking to drink sodas without high fructose corn syrup, looking instead for sugar. This concept is maddening. I'm trying to avoid eating unhealthy food by looking for sugar? Cause sugar is more healthy than another ingredient? Holy shit. So I find myself being thankful for "Mexican Coke" in the glass bottle at Mexican restaurants (I love glass, and it uses "real sugar"). And today I see this Pepsi (in the picture) left out in the courtyard at the dorm I take care of. Coke moved on from "real sugar" in 1980, so it's been quite a while. So for a limited time only, you can drink some Pepsi products without the high fructose corn syrup. Then its back to Jones and Izzy's or if you're at a real hippy spot China Cola and Spritzers (ok and let's not forget juice and water).

Well, I'm glad to be off the soda train for now, but I'm baffled by the lack of real food options in my world. Right now, I feel great -- just finished a fine all american dinner of tofu, squash, peas, and cornbread. Here's to eating for feeling good today which is usually aligned with eating for longevity but much more relevant.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Master Cleanser -- Living on Lemons

Note: this is a meta commentary on a text called the Master Cleanse by Stanley Burroughs which explains how to fast on maple syrup and lemons for 10 days or more at a time. I wrote this in response to a friend who is starting next week (I'll be joining him).

ok so here is the original source in all its absolutist glory
i highly recommend buying the book it's extremely affordable. i have bought many copies. i think it's worth reading the whole thing, but i'll go through play by play what i think are the most essential parts pasting all the essential text into this email:

while the whole text is clearly a masterpiece, there are some parts that are more important than others. i'd say if people only wanted to know the bare essentials i'd say it's the recipe that starts at the bottom of page 10
-------------------- start --------------------
2 Tablespoons lemon or limejuice (approx. 1⁄2 lemon) 2 Tablespoons genuine maple syrup (Not maple flavored sugar syrup) 1/10 Teaspoon cayenne pepper (red pepper) or to taste 8 oz water, room temperature Combine the juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a 10 oz glass jar w/lid and fill with the water. Shake it up and drink. (Cold water may be used if preferred.) Use fresh (organic) lemons or limes only, never canned lemon or limejuice nor frozen lemonade or frozen juice.
-------------------- end ------------------------

then for people who can handle a little more info and want to start to know what else is needed there is the other stuff you should eat starting at the bottom of page 12 and onto page 13

------------------------- start -----------------------------
As this is a cleansing diet, the more you can assist Nature to eliminate poisons, the better. IF YOUR SYSTEM FEELS UPSET, IT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT HAVING SUFFICIENT ELIMINATION. Avoid this possibility by following the directions completely. Above all, be sure you have two, three, or more movements a day. This may seem unnecessary not eating solid food, but it is Nature’s way of eliminating the waste it has loosened from the various cells and organs in the body.
They must leave the body some way. It would be just the same as sweeping the floor around and around and never removing the dirt from the house if the wastes were not passed out. The better the elimination, the more rapid will be the results.
A LAXATIVE HERB TEA is found to be the best helper for most persons. It is a good practice to take a good laxative herb tea right from the beginning— the last thing at night and first thing in the morning. There are several good laxative teas. They are best taken in a liquid form. Buy them in your health food store.
As it is necessary to bathe the outside of our bodies, so it is with the inside. Do not take enemas or colonics at any time during the cleansing diet or afterwards. They are unnecessary and can be extremely harmful.
There is a much superior method of cleansing the colonic tract without the harmful effects of customary colonics and enemas. This method will cleanse the entire digestive tract while the colonics and enemas will only reach the colon or a small part of it. Colonics can be expensive while our salt-water method is not.
DIRECTIONS: Prepare a full quart of lukewarm water and add two level (rounded for the Canadian quart) teaspoons of sea salt. Do not use ordinary iodized salt, as it will not work properly. Drink the entire quart of salt and water first thing in the morning. This must be taken on an empty stomach. The salt and water will not separate but will stay intact and quickly and thoroughly wash the entire tract in about one hour. Several eliminations will likely occur. The salt water has the same specific gravity as the blood, hence the kidneys cannot pick up the water and the blood cannot pick up the salt. This may be taken as often as needed for proper washing of the entire digestive system.
If the salt water does not work the first time, try adding a little more or a little less salt until the proper balance is found; or possible take extra water with or without salt. This often increases the activity. Remember, it can do no harm at any time. The colon needs a good washing, but do it the natural way— the salt water way.
It is quite advisable to take the herb laxative tea at night to loosen, then the salt water each morning to wash it out. If for some reason the salt water cannot be taken in the morning, then the herb laxative tea must be taken night and morning.
------------------------ end ----------------------------

From there on there is some other important information, in my opinion in the following order
- how to break the fast starting on page 15
--------------------------- start --------------------------
Coming off the lemonade diet properly is highly important— please follow the directions very carefully. After living in a semi-tropical and tropical climate for many years, I find that people have increasingly turned to a raw fruit, nut, and vegetable diet. Following is the schedule for people who normally follow such a natural vegetarian diet:
Several 8 oz. Glasses of fresh orange juice as desired during the day. The orange juice prepares the digestive system to properly digest and assimilate regular food. Drink it slowly. If there has been any digestive difficulty prior to or during the change over, extra water may be taken with the orange juice.
Orange juice in the morning. Raw fruit for lunch. Fruit or raw vegetable salad at night. You are now ready to eat normally.
--------------------------- end ---------------------------

- how much does one drink on page 12
----------------------------- start ---------------------
Take from six to twelve glasses of the lemonade daily during the waking period. As you get hungry just have another glass of lemonade. NO OTHER FOOD SHOULD BE TAKEN DURING THE FULL PERIOD OF THE DIET. As this is a complete balance of minerals and vitamins, one does not suffer the pangs of hunger. Do not use vitamin pills.
All solid food is turned into a liquid state before the blood can carry it to the cells. The lemonade is already a food in liquid form.
For those who are overweight, less maple syrup may be taken. For those underweight, more maple syrup may be taken. For those who are underweight and worried about losing more weight, REMEMBER, the only things you can possible lose are mucus; waste, and disease. Healthy tissue will not be eliminated. Many people who need to gain weight actually do so near the end of the diet period. Never vary the amount of lemon juice per glass. About six glasses of lemonade a day is enough for those wishing to reduce. Extra water may be taken as desired.
------------------------------ end --------------------------

- will it make me feel bad or week on page 15
------------------------- start -------------------------
In the cleansing process, some people experience a tremendous stirring up and may even feel worse for several days. It is not the lemonade that causes the trouble, but what the lemonade stirs up in the system that causes our dizziness and other disturbances. Vomiting may occur under certain conditions; increased pain may be felt in the various joints of the body; dizziness may develop on certain days.
If weakness develops at any time, it is the result of poisons circulating through the blood stream rather than a lack of food or vitamins. This diet gives a person all the vitamins, food, and energy necessary for the full ten days or longer in a liquid form. Rest and take it a little easier if you have to –although most people can go about their regular business without difficulty. Keep right on with the diet; don’t give up or “cheat”by eating a little food or you may destroy the benefits.
Even though the lemon is an acid fruit, it becomes alkaline as it is digested and assimilated. It is, in fact, ourbestaidtowardproperalkalinebalance. Thereisnodangerof“toomuchacid.
Alcoholics, smokers, and other drug addicts will receive untold benefits from this diet. The chemical changes and the cleansing have a way of removing the craving and the many probably deficiencies. Thus the desire for the unnatural types of stimulants and depressants disappears. The usual cravings experienced and suffered in breaking away from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco no longer present themselves during and after this diet.
It is truly a wonderful feeling to be free from slavery to these many habit-forming and devitalizing elements of modern living. Coffee, tea, and various cola drinks, as habit-forming beverages, also lose their appeal through the marvels of the lemonade diet.
--------------------------------------- end --------------------------

Everything else is pretty awesome, but if you read those sections then you will know the fundamentals.

And a few of my own comments on top of it to keep up with the times:

- There's still no cane sugar juice readily available in most of the U.S. as the author says. So it's probably still maple syrup for most of us. One thing that's changed since the book was written is that there's no longer grade "C" maple syrup just two grades of B, the second of which is what used to be called grade C. I prefer organic syrup for my own use, but it's not strictly necessary since pesticides aren't a big factor in the production of maple syrup.
- One of the best herbal laxitive teas I've seen people use for this diet that's been on the market for decades is "smooth move" though anything is fine as long as it's not processed and is plant based. That's what I'll use.
- Notice "organic lemons"
- He doesn't cover water, so he must have not thought it was too important, but I would tend away from any tap water with a large amount of fluoride or especially chlorine in it. But the author never mentions this. I'll be using spring water. (don't use distilled cause it lacks minerals, try filtered if you don't want spring).


On Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 2:58 PM, ryan
Hey man,

Doug I are gearing up for a Master Cleanse starting next
week. Just dropping you a line in case you or anyone else wants to
joint in. Some of the online guides recommended using a laxative tea
once a day or so... have you taken in anything besides the Lemon Juice
in the past?

See you in the Future.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Visual Frequency Identifier (VFID)

I'd like to coin a new phrase today: Visual Frequency Identifier (VFID)

It's when you use the color of an object to identify the object. It eliminates the need to embed any special chip in the object (as needed in RFID). And, it's very easy for people to read the VFID of an object. It doesn't uniquely identify objects, but it does let you use any item you have laying around as a token. So if you have a bag of m&m's, you have a full set of computer readable tokens that can be used as input to a system.