Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Part Deux

Great Video....
Great Message. (And Bob Marley played on a sitar!)

More info go to

Earth Day!

OK, I'll make this quick, as in a couple of hours I have my last Final of this Semester. Woo hoo! *Insert Happy Dance Here*

I found a great meme for Earth Day.... Small Bigger Better
Found it at The Questionable Authority
(I know... studying)

Mine are:
Small: Rinsing out & recycling individual yoghurt cups instead of throwing them away (I know, but its hard to do when your at school)
Bigger: Walking or biking to work/school at least 2 times a week
Better: Grow more veggies in my garden and finding ways to a) keep them longer through winter and b) tasty recipies that I can cook & then freeze ahead.

Also, for the cynical I found this at Ed Braytons site. A company that is about to see the **** hit the fan.

Enjoy & Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 6, 2009

In my dreams....

This is an awesome video...
If anyone asks this is why I wanted to become a Botanist (see if I can GM to make these)

Alberta - Rape and Pillage

On a road trip this last weekend, to one of the most beautiful places in the World (not just Canada, eh?), I saw the most disgusting view. Alberta sure knows how to welcome guests as we show how to rape and pillage the land that we are only borrowing from our future.
If I was smart enough, I would have gotten the camera out and taken pictures of these horrible sites, but I will next time to show what is truly there.

h.t. to

I've got to admit, the picture is not exactly what I saw, as we were travelling on the other side (on the road, not water, ha ha). Also, this picture looks better than what I saw, as Saturday morning there was smoke spewing out of the stacks. Before the actual plant came into site, I thought there was a brush fire as there was smoke everywhere.

So, now your thinking, oh what a whiny tree-hugger. Can't stand a little smoke, etc. But we also saw strip mining. It wasn't on the scale of Ft. McMurray's tar sands, and I have no clue what they were mining. But there was no other reason for these marks a large quantity of land. We also saw grasshoppers, and "urban" sprawl (if you can call Hinton or Edson urban...). Garbage found in the trees, on the snow, and on the road.

These would not bother me if these were anomolies, but they are symptomatic of the larger problem of massive extraction from the land and pollution of the air. Once in Jasper there were many animals seen as well as beautiful vistas. (I will post nicer pics tomorrow)
But you would think that the Albertan Government would want visitors to our Province to see pristine views and beautiful landscapes from Edmonton to Jasper instead of grasshoppers every 20 meters. Every time someone (National Geographic to name one) writes an article, tells an international panel about Alberta, the politician argue that it isn't true and we are taking it out of context (ie. it's only in Athabasca). However, it is time to understand that we cannot continue taking for granted what we have.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Girls just wanna go scuba diving...

I am looking for a place to a) learn to scuba dive, and b) relax. I will probably take my seedling, who unfortunately is not old enough to scuba dive (although I think she would make an excellent diver... inquisitive, responsible & active) because we are missing out on an extended-family vacation at the end of this month due to her extensive extracurricular activities.

An associate of mine from Search & Rescue is going to French Polynesia next Wed for 2 weeks. So when he gets back I'll quiz him on what the diving was like & how reputable the shops are. I've never been diving, so I've also been asking everybody what to look for in a shop and for equipment. And Bob no, I don't think that if they have undercoating on their boat, they will look after the rental equipment as well.

I've been told to go to Vancouver Island & dive off their shores (although ewwww. Feet in shoes is not my idea of "finding neat things").
Some great websites:

Dept of Education: Work Harder Not Smarter

I'm sure many feel this way about the school system in Canada or the US. Both systems are based on the same practices with few alterations. Core subjects (Math, Science, Language Arts, Social) with a few sprinklings of fun subjects thrown in to keep kids entertained. The problem I am seeing with this strategy is that children are taught to do what the teacher does and do it over & over & over, ad infinitum.
When that child who can recite or redo what the teacher has "taught" (because very few children actually understand the mechanics/reasons behind the theory), they graduate High School and go to university. This university now expects for the reasoning behind methods to be understood without reteaching the subjects.
A few of the children probably have twigged to the understanding of concepts that were not explicitly explained. But the majority of those children (and I have to admit that I am one when it comes to mathematics) recite and give back the teacher what they want, but if asked the same question in another way cannot work their way through and come up with an answer because they lack the underlying principles and/or theory that was implicit in the work but not stated.
And now that university expects them to know this stuff...

Luckily I have the ability to self-teach (or probably more likely avoid classes where there is material I do not understand), and this has not been a problem in acquiring my education so far. But I have seen it come up in a number of places. I have a nasty habit of forgetting most things taught in one semester by the next (unless pummelled into my head over & over & over), even if I DO understand the concepts. I usually pick up quicker the next time it is explained and have that "Oh yeah!" moment.
But how do you teach the underlying principles & to retain material that is absolutely critical in the future? And more importantly, teach this to a wide range of ages & learning abilities...