Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lunar Power

It seems that speculating on Moon Real estate could be very profitable.
The moon contains 10 times more energy in the form of helium-3 than all the fossil fuels on the Earth,' former Indian President Abdul Kalam told attendees at 2004's International Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon. Gerald Kulcinski, director of the University of Wisconsin's Fusion Technology Institute, thinks helium-3 could potentially power future long-distance space travel, though it could take decades before a commercial helium-3 reactor becomes available.

The Chinese space program is interested in harvesting helium-3 from the moon. Some estimates place the value at $4 billion a ton in terms of its energy equivalent in oil.

Any country that brings home helium-3 could be $eriou$ly rich. One space shuttle load could power the entire U.S. for a year!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who is your candidate?

I found a new presidential candidate selection quiz. It seems reliable; the results are basically the same as my quiz results on Select Smart, Glassbooth, and MPR.

Vote Gopher is also handy way to compare candidates by issue.

My matches (from tonight) on the Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz 2008:

91% Dennis Kucinich
89% Mike Gravel
82% Barack Obama
80% Bill Richardson
78% John Edwards
77% Chris Dodd
76% Hillary Clinton
75% Joe Biden
35% Rudy Giuliani
31% Ron Paul
26% John McCain
23% Mitt Romney
20% Mike Huckabee
17% Tom Tancredo
11% Fred Thompson

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mail Signatures

I have a text file with about 400 signatures and quotes. And today I finally found an easy way to insert one random signature to my emails.

The SignatureProfiler plugin for Mail will let you add quotes & iTunes status, HTML links & images, and "Tail Signatures" for multiple accounts. You need to format your text file and configure the plugin before use. Read the "About" tab in the plugin for instructions.

I like to use John Gruber's Non-Top-Posting Reply Scripts and RapidoWrite to type my standard signatures and contact information.

That means I still have to click the drop down signature in But it chooses a random signature every time! How cool is that?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The hardest thing about atheist parenting

Possummomma answers an Atheist parenting question, saying
the hardest thing is not having a pat answer for those difficult questions. When you think about it, theists really wouldn't have to answer questions with real fact unless they wanted to take the time and find the fact. They can always say, "That's just how God made it." or "Because, that's how god wants it." or some variation of that answer.
In other words, Atheists tell their children the truth. They don't use "because it's God's will" to pacify children with a quick answer.

Personally, the hardest thing for me is sitting through "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed." every night before dinner. I'd prefer to drink a simple toast.

Hmmm... Maybe I'll say something like, "Thank you all for coming and I wish each of you health and happiness. Please, enjoy the meal. Let's eat!"

Links Man, Links.





Feedburner Integration

I redirected the Blogger feed to Feedburner and spliced in my feed. If you are reading this in a RSS reader, you probably already noticed. :-)

RSS is the best way to keep track of blogs and such. Visiting 150 different websites per day is impossible but I can skim through 150 feeds in 10 minutes using Vienna. I read about 100 education and science blogs. The rest are technology and news feeds. Usually I skim the feeds and mark the best articles for reading later.

I *might* post a weekly digest of links here on Blogger so they will be archived for future reference. And so that anyone who doesn't use a RSS reader can find the links.

Andrew Knoll's Journal

So last week I experimented with iGTD, Journler, and a couple other apps. I chose Journaler for it's smart folders and the way it links/browses email messages. But Journler also has great support for multiple categories and and tags. If that weren't enough, Journler has seamless integration with the iLife suite and acts EXACTLY the way Mac App should.

Bam! I'm rocking the Journler now. Here's how I do it:
  1. Snippets of information get dropped into the Journler Drop Box on my desktop.
  2. Email actions get copy-pasted into Journler and filed via Mail Act-On.
  3. Everything gets categorized and tagged. I love using multiple categories and tags for each journal entry.
  4. Only 4 categories... Notes & Links, Personal, Home, and Work. Notes & Links is the default for thoughts, reminders, and webpages that need to be filed away.
  5. Next actions get flagged with a keystroke and sometimes sent to iCal with an Applescript invoked by Quicksilver. Completed items get 'checked'.
  6. The two most common tags are @Computer and @Phone contexts. But I also use a tag for each of my classes at school.
  7. A project gets its own folder and maybe a color label, too. Project plans and their associated actions are organized chronologically by due date.
  8. Everything is organized into smart folders which also sit up in the Bookmarks Bar.
Until last week, I used DEVONnote plus plus iCal to capture and organize all my information. That system worked well for eighteen (18!) months. Importing all my notes and actions seemed daunting until I got started. I was tagging and dragging those notes and email messages all over the place. In less than two hours, everything was in its place and I learned enough to use Journler.

Journler's audio-video import and iPhoto browser are killer features that will be a huge part of my new workflow. I also tested the Blog feature - it works with WordPress, not Blogger. Future editions of Journler won't support blogging, but I don't want to leave Blogger anyway (yet). I should still be able to copy Journals as HTML and paste them in a blog.

Journler 2.5 is a free download until Wednesday. After that, Journler is going shareware and the price will be $34.95. I'll purchase a license if I'm still using Journler in 2 months or so. Right now, that seems very likely.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Man Vs. Woman

Can't We Talk takes a light-hearted look at male-female communication.

The article was written by a woman, so it is highly suspect. I'll only take advice from a woman who has fed a continent, programmed a computer, or performed her own c-section. Or married me. :-)

Best schools in the world.

I finally got some time to read this report about the best schools in the world. The summary is:
  1. Quality teachers
  2. Quality instruction
  3. Teach every child
The highest performing school systems have rigorous recruitment processes. Even screening candidates before they are accepted to teacher-preparation programs. Educational leadership and strong systems for delivering the curriculum are essential.

No surprises, right? Still a great read for educators.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Evolution education is a 'must'

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology recently released an article promoting evolution education. What would the FSM say?

About 10 years ago, a friend loaned me several books he obtained from the Institute for Creation Research. Utter rubish, not worthy of debate, really. But I recommend that science teachers read some of their material to become acquainted with the perspective of creationists.

I am glad to be teaching in a district that openly discussed the issue and decided to include evolution as part of the science curriculum. As a teacher, I have the obligation to present scientific facts in the classroom.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Robbery In Progress

AlterNet's article Will Dems Get Robbed Again in 2008? makes several good points. They sum it up with:
So we are doomed to go back to the future, facing much the same choice we did in 2000.
Fortunately, we have an entire new generation of voters coming to the polls. They are the ones who agitate for change. If young people don't vote, there could be a repeat of the '00 and '04 election-by-Republican-media-spin travesties. You know, there's an old saying in Tennessee...

1-5-08: andrew's Tags

Today's updates from andrew's Tags

Mixbook - make your own photo books with friends Like ordering an iPhoto book. But with the possibilities for collaborative projects.

One True Media - How to make amazing slideshows and video montages for MySpace or any website - even share to TiVo! Easy to mash up a sequence of videos. Choose from several themes.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Set Goals From The Heart

What makes people think that January 1st is the magical day to kick a bad habit, lose 10 pounds, eat right, and exercise?

Changes don't become permanent unless the individual is motivated to reach a specific goal. Some folks call it "passion", "will-to-win", or "heart". Truly effective people communicate their goals and inspire others with their own high level of commitment.

So I prefer to set goals from the heart instead of making a "New Year's Resolution". Resolutions are forgotten by February unless you have goals and a plan. Zen Habits has 7 Tips to make '08 great. Leo talks about setting goals, simplifying your focus, taking action, and forming new habits. He also talks about being happy and making personal/family time. This guy knows how to set a goal and make it happen.

In '08, I'm sticking with the goal I already have. My goal is like my personal mission statement. I want to help my children grow and develop; and educate my students to be successful in life.

I use my personal mission statement to guide my decision-making and choose the best course of action. After taking action, it is essential to reflect and make refinements as needed. The best mindset is continuous improvement towards the mission.

It's not a cold-hearted logical process. It's a labor of love. My commitment comes from the fact that I love my family and career.

I see the potential and possibility in others and I just have to help it come out. That's what makes me happy. That's where my heart lies.

1-4-08: andrew's Tags

Today's updates from andrew's Tags

social bookmarking for images on

Welcome to Flickr - Photo Sharing

oSkope visual search :: Your intuitive search assistant Search for images on major websites.

Villainy, Inc. | Maryland Public Television Math games for your junior high kids.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Y! Alert: andrew's Tags

Today's updates from andrew's Tags


Yahoo! Pipes

So I got around to playing with Yahoo! Pipes today and built a RSS feed that gets automatically delivered by email to my Blogger account.

To get Blogger set up:
  1. Go to Blogger settings --> Email
  2. Enter a Mail-to-Blogger Address and choose 'Save emails as draft posts'

To create the Pipe:
  1. Login to
  2. Select 'Fetch Feed' & type your Delicious feed URL
  3. Connect the line from 'Fetch Feed' to 'Pipe Output'
  4. Save it

To mail the Y! Alert to Blogger:
  1. Run the Pipe
  2. Click 'Get results by Email or Phone'
  3. Get alerts 'Any changes'
  4. Select 'Just new items'
  5. Enter your Mail-to-Blogger address
  6. Send the email as HTML (formats nicely)

Next time you log into Blogger, you will get a confirmation email from Yahoo. Go ahead and follow the Yahoo! verification steps. Now your new Tags will show up in the list of posts.

Just format the post to get rid of any headers, footers, etc... Publish daily or keep the drafts for a weekly digest. Pretty simple but time-consuming to format the Y! Alert email.

An ersatz hack to be sure, but it will suffice until provides automatic posting for Blogger.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Cost of Foreign Oil

Neatorama explains how Denmark became the only European nation that exports energy. The Danes cut energy use after the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 and began producing their own energy.

German production of solar and wind energy has increased 15 percent in only 5 years. The German government jump-started the solar industry through business and energy buyback incentives. Business is going so well that incentives are already being phased out.

But, you're saying, America uses half of the world's energy. Alternative energy would never work here! Imagine how expensive it would be for the USA to eliminate foreign-oil dependence! The government would run huge debts, businesses would require tremendous subsidies to avoid economic recession!

Stop and consider this: Is the cost justified? What does foreign oil-dependence really cost? What does it really cost to keep the oil flowing?

Our CIA trained Sadaam Hussein in Iraq and Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. We gave Saddam money and aid throughout he 1980's while making illegal arms sales to his enemy, Iran. Just to keep the oil flowing.

Our military presence in Saudia Arabia turned Osama into our enemy. In the 1990's, we saw the World Trade Centers bombed, the USS Cole bombed in Yemen, and a US Embassy bombed in Africa. And still we lie in bed with the Saudi government after 15 of their citizens attacked us on 9/11. Just to keep the oil flowing.

Consider the cost of Gulf War I and Gulf War II. $61 billion for the first and $482 billion for the second. Plus $275 million more each day that it continues. Just to keep the oil flowing.


Harry Bensley made a bet that he could travel around the world incognito, wearing the helm from a suit of armor. No surprise that he failed. This was only 35 years after Phileas Fogg made his fictional trip by balloon, boat, train, and various means.

Dave Kunst was the first verified pedestrian to make the trip (with the exception of the oceans). Dave's trip took four years and cost the life of his brother. True story.

Karl Bushby and Rosie Swale-Pope are taking the trip to it's extreme. They are going across the world by way of the frozen Bering Strait. I met Karl and Rosie several years ago when they walked through the village of Shaktoolik.

Rosie has crossed two-thirds of the world so far. Karl's goal is to walk around the world with unbroken footsteps. Karl and Rosie will likely complete their trips if they continue as planned. Amazing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

BBC NEWS | Magazine Monitor

BBC NEWS | Magazine Monitor

100 things we learned in 07

Action is Needed

wonderingmind42 is a a high school science teacher named Greg who makes a very convincing argument for action on global climate change. Spread the word.

#21, don't watch the fiddle-whiler

I agree with all of these gripes by Stephen Pizzo. It's a cathartic release for '07.

Thing is, we have the power to change each and every complaint to our benefit. As the saying goes, "If the people lead, eventually, the leaders will follow."

So let me add Annoying Thing #21: people who watch Nero play the fiddle.

Take time to research the facts. Use your mind to sift the chaff of our media. Then participate in our democracy. We the people can make a more perfect union.