Monday, June 30, 2008

Crabber profits from curious tourists

Crabber profits from curious tourists: Money |
Since April 28, David Lethin and his crew aboard the 107-foot Aleutian Ballad have been taking daily trips out of Ketchikan with an average of more than 100 passengers who get to watch the crew fish and harvest, and sometimes even hold the catch.
The video game royalties must be nice, too.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Theeeey're Great(-ly more expensive)!

The recent increase in wholesale grain prices has me bargain-shopping for cereal and bread.

Evidently, manufacturers figured they could trick me by making cereal boxes smaller.

Maybe I'll start eating my frosted flakes with a baby spoon...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

And that's why you take your vitamins, Ruth.

From a recent thread on Slashdot:
Vitamin D3 is usually produced by exposure to the UV-B in sunlight, but in high latitudes, especially in the fall and winter, insufficient UV-B gets through the atmosphere to produce enough vitamin D3, even with hours of exposure

3 Types of People

The Blog says there are three types of people.

Those who:
1. Get it
2. Don't get it
3. Don't know they don't get it

But there is a fourth group too!
The fourth group is people who write blogs with theories about the first 3 groups. These people are sad and twisted (and borderline pathetic).
On my best days, I'll admit to being in groups 2 & 4.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kucinich: 'We went to war for the oil companies'

By all appearances, Dick Cheney planned to get rich by killing thousands of Americans in an illegal war. One piece of his evil plan was exposed on the House floor this week. Go get 'em Dennis!

From therawstory: Kucinich: 'We went to war for the oil companies'
...oil executives who secretly met with the vice president in 2001 should be held criminally liable for pushing an illegal war.
In March 2001, two years before Iraq was invaded, Cheney met with top executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc. and others on his infamous secret Energy Task Force.

Oil Price Fallout

From ABC News:

As the cost of shipping continues to soar along with fuel prices, homegrown manufacturing jobs are making a comeback after decades of decline.

While it once cost $3,000 to ship a container from a city like Shanghai to New York, it now costs $8,000, prompting some businesses to look closer to home for manufacturing needs.

Just nine years ago, the price of oil was $10 per barrel and now it's $140 per barrel. Result: a 267% increase in shipping cost. Holy crap. No wonder that companies are beginning to manufacture at home.

Too bad our economy is in the (oil) tank; most folks can't afford to purchase the stuff anyhow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Permafrost conference starts at UAF next week

ADN recently mentioned the Permafrost conference at UAF:
The Ninth International Conference on Permafrost is scheduled June 29 through July 3.
I'm sure this is going to be great. My students and I visited with UAF scientists and PolarTrec via webchat on the June 18 IPY day. UAF has done careful measurements of arctic sub-surface temperatures for 20+ years. And some studies go back 50 years to the IGY.

All peer-reviewed scientific journals tell us the same thing:
1. Humans produce greenhouse gases.
2. Greenhouse gases have increased the planet's temperature.
3. Increased temperature is seriously effing things up.

Take a look for yourself. Go visit your own State University.

You'll find out that there is no scientific debate on global warming. And, perhaps, you'll decide that it is time for action.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alaskans learn how to make their own fuel

From Alaskans learn how to make their own fuel:
Smith is eager to start using biodiesel and already has what's called an appleseed processor set up in his garage. It's a unit he crafted out of a used water heater, a few recycled barrels, some hoses, fittings and pumps to make things flow smoothly from one process to another. He figured he has about $200 into the setup.

"It's all about being an Alaskan and scavenging parts," Smith said.
In another article Do Alaskans really benefit from $130 crude?, ADN interviews an economist to get his take on overall effect of high oil prices. But if Alaskans can make $2 per gallon diesel in their garages, who the heck cares about crude?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In the 2111

What’s it like to be working in Rep. Don Young’s office when an “A Team” lobbyist calls?
Check out the intern survival guide for Don Young that is linked from this ADN article. Most of it is pretty funny, inside-joke material. (And the "A Team" lobbyists get special treatment, in case you couldn't guess.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Henrico Resource List and GeoGebra

I stumbled on to Henrico County Public Schools eLearning page and thought it was just your typical "resource links" page.  Wow, was I surprised to find so much more under the surface!

The English and Math pages are chocked-full of thoughtfully assembled curriculum resources. These are too good to just bookmark and forget, so I am going to put them here for future reference.

There are many, many, many teacher-created English lesson plans.  And an entire online curriculum for grade 6-12 Math.  I was especially impressed by the Algebra 1 modules and the integrated GeoGebra applets.

GeoGebra was a great find in itself.  It's open-source, cross-platform mathematics exploration software.  Here is the main page to download your own copy and a wiki with resources and sample problems.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Voting for Obama won't cost me a million dollars

According to the AlterNet article A Comparative Tax Story: Obama, McCain, and Ike:
If Senator McCain's proposals and preferences on tax policy should become law, the Center calculates, the nation's most affluent 0.1 percent -- taxpayers who this year will make at least $2.9 million in income -- will pay $269,364 less in federal taxes than they would pay if current tax law stays in place.

If Senator Obama gets his way on taxes, these same households would pay $701,885 more, on average, in 2009 than they would pay under current law. The gap -- for the super-rich -- between Obama and McCain: nearly $1 million.
An even more amazing difference is that waaay back in the 1950's, tax rates on the super-rich were more than twice the current level.


This week, I'm teaching students to use iMovie and tell stories about International Polar Year projects. The student movies reflect their own styles (from documentary to music-video) and they all use video and audio clips in some sort of logical storytelling fashion.

The iMovie '08 interface is intuitive and facilitated some creative uses of still photos, videos, and student narration. The newest iMovie is a really good tool for quickly mashing together a variety of clips and pushing out a finished product in minimal class time. It's not Final Cut, but students are learning a few essential digital editing strategies. And becoming better storytellers.

We aren't ready for This American Life, but I caught this series by Ira Glass and picked up more than a few words of advice for my students. He's a great communicator and very inspiring. If only I could communicate half as much, half as well...

This is the first of four parts. If you have 30 minutes to spare, click through and watch them all. The message applies to students & teachers, videocamera-toting parents, radio/tv/movie/web producers, or anyone else who creates a medium to communicate effectively. If you are looking for something more lively to share with students, you might try the tutorials with Jack Black.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dina's Report Card

Found a new blog and the My Report Card post was enough to get a spot in the feed reader. Great stuff.
I want a TEACHER REPORT CARD. Something I can pull out next year and say, with confidence, “This is a snapshot of me as a professional at this moment.” And since this thing does not exist, as my last major thinking for the 07-08 year, I’m going to draft my own.
Here's Dina's list:
1) Observations, one per quarter in my class
2) Professional Development
2a) Membership
3) Reading
3) An independent evaluation of the quality of my written Plans
3a) Reflection on those plans. Again, in writing
4) Hard evidence of learning
5) Collaboration
6) Autonomy
6a) Care and Feeding
7) Evidence of supporting literacy as a citizen
8 ) Home involvement
9) Getting stuff
10) And the usual vanilla icing

Vote Republic...hahaha... rofl.

Found via Pharyngula. Over-the-top-hilarious and, sadly, reflective of many red-staters.

Kucinich wants to impeach the President

Kucinich's Mammoth Case for Impeaching Bush on AlterNet covers my man Dennis when few others are paying attention.
... if you really want to know 'what happened' in the Bush era, take a pass on buying former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book. Read Kucinich's articles of impeachment in the Congressional Record -- for free -- instead.
Dennis K has already tried to impeach Cheney and is now going after Bush. Use to find Kucinich's bills.

Positive Feedback

Just to remind myself:
1. Smile (it's contagious)
2. Take pictures of students working and post them on the walls
3. Dignify wrong answers "Thank you so much for making that mistake because we can all learn from it."
4. Say thank you often "thank you for understanding we don't chew gum in class" (to the student who is chewing gum.)
5.Write thank you notes for gives from students
6. Notice new haircuts
7. Relate your lessons to student interests with metaphors (if Jun loves cars, then the verb becomes the "driver" of the sentence.)
8. Time student transitions between activities (they love to race to beat their time)
9. Encourage improvement, not perfection
10. Make a teacher report card when you are writing student report cards: you will get amazing feedback.
11. Give constant positive feedback ("I really appreciate the cooperation I'm observing in this group," "Thanks for raising your hand," "
12. Treat you students the way you hope they will behave ("You look like someone I can trust, could you take this note to the principal?)

Thanks for the list, Laura Davis.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Update: Journler still rocks

This old Tao post (I found via HawkWings) outlines a filing system using and IMAP to replace Yojimbo.

I use with a few plugins (Mail Badger, SignatureProfiler, Mail Type Select, still waiting for Mail Act-On) and a plethora of smart mailboxes. So using Mail to store digital snippets is intriguing.

But after nine-point-six seconds of thought, I realized that Mail won't do it for me. Journler (or Evernote) are waaay better than Mail and/or Yojimbo.

Why am I still rocking the Journler? In 1000 words...

Monday, June 9, 2008

ICE Deports High School Valedictorian

AlterNet reports:
Arthur's story and that of the DREAM Act are just two examples of what amounts to an utterly inconsistent immigration policy. Whether ICE wants to admit it or not, undocumented immigrants are here to stay, and an enforcement-only policy that consists of random deportations just isn't going to cut it.
What happened to "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore?"

My history book says immigrants made America prosperous and compassionate. When our country refuses to open the Mexican border or deports Armenian scholars, it makes me wonder, Where did the spirit of America go? Did we deport it, too?

Court Dismisses Clean Water Initiative 1


The Supreme Court made its decision after the 'Clean Water 1' sponsors and Parnell filed a motion last week asking the court to drop their appeals of conflicting lower court rulings on the initiative.
Now, Ballot Measure 4 is the only one in legal limbo.
Pending a Supreme Court ruling, it is scheduled to appear on the statewide election ballot in August.
The folks who want to limit mining in Alaska fought long and hard to get their ballot initiatives approved. Now they are backing off a little. Seems that Clean Water 1 is being sacrificed in hopes of getting #4 passed.

Looking into my crystal ball... Looks hazy and somewhat fulvous... Must be the 4 billion tons of copper and gold shining through the smog of our new Pebble mine.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Journler2Blogger script

I found this Applescript for posting Journler entries to Blogger. "Written by Eric Knibbe, 2008 ( with code from and"

It had some features for Markdown and SmartyPants that I don't use, so I cut them out. I just wanted to put several Journler entries into Blogger all in one go. This script does that perfectly. It even tags the Journler entries as Blogged. Cool.

Like my NNW script, Journler2Blogger uses the BlogThis! Bookmarklet. But Eric cleverly avoids the 250 character limit by copying the Journler entry text to clipboard. I had to paste each Journler entry into the BlogThis! window. But that was no problem because the script waits for confirmation before posting the next Journler entry.

I am using the BlogPlus extension in Flock for most of my posting but it was fun to learn some new ways to use BlogThis! and Applescripts. Someday I'll probably want to use MarsEdit for all of this. Would be faster and simpler, for sure. :-)

-- Here is Eric's wonderful Applescript (as mangled by myself). Worked for getting multiple Journler entries into Blogger. YMMV. --

property tagBlogged : "Blogged"

tell application "Journler"
set blogEntries to selected entries
if blogEntries = {} then
display dialog "There are no entries selected." buttons "Cancel" default button "Cancel" with icon 0
repeat with anEntry in blogEntries
set entryText to rich text of anEntry

set entryText to do shell script "echo " & quoted form of entryText
if the button returned of (display dialog name of anEntry & return & entryText buttons {"Cancel", "Copy & Post"} default button 2) is "Copy & Post" then
set the clipboard to entryText
set date created of anEntry to (current date)
set isTagged to false
set anEntryTags to tags of anEntry
repeat with tag in anEntryTags
if tag as string is equal to tagBlogged then
set isTagged to true
end if
end repeat
if isTagged is false then
set tags of anEntry to (tags of anEntry) & tagBlogged
end if
set entryName to my encode_URL_string(name of anEntry)

tell application "System Events"
open location "" & entryName
end tell
end if
save changes
end repeat
end if
end tell

property allowed_URL_chars : (characters of "$-_.+!*(),1234567890abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz")
property hex_list : (characters of "0123456789ABCDEF")
on encode_URL_string(this_item)
set character_list to (characters of this_item)
repeat with i from 1 to number of items in character_list
set this_char to item i of character_list
if this_char is not in allowed_URL_chars then set item i of character_list to my encode_URL_char(this_char)
end repeat
return character_list as string
end encode_URL_string

on encode_URL_char(this_char)
set ASCII_num to (ASCII number this_char)
set x to item ((ASCII_num div 16) + 1) of hex_list
set y to item ((ASCII_num mod 16) + 1) of hex_list
return ("%" & x & y) as string
end encode_URL_char

Publish NNW tabs in Blogger

Use this Applescript to publish the current tab from NetNewsWire into your Blogger Blog. It uses the same syntax as the BlogThis! bookmarklet.

Important: This only works from the tabs panel. If you try to publish from the News Items list, the app will just quit without an error message. I made it this way 'cause I only read articles in the NNW tabs panel.

Also you can only copy about 250 characters into the BlogThis! bookmarklet or Google will give you an error message about bad syntax or something. 250 characters is about 2 paragraphs. If you need more text, then you have to switch back to NNW and copy-paste into your BlogThis! window.

To use the script:
1. Past the code into Script Editor.
2. Save as a run-only application in your apps folder. (I called mine NNW2Blogger.)
2. Set NNW prefernences to Post to Weblog Using... NNW2Blogger

To post a NNW article:
1. Copy some text from the article. (Really, you need to copy some text to the clipboard. About 2 paragraphs or less.)
2. Click Post to Weblog.
3. Edit your new post.

-- Here's the code to roll your own applescript. Just remember to save it as a run-only application. I saw parts of this script somewhere but can't remember who to credit. --

tell application "NetNewsWire"

set tab_num to ((index of selected tab) + 1)
set url_ to (item tab_num of (get URLs of tabs))
set title_ to (item tab_num of (get titles of tabs))

set entrytitle to "&n=" & title_
set entryUrl to "&u=" & url_

if title_ is "News Items" then
error number -128
end if

tell application "System Events"
open location "" & (the clipboard) & entryUrl & entrytitle
end tell
end tell
end try

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What Reading Does For The Mind

My Principal sent me a copy of What Reading Does for the Mind By Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich. (Published in American Educator, Spring/Summer 1998 The Unique Power of Reading and How To Unleash It)
Those who read well are likely to read more, thus setting an upward spiral into motion.
We often despair of changing our students’
abilities, but there is at least one partially malleable habit that will itself develop abilities — reading!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

An Oral History of the Internet

Listen to some of the legendary figures in the history of the internet as you read How the Web Was Won.  Vanity Fair published a quick read and gives a super perspective on the driving forces behind the development of computer communications.  But the best part is hearing it straight from the men and women who were there.

Top 50 Edublogs

I'm listing this Irrelevant post for future reference. Many of the blogs are in my RSS reader and about 10 of them just don't suit my interests. I'll probably get around to visiting the rest someday soon.

cloZure: create cloze tests from wikipedia article abstracts

You can start using cloZure in one of 3 ways:

    * enter a search term in the search box on the right
    * browse through the category listings, or
    * drill down through the indexes

Once you've found a topic, click on it and try out an instant cloze test.

Try browsing the category listings; bet you'll find something of interest.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Internet Literacy via Hoax Websites

These harmless websites (Pacific Tree Octopus DHMO) look real but are full of fake information. I could use them for teaching internet literacy and identifying reliable online sources. I wonder how many other fake websites are out there? Are you reading one now?

And there are plenty more at Museum of Hoaxes. Just be sure to preview all websites yourself before showing them to anyone else. There are some nasty and even malicious sites out there...

Somebody better call BS on this one

U.S. Army opinion (as stated by Dr. Bruce West on "Global Warming: Fact of Fiction") argues that the sun could be responsible for most of the increase in Earth's average temperature.