Basic science provides critical basis for living, for parenting, and for teaching and learning. Anyone opposed to science instruction should rethink the harms that ever result from ignorance, or even forgetfulness.
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
Minor error: No provision I can find in any Texas Constitution to allow Texas to split. Language to allow a territory to split into as many as five states was pretty standard for new U.S. territories organized during the 19th century; but that didn’t carry over to the Texas Constitution approved by Congress, not in a unilateral way. One needs to recall that when Texas entered the Union, it carried with it lands that eventually became parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming — which was part of the scruff with Mexico, which led to the U.S.-Mexico war of 1846 to 1848.
Still a teacher from another state demonstrates a much clearer conception of Texas history and state and federal law than some of the nutcases in Texas. That so many Texans hold so many false perceptions of law and Texas history is an indictment of Texas education, and Texas’s governor and legislature.
Real science often is more fantastic that the stuff people make up. Haldane was right.
Not the Sun you’re used to seeing.
In a century our studies of the Sun progressed from the deep calculations based on erroneous assumptions of what our star is make of (Lord Kelvin‘s calculations on how long the iron in the Sun would take to cool to its present color), to today’s solar studies, in which nearly every moment of the Sun’s life is recorded through a half dozen different sensors, by satellites and telescopes and whatever other means we have to capture data from the Sun’s burning.
It’s hard science — but it borders on art, too, doesn’t it? Watch this:
Watching a particularly beautiful movie of the sun helps show how the lines between science and art can sometimes blur. But there is more to the connection between the two disciplines: science and art techniques are often quite similar, indeed one may inform the other or be improved based on lessons from the other arena. One such case is a technique known as a “gradient filter” – recognizable to many people as an option available on a photo-editing program. Gradients are, in fact, a mathematical description that highlights the places of greatest physical change in space. A gradient filter, in turn, enhances places of contrast, making them all the more obviously different, a useful tool when adjusting photos. Scientists, too, use gradient filters to enhance contrast, using them to accentuate fine structures that might otherwise be lost in the background noise. On the sun, for example, scientists wish to study a phenomenon known as coronal loops, which are giant arcs of solar material constrained to travel along that particular path by the magnetic fields in the sun’s atmosphere. Observations of the loops, which can be more or less tangled and complex during different phases of the sun’s 11-year activity cycle, can help researchers understand what’s happening with the sun’s complex magnetic fields, fields that can also power great eruptions on the sun such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections.
The images here show an unfiltered image from the sun next to one that has been processed using a gradient filter. Note how the coronal loops are sharp and defined, making them all the more easy to study. On the other hand, gradients also make great art. Watch the movie to see how the sharp loops on the sun next to the more fuzzy areas in the lower solar atmosphere provide a dazzling show.
Teachers ought to figure out how to use this in classrooms — and I don’t mean astronomy, physics and chemistry only. Can you find a use for this film in geography? History? English and literature?
Sometime shortly after World War II scientists captured film of a mass coronal ejection from the Sun. You probably can imagine the film I’m remembering. That snippet found its way into films students saw in science, geography, chemistry, biology (“this is our Sun, from which all living things get energy, through photosynthesis”), and probably a half dozen other subjects. It was spectacular, and it was just about all that was available for classroom use, then. Students now probably have never seen it. Worse, my experience is that students in high school generally have very little familiarity with the science projects carried out by agencies like NASA and the National Science Foundation, and they know very little about the Sun, or the Moon and other planets.
Teachers, the state isn’t going to help you put this into your classrooms. Can you figure out some way to get it in?
James is home for the weekend, then back to Wisconsin on Sunday for a summer of physics beyond my current understanding. He flew home to wish bon voyage to Kenny, who is off to Crete to learn how to teach English, and then (we hope) to find a position teaching English to non-English speakers somewhere in Europe.
I wondered: What about that volcano erupting in Iceland?
Little worry for the trip over, this weekend. Longer term?
So I turned to the Smithsonian to find a volcano expert, and came up with this video of Smithsonian Geologist Liz Cottrell who explains where the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull fits in history, and maybe some — with a lesson in how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull’s name.
Can teachers figure out how to use this in geography, and in world history? (Science teachers, you’re on your own.)
Life is a gamble if you live close to a volcano, and sometimes when just happen to be downwind.
In the past couple of hundred years, maybe volcanoes worldwide have been unusually quiet.
As to size of eruptions and the damage potential: We ain’t seen nothin’ recently!
Here’s a map that should be more viewed in America, but a map which has been much overlooked in the post-election euphoria, or post-election gloom. It’s the map of electoral college results, still showing Republicans in a Soviet/Maoist red, and Democrats in blue:
Electoral College results from the 2008 presidential election - American Presidency Project
Note especially the blue dot in Nebraska, around Omaha. Nebraska splits its electoral college votes, giving each congressional district’s vote to the elector for the candidate who actually won in that district. Obama won Omaha’s district; Nebraska is officially a red and blue state. Maine also allows a split in electors, but this year did not see a split among the electorate.
America is not so red as some claim, even in the electoral college. More states are surrounded by blue states than surrounded by red states.
Perhaps it’s time to find other ways to color these maps, so that we cannot so easily speak of a red state/blue state split that does not reflect politics, economics, or much of anything else in America.
Dallas students are out on inauguration day. We can hope our government and history students will glue themselves to the television to watch the ceremony, but we know better than to expect it.
Will you discuss the inauguration in your classes, whatever the subject? Here are some sources you could use:
We've been soaking in the Bathtub for several months, long enough that some of the links we've used have gone to the Great Internet in the Sky.
If you find a dead link, please leave a comment to that post, and tell us what link has expired.