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Weather and Science

By: sp34n119w , 9:40 PM GMT on April 06, 2009

For the science bit -
Dr. Phil Plait, who writes the Bad Astronomy blog at Discover, has written a pretty good article about the process of science, how imagination is key to science, and how people misinterpret science. I'd be interested in other folks' take on what he has written after reading the article in its entirety.

For the weather bit -

Cloudy and cool right now. Hoping for rain but not counting on it. OTOH, I have to drive to Ventura so it's bound to pour, LOL ;)

From the forecast discussion
200 PM PDT Thursday Apr 9 2009

Short term (today through monday)...
our beautiful semi-Colon shaped low pressure system...currently
about 300 miles south of Los Angeles...continues to slide to the
southeast this afternoon. The flow is already beginning to shift to
the west-northwest over slow and sba counties. Instability showers
have already formed over the mountains and foothills over slow sba and vtu
counties...as there is enough daytime heating to trigger some
convection. Light snow reports confirm the snow level around 5000
feet. These showers should continue through this evening just about
anywhere...but mostly in the foothills and mountains we even saw a
number of lightning strikes over the sba and vtu mountains this past
hour. Most of the showers will produce light rainfall under a tenth
of an inch. A few of these showers however could produce a good dose
of precipitation near one quarter of an inch...especially those of
the slow moving thunderstorm variety.

Here's the pretty picture -

The other pretty picture - someone in Cali is getting rain today -

April 7
Looks like the possibility of some rain Tuesday into Wednesday, then again on Thursday/Friday. At the least, the temperature will drop significantly. As I type, it is 77º and tomorrow's high is meant to be around 68º dropping to low-to-mid 60's for the rest of the week. Big difference!

From the forecast discussion for my area:

Also, slight chance of thunderstorms on Wednesday.
Snow above 7000ft, if any.

Even if the rain stays north and east it will be good for the state, overall. Hoping for a soaking here, of course, since my feeling is that if it is cloudy and cold it dang well ought to be raining! Otherwise, it better be sunny! LOL If only the weather gods cared what I think...

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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43. john123
5:40 AM GMT on June 16, 2009
Nice weather I always see this kind of weather in my dreams.
John Assam
temporary jobs London and the UK
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42. sp34n119w
6:52 PM GMT on April 30, 2009
This is the wrong blog. My "current" blog is LOST by my own stupidity. WUsupport is clearing trying to fix that, for which I am grateful.

Unfortunately, they still have it wrong :(

It was all about BEES!

And FSM.


I want that blog (the comments much more than the blog, itself) back.

I'll check back again, later...


Oh, hi, shore! Sent you wumail :)
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41. shoreacres
5:14 PM GMT on April 28, 2009
I've been looking around to see your footprint, but I don't see it. I know you had to have been here because I was looking for your blog last night and got too lazy to go drag you out of the basement ;-)

Typical Houston weather today - half of us are pulling flooded cars out of freeway underpasses and the other half get to go to work. I'm counting myself lucky that I'm among the workers rather than the pullers ;-)

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40. sp34n119w
7:25 PM GMT on April 14, 2009
Another education anecdote...
I know of these two eighth grade girls who are wanting to go to a private Catholic high school next year. I'm friends with the father of one of the girls so that's where I'm getting info.
Both girls are excellent students, members of the band, sports participants, have everything going for them including involved parents.
Both passed all the tests and interviewed well enough to be offered a place at the school.

The tuition is normally $13,000/year and the school offers discounts according to need and depending on their own available resources. Not surprisingly, donations to the school are down (as is enrollment), so, the discounts are not as deep for next year.

My friend is not sending his daughter to the school. Although the school discounted the tuition to just $3000, which is great, it is more than he can afford right now because, like many people, he has found his income down and his expenses up.

He's very concerned about his daughter's future and really doesn't want her going to SPHS. There is no way she's going to get into her university and program of choice (currently UCSB and Marine Biology) from SPHS. No way. They don't have the curriculum.

In the past, college bound SPHS students could take classes at the community college while still in HS to make up for the educational deficit. That won't happen after this year as college enrollment is up (as the unemployed are taking classes) and classes are being cut (due to the same budget cuts that affect all Cali schools) and it will be years before that gets back on track.
My friend's daughter is so screwed.

I wonder what this country will look like in another ten years, or twenty. How will we function as a society when entire generations are being cut off from a decent education? Who will do the work? Who will pay the bills?

Guess we'll just outsource it as we've been doing more and more for the last thirty years.

Did I mention it's a lovely day today?
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39. sp34n119w
7:01 PM GMT on April 14, 2009
Howdy! A lovely Tuesday here in Santa Paula. Well, that's how I choose to see it, anyway :)
Overcast has cleared, it's 65º, there is a wind advisory going into effect later today into tonight but the wind will be from the SW so not a Santa Ana. Marine layer kept things warm last night.

Thought I'd give an update on the eagles since Karen asked in my last blog. I didn't want to answer then because some things were up in the air.

I watch three eagle nests, as time permits, and all three had two eggs. The two nests on Catalina each hatched two healthy chicks. On one, the oldest is over two weeks old, now, and they are so much fun to watch as they bop each other in the head, fighting for food, then snuggle together for naps :) The other Catalina nest's oldest is about a week or so old and those two are a hoot, too. That cam is not as clear as the others and I don't watch it as much.

My favorite pair, the ones that got me interested in watching, seemed to have hatched one egg successfully, but, the chick died in three days. The second egg then hatched and the chick seemed stronger than the first. Sadly, it also died. That was Friday night or Saturday, sometime. In both cases I was watching as a parent lifted the lifeless body out of the nest bowl and set it to the side.
This is why I generally avoid watching animal cams :(

Still, it's a fascinating look into their lives, and I'm grateful to those who run those cams and forums and from whom I've learned so much about bald eagles.
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38. sp34n119w
12:23 AM GMT on April 14, 2009
By the way, and for a musical interlude... whose bright idea do you think this was?

Sounds more like a cover band than a cover, to me, LOL
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37. sp34n119w
12:00 AM GMT on April 14, 2009
Hope everyone had a great weekend! I did and I appreciate the kind wishes :)

JD I love it when my family decides to get together on an "off" day for holiday meals. Traffic is lighter, the stores are all open to get last minute items, I can stop at Starbuck's on the way... LOL
The important thing is to be together, right? :)

GG I would also like to see that study done. Sounds very controversial, though, lol. I'm picturing an MRI image of a skull full of cement...

Not to be argumentative... kids have at least ten years to learn to read at a basic level - and don't all manage it. I work with an adult literacy program and the adults are learning to read while holding down jobs and caring for kids and elderly parents and just generally having a life that involves much more than learning to read. It does not take ten years in most cases. In fact, they'd give up if they didn't see much faster progress.

However, older learners are more likely have a personal belief that says, "I'm too stupid to learn to read", and that is a major hindrance. Sometimes, the hardest part of teaching an adult is convincing them that they can, and getting them to try.

Thanks for getting me thinking in more directions :)


Hey, something I just remembered today that might be useful -
Whenever you want to see an article from a magazine that you don't subscribe to, you can often find it online at AccessMyLibrary. That's a service that archives mags and journals and, if you are a library card holder, you should be able to use it.
This is great for those times when the doctor finally makes an appearance just as you've finally found something interesting to read in the two-year-old mags in the exam room ;)
Or, when shore shows up with a title to a great article :)
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36. GardenGrrl
9:27 AM GMT on April 13, 2009
It's interesting that young children are good at both memorization and "what if" types of thinking. It seems first we try to suppress the "what-if" with rote learning and then later in highschool and college ask people to think from both sides of their brains again.

This gets me thinking about how people learn to read. If a person is not taught to read before their teens, they generally will never be able to master reading. The brain just doesn't develop the capacity.

This makes me wonder if people who are not allowed to use their imagination as children get stuck in their left brain as adults.

Wouldn't it be interesting to do MRI's and brain wave scans on people who grew up with very strict ridgid belief systems. The kind that don't allow for questions and very little contact with people of differing beliefs.

Wonder what we would find.
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35. JDinWPA
2:16 AM GMT on April 13, 2009
Hi sp. Hope your Easter was a good one. It was unconventional, but excellent here. My youngest had to work today so we had Easter dinner yesterday and leftovers today. A lot less stress on the cook! ;}

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34. GardenGrrl
4:38 AM GMT on April 12, 2009
Happy Easter!
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33. sp34n119w
11:34 PM GMT on April 11, 2009
Oops. Sorry that was soooooo long. Guess I'm feeling typative, today ;)
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32. sp34n119w
11:34 PM GMT on April 11, 2009
Well, I didn't get poured on, but, it did rain a bit in Ventura yesterday :)
That pretty storm went south of us and I guess it did some work elsewhere. Just not here. Oh, well.

Karen your story of the 4th grader reminds me of my nephew. He was diagnosed with a learning disability in K and put in special ed. classes. He did poorly, at first, then better, finally great by about 5th grade. Everytime they tried to mainstream him, though, he would ask to go back. Why? Because in sp. ed. he got straight A's and in 'regular' classes he got C's - putting in the same amount of effort. I told him I thought that was pretty good and he should go to afterschool tutoring and learn some study skills. No, he wanted A's because that got him video games and special dinners and stickers for his mom's car and other rewards and praise.

I believe that if he had been held back a year, he could have been mainstreamed, easily. Neither the school nor his parents wanted that to happen.

He was 17 when he graduated HS and he entered the Army a month later, with an age waver signed by his mom.

Thing is, this kid is pretty smart and was always very interested in going to college. He wanted to be a paleontologist or a historian. I believe he never had a chance because he was pushed to get through school as soon as possible - regardless of whether he was ready. In any case, by the end of 10th grade, he'd given up on college.

Don't get me wrong - I'm proud of him for following through with getting in the Army. That wasn't easy, either. Hopefully he survives the experience and will go on to college when he gets out. More likely, he'll do what most do and get married and have kids and need a job by the time he's done serving - if he doesn't stay in. We'll see.

shore I went to 4 different elementary schools and, though they were all in the same school district, each was very different in structure and philosophy.
I went from a school where I was going to be skipped a grade because I'd completed the next grade's work, to a school that thought all should be treated and taught as equals (OMG BORING), to another that focused almost exclusively on reading skills.

BTW, at that school everyone took the Iowa test twice a year. I think we were some sort of test school for the test, or something, because none of my other schools did that.

My point? Just as one must be careful when reading studies whose conclusions include the words "never" or "always", one must also be careful not to mistake one's personal experience for "normal". LOL I'm not picking on you, because what you said about those words is true, just making a point that, in my personal experience, the quality of education varies greatly from school to school. It is impossible to extrapolate across schools, let alone across time - and things have changed.

Gosh, I haven't even told you about the two junior highs and three high schools that I went to - whew! Crazy lot of difference as one moves from place to place!
I'll spare you any more details ;)

Was Latin required or an elective? American Lit.? Brit. Lit? In High School? Yep, you had a singular experience, for sure. Lucky you :)

So much degradation of the education system is due to social and cultural changes. One tiny example - school administrators and teachers were gods when I went through the system. Parents backed them up without fail, and EVERYONE'S parents showed up for parent teacher conferences.

Yepyep. But why? Can it go back?
Not surprisingly, I have an opinion on that, LOL
But, running out of time and trying others' patience... :(

SSIGG - Excellent choice :)

shore that reminds me of when I brought a baby bunny home from the neighbor's to try to convince my folks to let me keep it. I thought cute furry bunny would like to meet cute furry kitty. It started out looking just like your pic. It ended badly for baby bunny 8.(

Thanks for the wishes, anyway! :)

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!
I've gotten much done and am now off to do more, yippee!
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31. shoreacres
3:43 PM GMT on April 11, 2009
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29. shoreacres
1:14 AM GMT on April 11, 2009
Hi, sp,

Glad you enjoyed the article. It's back in my "ponder pile". (And you're welcome, LC!)

Karen ~ but in Iowa, in 1950, we were reading in kindergarten. Not everyone, not at first, but we had a reading circle every day, and kids who could, read to the other kids. I know we had Dick and Jane books in k'garten, because I just found one of mine the other day. I remember making the name tag for my clothes hook in the mud room, and I remember phonics drills.

We weren't geniuses, but we were in it together, and it was expected that we would stay together - which we did. The college prep kids and the vocational-agriculture kids were in the same classes through high school, at least for the basics. Granted, I never took physics and Rocky (duck tail, black leather, attitude) never showed up in BritLit, but we were together in Latin, Western Civ, American Lit, Geometry, etc.

I'm just so grateful now that I went through Iowa's system "back in the day". The ITED (Iowa Test of Educational Development) has a good rep for a reason. The fact is that when I graduated from high school, I had the equivalent of today's BA. Maybe better.

So much degradation of the education system is due to social and cultural changes. One tiny example - school administrators and teachers were gods when I went through the system. Parents backed them up without fail, and EVERYONE'S parents showed up for parent teacher conferences. If you didn't show, by gosh, the principal herself was going to be on your doorstep. We heard stories......

Oh, and sp - I'm with you on the one-room school. My Aunt Ina (remember Ina?) taught in one. I'll dig out the picture.
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28. sp34n119w
9:32 PM GMT on April 10, 2009
Yep, shore, I found that article very interesting, indeed. Thanks!
Insight, imagination, creativity, and science. Woohoo! :)

Hi LC!

Hi Karen - Gladwell has been all over promoting that book :)
I hope you get a chance to read it, too. It really is fascinating. I like the way he takes his research and kind of mashes it up to form new connections and ideas.

Thanks for your comments on age ranges in school. Rant away, if you like :)
I want to reread and respond to your comments when I get a chance - later! :)

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27. SBKaren
7:23 PM GMT on April 10, 2009
I just scanned the beginning page of the article...I will have to read it later...but it sounds like a book I read quite a while ago. I tried to search it out, but obviously there are a few out there. Jumping Fire is what comes up in the search, but I swear the story took place in Montana. I'll have to delve more.
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26. LowerCal
7:10 PM GMT on April 10, 2009
Re. 21 & 22

The Eureka Hunt by Jonah Lehrer

That was like, a totally excellent article! Thank you shore and sp. :^D
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25. SBKaren
6:14 PM GMT on April 10, 2009
sp - funny you mentioned that book Outliers, that's on hubbies list to read. I think he saw the author on Tavis Smiley - not sure - maybe it was the Journal with Bill Moyers...not sure.

That is very true about the age spreads in grades. Our district has opened a developmental kindergarten this year. Kids that are age ready for kindergarten, but not ready either by maturity or learning level. If they are ready to move on, they will go on to 1st grade the following year, if not, they spend another year in K in a different class with a different teacher. To me, this is a gift.

Shores - you have to keep in mind that the curriculum when you and I went to school is drastically different from today. Kindergarten for me was more social in nature than academic. Today, kids are expected to be reading (or darn close) by the end of kindergarten. I was still taking naps!

Unfortunately there are still parents out there that put their kids in school when they are age appropriate, and not necessarily ready. The kids pay the price. I have a boy in 4th grade right now that is so far behind all the other kids. He is young and immature. The teachers have encouraged his parents to retain him since kindergarten. A lot less stigma in K than in 4th, 5th, etc., heck, they don't even know they have been retained after a couple of weeks. Well, they didn't and he is paying the price now. He has a very hard time keeping up and if you knew this boy, you could even see it's just a matter of maturity. He's capable, but his parents have been enabling him along all these years that that's how he gets by.

Both my girls were 'older' when they started school - both over 5 1/2. The dates decided it for me. I began school as a 4 year old, and when it hit home for me was in high school. Last to get my drivers license, last to turn 18 - I know, now that it's in the past no big deal...but it was then. I did OK in school, and my mother was unusual in that she had me in pre-school - practically unheard of in the 50s. I also attended a private school until 5th grade when it went under. But I did OK, but waiting another year wouldn't of hurt me either.

OK that's enough...don't get me started or I won't stop!
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24. SBKaren
6:03 PM GMT on April 10, 2009
sp - I know that Kaiser has come a long way. It was a choice for us many moons ago, shortly after I had my 2nd daughter, and I jumped at the chance to change because at that time we had Blue Cross and they didn't cover any wellness checks for babies. Well, most of the doctor's visit you have with a baby are wellness checks! Kaiser covered them.

I had heard nightmare stories of waiting and being put on hold on the phone, but I personally never experienced them. We've been with them for over 25 years now. When I have an appointment, I'm generally in and out within an hour, including checking in, waiting, and seeing the physician. I have a nurse practitioner that I see for my yearly exams, and we strike up a friendly conversation every time I see her - like friends....I like that.

When my husband was hospitalized for a kidney infection over 3 years ago, he said he care was just fine...the bill total? Zilch! all covered.

I do like that they lean towards preventative care, as that is the way I like to look at good health too. Get it taken care of before you are looking at long term health care.

Anyway, I've been happy!

I have a friend that is a pharmacist at the local clinic where I go too...oh, and I can reorder subscriptions online and they mail them to me free!
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23. sp34n119w
1:13 AM GMT on April 10, 2009
Oh, and, WAIT! I haven't finished reading the comments from your last wonderful wp blog! LOL
I have some "catching up" to do, myself, it seems ;)
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22. sp34n119w
1:02 AM GMT on April 10, 2009
Lucky us, someone already did scan it! Yea!
It does look interesting and I look forward to reading it.

Also lucky us, as adults we no longer have to be concerned with "catching up", of course. Adults specialize and, if they don't like math, for instance, then they can just forget everything but the basics and do just fine.
If you are fifteen and want to take an advanced math class because you'd like to be a physicist one day, well, you are likely out of luck. Those classes are limited in size and they only take the students who test very well in the subject. If you started learning math when you were developmentally 11 months behind your classmates, you are not going to test well enough to get into that class this year.

If you happen(ed) to attend a school that is more flexible (and there are some), you will be taught according to your ability, regardless of grade. That's pretty rare outside of private schools, but, there is hope, and some sources of that hope are mentioned in the book.

If that doesn't make sense, Gladwell explains it better!
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21. shoreacres
12:34 AM GMT on April 10, 2009
Well, good gosh. Look at this:Actual studies have been done that show that the younger students entering kindergarden will NEVER catch up to the older students that started school at the same time.

Is that so? Well, since I was just four when I started kindergarten, I guess I might as well stop trying to catch up ;-) Gotta watch those studies that have conclusions that include the words "always" or "never"!

Actually stopped by to tell you I found that article I was digging for. Written by Jonah Lehrer, it's called "The Eureka Hunt" and was published in The New Yorker July 28, 2008. I've got the magazine, but went exploring in the archives. As a subscriber I can get it there free - if you happen to take The New Yorker, you can, too. Or, you could order a single copy for $4.99, or probably do it the old-fashioned way, through the library.

They do offer a free abstract of the article, but it's pretty... ummm... abstract. The wonderful details, study results, ponderings and such that made it so intriguing to me weren't even hinted at in the abstract. Figures. I'm always interested in the bits of lint rather than the sweater.

It's a substantial piece - six pages. I've never scanned anything like this for emailing - can you do it? (Remember - I'm the cyberdoofus.)

Anyhow, I took the opportunity to read it again and there's no doubt there's a blog coming. Or two. But I'll bet you'd find it interesting for all kinds of reasons.

I'm trying to settle down to have some of my own fun tonight with my new wordpress post, called "The Bluebird of Perception". :-)
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20. sp34n119w
10:49 PM GMT on April 09, 2009
Hi Karen - there are so many problems with standardized testing - I'm sure you know them far better than I do!

I recently read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers and he found some interesting studies regarding how the way school years are set up leaves so many kids behind. In the book he gives several examples of how a person's birthdate affects their later success and it's frightening. With regards to schooling, because grade level is determined by age and includes an entire year worth of kids, we have kids with age differences of up to a year being measured against one another. They are not at the same developmental stage so they aren't ready to learn the same things at the same time. While common wisdom has it that these things even out over time, actual studies have been done that show that the younger students entering kindergarden will NEVER catch up to the older students that started school at the same time.
Is that crazy, or what?

Back to the one-room schoolhouse, says I! LOL

You can read about Outliers on Gladwell's site, if you're interested.
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19. SBKaren
9:47 PM GMT on April 09, 2009
sp - while I'm not a strong supporter of standardized testing (I don't think it gives a true reflection of a student - there is no way to show critical thinking on a multiple choice test), for now that is all we have.

Our school consistently tests rather high. I just checked our scores for last year - and in 5th grade in English Language Arts 73% tested were proficient to advanced; in Math 71% were proficient to advanced; and in Science, 83% were proficient to advanced.

I hate to see cuts made at any school level, and this years budget has a lot of cuts in it. I think when the dust settles we'll see a return of some things, and after the May election we will too, but it's pretty topsy turvey for now!
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18. sp34n119w
10:48 PM GMT on April 08, 2009
LC - that game looks really interesting and I don't remember it from school. I got most of my early learning in logic, rhetoric, and critical thinking from annoying parents, LOL. Okay, some teachers helped, too.
Must be why I fail so often ;)

A friend of mine and I just read an excerpt from the old book You Are What You Eat in which the author describes how American tastes have changed to reflect what food companies are able to produce and sell. Most processed food is bland and tasteless and looks plain wrong, but, we buy it and say, "yum!" because that's what the people on the tv do. It's kind of amazing that even physical responses to something as basic as food can be altered through marketing. No surprise, then, that it is hard for folks to see through other forms of misinformation - or even properly identify propaganda versus fact.

The subject came up because he is trying to convince his wife and kids that they need to stop eating fast food and prepackaged meals and start eating real food. It isn't working, so far.

Thanks, again, for linking Plait's article on the TBoE. I was going to look around for something a little less, um, inflammatory, but, it'll do :)
It's very scary when you think of how many other states would be affected by any rules they adopt.

I will try to satisfy your curiosity soon. I do not have your Zen Master skills so have to work on bringing the rant down to a tantrum, haha.
Actually, I haven't fully articulated the question in my own mind. I just know that I saw an answer. If that makes sense.

Karen - wow, thanks for the link to the science standards! That's some fun reading, that is :) I don't remember learning that stuff in that way as a kid but, it's been awhile, and the standards may have changed, anyway.
I do have to wonder how well the schools teach all of that. I'm guessing that some are better than others.

The High School here has had to make many cuts for next year - as have most schools. The difference here is that they were already near bare minimum due to lack of funding. They have now explicitly said that they will teach only to get kids to pass the proficiency exam. That's a 10th grade standard, I believe. SPHS students can forget about meeting UC entrance requirements.
The important thing, of course, is that there be no new taxes!!!!

Oh, look - we're back to logic and critical thinking skills ;)

Nice pic! Looks a lot like how it was here, this morning. I haven't looked outside in hours so no idea what it's like now, LOL.

It does seem sure that we'll stay in drought. That's pretty normal, though. The problem is that each time it comes around there are more people and industries wanting what little water there is.
Thanks for that link, too :)

Going to take a lurk around and then head out for awhile.
Happy day! :)
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17. SBKaren
7:24 PM GMT on April 08, 2009
Here's a daily snow sensor report

And a report from 4/2

04/02/2009 - DWR Announces Fourth Snow Survey Results
The Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) fourth snow survey of the winter season indicates snowpack water content is 81 percent of normal for the date, statewide.“A below-average snowpack at this time of year, especially following two consecutive dry years is a cause for concern,” said DWR Director Lester Snow. “Our most critical storage reservoirs remain low, and we face severe water supply problems in many parts of our state. Californians must continue to save water at home and in their businesses.
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16. SBKaren
7:20 PM GMT on April 08, 2009
Here's my picture!

My SIL lives in Citrus Heights, outside of Sacramento near the foothills of the Sierra's and their forecast calls for rain all this week. I checked and Tahoe did received some snow - but I don't know how much. I think there are a couple of weather stations up there...we could check!
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15. sp34n119w
7:02 PM GMT on April 08, 2009
I'm with you two - snow is what's needed! I like a little rain to clean things up, but, I love the sun and am happy to have the water trickling downhill over time.
Any idea how much they got? Not enough, I'm sure.

Another .02" of rain last night here and mostly sunny with perty clouds around today.
I wouldn't mind a few more degrees showing on the thermometer.
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14. SBKaren
6:56 PM GMT on April 08, 2009
LC - LOL your entry cracked me up! We can complain about water (rain) all we want, but you are right, what we really need is a good snowpack!

We received .05" last night, or really early this morning. It woke me up about 3AM. I did go for that long walk with my friend this morning, and I was on the verge of taking a sweatshirt, but I didn't. Let me tell you, if we weren't walking fast I would have been freezing! Between the cool temps and wind - it was a close call! Sure was a pretty sky...I did take one pic...which I should upload. The clouds looked like soldiers marching in a row!
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13. LowerCal
6:22 PM GMT on April 08, 2009
It rained a whopping 0.16" this evening and appears to be done. The forecast discussion says that anything else will stay north of Pt. Conception. No thunderstorms for southlanders :-(

A whopping .01" here since yesterday but more importantly lots of snow in the Sierra Nevada where we steal ultimately obtain much of the water we use.

Friday tstm forecast has been consistent and therefore somewhat credible. ;^)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
12. sp34n119w
7:42 AM GMT on April 08, 2009
Thanks for the reference LC - now they'll be mad at you, LOL ;)

Congrats on the computer win, Karen! That always feels so good to figure out those little glitches :)

Okay, just a note on weather - I'll have to come back tomorrow for the rest of the good stuff.

It rained a whopping 0.16" this evening and appears to be done. The forecast discussion says that anything else will stay north of Pt. Conception. No thunderstorms for southlanders :-(

But, hey, there's always Friday!
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11. SBKaren
2:07 AM GMT on April 08, 2009
It's seriously looking like rain now! Came back after dinner to check the radar. Made plans to walk with a friend tomorrow morning, but we'll just have to wait and see! What a difference an hour made!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. SBKaren
10:54 PM GMT on April 07, 2009
I've been out of the classroom for a couple of years now but I do know that we teach the scientific method

I personally love science because of the quest for knowledge, or need to know. When I was teaching my students about plants and we learned the difference between a plant cell and human cell and the root structure of plants, I had parents donate plants so we could take them out of the pots and really look at the roots and the structure of the stems and leaves. I still have some of those plants in my backyard. The kids fondly called one of them Dr. Phil. Why I asked? Because he helped us learn - was their response.

If you are at all interested, here is a link to the Science Content Standards for California Public Schools.

One of the reasons we like to keep the Outdoor School program in place as it provides a wonderful hands on approach to a lot of the physcial and earth science standards. Kids are learning in the real world without a textbook.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. SBKaren
10:38 PM GMT on April 07, 2009
Wow - I just impressed myself. My DVD driver software was not starting...so the computer was not recognizing it and hence I could not use the CD to install the software for my new webcam. Did a search on the Internet, found a solution to try on the Microsoft website, which took me into the device manage and into some folders, but I figured it out and solved the problem! Yeah me!

Camera is working now, so now I can go read the article.
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8. SBKaren
10:05 PM GMT on April 07, 2009
Rain? Hmmmmmm, it's 3:02 as you can see by the posting and I fully expected to see at least some clouds by now. Everything always arrives late around here - if at all! 'Course I'm not complaining. I spent the better part of today outside, hiking around the El Dorado Nature Center with my daughter's twins club (lots of little kids!) then we went to a Chick File (sp?) for lunch and it had a play center, thankfully behind very thick glass walls! LOL

Got home and now inbetween reading blogs I'm installing the hardware for my new webcam! I was Skyping with my brother the other day and he had one, so I could see him (he lives in Palm Springs), so of course I had to have one. Only cost $18 - so worth it. Off to read the article now...
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7. LowerCal
9:52 PM GMT on April 07, 2009
Quoting sp34n119w:

I've just read Dr. Plait's article again, and then all the comments. Thanks to one of the commenters I've had a revelation regarding a question that's been bugging me for awhile. I'm very happy, if not hopeful. Perhaps I'll share that another time.
Well, you have me curious.
LC - Leave it to you to say in a few sentences what Plait took a thousand words to say! LOL That's awesome :)
Thank you. (It's the Zen - even one word takes up more time and space than a concept, lol!)
Kids should be taught critical thinking skills and the scientific method is the best and most interesting way to teach those skills.
I added logic and rhetoric because I had the opportunity to play this game as a school kid and I've spent the rest of my life amazed at the gullibility of some adults who didn't.
Then, they can be applied across the board.

Who do we talk to about that?

Hmmm... the Texas State Board of Education?

Hahahahaha! Couldn't resist! Sorry - so, so, sorry! Or will be when I stop laughing, really! I promise!
Oh, the Texas peeps are gonna hate me now :(
Maybe they would hate the Texas State Board of Education instead if they had the context.
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6. sp34n119w
6:54 PM GMT on April 07, 2009
It is sunny and 65º with a light seabreeze.
Rain? Not for awhile, anyway, though it is in the forecast for later.
I put the regional radar in the header - there is/will be rain somewhere in the state.

Better go enjoy the sun while I can! :)
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5. sp34n119w
6:03 AM GMT on April 07, 2009
I've just read Dr. Plait's article again, and then all the comments. Thanks to one of the commenters I've had a revelation regarding a question that's been bugging me for awhile. I'm very happy, if not hopeful. Perhaps I'll share that another time.

shore - For having had "just a quick read" I think you definitely got his point and I hope it gets you thinking and writing more.

Your epigraph now makes even more sense to me. Not that it didn't before, but, context (and experience) is everything, I suppose.

You know I'll be interested in that article whether it is relevant to the current topic, or not, so - bring it on! If you find it ;)

I think creativity is born of knowledge even if we can't put our finger on the chain of events (data acquisition moments, haha) that led to the inspiration. Humans are natural pattern seekers and will put together disparate bits of knowledge in new and exciting ways. It looks like magic!
What's that quote about luck being where preparation meets perspiration? Something like that, lol, and it applies to any creative process, too - including science.

Karen - I agree that a week off for Thanksgiving makes sense. I do not think 180 days is anywhere near enough time to spend in school! Not for most kids. Oops, there's a potential rant, there... backing away... LOL

My new excuse for not growing anything (besides the old excuse of just plain laziness, lol) is that the tiny balcony where I would grow stuff is broken! Sometime over the winter it started warping in a rather alarming manner. That has to be fixed before I put anything else out there that would have to be moved while the fixing is being done. There. How's that for an excuse? ;)
On the other hand, I was talking with a friend tonight about his garden of mostly tomatoes and peppers and it sounds really nice and easy.
I think I've convinced him to grow some lettuce - and I used WU bloggers' experiences to do the convincing! How funny is that? While I make excuses! LOL

Do come back and read the article if you can - I'd like to know what you think of it because of your work with students.

LC - Leave it to you to say in a few sentences what Plait took a thousand words to say! LOL That's awesome :)

Kids should be taught critical thinking skills and the scientific method is the best and most interesting way to teach those skills. Then, they can be applied across the board.

Who do we talk to about that?

Hmmm... the Texas State Board of Education?

Hahahahaha! Couldn't resist! Sorry - so, so, sorry! Or will be when I stop laughing, really! I promise!
Oh, the Texas peeps are gonna hate me now :(

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. LowerCal
11:41 PM GMT on April 06, 2009
Great little article at "Bad Astronomy". The article Dr. Plait was responding to was written by a person who sees science as just another dogma competing with his own. He couldn't be more wrong.

Scientific advance depends on a scientist being able to consider ideas in apparent conflict with the "accepted", to freely entertain "heretical" thoughts... to imagine. =8^O

Maybe better than starting to teach simplified science in middle school we should start teaching logic, rhetoric and the scientific method.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. SBKaren
11:33 PM GMT on April 06, 2009
sp - two weeks off? How nice. We might adopt a different calendar next year (not sure yet) but I don't think it involves 2 weeks off for spring break. Only real difference was starting earlier and getting out earlier and taking the whole week off at Thanksgiving. I think that is such a smart move because the kids have checked out and many parents take the kids out anyway. When your funding is based on attendance, you want ALL the kids there! But be rest assured, all students in California are required to be in school 180 days, so they have to get them in some how. And - GROW something - all the things I am growing are in pots! So - what's your excuse again???? LOVING this weather...so warm...I don't want a change! But - since we're still behind in rainfall, a little recipitation is OK...just not too much!

**I'll read the article later, perhaps when I'm confined inside...just too nice - which you alreayd know!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. sp34n119w
10:45 PM GMT on April 06, 2009
Hi shore - all good, thanks! Unfortunately, now I have to go! LOL

BTW, I don't think Dr. Plait has anything against Texas. Do you know why he made that reference?

I'll be back in a few hours :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. shoreacres
10:26 PM GMT on April 06, 2009
OK ~ I'm in, but this is just a teensy little comment to bump you up and let you know someone will actually read the article.

Apart from that crack about the Texas State Board of Education (certainly at least 65% deserved), it's a good article. What I find fascinating after one quick read is that what he's proposing as the imaginative process in science is awfully close to my own imaginative process. That's as it should be - there's no reason scientific creativity should be any different than literary creativity.

I was thinking about this (creativity) this weekend, because of a comment from Sandi, who was amazed how a word or phrase could start me down the road to a new blog. Believe it or not, it was John Mellencamp who helped me sort it out. More on that later.

Now.... I've got to find an article from the New Yorker that's knocking around here with a terrific article about the right brain/left brain relationship. I think it's relevant, but can't say for sure until I find it. It talks not so much about imagination, but about creativity, and those intuitive "leaps" that we all make. But that's a lot of what imagination is.

Not only that, I think I was saying roughly the same thing as Plait when I added my personal insight as the epigraph on my WU page: Vision is imagination disciplined by commitment. I can think of a few projects - the ISS for example, or Hubble - where that would be just as true as for a puny little lit'ry sort down here in the sticks!

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