Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

The Wisdom of Batman

From the Batman TV show  in 1966, some words to live by:

General Wisdom:

Batman: “An older head can’t be put on younger shoulders.”

Batman: “That’s one trouble with dual identities, Robin. Dual responsibilities.”

Health:

Robin: “Gosh, Batman, this camel grass juice is great.”
Batman: “Beware of strong stimulants, Robin.”

Robin: “Holy molars! Am I ever glad I take good care of my teeth!”
Batman: “True. You owe your life to dental hygiene.”

Education:

Dick: “Awww, heck! What’s the use of learning French anyway?”
Bruce: “Dick, I’m surprised at you! Language is the key to world peace. If we all spoke each other’s tongues, perhaps the scourge of war would be ended forever.”

Batman: “The green button will turn the car a la escarda o a la drecia.”
Robin: “To the left or right. Threw in a little Spanish on me, huh, Batman?”
Batman: “One should always keep abreast of foreign tongues, Robin.”

Dick: “Wow! The rings of Saturn! This is sure some fun, Bruce.”
Bruce: “Astronomy is more than mere fun, Dick.”
Dick: “It is?”
Bruce: “Yes, it helps give us a sense of proportion. Reminds us how little we are, really. People tend to forget that sometimes.”

Dick : “What’s so important about Chopin?”
Bruce : “All music is important, Dick. It’s the universal language. One of our best hopes for the eventual realization of the brotherhood of man.”

Dick: “Sorry, I’m not interested in dance lessons.”
Bruce: “Wait a minute, Dick. The junior prom’s coming up, isn’t it?”
Dick: “Yes, but…”
Bruce: “Well, we don’t want you to be a wallflower, do we? Dancing is an integral part of every young man’s education.”

Robin: “You can’t get away from Batman that easy!”
Batman: “Easily.”
Robin: “Easily.”
Batman: “Good grammar is essential, Robin.”

Women:

Robin: “I guess you can never trust a woman.”
Batman: “You’ve made a hasty generalization, Robin. It’s a bad habit to get into.”

Batman to Robin: “When you get a little older, you’ll see how easy it is to become lured by the female of the species.”

Politics:

Batman: “Better put 5 cents in the meter.”
Robin: “No policeman’s going to give the Batmobile a ticket.”
Batman: “This money goes to building better roads. We all must do our part.”

Dick: “Gosh, Economics is sure a dull subject.”
Bruce: “Oh, you must be jesting, Dick. Economics dull? The glamour, the romance of commerce… Hmm. It’s the very lifeblood of our country’s society

Robin: “Gosh, there could be diplomatic repercussions if we fail this time, Batman.”
Batman: “That’s not the point, Robin. What’s important is that the world know that all visitors to these teeming shores are safe, be they peasant or king.”
Robin: “Gee, Batman, I never thought of that. You’re right.”
Batman: “It’s the very essence of our democracy.”

Batman: “Nobody wants war.”
Robin: “Gee, Batman. Belgravia’s such a small country. We’d beat them in a few hours.”
Batman: “Yes, and then we’d have to support them for years.”
Who knew Batman was so full of wisdom?

(source http://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/search/author/garden-of-eden)

Talking Minnesotan – 5/21/10

1 of the 10,000 lakes
Image =”1 of the 10,000 lakes” Uploaded on May 18, 2010 by Venkat Raja

It’s been a fun week in Minnesota. People have been talking about the weather and that’s how Minnesotans know everything is right with the world. It just so happens that the weather this week was nice and sunny. Yup the talk was all nice, unless of course you happen to follow politics. Mn political conversations were … well… politics as usual. The Right hates the left and the left hates the Right and the newspaper commentors hate teachers and nurses hate hospital administration and hospital administration hates unions and the unions hate politicians and the politicians just keep smiling and talking about the wonderful progress they’ve made.

Mr.Veto likes to fill up prisons so he vetoed sensible bipartisan legislation that would change current laws to keep bongwater from being counted as drug weight. Citypages covers the story with Bong water bill dries up with Tim Pawlenty’s veto. You have to read the comments.

Pioneer press puts it all into perspective Time to face it, Minnesota: Tim Pawlenty is seeing someone else

He goes on long trips without explanation. He comes home and criticizes my appearance, even as he pays greater attention to his own image. Where there once was fondness and love, now all I get is, ‘Your taxes are too high! You’re spending too much! You have to cut back!’

As if the RNC convention wasn’t a big enough bust Minneapolis now wants to get itself a convention.
Bob Collins has a poll going and so far people seem to think it’s a good thing. Huh.

Speaking of Bob, he has this to say “I’m not sure what creeps me out more, that a 40 yr old was pretending to be a gay hockey teen. Or that ppl folo a blog by a gay hockey teen” about this story Minnesota gay teen hockey blogger outed as 40-year-old man.

I couldn’t agree more.

Did you see this? Last-minute lake rule looks fishy I almost gave the story it’s own post just to use a headline about “bait and switch”.

Anyway, what’s going on this weekend? Here is a nice music roundup. I’ll probably update the post with some happenings links as the day progresses, but for now I’m out of time. So let’s wrap it up with a little bit of Dessa. She released her new video today “Alibi”.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2_aY9gYTF0[/youtube]

From the Dept. of WTF – Sauna Library Cam

Everything but the people
The pioneerpress reports UMD shuts down library webcam after sauna streams video

University of Minnesota Duluth staff members abruptly shut down a live webcam at the UMD Library on Monday after learning that its images were being streamed over a website for the Duluth Family Sauna.

The Duluth Family Sauna, which is listed on the Worldwide Gay Sauna Guide and advertises free condoms for guests and the availability of private rooms with locks, titled the UMD streaming video “Stalking Local Wildlife at the UMD Library.”

UMD had set up the camera and directed it at a section of the library shortly after it was built so viewers could see the interior, and this is the first reported misuse of it, said Linda Deneen, director of information technology systems and services at UMD.

“We’ve had this webcam up for a long time, and apparently they discovered it and decided they might use it to … I don’t know,” Deneen said.

When the sauna was called a person that claimed to be the manager, but refused to be identified said “It was obviously a joke”

As long as we’re all speculating on why a sauna would show a live stream of a college library I’d like to chime in with “Maybe they are just all Bibliophiles”. FYI the search term “sexually attracted to books” yields some unusual results, if you can believe it.

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How Green Was My Garden: The Underground Tapes

You have seen them on the market, seed tapes, they make gardening look so simple, just lay down a row of tape for a perfect row of carrots or onions or other traditional varieties of flowers or vegetables.

But did you know it is relatively simple to make your own seed tapes? I made my own this year for some carrots. In a few easy steps you too can quickly make easy to place seed tapes, no more blowing seeds and you can have perfectly straight rows.

The first step is materials which are just flour, water, toilet paper & seeds.  Because I am an organic gardener I used 100% recycled content toilet paper, brands such as 7th Generation or Marcal Small Steps are good, and organic unbleached flour, which is available at most coops or grocery stores and organic seed, I used Botanical Interests Carnival Blend Carrot Seed.

Start by making a paste with the flour and some water, it should be the consistancy of runny yoghurt. Then pull a stretch of toilet paper in a managable length. Then you are ready to make some seed tape!

Paste & Toilet Paper

Place small dots of paste along the bottom of the toilet paper spaced however far apart your seed packet specifies. Then in each of the dots place a seed.

Seeds on paste dots

While the paste is still wet fold the bottom of the toilet paper up on the dots and press lightly, and fold over once again. The moisture of the paste will seal the toilet paper to form a seed tape. Two or three folds are all that is needed so if you have excess just trim the paper with scissors.

Finished tapes

After you have completed your tapes you are ready to plant them in your garden! Prep your bed as you would if you were direct sowing seeds and just lay the tape down, covering lightly with 1/4 inch of soil, and water lightly.

Planted tape before covering

Follow the instructions on your seed packet before placing in seed tape, meaning if the seeds require any special treatment, like soaking prior to sowing, do that before making your tapes.

Seed Tapes are a great way to ensure straight rows for your crops and to make certain you won’t have to thin your plants after sowing seeds.  For those of you with children in your life making seed tapes can also be a fun activity for the little ones to do to get them involved in the garden, and it wouldn’t even matter if they ate the paste!  And just like in Mission Impossible, the seed tapes will Self Destruct, leaving little evidence but your lovely harvest at the end of the season.

Yes, but how will it matter?

In the latest federal funding flap Governor Tim Pawlenty is calling for a change in how teachers become certified.

Strib reports

Pawlenty said he will ask the Legislature to act on a bill that would make it easier for people to find “alternative pathways” into teaching, something he said would give the state “the ability to get the most highly effective teachers” in the classroom.

There’s been much talk about letting the “experts” do the teaching meaning allow people with knowledge in a particular field enter into teaching without having to go through the normal process of a college degree and state certification. I admit this has it’s appeal. One example would be my soon to be brother-in-law whom has a PHD in Physics and wants to give up corporate life to teach science, but is put off by the additional schooling. I can see not wanting to go back to college once you already have a PHD. On the other hand teachers are taught skills beyond their subject area and the licensure process requires extensive knowledge related to teaching that extends far beyond the subject.

That said, is this really the problem?
I have to wonder if perhaps our governor is not seeing the forest for the trees. From what I hear for every open teaching position in Mn there are hundreds of applicants. Would adding more teachers to that mix really help?

I can’t help but wonder, how exactly does this give Minnesota “the ability to get the most highly effective teachers” in the classroom?

My understanding of the job search process for Mn teacher’s makes me think this will simply add more teachers to the mix that either A) won’t get jobs for years or B) will be shuffled from place to place as more tenured teachers take positions due to funding/position cuts.

Thoughts?

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How Green Was My Garden: The Big Cover-Up

Last year the biggest trend in gardening & garden supplies was container gardening, specifically in specialty bags (see HGWMG post “Its In the Bag”) for everything from lettuce to potatoes. This year it is crop protection tools, everything involving row covers.  From pop-up insect screens to season extending hoop houses & cold frames, it seems the crop cover business is exploding.

Crop protection tools are exploding because they help gardeners achieve many goals. One of the most important in Minnesota is season-extension.  By using a cover to insulate your plants you can help to warm the soil & keep the plant protected from chillier temperatures, thereby allowing gardeners to plant earlier & get plants to their full potential without as much concern for the weather.

  

Too much sun & heat can also be an issue, causing delicate plants to wilt or bolt too early so a shade cover can be used to shield those plants from the elements.  For organic gardeners who would like to prevent insects (like the dreaded squash vine borer or cucumber beetle) from attacking plants, covers can be used to help prevent them from landing on your crop, but remember, the covers also prevent beneficial insects from landing, especially bees, so this tactic must be used judiciously.

In some areas birds are the biggest pest, in others rabbits or squirrels, with a crop protecting barrier these pests cannot penetrate to your plants, allowing them to thrive.

Some of the easiest row covers to install are floating row covers, basically specially made fabric you can lay over yourcrops to prevent insect damage or insulate the plants to protect them from extreme temperatures (hot or cold).

There are a few methods for using row covers, you can just float on top of plants & tack into the soil with landscape pins or you can build a structure to lay the fabric upon.  Hoops are the most common support structure, which can be made from several materials, everything from half hula-hoops to more sturdy conduit.  I purchased a hoop bender from Johnny’s Seeds to make tunnel hoops. Garden’s Alive sells different types of protective fabric that can be draped over the hoops from lightweight insect covers to frost protecting fabric.

Also available are numerous ready-made products like pop-up covers & tents that can work like greenhouses or can be kept up all season to prevent damage from insects or animals.  The pop ups work especially well on raised beds, especially smaller ones which can be very convenient for short season extension and seasonal insect prevention and allows for easy storage of the tents when not in use. These also come in different fabrics, the polyeurethane plastic for greenhouse effect and then the mesh fabrics for either insect or bird protection.

If you are really ambitious and have a large garden space you can construct a hoop house, which is basically a permanent structure like a greenhouse, but is made of polyethylene instead of glass. Crops like tomatoes, peppers and strawberries, which generally need hotter, extended growing seasons are grown in hoop houses or high tunnels

Commercial growers have been using the season extending row covers for years and now they have found their way to the home gardener.  With so many options for so many purposes you should be able to find one that suits your needs from container gardening to larger production gardens, so get out in your garden & Hoop it up!

 

How Green Was My Garden: Let’s get it started in here

“Everyone who enjoys thinks that the principal thing to the tree is the fruit, but in point of fact the principal thing to it is the seed. — Herein lies the difference between them that create and them that enjoy.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Seedstarting. Not too long ago it was only for hardcore gardeners with casual gardeners usually purchasing seedlings ready to plant from big garden centers.  But the rebirth of vegetable gardening, especially urban gardens, has caused a huge surge in seed sales & folks trying their hand at seedstarting. 

Locally Mother Earth Gardens has offered seminars on seedstarting for years but in the past two the free seminars have reached capacity for reservations as soon as they are announced.  Their beginning seminars are full of people who are just starting their gardens as well as those who have never started their garden from seed before.  The seminars were so successful the neighborhood garden store added an advanced seminar. 

Advanced Seedstarting Seminar from Mother Earth Garden

During the advanced seminar we shared stories about how long we’ve been gardening, the best gardening books, and most of the time was spent sharing each gardener’s tips for everything on fruit trees, pruning raspberries and of course pest control. 

Seedstarting is simple once you have the right tools.  The most common mistake is hoping that sunlight in Minnesota is sufficient for good germination & plant growth.  The spring sun locally is not good enough and must be supplemented with grow lights.  There are many more options this season than ever before for setting up the best light system for your seeds.  I purchased hanging lamps  and just use a wire rack shelf from Target for all the trays but if you would rather have a ready-made system there are many options available, though they tend to be a bit expensive. 

The other key to good seedstarting is heat.  I keep my seeds in the utility room next to the water heater & furnace so it gets very warm in there. But there are many heat mats available as well to help you maintain that warmth. 

Humidity control is also important for good germination of your seeds, so making sure you have the plastic greenhouse lids on your trays until they are big enough for thinning out is key.  Different shapes available from large domes for bigger plants & short ones to greenhouse shaped units

Moisture is the final key to good seedstarting.  The plastic domes will help you maintain good water levels in your soil but you need to maintain tht with proper watering, not too wet (seedlings will rot & be suceptible to damp off) and not too dry.  Watering from above is okay as long as the spout on your watering can disperses the water without disturbing the soil.  Or you can water from below in the trays, just make sure you only water enough for the plugs to absorb & they aren’t sitting in standing water. 

Seeds at Mother Earth

The biggest advantage to seedstarting yourself is the increased selection of plants you can choose.  There are so many heirloom varieties and unique hybrids to choose from when using seeds that would never be available at your farmer’s market or garden store.  I usually purchase some seeds in stores in my neighborhood like Minnehaha Falls Nursery or Mother Earth & supplement those with ordering from garden catalogs.  The best part of February is pouring over my seed catalogs to choose what I will grow this year. 

 

This year I am adding some new lettuce varieties as well as a melon, interesting cabbage & brussels sprouts & filet beans to my garden, things that would only be affordable and even found through seed catalogs. 

Some good choices for organic seed catalogs include  Minnesota’s own Peter’s Seeds, TomatoFest, Botanical Interests, John Scheepers, Seeds of Change, and Seedsavers

It is a bit late for starting some veggies from seed, like onions & leeks, which I started in late February.  But in the right conditions you should be able to still get your seeds started on most all other vegetables now and early April.  The University of Minnesota Extension service has a great guide for a good seedstarting schedule. 

Because of our early warm weather you can get a jump start on direct sowing on things like peas, lettuce, radish, spinach and carrots.  You can just put those directly in your pots or raised beds, or in the ground if it is in a sunny location and has warmed up enough. It is best to wait just a bit longer on things like squash & beans because as we all know in Minnesota there is always a chance for more cold, including a hard frost or snow. 

So if you have never grown your plants from seeds, it is very easy & affordable with a few tricks & tips.  There will always be crop failures, it happens to nurseries too. But you can still be successful & have the great satisfaction of growing your own food from seed to table and have a fantastic variety of flowers too! So what are you growing from seed this year?

How Green Was My Garden: Ring the Bell for Sustainability

The Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota is hosting a great panel discussion with Local Growers about sustainability & why it is important.  Here is the release:

Sustainable Foods and Farming Local Growers Panel
Tuesday, March 23, 7-9 pm at the Bell Museum Auditorium, East Bank, U. of Minnesota

Why is sustainability important for land and for people?

What is being done in Minnesota to help reduce environmental degradation? Why should we care? Four local growers will share their stories of gardening and farming using organic and sustainable practices, native plants and alternative market structures.

Speakers: Jim Riddle, organic farmer, sustainable agriculture educator Tony Thompson, grower of corn, soybeans and native plants Courtney Tchida, with the U of M’s Student Organic Farm Norm Erickson, a grower of hazelnuts for food and fuel

Tour the Bell Museum’s Hungry Planet Exhibit before the panel starts! Following the panel, audience members will be able to ask questions and share information about opportunities to get involved in the local foods movement in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Sustainability Studies Minor, http://sustainabilitystudies.umn.edu

How Green Was My Garden: SciGirls go gardening at Dowling

From a TPT Press release, the SciGirls, a Public Television nationally broadcast program, filmed a recent episode at Dowling Community Gardens, one of the oldest Community Gardens in the Twin Cities.

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We’re pleased to announce that Dowling Community Garden, the oldest continuously gardened community garden in the Twin Cities, was featured in an upcoming episode of the nationally-broadcast SciGirls.

WHEN:

Friday April 2, 5:30 PM on tpt 2

Sat. April 3 7:30 AM on tpt 2

Sunday April 4 10:30 AM on tpt Life

WHAT EPISODE:

108 Science Cooks!
Izzie cooks up a taste test with Claire and her friends, who make comfort foods more nutritious (without sacrificing the delicious).

WHAT IS SCIGIRLS? A new weekly series that premiered on PBS stations and online nationwide February 13, 2010. The bold goal of SciGirls is no less than to change how millions of girls think about science, technology, engineering and math – or S.T.E.M., the hottest topic in U.S. education today. Each half-hour episode follows a different group of enthusiastic, real SciGirls, who collaborate, communicate, engineer and discover. SciGirls is funded by the National Science Foundation with additional support from ExxonMobil. To learn more visit pbskidsgo.org/scigirls.

We’re especially pleased to have Dowling included in this episode that features smart eating among our children, and to support this important series that empowers tween girls to embrace science, technology, engineering and math.

We were thrilled to partner with our own Public Television station, tpt, to make this series possible. The episode will air nationally, but is created and filmed completely in our Twin Cities. We love that a show empowering girls to embrace STEM utilized the Dowling Community Garden – a gem of a historical resource located on school property!

Taking the fun out of fundraising

Forest Lake Press reports

A Century Junior High School parent said her son and another student are being unfairly punished after a school fundraiser took a wrong turn into alleged sexual misconduct last month.

The incident took place during a charity fundraiser where three teachers, a male and two females, volunteered to be taped to a school wall. Students could buy a three-foot piece of duct tape for $1 and secure the teacher to a wall in front of the student body.

Amanda Valencia said a group of classmates dared her son and another student to place tape on a female teacher’s chest. She said her son placed his portion of tape across the teacher’s collar bone, but the second male student applied tape across her chest.

The action resulted in cheers and high fives among the group of students involved in the dare.

Valencia said approximately a dozen students involved in the incident were questioned by school authorities and asked to write an apology to the teacher. She said her son was sent home and suspended for two days.

Valencia said the punishment seemed to fit the circumstances but then her son was questioned by police for alleged sexual harassment and disorderly conduct.

“They took part in an event that was put on by the school, volunteered to by the teachers, and tape provided by the school for the students to place on the teacher,” she said, “and they want to charge my son with sexual harassment or even disorderly conduct? That seems a little extreme.”

Quiring said police will take no action in the case, but Valencia said school authorities threatened to expel her son and plan to classify the incident as sexual harassment in his school file.

The comment section is lighting up and mostly it is in support of the kids.

Russ writes

” I agree that the behavior of the students appears on the surface to be nothing more than plain ordinary immaturity. I think having the reason why it was inappropriate being explained to them, and having to write an apology should have been the end of it. But once again the administration has to take things to a level above silly. To move the children to a new school seems like a knee-jerk reflex rather than a well thout decision. ”

Mary answers

” This is just another reason why I’m glad that I moved my children to another district. I think that the staff and district are seriously lacking in many areas. The top being that most lack the brains that they should have for the positions that they are in. The kids were just being kids and lacked a little good judgement. Tha adults on the other hand???????? ”

mom2 adds

” Agree with Russ & Mom -the school totally over reacted to this situation. The teacher being taped to the wall should have said something such as “dont even think about it” and the whole issue could have been avoided. Ross Bennett states the worhwhile cause was marred by 2 students. Guess what dumn idea to begin with and doesnt the staff member have some fault as well? “

And the mother of one of the boys weighs in.

mamabear wrote

” i want to thank you all for your logical and caring comments given the fact that my son is one of the “accused”. What most of you do not yet know is that the police were called and these boys were questioned without benefit of parental knowledge or involvement. My son; to this date has served 2 ISR punishments, forced to write and then re-write letters of apology, been interviewed (without parents) on at least THREE occasions, referred to a “behavior and consequence” class at youth service bureau and has been given an assigned lunch seat with the severely disabled kids. Anyone a parent of one of these kids?? How do you feel knowing that your child’s disability is being used as punishment for a non-disabled child?? My child is not one of the two the UNINFORMED mr Bennett speaks of– he is one of 12 that are involved and being continuously punished. My child finally could not force himself to return to school last Friday as a result of teacher’s treatment of him and feeling like they were calling him a “rapist.” His documented offense: “inappropriate laughter toward a staff member.” documented staff response : “police action”. Make sense to anyone????????????? The principal and vice principal both told us it makes perfect sense to them and we are also told they dont know yet if they are though punishing our son. I cannot figure out how these people sleep at night!!! Can anyone else?? furthermore– its important to note that the female teacher who was “so damaged” by the inappropriate strip of tape and subsequent laughter~~ continued her role as tapee for two additional lunch periods!! the principal’s response to that? “she chose to continue so as not to draw further negative attention to the event” REALLY??? so calling the FL police department was what ??? positive attention??? The school district considering further punishments for these kids??? The punishment needs to turn on the faculty and Mr Bennett, in my opinion…. shame on these people! “

Here’s a glaring problem with zero tolerance, besides the fact that it throws out judgement calls and common sense, the authority figures are never treated with zero tolerance.

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