Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Random Factoid of the Moment

Cows can sleep standing up, but they can only dream lying down.

Whales and dolphins have to swim and breathe as they sleep, so only one-half of their brains fall asleep at a time.

Read more about sleep here

Monday, October 06, 2008

Did Bach's Wife Compose his Best Stuff?

An Australian researcher is claiming that he has convincing evidence that several of J.S. Bach's better-known works were, in fact, composed by his wife, Anna Magdalena. "Dr Jarvis has used forensic analysis to examine various Bach scores, bar by bar, focusing on the musical structure and language, handwriting and the musical calligraphy."
Full Article via ArtsJournal

Friday, October 03, 2008


Politicians and policymakers have fallen in love with the idea of eighth-grade algebra for all. Their ardor is not likely to cool off soon. California is moving toward making the course mandatory for eighth-graders, a shift Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) compared to President John F. Kennedy's pledge to put a man on the moon. Some see the flourishing eighth-grade algebra movement as a triumph for equity. Activist educator Robert Moses calls it "the new civil right." Full Article

I am one of the people who is not-so-sure about 8th grade algebra (having suffered through it at the hand of an incompetent teacher who will not be named).
With much help form my mom, a super summer class at the community college, and lots of tears, I was able to catch on before I started High School Algebra - but it was tough.

Years later, when I started to learn about child development, someone told me that often 8th graders are not developmentally ready to deal with Algebra (see Piaget and Formal Operational Stage).

I don't really have a point with all of this - except I wish I had better math teachers - and I wish I wasn't pushed into higher math just because I had learned "enough" arithmetic. That's all.