The search for ways to make school easier is on-going. A note-taking app, the name doesn't matter, to put the "fun in physics", is one I heard of lately. Here's a news flash- for a lot of us (Stephen Hawking, the exception) fun and physics do not belong in the same sentence and note-taking to be effective, isn't too entertaining, either.
Everything in the world isn't fun. The sooner the education system gets over the idea, the sooner we introduce those delicate minds in it to the concept that some things are "gasp" work and some worthwhile accomplishments take a lot of effort, the better. Instead, we sell kids the idea that they are in control and if something isn't fun, it's not useful.
Kids are too fragile to fail at anything. Yet real life is full of failure. There are the triumphs but what makes them special is the fact that a lot of the time, stuff just doesn't turn out. Life isn't one grand party after all. If you learn to handle a little failure, when a bigger one happens (and it will), it isn't devastating. You can dust yourself off and give it another burn.
That isn't to say that there shouldn't be moments and yes, even days of fun. Serious, nose-to-the grindstone with never a break will lead to a real break, breakdown. The secret is balance and finding it isn't easy. It may even be what creating a happy life is about.
So...instead of that fun app that will make physics the centre of your next party (and maybe with a few drinks, it would be) how about introducing kids to the idea that school is serious, that to succeed you have to work and hard, and that nothing is gained without breaking a sweat? Maybe there's an app for that. Maybe I could sell the idea and have too much money. But would it be fun?
I like to try and keep informed about local, provincial, national, and international news. It's getting harder and harder. Some breaking news and news items that pop up on a Twitter or Facebook feed are obvious fabrications but others are very well done. There are so many on-line news sources that keeping up with those that feature actual news and valid opinions is difficult. I would like to depend on a newspaper or two but they are struggling to compete on this new and tilted playing field. Separating the wheat from the chaff gets more challenging each day.
Television and radio news doesn't seem much better. So many lead stories on National News would be more fitting on Entertainment Tonight and occasionally after the news, the same celebrity stories appear on both kinds of programs.
On-line sites generated in places like Macedonia, Russia, Romania and the United States may even use website spoofing, where the site looks like a legitimate ABC or MSNBC news source. The stories and headlines will be written well enough that I can be fooled.
In December of 2016, one such fake news story led Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, NC to drive to Washington DC to save children from Hillary Clinton's child-sex ring that she was running out of Comet Ping Pong Pizza. He went in with his A15 and shot it up a bit. No one will argue that IQ was likely to be Welch's strong point; he certainly overreacted but he did think children were in danger and now he faces criminal charges. He actually has his own kids.
I long for the simpler days where I could read The Weekly World News and laugh. It didn't mean to be anything but outrageous and entertaining with its stories of aliens and Bat Boys. It was no problem determining that the news wasn't true.
This brings me to Alternative Facts. There have always been points of view and news stories have always had a spin. If they didn't, sometimes the dry, hard facts would just be too boring or too brutal. I would like to think (Hitler and his Propaganda machine excluded), that modern politicians and journalists try to use some facts when talking about news or policies. It seems that's not necessary any more. If you don't like the facts or disagree with the evidence, you can change the truth by offering alternative facts. This is Kellyanne Conway's newspeak and she is Donald Trump's counselor. That she was speaking about attendance at the 2017 and 2009 inaugurations doesn't seem that important. That she thinks she can make something true by offering her alternative facts is pretty disturbing.
To end this rant, I am including a link to Facebook's top 50 fake news reports and a link to a New York Times study about how a fake news story can go viral. Disturbing, too.
This image is of a gun silencer. Originally silencers were invented by Hiram Percy Maxim, an MIT graduate. He noticed that water in a bathtub swirled around the drain soundlessly as it was let out. He thought if the air from the barrel of a firearm swirled, it should muffle the sound. Guns could be shot more quietly.
Why am I, a Canadian, non-firearm owner ranting about this? Donald Trump, Jr. was involved in the introduction of legislation to make silencers easier to buy in the 42 states that permit them. The kicker? It wasn't introduced in the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) but in Health and Safety. I know that firing a rifle or handgun can cause hearing damage. I live with a gun owner who can trace at least some of his hearing problems to shooting (there is a selective aspect to them.) The legislation was designed to making silencers easier to purchase- eliminating the $200 tax and the 9 month wait for approval.
So what am I ranting about? Although the legislation died in committee, it was the third most viewed in 2016. It's sneaky and self-serving. Donald J. Trump is an avid hunter of big game (African endangered species are some of his trophies.) I am sure that these "kills" are a result of his skill and have nothing to do with being "B'wana" and having Bobo and the rest of the gun bearers, etc. make the hunt comfortable. If the bill had been introduced with other hearing safety concerns, I wouldn't be so torn up. Old Rockers have lost their hearing; club servers, jack hammer operators, airport workers, farm workers can all be affected. When you choose one group to "protect", it's undemocratic. It's a special interest group.
Sales of silencers have tripled in 2016. That's a sudden surge in hearing health concern. I know gun owners and they wear the ear protective "muffs" which work well. If you are a hunter, I'm told adding the silencer to your rifle would make it a lot more inconvenient to carry in the bush. My suspicion is that silencers are one more way to undermine any kind of gun control and one big money grab.
Yes, I'm of a certain age but I'm pretty spry and like to think still smart enough.