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May 27, 2005

Off-topic: Personal Blog

Well, I've done it. I've set up a personal blog: Kristin's Blog

The design is one of the templates that comes with a blogger account...for some reason the dots appealed to me. When I have time, I'll have to tweak it.

AAAS response to attack on teaching Science

The most recent episode of anti-evolutionism in Kansas, and other attacks on science education, is troubling and I've tried to write a post about it for some time now. While I'm having trouble finding the right words to address the issue, Alan I. Leshner, CEO, AAAS is very eloquent on the matter. Here's a quote from a recent AAAS newsletter:

The teaching of evolution in U.S. public school science classrooms and the showing of evolution-friendly films in technology centers and museums have come under escalating attack in many U.S. communities. In a broad, quick-response effort to counter this campaign, AAAS has delivered a series of op-ed commentaries, letters, appearances, and high-profile interviews that support science education and defend the scientific method.
Our message is consistent and continual: The science classroom must be dedicated to the teaching of facts—in the case of evolution, based on 150 years of research covering tens of millions of years—to prepare our children for a future of great challenge and hope. Science and religion are not in opposition; many scientists are deeply spiritual and most religious leaders accept evolution. However, the place for discussions of creationism and intelligent design—based on faith—should be churches, temples, religious schools, and perhaps even public schools, but only during nonscience classes.

Planet San Francisco Sculptor donates Pi Table to GalaxyGoo Art Auction

We haven't mentioned anything on the blog yet, since we're still very early in the planning stages, but GalaxyGoo is holding a benefit art auction in November. The theme is Art about and inspired by Science and Math.

You may be wondering why I couldn't wait to blog about this. Well, today I got confirmation that local artist Mike Farruggia is donating one of his works to the auction: his Pi Table. It's made of steam bent oak, with over 3,000 digits of Pi stamped into the surface. There's a good picture of it on his website.

May 25, 2005

Unhappy flight booking

Well, I was hoping to use travel miles to pay for the flight to London, but things just haven't worked out that way. I tried booking my flight by phone, but was informed that there were no seats available for the dates I need to fly. I could call again and see if a seat opens up. I didn't want to take a chance of not getting a flight at all if I kept up the daily gamble. So I asked if I could use travel miles to upgrade a ticket after purchasing it. Sure! If there's a seat available.

Searching travel sites, like expedia, orbitz, and travelocity, I was surprised to find better prices on the airline's website. I went ahead and booked a ticket online, and planned to call every day or so until a better seat opened up . But when I called today to see if any seats had opened up, I was told that my tickets could not be upgraded at all. What?! At no point during my online booking session was it apparent to me that the tickets could not be upgraded. Not only that, but they didn't credit my frequent flyer account with the so-called online booking bonus. I am not a happy camper.

OK, I'm done ranting.

The Flash timeline = interactive data visualization

I've taken on a commercial writing project, to help pay for the trip to Oxford, and it's got me rethinking some of the basics of Flash--things I've taken for granted for years.

In particular, the timeline has re-impressed me. The timeline gets a lot of criticism from coders new to Flash, and can confound Flash newbies in general. But when you think about it, it's a really great tool. The Flash timeline is interactive data visualization in high style!

It's a representation of dynamic data arranged in a two dimensional grid, with time in one axis and space in the second. Each frame of each layer is accessible from this visualization. When you click on a particular frame in a particular layer, you get immediate access to those assets. Additionally, it folds and expands data navigation on direct selection.

OK, maybe I'm working too hard these days, and I'm getting a bit punchy, but I just had to share.

May 23, 2005

Info on Stem Cells

Stem cells are in the news a lot lately, and I thought this link to the NIH Info Center [Stem Cell Information] would be useful to share.

May 19, 2005

Technologies for Creative Learning at MIT

MIT has added more courses to its Open CourseWare project, and this one caught my eye: Technologies for Creative Learning. That looks like a great course. Perhaps Frances and I should form our own study group based on the reading list.

ContextFree

If you are even remotely interested in Lindenmayer Systems or LOGO or such, you might find ContextFree a fascinating program to play around with.

From the site:
'Chris Coyne created a small language for design grammars. These grammars are sets of non-deterministic rules to produce images. The images are surprisingly beautiful, often from very simple grammars.

Chris' program was a command line program for unix-like systems. We couldn't wait to play with creating our own images, but we wanted a full graphical environment for exploring them. Hence, Context Free, an environment for editing and rendering CFDG design grammars.'

If you don't want to download and install it, you can also try it out

I'm going to take a break from the code for a little while, and then come back and look for ways to improve the class structures.

All About Ratios: a learnig tool built with Flash

May 07, 2005

Back from Sedona

Just got back from Sedona, Arizona. Mike Walth, GalaxyGoo's CTO, got married this Thursday (5/5/05 at 5pm), and we flew out for the festivities. Since Phyllis came to the wedding, and we had a quorum, we also held a board meeting. Yes, GalaxyGoo has a very small board of directors. We're a small organization :-)

I managed to take some nice pix of the scenery. Those "red rocks" are awfully pretty. It's amazing what a little iron and oxygen can do for a landscape.

Sedona Arizona landscape

This is the view the guests had durring the ceremony:

View during wedding

The night before we left, they were serving wine and nibbles in the lobby. A man introduced himself to me as the IT guy for the resort. So I promptly gave him a GalaxyGoo brochure. Perhaps he'll pay us a visit here on our website.