For someone like me who appreciates the beauty of the patterns in mathematics and who's also in the market for good knives, this article was irresistible. (Unfortunately, the knives won't be...a little too pricey for me.)
Beautiful Nesting Knives Designed by Mathematics
hat tip: The Papa
Labels: Good Stuff
I woke up this morning and put some weight on my right leg for the first time in five months, and did it ever feel good. A little scary, but delicious nevertheless. I'll be taking it very slowly as I add the weight back, of course. And I'll still need the assistance of a walker or a very strong man for a while :-)
This was also to have been my first day off the antibiotics. Unfortunately, I didn't make it that far. I'll spare you the details, but by Sunday night I had reached my limit, and so with the prior permission of my doctors to stop when I couldn't take it any more, I cried, "Uncle". And instantly I felt like my old self again....I think Kristen was actually a little worried about me on Monday, thinking I might have slipped into some kind of drug-induced euphoria. No drugs...just feeling like a human being again!
The other first this week was my outpatient physical therapy session. By the appointment on Tuesday I already felt so much better that I could hardly wait to get there and start working. Turned out to be more of a measuring and testing and medical history session, but now I'm ready to start regaining all the muscle that I lost while waiting for my new hip.
And The Papa returned home from another work trip to Hawaii this morning. How wonderful it is to see his face when he's been gone for ten days! My goal is to be able to make his next trip to the islands with him and have it be much more of a success than the trip in November of last year. I didn't realize I was walking around on a broken leg and didn't understand why I was in so much pain. Next time I'll listen to my body when it's screaming to me.
Some of you have asked me what God has taught me during the past few months...I'll write about that soon. The most important is that He is faithful, worthy to be trusted with all I am and have. I hope that you've learned the same lessons through whatever He's brought you through so far this year...
OSLO, May 23, 2010 (Reuters) — Whales and dolphins should get "human rights" to life and liberty because of mounting evidence of their intelligence, a group of conservationists and experts in philosophy, law and ethics said Sunday.
As disturbing as it is to me that we might pretend that any animal has "human" rights, I'm even more disturbed about the basis for this distinction between whales and other animals: intelligence and self-awareness. Let's admit it...going down this road does not portend well for unborn babies, mentally retarded children and adults, or those suspended in a coma or near-comatose state. If awareness of self and IQ are to be our measures for whether or not to extend human rights, then a large part of our population is in trouble, not to mention animals with smaller brains than whales.
"Human rights" urged for whales and dolphins
*Lyrics from "I Am the Walrus," by Paul McCartney and John Lennon
Yesterday was not a good day for me physically, still feeling the debilitating effects of the antibiotics. I didn't really accomplish anything all day other than going through a six-inch stack of old magazines, culling a few gems and throwing the rest out. As I tackled the first few, I realized it was an interesting visual for me of where my life stopped last December. Most of the mags were holiday issues that I hadn't yet read and then they accumulated in a corner since I didn't want to get rid of them until I'd gone through them. Well now, my bedroom is several pounds lighter and my shelves have several inches of space to breathe that they didn't have before.
I realize I've been really spoiled in the months since December...hardly a week has gone by without someone either bringing me flowers or having some delivered, and sometimes I've had three different bouquets at once. I think when I'm on my feet again I'm going to have to buy my own and keep at least one bunch in my room all the time!
"To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." [Thomas Jefferson, via a must-read article, America's new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control, by Arthur C. Brooks in today's Washington Post (!).]
Anyone have a recommendation for a really, really good santoku kitchen knife? Pioneer Woman swears by her Wusthof, but I'm also looking at Shun and a couple others....
We have just completed our 25th straight year of homeschooling. This year, because of many unforeseen circumstances, the year didn't look like most others; and yet, when I look back over the past quarter-century, not too many years looked like most of the others. Nevertheless, I'm glad to see this one go and glad to be in the planning stages of year 26, one in which I have only two students, a freshman and a junior in high school. It's impossible to explain to new homeschoolers how different things are now than when we started in 1985. And although most of those differences are good ones, the opportunities available now make the process of choosing and planning mind-boggling!
Other summer plans include working with CJ on her wedding arrangements and getting our photos into digital format via the new photo scanner I bought on sale months ago. It's still sitting in the box, but not for long!
But first, we have Shelley's senior recital and graduation at the end of next week. We're so proud of how hard she's worked in many different areas this year, completing several college courses, achieving some real competence in French, and continuing to hone her piano skills in both performance and teaching...all while finishing up her regular high school studies. Next weekend we'll celebrate all those things, hearing her concert on the piano and then presenting her with her diploma (and eating some good food afterward!)
Reading this week: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (via Kindle), and back to reading The Reason for God by Timothy Keller.
Okay, I'm having trouble figuring this one out. I've mentioned before that during the past couple of years my taste for chocolate has pretty much evaporated. Since I was never a dark chocolate lover and can't therefore claim those health benefits, I've been okay with losing my craving for oozy milk chocolate desserts. But now I find I'm losing my taste for sweets altogether. I know this can't be a bad thing, especially for a diabetic, but it's a mystery to me how it's happened in such a short time. I may find that it's been a side effect of some of the dozen or so meds I've been on and that my taste will return when some of them are discontinued...but then again, I almost hope not :-)
And snip, snip, that's all folks...hope you have a week as good as I expect mine to be!
As we close out this school year, taxpayers may wonder what kind of bang we're getting for our educational buck, asks Michael Quinn Sullivan, President and CEO of Empower Texans.
- Texans now spend more than $11,000 per year, per student on public education -- with less than half going toward instructional expenses.
- In the 2008-2009 school year -- the last for which data is available -- Texas schools spent $11,084 per kid; 10 years ago, Texas spent just $5,857 per pupil.
- If per pupil spending had risen with inflation, the cost after 10 years would have approximately been $7,545.
So where is the money going? Well, it's not going to the classroom, says Sullivan:
- If you think of each kid the way school bureaucrats do -- as bags of money -- and consider your average third-grade class capped at 22 students per teacher, that's $243,848 sitting there.
- But the money isn't going to the teacher; average teacher pay was $47,313 in the 2008-2009 school year (up from $34,357 a decade ago).
So where's the other $200,000 derived from our average classroom going, asks Sullivan:
- Of the $11,084 spent per pupil on public education in 2009, only $4,831 went for anything that could even remotely be considered "instructional" expenses as defined by the Texas Education Agency.
- Over the last decade, student enrollment has risen 15 percent -- from 3.9 million students to 4.6 million students.
- In that same period, the number of teachers grew accordingly, at 19.3 percent.
- We now have 14.4 students for every teacher (in 1999 it was 15.2 students per teacher).
But non-teachers? That's where the growth is. We had 22 percent more in 2009 than in 1999, says Sullivan.
So for all this spending, and for all these new, non-classroom employees, surely there's been some marked improvement in academic performance. Actually, there's been a decline in results, says Sullivan:
- The average Texas SAT score in 1999 was a 992.
- Over 10 years it has fallen to 988.
TEXAS SCHOOL SPENDING TOPS $11K PER PUPIL
If Representative Ron Kind (D-Wis.) has his way, the federal government will soon mandate that state agencies maintain a database of how fat the kids in their jurisdiction are getting. Too fat or too skinny, the government needs to know.
If enacted, every state receiving grant-in-aid funds under the provisions of the bill would be required to under Title 1, Section 101 of the bill to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages two through 18. Additionally, the same section obliges all healthcare providers in the state to determine the Body Mass Index of all their minor patients and then forward that data to the appropriate state clearinghouse or agency. Then, the state government must pass on the information collected to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for further analysis.
The Healthy Communities Through Helping to Offer Incentives and Choices to Everyone in Society Act of 2010, introduced by Representative Kind, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, funds a dizzying roster of programs and regulations aimed at reducing obesity rates by such means as putting nutritional labels on the front of food products, subsidizing businesses that provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and offering taxpayer-funded counseling to overweight children and their enabling parents.
The aforementioned Section 101 of the bill amends the Public Health Services Act. The relevant portion of the bill alters current law and mandates that healthcare providers record "the age, gender, height, and weight of each person vaccinated to calculate the body mass index of such person." Further on the law instructs doctors to "report to the relevant department of the State in which such health care provider practices the data collected."
When asked about the requirement that such data not only be collected, but reported to the states and federal government, a spokesman for Representative Kind remarked, "However, it is important to note that no one is forced to come in for a doctor’s visit to get their BMI tested. BMI will be taken at times when the child makes an otherwise scheduled doctor’s visit." That response was apparently intended to quell the fears of parents concerned that by taking their children to the doctor they will open themselves to monitoring by state and federal agencies regarding the manner in which they raise their children. So, according to the Congressman's office, there is a simple way around getting caught in that trap: don't take your kids to the doctor.
Bill Turns Doctors Into Federal Fat Police Please finish reading here:
Please finish reading here:
And you can read the text of the bill, HR 5209, here.
(I love the title of the bill: Healthy Communities through Helping to Offer Incentives and Choices to Everyone in Society Act)
If you read the article below on the moral life of babies, you may be interested to read Al Mohler's take, both on the methodologies of the study and the implications for worldview...
The Moral Life of Babies (and the Ideological Life of Adults)
Attention: If you have a baby, are expecting a baby, or are a lover of babies, get yourself a big mug of coffee or a tall glass of sweet tea and read this admittedly long but delightfully informative article on the development of the moral life of babies. Despite the evolutionary explanations, you'll get a peek into the mind of the God who makes baby humans :-)
The Moral Life of Babies
What a tragedy to watch the oil slick approaching the Gulf Coast...it breaks my heart to think of the small businesses and family fisherman who will be ruined if that oil does indeed (as seems inevitable) ooze onto the shore. The Papa was doing some research on the Exxon Valdez oil spill twenty years ago in Alaska, and so many species of animals, birds and fish never recovered. And that wasn't even an area where there was a major effect on the economy. The Gulf Coast could be devastated, both in a biological and an economic sense.
We're just a week and a half from school's end here at Granny's House. This is a year I'll be glad to see go, as I don't even remember a lot of it. I'm looking forward to being much more vigorously involved in teaching and coordinating (and driving!) next year as I continue to get my strength and my wits back. We'll have only two, TWO, students--a freshman and a junior in high school. Think I should finally break down and give away my phonics cards?
Most of you will have heard the town hall clip this week of the president saying, "I do think at some point you've made enough money..." I love it when he gives us these off-the-cuff peeks at what he truly believes. Raise your hand if you think you've made enough now and should start giving most of it back to him so he can decide who needs it more?
We've finally started mowing our property this week. We've had such a gorgeous sea of bluebonnets, black-eyed Susans, and other wildflowers this year that it's hard to watch them go. They made our house look like a postcard for a month or so...
And, the House is abuzz with wedding plans (see Monday's post). There's nothing like planning a wedding when you've got five sisters...it's a gigantic party all the time!
This week my reading includes Little Women. Yes, the real Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Haven't read it since I was a kid, and it's very interesting to compare my recollections of it with my current thoughts. Having raised a houseful of girls I see so much that we dealt with, both good and bad, but I'm still amused by the "stiltedness" of the conversations and the moralizing of the author, both elements which would eliminate it from consideration by a publisher today. Nevertheless, this classic still has much to commend it, and even the "preachiness" is refreshing when compared to what passes for young people's literature today.
Some dear friends of ours have been led to adopt a brother and sister from Ethiopia. This sweet family has five children and are now opening their hearts and home to an 8 year old boy and 5 year old girl who are waiting for someone to love them. The process of adopting internationally is terribly expensive, not to mention stressful, so if God brings them to your mind, would you pray that He would provide all that Charles and Stacey need as they follow His will down this challenging road? And pray that God will use this family to bring Dawit and Mushera to Himself.
Congratulations to my brother Danny who just landed his dream job with GEICO Insurance, and to my son-in-law Dave who starts his new job with Farmer's Insurance tomorrow. May God give both of you success and favor with your employers and show you many opportunities each day to serve Him!
Have a happy first week of May!