Bright Skies

A few years ago, I remember sitting out in my back alley and trying to gauge the faintest star I could see. During the summer and early fall Lyra is high overhead and has several stars around magnitude 3-5. The Little Dipper is often used for this but from here in Brooklyn that involves looking north over Manhattan, plus it's lower in the sky. 

Painful Drupal 7 Migration

I've avoided this for a long time. Finally I launched into it to find what it would take. You'll notice the web site looks a bit different. That's mostly because I didn't try to migrate the old theme; I'll eventually go through and tweak things until it morphs back into something closer. But that's not the painful part.

BSA Astronomy

Summers are always busy and this one was no different. But at least I finally got to do a little astronomy. First there was the update on writing a curriculum for Ten Mile River to try to get the scouts through the astronomy merit badge.

Gravity Tunnels, Falling through the Earth

I think I stumbled across this a while back but I can't remember where. The classic freshman physics question is, assuming a uniform density for the Earth and a perfect, frictionless tunnel cut through the Earth in a straight line, how long would it take to travel between any two points on the surface of the Earth? The answer is interesting. It's the same no matter how far apart the two points are, 42 minutes.

Testing Astro Video Capture in Linux

I recently picked up an older Thinkpad T400 that had Windows 7 installed. After a bit of angst, I went ahead with my plan to scrub the disk and install Fedora 21. Why the angst? Well, I had originally thought of using Windows 7 32-bit to control my older Canon Digital Rebel XT cameras. They are no longer supported by Canon and not at all on 64-bit platforms. But the T400 came with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 thought they seller did provide a 32-bit install disk.

Teach Foundational Language Principles (CACM May 2015, pp 30-31)

The authors point to teaching programming languages as opposed to logic as being a seriously weak spot in computer science education. While the “Hour of Code” has a lot of appeal and can introduce people to computing, they point out that new computing languages are continuously being developed to try to solve new problems. They make numerous examples and point to Dijkstra's classic “Go To Statement Considered Harmful” as examples of how understanding a problem has lead to new languages and new language structures.

Education: What Are We Doing When We Teach Computing in Schools? (CACM May 2015, pp24-26)

This article initally caught my attention with it's graphic and caption “SCIENCE:Gravity makes haveier things fall faster.” The author goes on to recount her experience with just such a poster in a local elementary science fair and her lack of success in having it taken down. The point: we have started pushing instruction of computing (and programming) into schools where there are non-specialist teachers who are expected to understand the material well enough that the students come away with correct knowledge. 


Subscribe to RSS - blogs