Saturday, March 04, 2017

Each year, one morning in spring, I wake up and the sun is shining and the grass has turned green overnight. It's usually around March 17.  This year it was today. #nowinter

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What They Don't Have in England or Paris

Window Screens
Bugs
Artificial Sweeteners in packets on tables
Diet Coke  (It's Coke Light)

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Monday, August 08, 2016

One Small Step - The Kaizen Way

One Small Step by Robert Maurer, Ph. D.

Kaizen vs Innovation
Kaizen and Innovation re the two major strategies people use to create change. Where innovation demands shocking and radical reform, all kaizen ask is that you take small, comfortable steps toward improvement.

If you ever feel yourself dreading the activity or making excuses for not performing it, it's time to cut back on the size of the step.

Includes great section on Intrinsic Motivation.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

The One With the Mini College 2016 Ramblings

As always, some interesting connections this year.

The first class was on Sustainable Art and we thought it would just be a lecture, like most of them. And it was hands-on. We had a good start on making a broom from Blue-Stem Grass harvested just for us. It took some effort and actually touching and hearing and feeling the grass break and bend (which took some muscle), was wonderful when done mindfully. The lecture was also and introduction to Ecopsychology and using nature to help deal with loss. The importance of touch and the head/brain connection, also. I love this stuff!

in progress -

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

from POPSUGAR

There are several similar Reading Challenges out there, I found this one first.
and made some adaptations.

1. A book based on a fairy tale Greek Myth A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond
2. A National Book Award winner
3. A YA bestseller
4. A book your haven't read since high school
5. A book set in your home state
6. A book translated to English  The Cat who Came in off the Roof by Annie Schmidt
7. A romance set in the future
8. A book set in Europe
9. A book that's under 150 pages The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
10. A New York Times bestseller Pax by Sara Pennypacker
11. A book that's becoming movie this year  The BFG by Roald Dahl
12. A book recommend by someone you just met
13. A self-improvement book One Small Step by Robert Maurer
14. A book you can finish in a day Orbiting Jupiter  by Gary Schmidt
15. A book written by a celebrity Nightmares! by Jason Segel
16. A political memoir
17. A book at least 100 years older than you
18. A book that's more than 600 pages
19. A book from Oprah's Book Club
20. A book recommended by a friend Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
21. A graphic novel The Sky over the Louvre by Bernar Yslaire
22. A book that is published in 2016
23. A book with a protagonist who has your occupation The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
24. A book that takes place during the summer Summerlost by Allyson Condie
25. A book and it's prequel
26. A murder mystery The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver
27. A book written by a comedian
28. A dystopian novel
29. A book with a blue cover  Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
30. A book of poetry
31. The first book you see in a bookstore
32.A classic from the 20th century
33. A book from the library
34. An autobiography
35. A book about a road trip
36. A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with  Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
37. A satirical book
38. A book that takes place on an island The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
39. A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy The Storyteller by Aaron Starmer
40. A science-fiction novel

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Thursday, July 09, 2015

We Couldn't Pass this Test Today


This was lots of fun. KU will be celebrating it's 150th year in 2016. We heard some interesting stories about the beginning. And this was shared, yes, purposefully. 

One of the questions on the entrance exam was to explain how the state government of Kansas meets it's expenses. 

Ha!!!!!

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Encounters with the Dean

or,
It's all about the Process.

And a bonus.

The College has an Interim Dean this year. so we took his class - Some Stupid
shallow Seismic Experiments I (WE) Have Done.

(And before I go on, I will explain the WE. He, as with most of the speakers, spoke very highly of their graduate students without which most of their work could not happen. They often share their success in the field after graduation.)

He's a Geologist.

They look for tunnels and irregularities using seismic-reflection imagery. Sending down waves to see images. So the issue became one of how do you create the waves. The shallow ones. So a process began.

First stupid experiment was one he had done as a 10 year old. What happens if you shoot  a 22rifle into the ground. He had better equipment this time. These geophone things. It worked.

So how to we make it better? Well, eventually purchasing had a request for a .50caliber machine gun. At one point they shot from a cherry picker to avoid air blast. Eventually they used a stolen power steering pump to create a hydraulic power silencer in-ground.

There was more. Using farm equipment, a tillage thing, to lay lots of goofiness at once. He is a farmer in western Kansas and had on laying around. When that worked they made this huge hydraulic controlled thing on with a hitch. They knew  a guy who welded.

So while this was all fun and good, I was fascinated by the process. One of his theories is - If you do enough experiments, some will turn out well. This was science from a person with a particular life experience who used that and asked "what happens if . . . "

I read a definition of creativity once that was along the lines of someone with two very different knowledge bases being able to bring them together to come up with something new. This presentation was all about that process. It was fascinating.

The bonus - he added a bit about fracking with some information about earthquakes in Kansas. And yes the rate is higher since 2013. It is suspected this has to do with human activity. I don't have specific note so here's just a bit. Water can move things - he did a very wet demonstration for us. There won't be earthquakes of a 6 or 7 magnitude because Kansas doesn't have faults with that potential. There could be 5s. There are ways to minimize damage such as don't do it in fault areas and they are easy enough to find and known. And the salt water resulting has to go into a place where the water is already worse than the disposal water.

So is there  one right answer to all this?  Needed energy resources vs. the environment? Of course not. We do though, need to hear educated people talk about it.

We were walking on campus and saw him and we all chatted a bit. He was busy. Checking emails. By that Friday he would have to tell his staff if they were unessential. They would then be out of a job, possibly. All this going on in the background of our fun week. We were away from new so only heard bits of what the Kansas legislature was up to. And our professors were there, making our week special with all this on their mind. One professor did mention it was hard to hear he was "unessential."

Oh, and he came to our graduation ceremony in full regalia.  It was great.



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Monday, June 29, 2015

The One Where I Met a Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Really.

At Mini College.

This Guy.

The class was Monarch Watch.  Something I've always been interested in. Last year I even planted a mini-garden with Butterfly Weed, parsley, and zinnias. We had started clearing some lawn in the back yard for more flowers, bushes for butterflies and pollinators. I've raised Black Swallowtail Butterflies. I should find my pictures.

I remember a time, and it has to have been about 10 years ago, when I was driving in a storm of Monarchs. Here, and they were everywhere. Now, I don't see them. A stray now and then.

It was fascinating. It seems the Milkweed has gotten a bad reputation. It's been cleared from crop fields. One reason being it just doesn't look pretty. Who wants a messy looking field. And now it seems that milkweeds aren't even that predatory. They won't take over the field. The common milkweed just isn't pretty. Acres and acres of the food the Monarchs need to survive are gone.

We saw the very rare White Monarchs.  We were taught how to hold and tag Monarchs. We spent time in the garden.

And we learned about the need to plant Milkweed. At one point I asked, just to make sure, "Will it make a difference if I plant Milkweed, in my little garden?" Chip Taylor's (the Director of Monarch Watch and maybe the premier expert in the field),  answer was, "It's like the movie, if you build it . . . . . "

Through this whole session, a man was hanging out. Not one of the mini collegians. With a yellow legal pad. At one point, in a transition, another collegian asked me what was my impression of planting milkweed. I said it was to plant it. I said something on the line of "I can do that. One little thing to save the world, I can do that." The stranger said, "Can I quote you?"  I was like, sure. So he took my name and phone. I asked him who he was.

"Dan Fagin. I'm a writer. I won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction last year."

Right.

So we chatted a bit. I said, "and think what could happen if people think they can do one thing and it will help. It may make doing more easier."

He was there to interview Chip Taylor.  His next book is on Monarchs. And according to one article I read, Monarchs and the Anthropocene. And I may be quoted.

How cool is that.

I had to read his book. The Pulitzer Prize winner. Actually, I listened to it. Downloadable Audio. It was great.

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