Saturday, March 27, 2010

City lights

Maybe Christmas is starting 9 months early this year as opposed to the regular two to three months, but for some reason the Xmas lights on the hill were aglow. Just fine with me for a night.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So that explains it

"Men's sexual pursuit area is 2.5 times larger than the one in the female", and "testosterone drives the "Man Trance"-- or a glazed-eye stare at breasts", says clinical professor of psychiatry, Dr. Louann (what a dish) Brizendine.

We just can't help it

According to that probably voluptuous babe,
.. As a woman who was among the ranks of the early feminists, I wish I could say that men can stop themselves from entering this trance. But the truth is, they can't. Their visual brain circuits are always on the lookout for fertile mates. Whether or not they intend to pursue a visual enticement, they have to check out the goods.

There it is, leering men are vindicated. In fact it is unnatural for us not to look. Thanks Dr. Louann! By the way, got any full body shots?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Education systems everywhere may repress personal development and creativity

Sir Ken Robinson thinks so, and so does millions of others in the world, including this bloggist. Everyone has a unique, diverse set of abilities, talents, skills, and interests, but schools and education are designed to harvest mostly certain abilities from people, and not always help develop a person's natural ability/..ies.

We probably know many young people who have any number of talents, are intelligent, capable, creative, problem-solving, strong, agile, athletic but yet there is a frustration showing, a stifling of who they are. All subject areas are important in school, math and language being the tops (unless that has changed in recent years here). Yes we all do need to have math and language as well, to communicate clearly, to take care of our finances, and help us with work and careers. However, many kids are struggling with the high school maths, for example, so frustrated that they lose interest in bothering to go to school at all. They have no interest, or are not wired to think in a way that makes trig, algebra, calculus or geometry easy enough. But they may want to pursue other things, yet there are no opportunities for that at school, or very few. Many end up dropping out, become frustrated, or problematic, or take prescription drugs to cope, and even take their own lives. What a pity, and a waste of human talent.

Ken Robinson tells a story of a mother in the 1930's who brought her little girl to see a doctor because the girl was constantly interrupting other kids in class from their work. She was very active, and exhibited the kind of behaviours that today would categorize her as ADHD. The mother explained to the doctor, as the girl sat on her hands. The doctor and mom left room to chat and turned on the radio for the girl to hear the music. They watched her from outside, and saw that she came alive to the music, dancing impressively. The doctor told the mother that there was nothing wrong with her daughter, she was a dancer. That girl eventually went on to ballet school, became a nationally well-known performer on stage, set up her own dance school and was very financially successful. Dancing was not just an outlet, it was who she was.

Robinson says we need a major overhaul in how we structure education, so that it is more designed around personal development, rather overlooking more "hidden" talents, and gearing everyone to conform to the mass production assembly line model. As he says in this video, if we are not properly nourished, we will not grow.

It is also a pity that kids who do not do well in certain subjects, are often made to feel stupid, inferior, useless, hopeless, either by their peers, parents, or others, when they are stifled. Actually, in recent years with an economic boom in Alberta, many young people from this province have gone out west for work, like generations before them. A year or more ago some teens or early 20-somethings were making six figure salaries at the oilfields. A couple of high-school drop outs I spoke with were doing quite well, and at least one ran his own construction company, and had others hired on. It takes energy, drive, and talent to do this. In the first five years of life, we see energy, drive, curiosity, and excitement in learning in activities that kids are interested in. When you see that lacking as kids go through school, then something has gone wrong.

This is an excellent talk on how schools stifles creativity, and filled with humour too. Ken Robinson is, and has been on to something big.

This is another more recent interview with Robinson on education, called "Why teaching is 'not like making motorcars'":

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ice Land

Here on the eastern tip of North America we have had a relatively good winter, and that includes over a week of solid rain, drizzle, more drizzle and fog, plus a number of days of freezing rain. This batch took a bit of climbing and trudging to get to at a high elevation, but it seemed like a land of heavy ice up there.

x-ray of ice hand
needs de-icing

Friday, March 05, 2010

Frozen treets

Natural road sign
Ever green-silver
"Hey, rain does grow on trees!"
In the grips of winter

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

U.S. Report says Most fish oils are fine, some have high levels of PCB

The National Post, CNN and probably others have posted an item about high levels of PCBs in some fish oils. If you are wondering which brands, well you won't find them at the National Post, so this blog has found the list right here. This is a U.S. report by The Environmental Defense Fund, and may not necessarily include any brands on Canadian shelves. A couple of brands that I have used for example, Jamieson, and Swiss Natural Sources fish oils, are not listed there, but it leaves a bit of wondering about their purity as well.

Four out of 75 companies listed in this report were considered the "worst" choice, while 23 of them did not submit complete data. The remaining 48 in this report were called "good choice" - Their responses indicate that the majority are purifying their fish oils to meet stringent safety standards.

Around these parts one gets skeptical of some environmental groups who have common interests as former anti-seal industry advocates, like Canada's Environmental Defence director Rick Smith. The fact that there are certain levels of toxins in basically everything we eat or drink is not new, but it is still helpful at any time to be warned of potential contaminants in any product. While nutrition manufacturers advertise to sell products that are in your best interest, it's profits that are their ultimate goal, and often, what consumers don't know, yet, about products, won't hurt profits.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Fog frosticles

Sometimes fog and frost combine to make interesting formations.