Friday, January 28, 2005

PowerPoint, science fairs and why education is out of touch with the real world

Yesterday's New York Times featured an article about how students are starting to use PowerPoint for their science fair presentations. Great, I thought! Maybe the educational system is preparing students for the real world.

Think again.

Apparently electronic presentation systems are not fully accepted in academia, especially in the realm of..... science.

Per the article, "the Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship forbids the use of PowerPoint because 'it detracts from the interaction between the judge and the student.'" One oversight association admitted that many of their science fair judges have a strong attachment to the older display boards. And another young man even admitted that using a computer presentation at a science fair could be a disadvantage for the entrant.

At least the classroom teachers were supportive of the progression to new technology. Now if we could only get the science fair judges to do the same.

What a surprise! And how annoying.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I want to be my cat

The life of a domestic feline in my household epitomizes leisure at its best. As the household cat in our little pad, you own the domain (especially bed real estate) but avoid the responsibility. This is why I want to be my cat Max.

When he desires, he jumps on the back of my office chair and swats at my hair. He chases my cursor on the screen and reminds me about how he would like to play. At other times, he can simply lounge on the most comfortable recliner, without moving for hours. The world is truly at his feet… Mind you, it’s a very small world (the interior of our house alone), but it’s very comfortable and just the way he likes it.

Cloudy skies in mid-Michigan

January and February mark the most miserable months in Michigan. The gray skies, the bitter wind and grime covering every surface almost always make me ask, "Why do I live here?" We often joke here in mid-Michigan that we are one of the cloudiest places in the country. While this comment is an exaggeration, the reality is pretty bleak.

According to one site, Lansing has only 71 days of sunshine a year. To put that into perspective, that is one more sunny day than Fairbanks, Alaska and the same number as Seattle, WA. Still Lansing is better off than neighboring Grand Rapids to the west and Flint to the east, which can boast only 64 and 66 days of sunshine, respectively.

One advantage of the snow-bound lifestyle is the inspiration it brings as I dream of great vacation ideas. I spend many hours surfing my favorite travel sites, looking for warm or creative escapes and luxurious (or at least affordable) accommodations.