In honor of Gauss, we gotta eat good today.
Pork and beef sausage. Kiwi. Blackberries. A chunk of soft-ripened goat cheese: Montchevre’s Bucheron style cheese. Three-egg omelette with red onion, red bell pepper, half an avocado, and crumbled goat cheese. And coffee.
The Prince of Mathematicians.
Bookrags.com says in a short bio of Gauss:
Karl Friedrich Gauss was born in Brunswick on April 30, 1777. At an early age his intellectual abilities attracted the attention of the Duke of Brunswick, who secured his education first at the Collegium Carolinum (1792-1795) in his native city and then at the University of Göttingen (1795-1798). In 1801 Gauss published Disquisitiones arithmeticae, a work of such originality that it is often regarded as marking the beginning of the modern theory of numbers. The discovery by Giuseppe Piazzi of the asteroid Ceres in 1801 stimulated Gauss’s interest in astronomy, and upon the death of his patron, the Duke of Brunswick, Gauss was appointed director of the observatory in Göttingen, where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1831 he collaborated with Wilhelm Weber in the establishment of a geomagnetic survey in Göttingen.
Scopes Systems’ ‘on this day in history’ page says that these events occurred on this day:
1006 Brightest supernova in recorded hist ory is observed
1492 Columbus is given royal commission to equip his fleet
1789 George Washington inaugurated as 1st President of US
1798 Department of the Navy is established
1803 US doubles in size through the Louisiana Purchase ($15 million)
1889 1st US national holiday, on centennial of Washington’s inauguration
1904 Ice cream cone makes its debut
1937 General Douglas MacArthur marries Jean Faircloth
1945 Concentration camp München-Allag freed
And they list as born on this day:
1870 Franz Lehar operetta composer (Naughty Marietta)
And as died on this day:
1900 John Luther [Casey] Jones dies in Cannonball Express train wreck
Which event inspired The Ballad of Casey Jones:
Good for the body, good for the brain.
This past Saturday (4-25-09) I had a delicious breakfast: slices of beef tenderloin; some pork carnitas; some blackberries; and a three-egg omellete with spinach, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onion, feta cheese, and Parmesan cheese. With coffee. This all helped keep my levels of nutrition and focus up for a long time.
In “How to Wake Up Slumbering Minds: Will the discoveries of neuroscientists help us to think, learn and remember?,” Christopher F. Chabris reviews Daniel T. Willingham’s book Why Don’t Students Like School?. Mr. Chabris says:
Elsewhere Mr. Willingham has his curious teacher ask: “Is drilling worth it?” The answer is yes, because research shows that practice not only makes a skill perfect but also makes it permanent, automatic and transferable to new situations, enabling more complex work that relies on the basics.
Why is the issue of “drill” discussed? For one thing, because drill and memorization are anathema in many schools of education, i.e., teacher prep colleges. One lady who talked to one of my classes at the University of Houston when I was getting my Texas teacher credentials in the 90s was proud of herself (you could see her puff up like a peacock) for calling worksheets “works#!ts.” Wow. Genius. I heard repeatedly that we should teach “understanding” or “creativity” but not memorization. I would hear, repeatedly, “drill” called “drill and kill.” Memorization was presented as being opposite to the goals we were supposed to be achieving.
But the notion that you need neuroscience to prove a point like that is absurd. Mr. Willingham does not need to write a book about it. (I’m not saying that he or his book is absurd — I don’t know his position on why he wrote his book nor do I know whether he thinks he proved something that was not proved before, or whether he thinks he merely added a new perspective to the issue.) The evidence that memorization helps is accessible to all by introspection and observation, and said evidence has been available for thousands of years. For the importance of drill and memorization to learning, we have a plethora of observations available to us: the process-oriented behavior of babies; the cognitive and psychological relationships between animals and humans; the role of drill in sports; the role of drill in learning speeches; the role of drill and repetition in learning our multiplication tables; our own personal experiences; etc. Yes, neuroscience adds to our knowledge of why memorization works, but it does not prove it nor does it address the issue on the level of ideas.
Mr. Chabris also reports that Mr. Willingham attacks the notion of “learning styles:”
Which questions can you answer? No cheating by using Google or whatever. Go from memory only.
1. Is America a democracy or a republic?
2. What Englishman and English writing were a big influence on our Founding Fathers?
3. What system(s) of government did ancient Athens have?
4. How did Socrates die? Who was Socrates?
5. Where did the modern battery come from?
6. Can you prove that the area formula for a triangle is correct?
7. Why is 3^0 = 1? (That’s “why is 3 raised to the zero power equal to 1?”)
8. What math makes cell phones possible?
9. What are Mill’s Methods?
10. What is a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem?
I’m pondering how good our education was, and how well-prepared we were to navigate the complexities of life and to reason things out independently and objectively.
Update (4-29-09, 1:00 PM): Answers below.
There are some really good salsas out there for your Paleo tacos: beef, pork, or chicken wrapped in lettuce leaves and topped with onion, bell pepper, hot pepper seasonings, cheese, or whatever.
The Desert Pepper Trading Company has a good Peach Mango Salsa — and more.
And Stonewall Kitchen has a good Mango Salsa — and more. Both DPTC and SK don’t add sugar or other junk to these salsas.
Sally’s traditional salsa is delicious, too.
I received these in an email from family. I don’t know who thought of these, but they are clever.
1. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was –
–Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, –
–but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .
3. She was only a whisky maker, –
–but he loved her still.
Some want us to turn out our lights and turn off our electricity.
Some want lights on and electricity in use. Mr. Don Boudreaux says in “What Earth Day Means to Me:”
I’m thankful for the automobile, which has cleaned our streets and highways of animal feces, which is both foul and filthy itself, and that attracts flies that spread it into our homes and workplaces.
I’m thankful for electronic appliances, such as those that (along with modern detergents – for which I’m also thankful) allow us to clean our used clothing and dirty dishes.
I’m thankful for electricity for making these appliances possible – and for enabling us to light our home without dirty candles, and for enabling us to heat our homes without coal, wood, peat, or other filthy substances.
I’m thankful for chemical fertilizers that increase the productivity of the earth’s soil, and thereby helps to prevent malnutrition — which, in turn, better enables each of our bodies to succeed at fighting off diseases that are more likely to sicken, or even kill, malnourished persons.
What would it be like if “Earth Hour” becomes “Earth Week,” “Earth Month” or “Earth Year?” No lights, no electricity, for a week, a month, or a year.
How has it been for those of you who have been in regions struck by hurricanes? What is life like with no electricity for two days, a week, or a month?
Happy Birthday Shakespeare!!!