Category Archives: Science

Teaching Children Handwriting Is Important Despite “Common Core”

This post isn’t about Common Core and it’s many controversies.  This post is about teaching our school children how to put pencil to paper to be able to write. You know, one of the old fashion Three R’s, the ‘Ritin one. Well, according to the new fangeled, highfalutin education standards of Common Core, learning handwriting is no longer necessary. But despite their best intentions and regardless of its so very impressive name, the Common Core State Standards Initiative,  may have missed the mark once again.

This post isn’t even a timely one, necessarily. The debate has been raging for a while but I want to call attention to the latest in a New York Times Science Section report on the real value of handwriting. It seems that ‘the science isn’t done’ on this issue. The Times reports that studies are showing that, how we write, does matter.

There are studies that show a relationship between handwriting and other educational development.

“Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.” New York Times

It seems once again to be a case where we might be rushing to the future without fully understanding all of the consequences of the changes we are making.

Of course not everyone joined the Common Core crusade and have been working to restore handwriting to our school’s curricula. 

 

But NPR begs to differ in this report on why “cursive” just isn’t important. Or, then again maybe it is.

And if you are really interested another fascinating study on “The write way to spell: printing vs. typing effects on orthographic learning”. Science is great because it gets you to THINK.

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Facial Recognition: Safety or Privacy

The New York Times weighs in today with an article on technology which focuses on facial recognition. Dr. Joseph J. Atick, a pioneer the emerging technology talks about the problems he sees regarding everyone’s right to privacy and his concerns about how the technology can be used and misused.

There are a lot of very intelligent people who are making incredible advances in all areas of modern technology. A troublesome aspect is the speed with new technology outpaces our ability to foresee possible unintended consequences of the latest inventions and advancements. To add to the problem is the natural fact that those who are developing these advances often don’t have the best motivation or interest in protecting society from possible problems their work might create.

Not one to champion government regulations, I still feel it is already late in the game to be thinking about what this can mean.

…what troubles him is the potential exploitation of face recognition to identify ordinary and unwitting citizens as they go about their lives in public. Online, we are all tracked. But to Dr. Atick, the street remains a haven, and he frets that he may have abetted a technology that could upend the social order.       The New York Times

Just stop and think about what private business will be able to do with this type of technology. And for many companies, if they can do it, you can bet they will. If their customer likes it or not many companies lack fundamental scruples and will do what they think they can get away with to make an extra buck. There are so many ways this technology can be used that will violate an individual’s right to privacy there needs to be a lot of thought given to the issue. And it needs to be done now by each and every citizen. We really can’t leave it up to private businesses to police themselves. It would be foolish to expect government to be out in front of an issue. So please do Think. Then Think Again. about facial recognition and the emerging technologies.

More on the issue from the Journal of High Technology Law.

Speed of Light In Deep Dark Space

More fascinating science reported in the Cleveland Reader says that the speed of light in space may be variable. It seems the speed of light can be affected and that some computations  should be revised to include the speed of light as variable and not a constant in real space.

Since the first recorded attempt to measure the speed of light by Galileo there have been many discoveries refining, defining and quantifying the speed of light. If you are interested enough to read the Cleveland Reader article, dig a little deeper around the internet. Sometimes in school science didn’t seem as interesting to me as it should have.