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How Smart Can A Board Really Be February 4, 2014

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Smart boad content creation is the subject today.  Hopefully it will be as useful as yesteday’s offering.  I really feel that this technology will make education much easier if I can just get the kids to use it.

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Robots and Education February 3, 2014

Posted by regan222 in build, Computer and Technology, Computers and Internet, DIY, Educational Ranting.
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It has been a long and tiring first day.  The TCEA 2014 conference is well and truly underway.  I take here a moment to organize thoughts and ideas sparked by what I saw.

First, we need to promote the robot class within the community.  We have a good start with winning third place in the Region X contest but we need to promote the course and its students to the school board as well as the younger classes.  We need people to continue.  We need to generate interest.  We especially need to promote the technology aspects to girls.  They stabilize and moderate the class.  Plus, they travel in pairs.  Like going to the Ladies’ Room; if you can get one girl you will get two.

Next, we need to secure all the funding sources we can find, especially in the community.  We need tech. industry contacts to help with grants and sponsorships.

We need to expand out from Lego, particularly in the direction of DIY (Arduino, Parallax, STAMP,or whatever).  I need to find out what is most useful in industry and what offers the best chance for employment success for my kids and emphasize that.  We need to be relevant.

Finally I need supper and a nap.  I am pooped and over stimulated.  It’s like going to Vegas; fun for a while but soon you get that headachy muzzy feeling that comes from too many people and too many conversations going on at once.  Tomorrow we do Smart Board Content Creation.  See you then.Lego puppy

You Don’t Build Robots You Give Birth February 3, 2014

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Robotics and the people who work there are a special breed.  It is easy to start responding to a robot as if it were alive.  If we follow the classic definition of life, who’s to say it’s not.  I just noticed that everything in this place is sponsored by someone.  Every projector, chair, drink cup, and bathroom fixture is brought to you by google, Microsoft, or Cisco.  Now THAT was random.  Ops, time for class.

Anticipation February 3, 2014

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Anticipation

In an hour these halls will be filled with thousands of educators all seeking the same unatainable objective…an open bathroom and coffee. Welcome to the 2014 edition of the Texas Computor Educators Association here at the convention center in beautiful (but weird) Austin, TX. I am here today for the robotics workshop and will try to faithfully record experiences and observations for the benefit of…well..me.

Technology Addiction and how to deal with it… December 11, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology, Computers and Internet, General Ranting.
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I have just spent the evening, after grading papers for what seemed like hours, connecting every single piece of software I have to every other piece. I can now see google email, calendars, and contacts, school exchange server, email, calendar, and contacts, Hotmail calendar, email, and contacts, as well as my school website share point server in Outlook. I have also connected Microsoft Word to my blog site in order to use it to edit and post blogs entries (if I ever get to write another real one). Having spent a good deal of time and effort tying all these loose ends together I have come to a conclusion. There is NO magic cure for organization. It can’t be done. I use MS OneNote to document my daily activities in class. I faithfully post assignments, notes, and lessons to the school web site. I do everything I can to keep up with myself and I am coming to the sad realization that it is all futile. I will never be organized. I STILL forget things. All my calendars are tied to my phone, Kindle, and iPad as well as my home PC, school, PC and laptop and I STILL let things slip. This is really starting to bug me. Just needed to vent. Also I am going insane from being in the house for 4 days straight. I feel much better now. Good night all.

A Splash of Gratitude December 2, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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A sermon on Gratitude loosely following a chapter from Max Lucado’s book, “You’ll Get Through It”. The sermon was delivered on 12/1/2013 at Central Baptist Church. We need to remember that whatever it is, we don’t own it. We are just borrowing it.

Chromosomes…Now you see ’em, Now you Don’t November 22, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Educational Ranting, General Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
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darwinAs a biology teacher I am constantly bombarded by the never-ending conflict between the forces of Creationism and the minions of Evolution. It becomes a new adventure in conflict management each year. Occasionally it becomes difficult as my own personal views enter the conflict and so I have chosen this opportunity and venue to present my own opinions.

As a committed Christian I am disinclined to embrace the scientific view that all life began as a random combination of chemicals in some primordial sea. It is, however, on rational grounds that my strongest objections are based.  The theory of Spontaneous Generation is described as “the hypothetical process by which living organisms develop from nonliving matter; also, the archaic theory that utilized this process to explain the origin of life. According to this theory, pieces of cheese and bread wrapped in rags and left in a dark corner, for example, were thus thought to produce mice, because after several weeks there were mice in the rags. Many believed in spontaneous generation because it explained such occurrences as the appearance of maggots on decaying meat.”   The theory was refuted completely in the 18th century and yet here we are in the supposedly enlightened 21st century, embracing the same idea. A combination of simple chemicals somehow mixes together with no outside influence beyond lightning or sunlight to form life.  The animate springs from the inanimate.  We are unable to duplicate or observe this phenomenon of generating life.  All efforts have been unsuccessful.  (See the Bubble Theory and the Primordial Soup Theory by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey).  No matter how many eons of time pass, the chemicals just don’t mix to form the necessary proteins.  Contrary to popular opinion, life doesn’t just happen, thus the necessity of a prime mover.

I have no difficulty with the idea of Natural Selection.  Selective breeding and its results are an observable and replicable phenomena.  We have changed many species to fit our wishes using nothing but selective breeding.  It stands to reason that if we can create a breed of horses only a few inches tall by breeding small horses to small horses then in nature, the continued breeding of the strongest, fastest, and smartest organisms would reinforce those traits and the genes responsible for them and by this process a species may be improved and even change its appearance.  However,  the miniature horses we produce are still horses.  They can still breed with normal horses and produce viable offspring.  Their chromosomes still match up with any other organism of the species Equus ferus caballus.  Chihuahuas and Great Danes are all still genetically compatible.  They are all biologically the same animal. Selective breeding, whether natural or otherwise, can improve a species or modify a species but it can not transform one species into another.  Selective breeding can change the frequency of alleles that already exist but it can not create new ones or remove old ones.  Selective breeding can make a bigger dog or a smaller dog or a faster dog, but it can not make a dog into a cat.

It is said the mutation is the source of drastic genetic change and I agree.  However, one of the by-products of Hardy Weinberg is that recessive alleles can never be bred out of a population.  The recessives continue no matter how much the dominant genes improve an organism’s chances of survival.  Should a dominant positive mutation occur, the original recessive stock should still exist as well.  Those gene frequencies can be reduced but can never be completely removed from the population.  Should mutation lead to man and monkey, the origin species of the mutation should still exist.  Mutation and Natural Selection are not enough to cause extinction.  Also, in the end, mutation is a universally destructive process.  Genetic mistakes in the form of Huntington’s Chorea, Spina Bifida, Turner’s Syndrome, and the like are all too common in our world.  The X-men, on the other hand,  have yet to make an appearance.  Given the general degradation of the natural environment and the prevalence of harmful chemicals in the air, water, and soil, the occurring of mutants is becoming more and more common and  the chances of a positive mutant decline daily.

According to Schleiden, Schwann and Virchow, all living things are composed of, and give rise to offspring composed of cells.  Cells are the fundamental functional, as well as structural, units of all organisms, and the ONLY place cells can rise from is another cell.  I accept that with only one concern.  Given that life on Earth began at some point AFTER the Earth came to be, where did that original cell come from?  Cells as a vehicle for DNA and heredity are the only forms of life that we can find any record of, or can even imagine.  Absolutely no evidence of any other form of life can be found within the fossil record or in extant species.  As with spontaneous generation, cells don’t just happen.  The structures are too complex and precise to have just spun up from nothing.  Cells are orderly and elegant structures.  The idea that they could have somehow come to be spontaneously by trial and error is chaotic and messy.

Well there you have it.  This is my justification for my beliefs.  Please don’t bother to comment on how backward, misinformed, or deluded I am and I will not remind you of your ultimate destination when you leave this world for the next.  In the end, the only thing we can be certain of is that we do not and can not know what really happened.  The scientific method requires duplication and repetition to validate a theory.  As these things have not been possible and continue to be impossible, so validation or proof remain beyond us.  An honest scientist will refer to evolution and its attendant ideas as theories and it is only the sensationalist and pseudo-intellectuals who declare them to be absolute truth.  Matters of faith, on the other hand, require no such validation.  Faith allows the surrounded and defeated soldiers of the Alamo to turn aside the attack of a much larger army.  Faith persuades the martyr to face lions and tigers and bears (oh my) rather than renounce their beliefs.  Faith powers revolutions, creates heroes and moves mountains.  Only a fool discounts or denies the efficacy of faith.

To You Who Bring Small Children to Church November 19, 2013

Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
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Lest we forget why we are there and what’s important, or should be. Jesus thought so anyway. “Suffer the Little Children to come unto me and forbid them not for such is the kingdom of Heaven.”

It’s quiet out there….maybe too quiet. October 22, 2013

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I promise I have not fallen off the Earth. I have been so insanely busy trying to remodel a rental house and get it back on the market that it is taking all my time and energy. I promise to return soon with something worthwhile. Meanwhile God Bless.

Boggy Creek After Action Review September 28, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, Film and Television, General Ranting, Movie Madness, News and politics.
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As I look back upon today and the amazing opportunities I have been given, one thing comes to mind…Man I am POOPED!! In the last 2 days I have driven almost 700 miles, swam over half a mile, and then walked ALL day in search of cryptid life-forms. Along the way I met new friends, faced heartache, fear, and loss, and also ate a pretty tasty chicken-fried steak at Magel’s in Paris, TX. The only thing that I DIDN’T get to see was a monster. 😦
Lyle signed my copyOur intrepid guide, Lyle Blackburn, could not have BEEN a better person to head out into the Sulfur River Wilderness with. Lyle was knowledgeable, down-to-Earth, and very entertaining. If you get a chance to see him in person, by ALL MEANS take advantage of it. I am QUITE PROUD to say that I was one of 13 lucky people to be the first ever to join Lyle on a tour of the Boggy Creek area at the First Annual Boggy Creek Festival. He showed us the Willie Smith Bean Field made famous by the movie Legend of Boggy Creek. We crossed Boggy Creek twice and even stopped and got off the bus to see what we could find. We also spent an hour with Smokey Crabtree. He is 86 years old and still talking about the monster that changed both his life and the town of Fouke, AR.

Be sure to check out my blog site in the next few days as I get the pictures and the video edited and posted. I think you will be amazed at what we found and what we did. Be sure to check out the links in this post and if you have a chance to visit Fouke, AR, be sure you are in doors before dark. The creature may very well be traveling the creeks again. PS. Lyle Blackburn, if you happen to ever read this and would comment on my blog it would really make my day.