One Big Trend in K-12 Education with Nexbooks

A few years ago, I wrote a glowing review of a book called “In Defense of the American Teen” by Ryan Teves.  Fast forward to today, and Ryan has started a company, Nexbooks, dedicated to fixing at least ONE of the issues he brought up: kids do better when allowed to learn things that interest them.

We all remember the choices of electives we were given … choir, band, shop, a language, and maybe a couple more.  A little has changed, but school districts, already under fiscal pressure, still do not offer a wide range of electives.  In the meantime, kids are spending countless hours learning what they WANT to learn via YouTube.  Martial arts, drums, wealth-building, fixing a car … the options are nearly limitless.

What if kids could follow their passions, but as part of a school curriculum, following standardized methodologies, but in a format they prefer?  Well, Nexbooks is building a library of video-based, self-paced, internet-enabled courses, complete with a self-grading capability.  So those school districts don’t have to hire a hundred specialists to offer a hundred electives.  Or those home-school parents can offer things they themselves have no expertise in.  When I talk about this with my friends, they all slap their foreheads and say “why didn’t I think of that”?  Well Ryan and his team at Nexbooks are doing it.  Bravo.

nb2

The James Bahn sandwich

This is a recommendation for one of Ike’s sandwiches, #339, the James Bahn.  No kidding. It’s got Steak, Cucumbers, Sriracha, Jalapenos, and Pepper Jack cheese.  Other sandwiches include the Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, and Steve Jobs.  Their ENTIRE menu has 400 sandwiches, and any given Ike’s may only list a dozen, so you have to ask for it.jamesbahn#339 James Bahn sandwich

Hallelujah – what’s that you say?

It’s great to see someone writing about excessive noise in restaurants.  My days of screaming to be heard are over; I simply won’t do business with loud establishments.  Someone has developed an app (of course), but it doesn’t appear to be on Android yet and it only covers a small fraction of restaurants, but it’s a start!

ouch

https://www.eater.com/2019/4/10/18297392/restaurant-noise-decibel-level-too-loud

 

 

 

getpocket.com instead of the usual dreck

I’m trying to substitute “fast food” quality reading with mind-provoking, consciousness-expanding material.  I’m replacing news about the Kardashians and Cheeto-head tweets with stuff that’s really interesting, to me.  A few months ago I stumbled onto getpocket.com, and I’d like to recommend it.

            no-kardashians                   no-trump.

 

 

Every day, I get an email from getpocket, with links to a few interesting articles.  The articles might be from The Atlantic, NPR, Vox, Lifehacker, NY Times, or any source, really.  They are articles that other getpocket users have selected as interesting.  If you’re a Firefox user, it’s also integrated with that browser, and how I joined.

As an example, one article today was on “What Deep Breathing Does to Your Body” and it reminded me to take a few deep breaths now and then, and another on the “7 books to read in 2019“.  You can select subjects like health, travel, and finance.

Here’s how to sign up.  It’s free of course.  Good reading and Happy New Year.

Most of what you’re reading is not useful

Most of what passes for news is not useful; it’s meant to get you to consume advertising.  And really, how many times do you need to read that Trump has said something stupid?

https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/p2dMr78J-TYjXTIQfhEd8zv4fpY=/0x1:1200x629/fit-in/1200x630/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7651091/fakenews.png

I learned this lesson in a time management course at HP decades ago, but was reminded last year when taking care of my dad’s funeral and estate details.  I was too busy doing useful stuff to read about the Kardashians.  It’s nice to see someone writing about this.

I spend less time reading about the latest warehouse fire in Oakland, politician lies, and other things that don’t mean anything to my life, than I used to.  Frees up time, our most precious commodity.

Bose Hearphones Review

I’m generally a fan of Bose equipment; I’m very satisfied with Bose QC headphones and a wireless speaker, and recommend them highly.  But I’m writing this somewhat negative review of the Hearphones because as I write this, it’s hard to find reviews.

If you are looking for ‘phones that amplify all the sounds around you, these are great.  But my application is different.

It’s hard for me to pick out a companion’s conversation in a crowded venue, like a restaurant or trade show.  The Hearphones have a feature that’s supposed to only amplify a focused area in front of you, using directional microphones.  It did not work for me.  This setting did indeed knock down a lot of the background sound, but replaced it with an irritating low-medium frequency hiss and did nothing to amplify the sound in front of me.  In fact, it was startling just how bad this worked.  There was SOME amplification of sounds 15 feet in front of me, but not of someone 2 feet in front of me.  I really wanted these to work and I tried all adjustments.

Lest you think this is purely a negative review, it is not.  There are two great things about the Hearphones.  First, if you want all sounds to be amplified in a 360 degree arc, they work great.  Second, Bose offers a 30-day hassle free money back guarantee.  I returned mine and it indeed was no hassle.  Your results might be different than mine. There’s a video review on YouTube from a lady who likes these ‘phones.

Truly Great Book about drugs

“Licit and Illicit Drugs”.  I read this book while in college and when thinking back about the best books I’ve read, this is in the top 3.   It is an outstanding source for historical information about the development of our attitudes towards drugs, the role they play in our society, a straightforward, non-technical presentation of the psychological and biological actions of various drugs, and the effects of our current drug policies.  You will be stunned at the destructive role of our government and certain individuals have played on society through misinformation and just plain bad laws.

Sadly, it is out of print, but you can read it on-line at: http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm

Good reading.