THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 239

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 239

…That would be “Sammy Mac” not MacSammy and he is feeling a bit left out, quite literally in-the-dark and in-adequate…

… In the quiet locale, as dark and empty as space itself, three Eridanians stand silently, fingertips touching to complete a triangular circle. With no outside influences to affect the intent psychic aura, no stray thoughts to disturb times’ continual flow, the trio bends the temporal fabric, reaching out across fifty trillion miles without so much as a blink.

Cerella, heiress to the High Counsel of Eridanus and two time/space travel historian experts are poised to place a very different form of humanoid aboard the Stellar Voyager.

Ekcello attaches himself to this aggressive undertaking, before they depart minds from bodies, #Celeste McKinney has convinced me that she is capable of contributing to this effort. She can comfort her offspring, when they become disoriented by our intent and discouraged by the failure to complete their mission#

In a rare emotional reflective moment, he admits, #We can only wonder what was going through the minds on our own Explorer at the point of their perishing in Earth’s Solar System#

So without fanfare, Celeste joins the group..

Sampson, who was not about to let Ekcello out of his sight at this critical juncture, expresses distress over the decision to allow Celeste to “go” along, “Are you positive that she will be able to do this… and survive with her wits?”

#Your mate is most persuasive MacSammy, but she is also worthy of our trust and we consider her as a peer. You need not fear for her life, it is only her spirit that makes the journey#

That would be Sammy Mac and he is feeling a bit left out, quite literally in-the-dark and in-adequate.

Once Sampson is calmed, Ekcello’s aura makes five among his mental emissaries, for the duration of this unprecedented enterprise. The only Earthling that has not mastered some sort of psychic dexterity {if you do not count still-teenage Deimostra} will have to wait until the hyperphysical transmigration is complete.


THE RETURN TRIP

Transmigration by eReSaW  on deviantart.com

Episode 239


page 281

Contents TRT

 

New Year Puns (#29) and Quotes

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New Year Puns (#29)

and Quotes

New years resolution for the bankrupt gardener was to forget the past and rely on the fuchsia. (obscure pun!)

The satellite went into orbit on January 1st causing a new years revolution.

Galileo_satellite_in_orbit

Drinking too much is an ale-ment

Image result for hangover

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quotes

 

T.S. Eliot

***“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
***“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
***“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
D. Simone
***“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
Brad Paisley


New Year Puns (#29)

pun-catalog-001

and Quotes

Artificial Intelligence Handbook – WIF Into the Future

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 Amazing  Facts about AI

 

Artificial Intelligence (or AI) got its start in 1950, when computer pioneer Alan Turing introduced the Turing test in his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” The test involves a judge who must communicate with two participants in two different rooms. In one room is a machine, and in the other is a real person. The judge is then supposed to ask each participant questions and figure out which one is the machine. If the judge picks the person less than 50 percent of the time, the machine would be considered “intelligent.” Since Turing’s initial theory, there’s been a steady march to create thinking machines. In the past couple decades, there’s been enormous progress in this field, but we have to ask: is that necessarily a good thing? Here are some interesting AI facts – some of which are a little…troubling.

10. Most AI is “Female”

cortana

One thing that you may have noticed when it comes to AI that you possibly interact with, like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, that the default voice is female. For the record, this isn’t one of the terrifying facts; we just find it fascinating that AI tends to be female. Why is that, exactly?

Well, there’s no specific reason but a few factors play into it. For example, studies have shown that males and females both like the sound of female voices a bit better. Another reason, according to Karl Fredric MacDorman, a computer scientist and expert in human-computer interaction at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is that mostly men work on AI so they probably find females attractive and want their AI to follow suit. Kathleen Richardson, a social anthropologist, said that female AI would be less threatening than male AI. For example, compare Samantha in Her to the Terminator machines. Well, except for Terminator 3, but then again, who the hell actually remembers that movie?

9. Artificial Intelligence Pets

robopet

Pets are great, but they have a number of downsides. You have to clean up after them, they can be destructive, they need to be fed, and of course, they die. Something that will take care of all those downsides is AI driven pets. University of Melbourne animal welfare researcher Dr. Jean-Loup Rault says that there are already a number of patents for robot pets and they could be widely available by 2025.

Rault says that in the next 10-15 years, developers will work on a number of aspects of AI and robotics so that manufacturers will be able to build pet-bots that people will be able to make an emotional connection with. Rault believes that robotic pets will be one of the only viable options for most people as the world gets more populated. He theorized that by 2050, only the incredibly wealthy will be able to afford real live pets.

8. Artificial Intelligence Can Repair Itself

selfrepairbot

On the terrifying end of the spectrum, there was a paper published this year about a robot that could rebuild itself, even after losing two of its six legs. The robot doesn’t know what’s broken, but notices that its performance has dropped. Then, using an algorithm based on trial and error, the robot can figure out what’s wrong and how to repair itself. The researchers who developed the robot said that as it fixes itself, it updates its database with all the things that will not work in a phase called “simulated childhood.”

This phase lasts for a few minutes and during that time, the robot processes 13,000 possible movements. Those movements are pulled from 10^47 different behaviors, which is an unfathomable number. For a comparison, that’s how many atoms make up the Earth. The implications of this type of artificial intelligence are essentially limitless. Some of the more exciting prospects include search and rescue and deep sea and space exploration.

7. Artificial Intelligence Can Write

robojournalist

The first piece for a major news organization that was written by AI appeared on the Los Angeles Times website after a newspaper article reading:

“A shallow magnitude 4.7 earthquake was reported Monday morning five miles [8km] from Westwood, California, according to the US Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6.25am Pacific time at a depth of 5.0 miles. According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, California, seven miles from Universal City, California, seven miles from Santa Monica, California, and 348 miles from Sacramento, California. In the past 10 days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby. This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author.”

The computer was able to write the article based on data that was pulled from seismographs, which turned them into figures and then plugged those figures into a story. The technology was developed in part by Larry Birnbaum, a professor of journalism and the head of the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University. He was one of the developers of the Quill system, which is an app for companies that do minimal writing. It takes statistics and graphs and compiles them into written reports. As for creative writing, like novels and screenplays, that is the next step for AI, but it’s obviously complicated. Perhaps AI will start off at a Nicholas Sparks’ level and then work itself up from there.

6. Artificial Intelligence can be a Fierce Poker Player

robopoker

A big step in the evolution of AI was when IBM’s chess-playing Deep Blue computer beat reigning world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. Another milestone was in 2011 when IBM’s Watson appeared on Jeopardy and completely destroyed some of the best Jeopardy contestants ever. AI took another major step in May 2015, when a supercomputer called Claudico from Carnegie Mellon University competed in a game of Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold ’em poker at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. The tournament lasted two weeks and 80,000 hands were played. In the end, Claudico came in fourth, and the “loss” was close enough to be considered scientifically valid, meaning that statistically, Claudico tied his human competitors. While it didn’t win, it was a big step in AI computing. The big difference between a game like poker and playing chess or Jeopardy is that poker has a lot of missing information, and bluffing is a major strategy and not a logical way of thinking.

Researchers said that the tournament was a great start and they believe that by 2020, AI will be able to beat the best poker players in the world. This type of AI also has a number of other applications instead of just trying to clean out casinos. The algorithms used in Claudico will be applicable anywhere there is incomplete information, including cyber security, medicine and negotiations.

5. Romantic Relationships with Artificial Intelligence

HER

A question that’s bound to arise is that if AI is almost or completely indistinguishable from humans, will humans be able to have physical and emotional relationships with AI entities? David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands had an interesting, but plausible, scenario where sex with a robot could become more mainstream. He said that at first it will come across as geeky, but then a story will appear in a publication like Cosmo in which someone will rave about how great sex with a robot is, and the mainstream attention could alter the prevailing attitudes.

But how close are we to something like that? Well, both Levy and Henrik Christensen, founder of the European Robotics Research Network, thought that by 2012, humans would be having sex with robots. We’re actually closer than you think, as there are currently a number of sex toys that use robotics and promise pleasure like you’ve never experienced before. As for serious relationships, like marriage, AI and Androids still need quite a few years of advancement. With that being said, Levy believes that by 2050, human and robot marriages will be made legal. Of course it could just be that Levy is way too big a fan of the movie Her.

4. Artificial Intelligence Can Learn

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There’s a saying about computers that they’re only as smart as the person using them. However, with advancements with AI, computers are starting to learn by themselves. For example, Google developed an AI system that taught itself to play Atari 2600 games. After doing so, it beat some of the world’s best players.

Another learning AI system is an android developed by the United States Army that learned how to cook from watching YouTube videos. The robot was able to learn the skills from visual recognition and trial and error. While it’s unlikely that the military will use robot chefs, cooking uses a wide arrange of skills so it is an excellent demonstration of what the robot is capable of.

3. AI Will Become Smarter Than Humans

3po

With AI having the ability to learn, computers are getting to be pretty smart. As of 2013, AI was about at the same intelligence level as a four-year-old and there have been lots of advances since then. For example, in 2014 a supercomputer cracked a complicated math problem called Erdos discrepancy problem, which was published in 1930. The amazing thing is that humans can’t even double check the solution because the equation is too long. The file is 13-gigabytes, and just for comparison, all of Wikipedia is about 10-gigbytes.

According to renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil, by 2029 AI will be at about the level of intelligent adult humans. Beyond that, anything is pretty much possible, especially if AI can get exponentially smarter. For example, Kurzweil believes it could lead to something called singularity, which is where humans and machines will meld into one entity.

2. Nautilus

nautilus

An interesting development in artificial intelligence is an SGI Altix supercomputer called Nautilus. It appears that, to a certain degree, Nautlius can predict the future. For example, it was able to predict where Osama bin Laden was hiding within 125 miles, and was also able to predict the Arab Spring that started in December of 2010.

Nautilus gathered this information from over 100 million news articles from all over the world dating back to 1945. The articles would be analyzed for two different criteria: the mood of the article, and the location of the story. This information led to a web of 100 trillion relationships and the data was fed into Nautilus. From that information, the computer was able to piece the information together and create graphs that charted mood. For example, with the Arab Spring, sentiment in the area was low before the protests.

The author of the findings, Kalev Leetaru from the University of Illinois’ Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science, is looking at making the information work in real time. While Nautilus won’t exactly predict the future, it may give mood forecasts similar to economic forecasts or weather reports.

1. The AI Apocalypse

terminator

There’s little doubt that AI has the potential to greatly improve our lives. AI will make the roads safer, help in medicine, aide the disabled and the elderly, work customer service and a number of countless other jobs. However, AI also poses an incredible threat, and this isn’t the stuff of science fiction, either. Top scientists and technologists like Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk believe that AI is a very real, and dangerous threat to humankind.

It’s so dangerous that Max Tegmark, a physicist at MIT, compared it to the development of nuclear weapons and says we may only be able to do it right the first time. In fact, there has been a push to actually slow down advancement on AI and focus more on containment. Containment is important because if we were to ever lose control of AI, we may never get it back. Then it’s just a matter of time, since the AI could wipe out humanity because it could calculate that humans are a virus-like being, or it could kill humans as a way of self-preservation. Essentially, AI will either fix all of our problems or destroy us all. In other words, The Terminator and The Matrix aren’t nearly as farfetched as we previously believed.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or visit his website.

Artificial Intelligence Handbook

– WIF Into the Future

Musical Therapy – WIF Monday Medicine

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Music in History

The Health Benefits of Music

Music has been an integral part of human civilization for over 55,000 years and continues to be an important aspect of almost every culture on Earth. It’s so dominant that for many people, their life would be empty without their melodies. At the most basic level, music is just a series of sounds. But research has found it’s much more profound than us hearing noise. Music can have some amazing effects on both your mind and your body.

10. It Reduces Stress

stressed

One of the most well known benefits of listening to music is that it reduces stress. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this and probably anyone who is reading this can remember a time in their life when they were stressed out and felt better after listening to a song or an album. But why does music have such a drastic effect on someone’s stress level?

One reason comes down to cortisol, which is a hormone that’s released when someone is stressed out. A high level of cortisol isn’t good for the body and is linked to a number of issues, including problems with memory and concentration as well as weight gain. It’s linked to depression, heart disease, and any other problems related to stress that are believed to stem from high cortisol levels.

Music effects stress because it has the amazing ability to lower cortisol levels, which decreases the feeling of stress in the body. The key to relieving stress through music is simply to follow your own natural urges; pick music that you love and fits your mood.

9. It Helps With Depression

depressionmusic

Music can have a profound effect on depression. It’s been found to aid in the treatment of depression by having sufferers play an instrument or sing, and can also help people with depression if they simply listen.

For example, researchers at Queen’s University Belfast got a group of 128 youths who were all being treated for emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems. Half of them received the usual care, and the other half were given that same care, along with music therapy. The researchers found that the students taking the music therapy had their self-esteem improve greatly and their depression drop significantly.

On the other end of the age spectrum, it’s been shown to decrease both anxiety and depression in people over the age of 65. So if you’re having a rough day, turn up your favorite song and belt out the words. You might be surprised at how good you feel.

8. It Helps People Sleep

musicsleep

In order to see how music effects sleeping habits, researchers at the University of Taiwan gathered a group of 60 elderly people with sleeping problems. The 60 seniors were given the choice of listening to slow, soft music, or nothing at all for 45 minutes before bedtime. The results were that in the first week, the people who listened to the music reported 26% improvement, and that eventually rose to 35%. They found that they slept better and longer, and also felt better the next day.

The music they used was about 60-80 beats-per-minute, which is stuff like contemporary jazz or folk. The reason is that the music helped lower the people’s heart and respiratory rate. So next time you’re having problems sleeping, just throw on some James Taylor or Diana Krall before you’re going to bed. If you don’t hate that type of stuff, it should mellow you out enough to sleep.

7. It Helps with the Vascular Health

vascular

While music does reduce stress and help with other parts of the brain, researchers weren’t sure if it causes any physical change in the body. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center decided to see how music impacts the endothelium function of the body. The endothelium function forms the linings of blood cells; the better the endothelium function works, the healthier the vascular system.

During the study, they had participants listen to joyful music as well as music meant to provoke anxiety. The participants also watched a video that would make them laugh, and another that would make them feel relaxed. Then they measured the flow mediated dilation (FMD), which measures the endothelium function. They found that the joyful music raised the FMD by 26 percent, which was higher than anything else. Laughter made it rise by 19 percent, while it was an 11 percent increase for the relaxation video.

The conclusion is that joyful music may be good for your heart, your veins, and your blood vessels. So don’t let anyone give you a hard time for still liking “Happy” by Pharrell Williams; you’re just trying to be healthy.

6. It Helps With Diet and Exercise

runningmusic

Good news for those trying to lose weight: one way to help keep the calorie level down and give you an edge in exercising may just come from listening to the right music.

In order to see how music can affect eating habits, two researchers from Cornell University took over a Hardee’s fast food restaurant. They gave half the restaurant a makeover to make it look like a fine-dining restaurant, which included playing slow jazz music, while the other half of the restaurant was left looking like a normal Hardee’s. The researchers originally thought that the people in the fine-dining area would eat more because they would linger around longer and might be bored. However, they found the people in the fine-dining area actually ate less and enjoyed their food more. This means that if you want to eat less and get more enjoyment from your food, simply put on some slow, soft music while you eat.

Not only does music help with dieting, but it’s also incredibly helpful when it comes to exercising as well. A number of studies have been done on the connections between music and exercise. Some findings conclude that it helps people ignore fatigue and pain, improves mood, increases endurance, and it may also help with the metabolism’s efficiency. As for picking which music is the best for exercising, it’s important to keep it personal. For example, songs that evoke memories are useful. Also, if you can identify with the singer’s viewpoint or emotional state, it can be incredibly beneficial. It’s not about picking songs that are fast or up-tempo; it’s about picking songs that make you move.

5. It Helps With Stroke Victims

strokemusic

A study from the University of Helsinki looked at patients who had just suffered a stroke and were recovering. They randomly assigned patients what they would listen to for a few hours every day: music, audio books, or nothing at all. The researchers found that, compared to the patients that listened to the audio books or nothing, the people who listened to music had their verbal memory and focused attention recover better. Also, their demeanor was more positive and they were less confused.

Another interesting finding in the study is that when it came to verbal memory, 60 percent of the group that listened to music improved after three months, but the group that listened to audio books only saw about a 19 percent improvement. The doctors believe that words are not enough to help, but words with music can be incredibly beneficial in helping repair the brain.

4. It Aids in the Development of Children

musickids

Even at a young age, children can be helped by music. One study from York University in Toronto, Canada found that after just one month of music lessons, out of 24 participants who were between the ages of four and six, 90% showed improvement in verbal intelligence. Another study from Harvard University found that by training children in music, it also helps with the development of auditory discrimination, fine motor skills, vocabulary, and nonverbal reasoning.

In fact, music training has even been known to help children who don’t yet walk or talk. A study at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, found that one-year-old babies who participate in music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better, and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.

3. It Keeps Your Mind Sharp

musicmind

For some people who took music lessons as a child, it may have seemed like a torturous ordeal and a waste of time. The good news is that if you were one of those people, or are someone who is currently forcing a child to learn to play an instrument, the training may have long-term positive effects on the human brain. A study from Northwestern University found that the more musical training someone had as a child the sharper his or her mind was as a senior adult. For the study, they took a group of 44 adults between the ages of 55 and 76, who had studied music between the ages of four and 14, but had quit and had not played in at least 40 years.

The researchers recorded the brain activity of the participants in the area of the brain where sound is processed and they found that the participants with more musical training responded faster to speech. Although it is important to point out that it was only about a millisecond faster and that may not sound like a lot, but the brain is a sharp tool and it is sensitive to timing. If one millisecond is compounded over millions of neurons, it can have drastic effects on the lives of seniors.
The researchers believe that the study will hopefully encourage more musical training for children and it will also justify parents sending their children out of the house for music lessons for a few hours every week.

2. It Reduces Pain

musichealth

Researchers at the Pain Research Center at the University of Utah found that if people actively listen to music that they enjoy, they can reduce acute pain. This type of pain would be felt in situations like post-surgery or at the dentist.

In the study, they gave participants an electric shock and found that when listening to music, it decreased pain levels by 17 percent. It was twice as effective for people who have high anxiety. The reason music reduces pain is because a lot of the pathways in the brain that process music are the same ones that process pain. So when you listen to music you enjoy, it will create emotional responses that will compete with the pain, which means there are fewer resources for the body to compute the hurt.

1. It Improves Immune System

immunesystem

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada looked at 400 papers on music and neuroscience. One of the things they found was that music can help the body’s immune system. They found evidence that when people listen to music their body has an increase in immunoglobulin A, which is an antibody that plays an important part in the mucous system. Immunoglobulin A is also a natural killer cell count, which are cells that attack germs and bacteria that are invading.

Essentially, this means that just by listening to Taylor Swift you could be improving your immune system and keeping yourself healthy. Go ahead and use that as an excuse if you ever feel like shaking it off.

Musical Therapy

– WIF Monday Medicine

Improving Education in the United States

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WIF Grammar 101-001

10 Major Changes Our

Schools Should Make

There haven’t been many major changes to the structure of school systems in the past century. We’ve learned so much more about how people learn, yet schools have pretty much stayed the same. And that’s unfortunate, because a few changes could make school better for students, teachers and society as a whole.

10. Healthier Environment

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With obesity rates rising, we’ve all heard calls to make the school environment healthier. This can be done by making physical activity mandatory and serving healthier food, which has been shown to improve grades and teach students healthy habits.

While gym class may not teach anything academic, it keeps students active. Studies have found that physical work is important and helps students learn. Gym is just as important as math, science and other academic classes because schools should take a healthy body and healthy mind approach to education.

Getting students active is only half the battle — it’s also important for them to eat nutritious food. Most schools don’t serve healthy food, simply because unhealthy food is cheaper. So while money would have to be spent to upgrade school lunches, it would be a smart investment because there’s a correlationbetween healthy meals and improved grades. Also, with better nutrition students tend to be in a better mood, making classes run smoother.

9. More Life Skills Classes

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If a person graduates at age 18 with a high school diploma, they’re probably versed in history, math, science and literature. But does this mean they’re ready for all the trappings of adulthood? Most simply aren’t. Experience and training in life skills like budgeting, time management, nutrition and even some social skills can be sorely lacking. For example, how many students coming out of high school know exactly how credit and credit cards work? Not enough of them, as many young people get into trouble with their first credit card. In fact, credit card companies are aware of their ignorance and prey on them. If time was taken to teach students important life skills, it could be one of the most useful things they learn.

The counter-argument is that parents should be teaching their children these things. While that’s true, not all parents will or even can. If life lessons were taught in class, it would ensure that everyone learned the basics of surviving in the real world.

8. Tenure Reform

schoolchanges3

There are wonderful teachers that touch the lives of countless students. There are also teachers who haunt your dreams well into adulthood. These horrible teachers keep their jobs for decades, tormenting class after class. If they acted that way in other jobs, chances are they would have been fired. But because they’re teachers, they get to keep their jobs.

Bad teachers can also affect taxpayers. In New York City, there were facilities for teachers accused of misconduct called reassignment centers. There were about 600 teachers in 13 centers around the city, and they were paid to sit in a room and do nothing. They would sit there for months, or even years. It was estimated that in 2012 it cost $22 million to pay teachers to sit and do nothing. Some of the teachers had been accused of sexual harassment, yet were still paid.

While the reassessment centers have been shut down, they show a fundamental problem with teachers’ unions. Getting rid of poor and sadistic teachers is an incredibly hard thing to do, which is awful because a bad teacher could change the direction of a student’s life in profound ways. Teachers’ unions are important, but there has to be an easier way to get rid of the bad apples.

7. No Homework Over the Weekend or Holidays

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This may sound like coddling students, but why do people who work deserve a break on weekends and holidays more than students do? The truth is that everyone needs a break. People are more productive when they have them. Also, weekends off would give students time to be involved in extracurricular activities without their work suffering because they’re forced to rush through it. Instead, it would be better to have dedicated time for work and then free time to unwind and recharge.

6. Mandatory Study Hall

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It’s understandable that teachers would want to maximize their teaching time and then have students do their work at home. And studies have found that a reasonable amount of homework is correlated with higher achievement in school. But while homework is important, research has found that giving students a mandatory study period can be incredibly effective, simply because it’s a dedicated time to ensure some work gets done. When homework is done at home, students have to find the motivation to do the work. They may rush through it, get distracted or simply won’t attempt it. Mandatory study hall in place of one class guarantees them time to do homework, which leads to better test results.

5. Stop Standardized Testing

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In theory, standardized testing makes sense. It’s a quantifiable way to see if a student knows the material. But there are just too many problems with it. Standardized tests tend to be biased against people of lower income, as well as African-Americans and Latinos. In fact, the gap is so big that some school boards have a target percentage for each race. In Virginia, 46% of black students had to pass standardized math tests, while 68% of white students and 82% of Asian students had to pass. No one is sure why the gap exists, as studies have been inconclusive. It’s also important to note that standardized testing has prejudiced roots. According to Columbia University Professor Nicholas Lemann, standardized testing was developed in the 1940s as a way to keep Jewish students out of Ivy League schools.

Another problem is that the tests are created by companies who have little knowledge about the school system they’re testing. The tests are rigid and don’t take many factors into consideration…standardized testing programs often aim to judge students against measures that have little or nothing to do with what the classroom teacher has taught or is expected to teach.

Standardized testing is also expensive, with millions of dollars paid to companies to create and mark the tests. It’s an incredible amount of money that could be spent on more effective tools, like healthier food. Yet schools continue to use this biased and expensive system to measure the worth of their students.

4. Merit Pay for Teachers

schoolchanges7

A fundamental aspect of capitalism is paying a person a competitive rate for their performance. In some lines of work, bonuses are also paid out for reaching certain quotas. But teachers aren’t paid this way — a good teacher and a poor teacher who have worked the same number of years are usually paid the same. That’s unfair to taxpayers, good teachers and students. And that’s why some people, including President Obama, think that merit pay is a better method. Merit pay would mean that teachers are given a salary based on their performance, and then given bonuses for meeting certain quotas.

There are two main roadblocks to merit pay. The first is that people are concerned that teachers may just focus on getting the bonus and manipulate the situation by giving students the answers rather than do real teaching. Unionsalso continuously block the idea, because it goes against their fair pay rules. But despite the criticism, studies have shown that merit pay does help students get better grades.

3. Pay Students

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Student motivation is a serious problem. How do you explain to a 14 year old that they need to do well on their math test so they can get into college and then get a good job? The human mind simply doesn’t work that way — the time spanbetween the task and the reward is too vast. However, if students were paid bonuses for doing well, then there’s a more immediate and tangible reward for completing the task. Paying students, even just to attend class and do their homework, has been found to help students in troubled areas. In schools that have paid students, grades improved, attendance increased and the percentage of people graduating went up.

2. Later Start Time for High Schools

schoolchanges9

In the United States, the average starting time for high schools is 7:59 am. Schools start that early to save money on bussing, as bus drivers tend to do two different routes. First they pick up and drop off middle and high school students, and then handle grade school children.

While earlier start times may save money, it isn’t ideal for teenagers. It comes down to biology. At about the age of 14, circadian rhythms shift and teenager start to stay up and wake up later. Their brains don’t even release melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep, until after 11:00 pm. Also, teenagers need about nine hours of sleep to function at their best. To wake them up earlier interrupts their natural sleep cycle and makes them less productive students. In a study of 9000 schools, researchers found that grades in all classes got better if the classes started after 8:30. They also found that there was a decrease in the amount of car accidents involving teenagers, because they were much more alert.

1. Year Round Schooling

schoolchanges10

School schedules aren’t very productive. Students spend nine months of the year building their knowledge and skills, and are then released for three months. Then in September they’re either expected to suddenly recall everything from the previous year, or spend the first few weeks reviewing and relearning.

The reason we have summer breaks is that before the early 20th century, many cities had different school schedules. The schedule then standardized across the country to make it easier to do standardized testing and distribute textbooks. Prior to summer vacations, cities had their students go to class for about the same amount of time as contemporary students, but their breaks were spread throughout the year. Studies have routinely shown that having students attend school all year round would be more productive and effective. There would be less review, and students would have continuous practice. But the idea of summer vacation is so ingrained in our cultural consciousness that change is difficult.

Improving Education in the United States

CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I. ~ Episode 103

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Forever Mastadon ~ Episode 103

Libby Funeral

So sad is his grieving Aunt Sister Mary Joseph Franks that she volunteers Tolentine as the location of his memorial service. She and Martin Kamen are the lone attendees that have the real skinny on Libby’s “passing” and his true fate.The ruse, albeit necessary, is a cruel charade  especially for the hundreds of folks that have come to Chicago to pay their respects, but in the grand scheme of things, they have no other choice.

  • Enrico Fermi: “He was a great scientific visionary and a brave supporter of the “nuclear age”…”
  • Billy Graham: “Willard Libby took the time to fully consider all aspects of his research, even those of God…”
  • Bernard Spencer (Daniels): “Pope Pius the Twelve extends his Holy blessing to a wholly innocent soul…”
  • Robert Maynard Hutchins: “As President of the University of Chicago, I express our profound sadness with the passing of a treasured educator…”
  • Walter Zinn (Director Argonne): “When the danger of nuclear research became critical, Willard Libby was the rock of the “Metallurgical Lab”…”
  • Vice-president Alben Barley: “President Truman mourns the loss of such a young, up and coming asset to the United States of America…”
  • Martin Kamen (crocodile tears): “He is my closest colleague and dearest friend. I will never look through my microscope the same way again…”
  • Mary Joseph (not tears – holy water): “I will miss my weekly tea with Will. He would talk about things, of which I had no clue, but we are family and I will see you soon in the Great Beyond…”
  • Pentateuch (has yet to shed a tear – ever): “He was a foolish man who dared to challenge the “Great Deception”…”

 

Sister Mary had pointed skyward implying a heavenly reunion… but she knows better.

Martin Kamen cleverly uses the present tense when referring to his friend… not a coincidence.

Pentateuch claims victory… but he is jumping the gun and is losing focus.

Libby Funeral-001

…The ruse, albeit necessary, is a cruel charade…


CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I.

Episode 103


page 82

Episode catalog-001

 

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2015 Zodiac – If You so Believe

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2015 Predictions for

Each Zodiac Sign

predictions2015zodiac2

Many people love reading their astrological horoscopes. 

It is estimated that between 20-30% of women do so regularly. 

This is especially popular at the beginning of each new year as people want to know what the upcoming year has in store for them.  It sometimes seems though that all horoscopes could apply and this is because they are kept generic to cover a large portion of the population, 1/12 so to say.  Furthermore, if you have ever had your astrological chart done, you will know that you are comprised of more than just your primary sun sign.  Great influences are also the 12 houses and especially the ascendant or rising sign.

The horoscopes in this article were not done with the help of astrology but rather with the help of theMadame Lenormand fortune telling cards.  The author, Beth Michaels, has some experience with cartomancy and sometimes shares this with her readers.

Now please keep in mind.  This is meant for fun.  It is truly for entertainment purposes only.  Every individual adult human is still responsible for the decisions they make in life.

 

1) Aries

March 21 - April 20

This will be a good year in terms of security for you.  You have friends you can rely on!  You can talk freely and openly with them.  Your issues are safe with them.

2) Taurus

April 21 - May 21

This year is about loyalty.  Only invest your well-being (both physical and financial) in people and institutions you are familiar with and trust to be looking out for your best interests.

3) Gemini

May 22 - June 21

This year a woman you know will teach you something important about your health and help you make good lifestyle choices.

4) Cancer

June 22 - July 22

Clarity on the home front.  Issues and misunderstandings with close loved ones will finally be resolved.

5) Leo

July 23 - Aug. 22

Existing and known difficulties and hardships involving a woman, perhaps a mother figure or older woman, will unfortunately remain this year as well.

6) Virgo

Aug. 23 - Sept. 23

Many sudden and expected hindernesses cross your path this year.  The ensuing frustration might lead to arguments and fights.

7) Libra

Sept. 24 - Oct. 22

An important year for long-term commitments, especially financial contracts.  Many women in serious relationships can look forward to engagement rings :-)

8) Scorpio

Oct. 23 - Nov. 22

This year you will have options.  You will come to a crossroads and have to make a choice which path you take.  Whatever decision you make, stay true to the loved ones who are dependent on you.

9) Sagittarius

Nov. 23 - Dec. 21

This year you will receive an letter or notice from a financial or public institution, agency or school regarding money or property.

10) Capricorn

Dec. 22 - Jan. 19

A lucky year for you in terms of new beginnings!  If you are married or in a committed relationship, you might expect a pregnancy or the birth of offspring.  If you own a business, this could mean growth, expansion or “add ons.”

11) Aquarius

Jan. 20 - Feb. 18

A great year for sexuality, wonderful evenings together and closeness on a spiritual level.  You will feel like your sexual needs are finally being understood.

12) Pisces 

Feb. 19 - March 20

This year will offer many opportunities to attend public functions, meetings, celebrations and parties.  Be ready to receive lots of invitations!  Ladies, flowers are coming your way :-)

2015 Zodiac – If You so Believe