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starsaremymuse:

Einstein Was Right: Space-Time Is Smooth, Not Foamy
Space-time is smooth rather than foamy, a new study suggests, scoring a possible victory for Einstein over some quantum theorists who came after him.
In his general theory of relativity, Einstein described space-time as fundamentally smooth, warping only under the strain of energy and matter. Some quantum-theory interpretations disagree, however, viewing space-time as being composed of a froth of minute particles that constantly pop into and out of existence.
It appears Albert Einstein may have been right yet again.
A team of researchers came to this conclusion after tracing the long journey three photons took through intergalactic space. The photons were blasted out by an intense explosion known as a gamma-ray burst about 7 billion light-years from Earth. They finally barreled into the detectors of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in May 2009, arriving just a millisecond apart.
Their dead-heat finish strongly supports the Einsteinian view of space-time, researchers said. The wavelengths of gamma-ray burst photons are so small that they should be able to interact with the even tinier “bubbles” in the quantum theorists’ proposed space-time foam.
If this foam indeed exists, the three protons should have been knocked around a bit during their epic voyage. In such a scenario, the chances of all three reaching the Fermi telescope at virtually the same time are very low, researchers said.
So the new study is a strike against the foam’s existence as currently imagined, though not a death blow.
“If foaminess exists at all, we think it must be at a scale far smaller than the Planck length, indicating that other physics might be involved,” study leader Robert Nemiroff, of Michigan Technological University, said in a statement. (The Planck length is an almost inconceivably short distance, about one trillionth of a trillionth the diameter of a hydrogen atom.)
“There is a possibility of a statistical fluke, or that space-time foam interacts with light differently than we imagined,” added Nemiroff, who presented the results Wednesday (Jan. 9) at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, Calif.
If the study holds up, the implications are big, researchers said.
“If future gamma-ray bursts confirm this, we will have learned something very fundamental about our universe,” Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University said in statement.

starsaremymuse:

Einstein Was Right: Space-Time Is Smooth, Not Foamy

Space-time is smooth rather than foamy, a new study suggests, scoring a possible victory for Einstein over some quantum theorists who came after him.

In his general theory of relativity, Einstein described space-time as fundamentally smooth, warping only under the strain of energy and matter. Some quantum-theory interpretations disagree, however, viewing space-time as being composed of a froth of minute particles that constantly pop into and out of existence.

It appears Albert Einstein may have been right yet again.

A team of researchers came to this conclusion after tracing the long journey three photons took through intergalactic space. The photons were blasted out by an intense explosion known as a gamma-ray burst about 7 billion light-years from Earth. They finally barreled into the detectors of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in May 2009, arriving just a millisecond apart.

Their dead-heat finish strongly supports the Einsteinian view of space-time, researchers said. The wavelengths of gamma-ray burst photons are so small that they should be able to interact with the even tinier “bubbles” in the quantum theorists’ proposed space-time foam.

If this foam indeed exists, the three protons should have been knocked around a bit during their epic voyage. In such a scenario, the chances of all three reaching the Fermi telescope at virtually the same time are very low, researchers said.

So the new study is a strike against the foam’s existence as currently imagined, though not a death blow.

“If foaminess exists at all, we think it must be at a scale far smaller than the Planck length, indicating that other physics might be involved,” study leader Robert Nemiroff, of Michigan Technological University, said in a statement. (The Planck length is an almost inconceivably short distance, about one trillionth of a trillionth the diameter of a hydrogen atom.)

“There is a possibility of a statistical fluke, or that space-time foam interacts with light differently than we imagined,” added Nemiroff, who presented the results Wednesday (Jan. 9) at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, Calif.

If the study holds up, the implications are big, researchers said.

“If future gamma-ray bursts confirm this, we will have learned something very fundamental about our universe,” Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University said in statement.

(Source: )

Post by starsaremymuse (via scinerds)
January 10, 2013 at 10:52 PM | Post Permalink | 5,797 notes



approachingsignificance:

Criminology, Sociology, and Psychology Book Recommendations
I received a recent ask for some book recommendations, so I thought I would put a little list together. 
1. Is Killing Wrong? A Study in Pure Sociology. The book that inspired the ask. Check it out if you are interested in crime and sociology. 
2. Naked Lives: Inside the Worlds of Erotic Dance. This is a great dissertation-turned-book done by a Penn State graduate that was a former stripper. Her previous networks allowed her to access areas and information that would otherwise be inaccessible  If you are more interested in the research aspect of it, the article is entitled Social Worlds of Stripping: The Processual Orders of Exotic Dance. 
3. Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death. I’m a sucker for a good corpse book.
4. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Not in the crime category, but I cannot recommend this enough. 
5. The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic. Crime, Mental Health, Psychology, and Sociology all rolled into one in this classic. 
6. In Defense of Flogging. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice flogging? 
7. The Sociological Imagination. Another classic from the field. 
8. The Crime of Punishment. 
9. The Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison. This will blow your mind. 
10. Doing Time: Prison Experience and Identity Among First-Time Inmates. Probably a little out of the price range, but this is a fantastic read. Seriously, this will change your views of prison. If you are unable to read it, at the very least read this article by the authors, Suspended Identity: Identity Transformation in a Maximum Security Prison.  
11. Violence, Agression, and Coercive Actions. Research and theory heavy review of violence and coercive actions written by a professor of mine. Currently working through this, but love it so far. 
Enjoy!
Image Credit

approachingsignificance:

Criminology, Sociology, and Psychology Book Recommendations

I received a recent ask for some book recommendations, so I thought I would put a little list together. 

1. Is Killing Wrong? A Study in Pure Sociology. The book that inspired the ask. Check it out if you are interested in crime and sociology. 

2. Naked Lives: Inside the Worlds of Erotic Dance. This is a great dissertation-turned-book done by a Penn State graduate that was a former stripper. Her previous networks allowed her to access areas and information that would otherwise be inaccessible  If you are more interested in the research aspect of it, the article is entitled Social Worlds of Stripping: The Processual Orders of Exotic Dance

3. Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death. I’m a sucker for a good corpse book.

4. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Not in the crime category, but I cannot recommend this enough. 

5. The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic. Crime, Mental Health, Psychology, and Sociology all rolled into one in this classic. 

6. In Defense of Flogging. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice flogging? 

7. The Sociological Imagination. Another classic from the field. 

8. The Crime of Punishment

9. The Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison. This will blow your mind. 

10. Doing Time: Prison Experience and Identity Among First-Time Inmates. Probably a little out of the price range, but this is a fantastic read. Seriously, this will change your views of prison. If you are unable to read it, at the very least read this article by the authors, Suspended Identity: Identity Transformation in a Maximum Security Prison.  

11. Violence, Agression, and Coercive Actions. Research and theory heavy review of violence and coercive actions written by a professor of mine. Currently working through this, but love it so far. 

Enjoy!

Image Credit

Post by approachingsignificance (via approachingsignificance)
January 9, 2013 at 7:56 PM | Post Permalink | 192 notes



gjmueller:

Understanding the Gates Foundation’s Measuring Effective Teachers Project

So, rather than having “figured out what makes a good teacher” the Gates Foundation has learned very little in this project about effective teaching practices.  The project was an expensive flop.  Let’s not compound the error by adopting this expensive flop as the basis for centrally imposed, mechanistic teacher evaluation systems nationwide.

photo via flickr:CC | Lester Public Library

gjmueller:

Understanding the Gates Foundation’s Measuring Effective Teachers Project

So, rather than having “figured out what makes a good teacher” the Gates Foundation has learned very little in this project about effective teaching practices.  The project was an expensive flop.  Let’s not compound the error by adopting this expensive flop as the basis for centrally imposed, mechanistic teacher evaluation systems nationwide.

photo via flickr:CC | Lester Public Library

Post by gjmueller (via gjmueller)
January 9, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Post Permalink | 15 notes



sagansense:

Einstein On Creative Thinking: Music and the Intuitive Art of Scientific Imagination

For Einstein, insight did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration. As he told one friend, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.” Elaborating, he added, “All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration…. At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.” Thus, his famous statement that, for creative work in science, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”.

But how, then, did art differ from science for Einstein? Surprisingly, it wasn’t the content of an idea, or its subject, that determined whether something was art or science, but how the idea was expressed. “If what is seen and experienced is portrayed in the language of logic, then it is science. If it is communicated through forms whose constructions are not accessible to the conscious mind but are recognized intuitively, then it is art”. Einstein himself worked intuitively and expressed himself logically. That’s why he said that great scientists were also artists.

Einstein first described his intuitive thought processes at a physics conference in Kyoto in 1922, when he indicated that he used images to solve his problems and found words later. Einstein explicated this bold idea at length to one scholar of creativity in 1959, telling Max Wertheimer that he never thought in logical symbols or mathematical equations, but in images, feelings, and even musical architectures. Einstein’s autobiographical notes reflect the same thought: “I have no doubt that our thinking goes on for the most part without the use of symbols, and, furthermore, largely unconsciously”. Elsewhere he wrote even more baldly that “no scientist thinks in equations”.

Anyone in science education reading this?!

Einstein only employed words or other symbols (presumably mathematical) — in what he explicitly called a secondary translation step — after he was able to solve his problems through the formal manipulation of internally imagined images, feelings, and architectures. “I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards,” he wrote.

Einstein expanded on this theme in a letter to fellow mathematician Jacques Hadamard, writing that “the words of the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be ‘voluntarily’ reproduced and combined…. The above mentioned elements are, in my case of visual and some of a muscular type…. Conventional words or other signs [presumably mathematical ones] have to be sought for laboriously only in a secondary stage, when the associative play already referred to is sufficiently established and can be reproduced at will”.

In other interviews, he attributed his scientific insight and intuition mainly to music. “If I were not a physicist,” he once said, “I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music…. I get most joy in life out of music”. His son, Hans, amplified what Einstein meant by recounting that “whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music, and that would usually resolve all his difficulties”. After playing piano, his sister Maja said, he would get up saying, “There, now I’ve got it”. Something in the music would guide his thoughts in new and creative directions.

No historian of science seems to have taken these musical and intuitional comments of Einstein seriously, but we think there is something very important to be gleaned from his personal testimony. What did Einstein mean when he told Wertheimer that he often thought in terms of musical architectures? We can’t know for certain at this far remove, and Wertheimer never asked, but the engineer-composer Robert Mueller investigated further.

According to Mueller, Einstein’s friend Alexander Mozskowski says “that Einstein recognized an unexplainable connection between music and his science, and notes that his [Einstein’s] mentor Ernst Mach had indicated that music and the aural experience were the organ to describe space”. Music also embodies time. Could music have therefore provided Einstein with a connection between time and space through its combination of architectonic, or structural, nature combined with its spatial and temporal aspects? Mueller has conjectured that the physicist’s “disposition to architectonic logics of abstraction was formulated by Einstein’s early musical experiences, and even enlarged by a constant struggle for musical experiences which helped him build a rich mental perceptual fabric of space and time in which to perform his scientific theorizing”.

These speculations about music, space and time in Einstein’s imaginative thinking certainly fit with something the physicist told the great pioneer of musical education, Shinichi Suzuki: “The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception”. They also fit with the manner in which Einstein expressed his greatest praise for a fellow scientist. Neils Bohr’s work on the structure of the atom, Einstein said, was “the highest form of musicality in the realm of thought”.

Wow! Anyone looking for connections between music, mathematics, and physics? How about intuition and reason? Einstein shows us how it all connects. But what do our students typically get, especially in high school and college? They get math without music. They get science without images, feelings and intuition. They get knowledge without imagination. Not only does intuition go undeveloped, many math and science teachers do not give credit to answers (even though they may be correct) that are not explicated by detailed logic. What these teachers appear not to understand is that translating intuitive insights into words or mathematical symbols is a secondary process that can - and should be — be taught just as explicitly as translating from one language and another.

So much for Einstein’s admission that he often had a feeling he was right without being able to explain it. So much for experiencing space-time through music. So much for working out ideas in images and feelings and musical architectures for which there are no words or symbols. So much for sitting down at the piano and letting the music show the way.

No wonder so many of our students don’t like math and science: what is there to imagine and feel? Where is the art in their learning?

sources/references.

Post by themusicpoint (via proofmathisbeautiful)
December 18, 2012 at 9:18 PM | Post Permalink | 3,281 notes



feral-tutu:

secrethistoriesproject:

15. Anne Sullivan
Meet Anne Mansfield Sullivan Macy: poorhouse brat, misfit scholarship child, brilliant scholar and educator, pacifist, PWD, and all-around badass bookworm. 
You probably know her as ‘Annie Sullivan’, aka ‘The Miracle Worker’, packaged in the standard-issue nicey-nice Helen Keller narrative (don’t get me started) as the sweet saintly teacher-figure whose naïve moment of inspiration allowed the infant Keller to figure out that W-A-T-E-R spelled ‘water’.
I’d like to introduce you to a slightly different version. 
In 1880, fourteen-year-old Anne Sullivan (born ‘Johanna’, but usually called ‘Anne’ or ‘Annie’) had every right to be fucking pissed off with the world. And frequently, she was. Her parents were dirt-poor refugees who’d fled to Massachusetts from Ireland in an attempt to escape the colonialism-aggravated human-rights-and-economics clusterfuck that was the Great Famine. Between the ages of five and seven, Sullivan contracted trachoma, an eye disease that is often caused by poor sanitation and which can cause total blindness if left untreated — which it was in Sullivan’s case. In 1874, her mother died of tuberculosis. Anne and her brother James (who also had TB) were sent to the Tewksbury Almshouse because her father (who was also an alcoholic — the fun just didn’t seem to stop for the Sullivan family) was incapable of looking after them. Their sister Mary was taken by an aunt instead: there’s some suggestion that Anne and James were unwanted because they both had disabilities. James died only a few months later, while Anne’s vision continued to deteriorate in the institution. Charitable bodies funded several attempts at treating her eyes, all of which were unsuccessful (as was a brief attempt to send her out to work as a housemaid). By 1880, Sullivan had lost her entire family and most of her sight. She was fourteen years old.
In later years Sullivan described having suffered during this period from attacks of ‘temper’ and uncontrollable rage (to which I say: who the hell wouldn’t?). She also endured recurring ‘flashback’-type moments in later life. Kim Neilsen’s 2009 biography (see below) suggests that Sullivan suffered from depression as an adult: these ‘flashbacks’ sound a lot like PTSD to me. Sullivan herself described them as:
A word, an odd inflection, the way somebody crosses the street, brings all the past before me with such amazing clearness and completeness, my heart stops beating for a moment. Then everything around me seems as it was so many years ago. Even the ugly frame-buildings are revived… I shiver recalling how I looked upon scenes of vile exposure — the open heart of a derelict is not a pleasant thing. I doubt if life, or eternity for that matter, is long enough to erase the errors and ugly blots scored upon my brain by those dismal years.
Through self-advocacy – when Frank Sanborn, a member of the State Board of Charities, visited the institution she basically threw herself at him and demanded to be allowed to go to school – Sullivan managed to get herself a funded place at the Perkins School for the Blind. This must have been a period of severe culture shock for her: the School was, at the time, a very genteel place populated primarily by upper-middle-class students from WASP backgrounds who were no more prepared to mix with an Irish-American girl from the poorhouse than she was to meet them. Sullivan was mocked for not being able to read or spell simple words, and for using language and grammar that was very different to the way that the other students spoke. She wrote about her feelings of inadequacy eloquently later in her life:
The essence of poverty, is shame. Shame to have been overwhelmed by ugliness, shame to be the hole in the perfect pattern of the universe. 
I don’t think that Sullivan was a ‘hole in the perfect pattern of the universe’, though. Once given access to education, she proved to be very intelligent and passionately interested in learning. At the School, she also received instruction in what was then called ‘the manual alphabet’: the one-handed alphabetical sign language that would later enable her to work with Keller. Crucially, she also met and made friends with Laura Dewey Bridgman, a permanent resident of the School and one of the first Deaf and blind people whose use of language is documented in detail. In 1881 and 1882, Sullivan underwent two operations which significantly improved her vision.
It’s worth pointing out here that although she excelled academically, Sullivan never developed into the sort of goody-two-shoes angel figure that the mainstream Keller narrative might lead you to expect: as the Perkins School profile on her says
Anne Sullivan learned to excel academically at Perkins but she did not conform. She frequently broke rules; her quick temper and sharp tongue brought her close to expulsion on more than one occasion. She might not have made it to graduation without the intercessions of those few teachers and staff who were close to her.
In 1886 she did graduate, though… as valedictorian of her class.  Booyah! A few months later, she had moved to Alabama to embark on her first teaching job – working with a six-year-old girl named Helen Keller.  
You can read and hear about Sullivan’s work with Kellerelsewhere (and you should, because it’s amazing). Just two things to note before we move on…
1) Sullivan was friends with Bridgman, and we know that before going to teach Keller, she conducted significant research into Samuel Gridley Howe’s work on teaching students who were Deaf and blind. This seems to suggest that her spelling of ‘W-A-T-E-R’ into Keller’s hand wasn’t an intuitive/lucky/God-given breakthrough moment as it’s sometimes portrayed, but the result of careful research and long-term thought and planning.
2)…  Do you think possibly there’s a useful lesson there about the contributions that adults with disabilities can make to the teaching of children with disabilities that we can and should still be picking up on today?
Fourteen years, later while Keller was studying at Radcliffe College (with Sullivan reading to her for up to five hours a day – before university accessibility policies, there was no other way she could have completed her studies), Sullivan met John Macy, a Harvard lecturer and literary critic who was also a socialist. He fell passionately in love with her: she was more reserved about the idea of entering into a relationship, but eventually did so. They were married in 1905. Although Macy and Sullivan’s relationship broke up nine years later in 1914, Sullivan later wrote that ‘ …of the many friendships that have enriched my life, none is more interesting than that with John Macy’. Take that however you will!
While Sullivan’s politics don’t appear to have been as strongly left-wing as Keller’s and Macy’s, she was a pacifist, and joined with Keller in protesting the outbreak of World War I. In a letter from Sullivan to Keller, written in 1917, she says:
... it is unthinkable that anything so infamous should happen in the age we have been living in and calling enlightened and civilized… How easily the European nations have chucked their Christianity, their international friendships, their philosophy and humanity… Truly, “where are the great ones of the earth?” It seems to me, they are all active for evil.
In the 1920s, Sullivan worked for the newly-founded American Foundation for the Blind, and continued to work with Keller as a companion, aide and translator. However, her vision became markedly worse towards the end of the decade, and by 1930 she was once again almost completely blind. In 1932, she was honoured with an honorary degree from Temple University, Pennsylvania – after a lot of back-and-forth, as she was originally strongly against the idea. At the ceremony Sullivan gave a speech, from which the following quotations are taken:
Certain periods in history suddenly lift humanity to an observation point where a clear light falls upon a world previously dark. Everything seems strangely different…
The immediate future is going to be tragic for all of us, unless we find a way of making the vast educational resources of this country serve the true purpose of education, which is to open wide all the windows of the mind to knowledge, truth and justice.
Education — and the actions of a group of people in the 1880s (including Sullivan herself) who believed that an impoverished teenage girl with a disability had as much right to receive it as anyone else — is also, of course, what made it possible for both women to make their amazing contributions to the fields of advocacy, activism and letters. If that’s what ‘a hole in the pattern of the universe’ looks like, I think we could do with a few more of them. 
More: 
Detailed bio at the website of the American Foundation for the Blind: http://www.afb.org/asm/
AFB Kids’ Page for Helen Keller: http://www.braillebug.org/hkmuseum.asp
Biography at the Anne Sullivan Foundation website: http://www.annesullivan.ie/helenkeller.html
Page on Sullivan hosted at the Perkins School: http://www.perkins.org/vision-loss/helen-keller/sullivan.html
Photograph collection at the Perkins School: http://www.perkinsarchives.org/helen-keller-photograph-collection.html
RNIB page on Helen Keller: http://www.rnib.org.uk/aboutus/aboutsightloss/famous/Pages/helenkeller.aspx
Wikipedia biography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Sullivan
Google Books link: Kim Nielsen, Beyond the Miracle Worker: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dM8GoxQvbc8C&dq=beyond+the+miracle+worker&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Much like Hellen Keller’s history, Sullivan’s is watered down. Helen Keller was an outspoken activist and socialist, but you’ll never hear that in school.

feral-tutu:

secrethistoriesproject:

15. Anne Sullivan

Meet Anne Mansfield Sullivan Macy: poorhouse brat, misfit scholarship child, brilliant scholar and educator, pacifist, PWD, and all-around badass bookworm. 

You probably know her as ‘Annie Sullivan’, aka ‘The Miracle Worker’, packaged in the standard-issue nicey-nice Helen Keller narrative (don’t get me started) as the sweet saintly teacher-figure whose naïve moment of inspiration allowed the infant Keller to figure out that W-A-T-E-R spelled ‘water’.

I’d like to introduce you to a slightly different version. 

In 1880, fourteen-year-old Anne Sullivan (born ‘Johanna’, but usually called ‘Anne’ or ‘Annie’) had every right to be fucking pissed off with the world. And frequently, she was. Her parents were dirt-poor refugees who’d fled to Massachusetts from Ireland in an attempt to escape the colonialism-aggravated human-rights-and-economics clusterfuck that was the Great FamineBetween the ages of five and seven, Sullivan contracted trachoma, an eye disease that is often caused by poor sanitation and which can cause total blindness if left untreated — which it was in Sullivan’s case. In 1874, her mother died of tuberculosis. Anne and her brother James (who also had TB) were sent to the Tewksbury Almshouse because her father (who was also an alcoholic — the fun just didn’t seem to stop for the Sullivan family) was incapable of looking after them. Their sister Mary was taken by an aunt instead: there’s some suggestion that Anne and James were unwanted because they both had disabilities. James died only a few months later, while Anne’s vision continued to deteriorate in the institution. Charitable bodies funded several attempts at treating her eyes, all of which were unsuccessful (as was a brief attempt to send her out to work as a housemaid). By 1880, Sullivan had lost her entire family and most of her sight. She was fourteen years old.

In later years Sullivan described having suffered during this period from attacks of ‘temper’ and uncontrollable rage (to which I say: who the hell wouldn’t?). She also endured recurring ‘flashback’-type moments in later life. Kim Neilsen’s 2009 biography (see below) suggests that Sullivan suffered from depression as an adult: these ‘flashbacks’ sound a lot like PTSD to me. Sullivan herself described them as:

A word, an odd inflection, the way somebody crosses the street, brings all the past before me with such amazing clearness and completeness, my heart stops beating for a moment. Then everything around me seems as it was so many years ago. Even the ugly frame-buildings are revived… I shiver recalling how I looked upon scenes of vile exposure — the open heart of a derelict is not a pleasant thing. I doubt if life, or eternity for that matter, is long enough to erase the errors and ugly blots scored upon my brain by those dismal years.

Through self-advocacy – when Frank Sanborn, a member of the State Board of Charities, visited the institution she basically threw herself at him and demanded to be allowed to go to school – Sullivan managed to get herself a funded place at the Perkins School for the Blind. This must have been a period of severe culture shock for her: the School was, at the time, a very genteel place populated primarily by upper-middle-class students from WASP backgrounds who were no more prepared to mix with an Irish-American girl from the poorhouse than she was to meet them. Sullivan was mocked for not being able to read or spell simple words, and for using language and grammar that was very different to the way that the other students spoke. She wrote about her feelings of inadequacy eloquently later in her life:

The essence of poverty, is shame. Shame to have been overwhelmed by ugliness, shame to be the hole in the perfect pattern of the universe. 

I don’t think that Sullivan was a ‘hole in the perfect pattern of the universe’, though. Once given access to education, she proved to be very intelligent and passionately interested in learning. At the School, she also received instruction in what was then called ‘the manual alphabet’: the one-handed alphabetical sign language that would later enable her to work with Keller. Crucially, she also met and made friends with Laura Dewey Bridgman, a permanent resident of the School and one of the first Deaf and blind people whose use of language is documented in detail. In 1881 and 1882, Sullivan underwent two operations which significantly improved her vision.

It’s worth pointing out here that although she excelled academically, Sullivan never developed into the sort of goody-two-shoes angel figure that the mainstream Keller narrative might lead you to expect: as the Perkins School profile on her says

Anne Sullivan learned to excel academically at Perkins but she did not conform. She frequently broke rules; her quick temper and sharp tongue brought her close to expulsion on more than one occasion. She might not have made it to graduation without the intercessions of those few teachers and staff who were close to her.

In 1886 she did graduate, though… as valedictorian of her class.  Booyah! A few months later, she had moved to Alabama to embark on her first teaching job – working with a six-year-old girl named Helen Keller.  

You can read and hear about Sullivan’s work with Kellerelsewhere (and you should, because it’s amazing). Just two things to note before we move on…

1) Sullivan was friends with Bridgman, and we know that before going to teach Keller, she conducted significant research into Samuel Gridley Howe’s work on teaching students who were Deaf and blind. This seems to suggest that her spelling of ‘W-A-T-E-R’ into Keller’s hand wasn’t an intuitive/lucky/God-given breakthrough moment as it’s sometimes portrayed, but the result of careful research and long-term thought and planning.

2)…  Do you think possibly there’s a useful lesson there about the contributions that adults with disabilities can make to the teaching of children with disabilities that we can and should still be picking up on today?

Fourteen years, later while Keller was studying at Radcliffe College (with Sullivan reading to her for up to five hours a day – before university accessibility policies, there was no other way she could have completed her studies), Sullivan met John Macy, a Harvard lecturer and literary critic who was also a socialist. He fell passionately in love with her: she was more reserved about the idea of entering into a relationship, but eventually did so. They were married in 1905. Although Macy and Sullivan’s relationship broke up nine years later in 1914, Sullivan later wrote that ‘ …of the many friendships that have enriched my life, none is more interesting than that with John Macy’. Take that however you will!

While Sullivan’s politics don’t appear to have been as strongly left-wing as Keller’s and Macy’s, she was a pacifist, and joined with Keller in protesting the outbreak of World War I. In a letter from Sullivan to Keller, written in 1917, she says:

... it is unthinkable that anything so infamous should happen in the age we have been living in and calling enlightened and civilized… How easily the European nations have chucked their Christianity, their international friendships, their philosophy and humanity… Truly, “where are the great ones of the earth?” It seems to me, they are all active for evil.

In the 1920s, Sullivan worked for the newly-founded American Foundation for the Blind, and continued to work with Keller as a companion, aide and translator. However, her vision became markedly worse towards the end of the decade, and by 1930 she was once again almost completely blind. In 1932, she was honoured with an honorary degree from Temple University, Pennsylvania – after a lot of back-and-forth, as she was originally strongly against the idea. At the ceremony Sullivan gave a speech, from which the following quotations are taken:

Certain periods in history suddenly lift humanity to an observation point where a clear light falls upon a world previously dark. Everything seems strangely different…

The immediate future is going to be tragic for all of us, unless we find a way of making the vast educational resources of this country serve the true purpose of education, which is to open wide all the windows of the mind to knowledge, truth and justice.

Education — and the actions of a group of people in the 1880s (including Sullivan herself) who believed that an impoverished teenage girl with a disability had as much right to receive it as anyone else — is also, of course, what made it possible for both women to make their amazing contributions to the fields of advocacy, activism and letters. If that’s what ‘a hole in the pattern of the universe’ looks like, I think we could do with a few more of them. 

More: 

Detailed bio at the website of the American Foundation for the Blind: http://www.afb.org/asm/

AFB Kids’ Page for Helen Keller: http://www.braillebug.org/hkmuseum.asp

Biography at the Anne Sullivan Foundation website: http://www.annesullivan.ie/helenkeller.html

Page on Sullivan hosted at the Perkins School: http://www.perkins.org/vision-loss/helen-keller/sullivan.html

Photograph collection at the Perkins School: http://www.perkinsarchives.org/helen-keller-photograph-collection.html

RNIB page on Helen Keller: http://www.rnib.org.uk/aboutus/aboutsightloss/famous/Pages/helenkeller.aspx

Wikipedia biography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Sullivan

Google Books link: Kim Nielsen, Beyond the Miracle Workerhttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dM8GoxQvbc8C&dq=beyond+the+miracle+worker&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Much like Hellen Keller’s history, Sullivan’s is watered down. Helen Keller was an outspoken activist and socialist, but you’ll never hear that in school.

Post by secrethistoriesproject (via bigfatseawitch)
December 7, 2012 at 11:43 PM | Post Permalink | 22 notes



gjmueller:

Does Music Make You Smarter?
Post by gjmueller (via gjmueller)
December 6, 2012 at 8:35 PM | Post Permalink | 37 notes



In addition to education, let's also offer people alternatives to cultural appropriation.

apihtawikosisan:

A lot of attention has been drawn to the native fashion trend in the past year or so.  From violations of the Navajo trademark, to No Doubt and Victoria’s Secret experiencing a long-overdue backlash to the all-too common misuse of Plains warbonnets; the issues surrounding ‘native inspired’ fashion are being talked about on a wider scale.

(Go ahead and sate your hunger for native fashion, the legitimate way!)

What a lot of people are asking is, “If we love native fashion, where can we get it without engaging in cultural appropriation?”

Jessica Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) has been answering that question for quite some time on her blog, Beyond Buckskin.  Even more awesome, she launched the Beyond Buckskin Boutique which gives you instant access to legitimate native fashion, from haute couture to streetwear, modern and traditional.

In a recent article, Jessica Metcalfe was asked how launching a ‘native fashion’ boutique is any different than what Urban Outfitters and so many other companies are doing.  I think her response is well worth quoting here:

  1. I work with Native American artists – folks who are active members of Native communities.
  2. These artists are exceptionally talented.
  3. They are also very knowledgeable and smart about their cultures and cultural values and know which items (ie sacred items) are off-limits and shouldn’t be sold.
  4. They know how to translate the artistic traditions of their Native communities to be shared by people from ALL backgrounds.
  5. They don’t resort to stereotypes, and they present a new vision and a new version of ‘the Native’ in fashion.
  6. They are incredibly respectful of Native people.
  7. Profits from the Beyond Buckskin Boutique go directly to these artists and support small businesses, many of which are in Native communities and represent economic development strategies. I could go on.

This is pretty much as good as it gets, in my opinion.  There is a difference between appropriation and appreciation, and Metcalfe pretty clearly lays out what they are above.  Beyond Buckskin has a page devoted to a variety of native-run stores you can browse this holiday season for some kickass presents for you or others.  Take a look at some of what is available out there, for natives and non-natives alike!

(Gorgeous hand made, beaded moccasins done in traditional Tlicho Dene style! These are a children’s size 1.)

(Edzerza Gallery, by Tahltan artist Alano Edzerza, bringing you urban style with traditional flair!)

So whether you’re looking for someone awesome to spend your money on and treasure for always, or if you’re just sick of people asking you, “Are we allowed to wear ANYTHING AT ALL!?” you can use this resource as resounding, “YES PLEASE!”

(Traditional porcupine quill earrings by Ista Ska (Lakota).)

Post by apihtawikosisan-deactivated2014 (via apihtawikosisan-deactivated2014)
November 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Post Permalink | 1,303 notes



Another Way Student Loans Are Like Mortgages: Subpar Servicing

sinidentidades:

The parallels between the mortgage market and the student loan industry have been frequently noted. Both involve big borrowing and have a history of lax underwriting by lenders. But the two are also strikingly similar in another way: When it comes to both mortgages and student debt, the servicers, or companies that handle loan payments, sometimes add roadblocks and give struggling borrowers the runaround.

That’s the main takeaway from two recent reports by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent agency created by the financial reform law passed in 2010.

Servicers have misapplied payments, given borrowers bad advice, and reported incorrect information to credit bureaus, according to one of the reports. The findings were based on the agency’s recent tracking of student loan complaints, focusing on the companies who handle private student loans.

Borrowers facing hardship and looking for flexibility through refinancing or a more manageable repayment plan “struggled to get an answer from their lender or servicer,” wrote the agency’s Student Loan Ombudsman, Rohit Chopra. When they tried to postpone payments, they were sometimes charged a recurring fee to do so.

And even when servicers encouraged borrowers to make “good faith” partial payments in amounts they could afford, the payments sometimes still resulted in delinquency or default, according to the report.

As we’ve noted in our reporting, private loans often don’t have the same protections as federal loans: Death and disability discharges typically are not guaranteed or are decided on a case-by-case basis.

And when the loans are packaged and sold to investors, it’s even harder to know who has the authority to make decisions about repayment options, discharges, or other issues that arise: “Borrowers report that sometimes servicers cannot even answer who owns a loan,” noted an agency factsheet. Homeowners have faced similar trouble.

Sometimes, the parallels are exact. By law, members of the military are entitled to special protections, including lower interest rates on both mortgages and student loans. But thousands have been overcharged on their mortgages. And according to the government’s second report, service members have also had the same problem with student loans. The report, which focused exclusively on the loan debt of military borrowers, blamed the overcharging on servicing errors and demands for unnecessary documentation.

The report also noted that loan servicers at times “guided” members of the military into putting loans into deferment or forbearance — even though interest accrues during those periods, and there may be better options available.

Of the more than 2,000 consumer complaints received by the CFPB from March and September of this year, the two most complained-about servicers were Sallie Mae, representing 46 percent of complaints, and American Education Services, or PHEAA, with 12 percent.

Though the focus was on the servicing of private student loans, it’s worth noting that many of the companies servicing loans in the private market are the same contractors handling federal loans.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, borrowers of federal student loans have also faced some of the same challenges as those with private loans. For instance: Since last fall, the Department of Education has been transferring some borrowers to new servicers it’s contracted with to handle federal student loans — often resulting in confusion for borrowers, some of whom have even seen their repayment plans changed.

Post by sinidentidades (via sinidentidades)
November 21, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Post Permalink | 33 notes



ikenbot:

Molecular Clouds

Large, dense molecular clouds are very special environments in space. Composed mainly of molecular hydrogen and helium, with small amounts of heavier gases, they are the birth place of new stars and planets.

Molecular clouds that exceed the mass of 100,000 suns are called giant molecular clouds. Giant molecular clouds are the largest inhabitants of galaxies, reaching up to 300 light years in diameter. They contain enough dense gas and dust to form hundreds of thousands of Sun-like stars. These stars are formed in the densest parts of the clouds. Molecular clouds are very cold, having temperatures ranging from about -440 to -370 degrees Fahrenheit (-263 to -223 degrees Celcius or 10 to 50 degrees Kelvin).

They usually do not radiate their own visible light and appear dark when viewed with an optical telescope. In these cold, dense environments, many atoms can combine into molecules. Giant molecular clouds can last for 10 to 100 million years before they dissipate, due to the heat and stellar winds from newly formed stars within them. An average spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way, contains about 1,000 to 2,000 Giant Molecular Clouds in addition to numerous smaller clouds.

ikenbot:

Molecular Clouds

Large, dense molecular clouds are very special environments in space. Composed mainly of molecular hydrogen and helium, with small amounts of heavier gases, they are the birth place of new stars and planets.

Molecular clouds that exceed the mass of 100,000 suns are called giant molecular clouds. Giant molecular clouds are the largest inhabitants of galaxies, reaching up to 300 light years in diameter. They contain enough dense gas and dust to form hundreds of thousands of Sun-like stars. These stars are formed in the densest parts of the clouds. Molecular clouds are very cold, having temperatures ranging from about -440 to -370 degrees Fahrenheit (-263 to -223 degrees Celcius or 10 to 50 degrees Kelvin).

They usually do not radiate their own visible light and appear dark when viewed with an optical telescope. In these cold, dense environments, many atoms can combine into molecules. Giant molecular clouds can last for 10 to 100 million years before they dissipate, due to the heat and stellar winds from newly formed stars within them. An average spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way, contains about 1,000 to 2,000 Giant Molecular Clouds in addition to numerous smaller clouds.

(Source: afro-dominicano)

Post by afro-dominicano (via scinerds)
November 4, 2012 at 12:01 AM | Post Permalink | 374 notes



ikenbot:

Video Game With Biofeedback Teaches Children to Curb Anger

Side Note: I find the application of these studies very important especially when it comes to early education. I feel like the future to how we control and use our emotions to benefit rather than be our dismay lies in studies like these that aim to train our brains to regulate and control emotions like any system would monitor itself for peak efficiency. If we can use the applicability and entertainment in video games to make children who have severe anger problems a thing of the past we could be tackling a major problem within early childhood, education and or both. A child with controlled emotions is more likely to focus naturally on the tasks at hand without the need of drugs that may or may not just worsen his or her situation and put them early on into drug reliance.

Children with serious anger problems can be helped by a video game that helps them learn how to regulate their emotions, according to a new study.

Image: Young Spock inside a Vulcan virtual reality educational system Credit: Star Trek (2009)

Noticing that children with anger control problems are often uninterested in psychotherapy, but eager to play video games, Jason Kahn, Ph.D., and Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, M.D., at Boston Children’s Hospital developed “RAGE Control,” a video game with a biofeedback component that helps children practice emotional control skills.

The game involves shooting at enemy spaceships while avoiding shooting at friendly ones. As children play, a monitor on one finger tracks their heart rate and displays it on the computer screen. When the heart rate goes above a certain level, players lose their ability to shoot at the enemy spaceships. To improve their game, they must learn to keep calm, the researchers explain.

“The connections between the brain’s executive control centers and emotional centers are weak in people with severe anger problems,” said Gonzalez-Heydrich, chief of Psychopharmacology at Boston Children’s and senior investigator on the study. “However, to succeed at RAGE Control, players have to learn to use these centers at the same time to score points.”

The study, led by first author Peter Ducharme, M.S.W., a clinical social worker at Boston Children’s, compared two groups of 9- to 17-year-old children admitted to the hospital’s Psychiatry Inpatient Service who had high levels of anger. To qualify for the study, the children had to have a normal IQ and not need a medication change during the five-day study period.

One group, with 19 children, received standard treatments for anger, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, presentation of relaxation techniques and social skills training for five consecutive business days. The second group, with 18 children, got these same treatments, but spent the last 15 minutes of their psychotherapy session playing RAGE Control.

After five sessions, the gamers were significantly better at keeping their heart rate down, the researchers report. They also showed clinically significant decreases in anger scores on the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory-Child and Adolescent (STAXI-CA). Specific decreases were seen in the intensity of anger at a particular time, the frequency of angry feelings over time, and the expression of anger towards others or objects. The gamers also had a decrease in suppressed, internalized anger, according to the researchers.

Full Article

ikenbot:

Video Game With Biofeedback Teaches Children to Curb Anger

Side Note: I find the application of these studies very important especially when it comes to early education. I feel like the future to how we control and use our emotions to benefit rather than be our dismay lies in studies like these that aim to train our brains to regulate and control emotions like any system would monitor itself for peak efficiency. If we can use the applicability and entertainment in video games to make children who have severe anger problems a thing of the past we could be tackling a major problem within early childhood, education and or both. A child with controlled emotions is more likely to focus naturally on the tasks at hand without the need of drugs that may or may not just worsen his or her situation and put them early on into drug reliance.

Children with serious anger problems can be helped by a video game that helps them learn how to regulate their emotions, according to a new study.

Image: Young Spock inside a Vulcan virtual reality educational system Credit: Star Trek (2009)

Noticing that children with anger control problems are often uninterested in psychotherapy, but eager to play video games, Jason Kahn, Ph.D., and Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, M.D., at Boston Children’s Hospital developed “RAGE Control,” a video game with a biofeedback component that helps children practice emotional control skills.

The game involves shooting at enemy spaceships while avoiding shooting at friendly ones. As children play, a monitor on one finger tracks their heart rate and displays it on the computer screen. When the heart rate goes above a certain level, players lose their ability to shoot at the enemy spaceships. To improve their game, they must learn to keep calm, the researchers explain.

“The connections between the brain’s executive control centers and emotional centers are weak in people with severe anger problems,” said Gonzalez-Heydrich, chief of Psychopharmacology at Boston Children’s and senior investigator on the study. “However, to succeed at RAGE Control, players have to learn to use these centers at the same time to score points.”

The study, led by first author Peter Ducharme, M.S.W., a clinical social worker at Boston Children’s, compared two groups of 9- to 17-year-old children admitted to the hospital’s Psychiatry Inpatient Service who had high levels of anger. To qualify for the study, the children had to have a normal IQ and not need a medication change during the five-day study period.

One group, with 19 children, received standard treatments for anger, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, presentation of relaxation techniques and social skills training for five consecutive business days. The second group, with 18 children, got these same treatments, but spent the last 15 minutes of their psychotherapy session playing RAGE Control.

After five sessions, the gamers were significantly better at keeping their heart rate down, the researchers report. They also showed clinically significant decreases in anger scores on the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory-Child and Adolescent (STAXI-CA). Specific decreases were seen in the intensity of anger at a particular time, the frequency of angry feelings over time, and the expression of anger towards others or objects. The gamers also had a decrease in suppressed, internalized anger, according to the researchers.

Full Article

(Source: afro-dominicano)

Post by afro-dominicano (via scinerds)
October 28, 2012 at 6:12 PM | Post Permalink | 607 notes



Reel Injun

apihtawikosisan:

badholloween-shirts:

Alright, so YouTube is devoid of any uploads of Reel Injun BUT I FOUND A TOTALLY LEGAL, FREE, ONLINE WAY TO WATCH IT

BEHOLD

THE BEAUTY OF CANADIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION

Reel Injun


Okay, go enjoy your free education now.

If you have not seen this movie, you must.  It is absolutely brilliant, detailing how Hollywood has shaped stereotypes about native peoples over the decades, and describing how the stereotypes shifted over time.  In my opinion, every person living in Canada and the US should have to watch this movie in school.

(Source: millenial-malaise)

Post by millenial-malaise (via apihtawikosisan-deactivated2014)
October 27, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Post Permalink | 89 notes



Schools Can Be the Difference in Preventing Suicide

Why should schools accept any responsibility for suicide prevention? According to the National Association of School Psychologists, the reality is that every five hours, a child or adolescent in the United States dies by suicide. This is an issue that must be addressed in the place that young people spend most of their time, at school.

Post by gjmueller (via gjmueller)
October 25, 2012 at 5:02 PM | Post Permalink | 8 notes



gjmueller:

A Town Turned Classroom: How a Focus on Farming Saved a Rural Kansas School 

Educational achievement in rural America is one of the country’s great overlooked challenges. Rural students achieve below the U.S. average on national tests, and high school dropout rates are higher and college attendance lower than they are in cities and suburbs. When the U.S. Department of Education asks low-achieving schools to be turned around, rural educators usually say they lack options: schools in many communities can’t be closed because there are no other choices, and populations are too thin to support charter schools. But the Walton Rural Life Center, serving a population that has many of these problems, shows that there is genuine promise for rural charter schools – if, like Walton, they have the will and the imagination to try new approaches and to take advantage of the unique strengths of their communities.

photo via flickr:CC | edibleoffice

gjmueller:

A Town Turned Classroom: How a Focus on Farming Saved a Rural Kansas School

Educational achievement in rural America is one of the country’s great overlooked challenges. Rural students achieve below the U.S. average on national tests, and high school dropout rates are higher and college attendance lower than they are in cities and suburbs. When the U.S. Department of Education asks low-achieving schools to be turned around, rural educators usually say they lack options: schools in many communities can’t be closed because there are no other choices, and populations are too thin to support charter schools. But the Walton Rural Life Center, serving a population that has many of these problems, shows that there is genuine promise for rural charter schools – if, like Walton, they have the will and the imagination to try new approaches and to take advantage of the unique strengths of their communities.

photo via flickr:CC | edibleoffice

Post by gjmueller (via gjmueller)
October 22, 2012 at 7:01 PM | Post Permalink | 9 notes



approachingsignificance:

100-MILLION-YEAR-OLD SPIDER ATTACK FOUND IN AMBER

Researchers have found trapped in amber a rare dinosaur-age scene of a spider attacking a wasp caught in its web.

approachingsignificance:

100-MILLION-YEAR-OLD SPIDER ATTACK FOUND IN AMBER

Researchers have found trapped in amber a rare dinosaur-age scene of a spider attacking a wasp caught in its web.

Post by approachingsignificance (via approachingsignificance)
October 8, 2012 at 10:17 PM | Post Permalink | 112 notes



Advice to Young Scholars

approachingsignificance:

I saw this in a recent issue of The Criminologist and thought it could be useful to some of the young scholars out there. If you take a look at it, you’ll notice most of it applies to non-scholars as well. This is just good advice all the way around.

1. Do not insult people unnecessarily.  Occasionally, we all say or do something stupid that accidentally insults people.  When this happens and you are aware of it, apologize immediately.  This is good, all-occasion advice but it may prove more essential amongyour departmental and worldwide colleagues since (a) we are a relatively close community even at the international level and  (b) your colleagues are often in a position to get back at you, if so inclined.  The point is: you never know who is going to be reading your grant proposal, reviewing your book or paper, serving on an editorial board, or deciding who is interviewed for employment.

2. Fulfill your promises.  Finish what you start.  Do what you say you are going to do.  Dependability is one of the most valued features in the local and global workplace.

3. Reply to emails.  Unless the email is clearly spam and unless the conversation with a colleague (including students) is clearly over, respond.  Do not ignore colleagues asking for or informing you of something, even if the response is perfunctory.

4. Be respectful but not obsequious.  Being subservient or displaying awe of a fellow scholar can come across as affected.  It can also serve as a sign to exploitative people that you are willing to be misused.  Respectfulness, on the other hand, is a signal of equality and worth.  

5. Never think you are too good.  Geez, have I heard horror stories about colleagues believing that they are too good for a job, for a conversation with a fellow criminologist, for a publishing outlet, etc.  Believe what you will about your worth, although I would counsel humility even in your own internal ruminations, but never let others think that you think you are superior to them.  A story was recently reported to me of a fellow who went for a job interview and told the interviewers that he would, under no circumstances, consider working at such a place.  Big surprise, he did not get an offer of employment.  The next year, he still did not have a job and applied to this same university.  Though qualified, he did not even get the interview.

6. Don’t burn bridges.  See above.  You never know when you’re going to need assistance from a colleague, no matter how insignificantly you currently view that person.  Severing ties in an irreparable fashion is almost never a useful strategy.

7. Never overextend your knowledge or accomplishments.  Don’t brag.  There is always someone who knows more than you or has done more important work than you.  This may not be obvious and you may not be aware of it because a lot of really “big” people are humble and quiet about their store of knowledge and their accomplishments.

8. Politeness and generosity are remembered.  Mostly, people don’t forget how they are treated. This is a good thing and a bad thing.  Good colleagues, those who go out of their way to support others, to listen, to offer assistance are usually repaid.  Those who go out of their way to diss their colleagues are often also, um, eventually repaid.  Too many slights and you’re toast: it is difficult to recover a tainted reputation.

Post by approachingsignificance (via approachingsignificance)
October 8, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Post Permalink | 80 notes




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