Almost ran

The school bus was supposed to pick up The Kid™ at about 8:30am this morning. By 9am, my wife was getting exasperated, as she had expected to be at work long before then.

When the bus driver arrived the story he told was remarkable, and sounded a lot like an unintentional, possibly child complicit, abduction. But since I don’t know if any of it is true, I’m going to skip it.

It’s 2013, and sending kids to school seems wonderfully antiquated, and I’m going to skip this harangue as well and go straight to the following:

  • Why does a school bus in 2013 not have a GPS?
  • Why don’t I know where the bus is along the route it takes?
  • Why isn’t there a “bus pass” scanner that displays the child’s name and picture so that the bus driver knows that the child getting on the bus belongs on the bus?
  • Why hasn’t the printed paper bus pass been replaced with something more useful?
  • Why does the bus driver have a piece of paper listing the addresses of his route, but not a GPS with the route loaded in so that he really knows where to go?
  • Why doesn’t she at least have a print out from a Maps site of the route?
  • Why don’t I know that my child has safely arrived at school?
  • Why don’t I know that my child has left the school?
  • I could go on.

    I think this will all change shortly as it does not require much for parents to do a lot of this on their own, and it will continue to get less expensive to do so. But it concerns me that schools would rather try and deal with a flood of phone calls on mornings like this than add a bit of technology that would make even the least helicopterish parents happy.

    All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you…

    All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you…:

    Is it better in the end to know that we lived to be 97 years and six months and five days and nineteen hours, or that a Super Record derailleur saved us 17 grams? Neither does us much good.  What I look for in a bike: life. How much life does it have, and what kind of life? By which I mean spirit, I guess. Maybe personality or energy. I know when it’s there, I know when it’s not, I know when I like it and when I won’t, and sometimes I can tell if a bike will like me. Or, anyway, I hope that’s how bikes look at me. If they’re obsessing over my weight, I am in trouble.


    Source: True BS

    Work. Rewarded.

    Work. Rewarded.:

    This is like most big goals you set for yourself, a bit anti-climatic. There were no fireworks or signs for me when I registered. It is just another old car race. But to me it does feel special. Like 20 years of late nights and lost weekends. Time away from friends. Are finally paying off. Life has lots of small rewards we work for. But precious few big ones. Those goals that when we set seem impossible to achieve. Our Moby Dick’s and moon shots. This is one of those. Anti-climatic. But also, I know how hard I worked to get here – so I am set to savor it. Most likely from the back of the pack.

    [Along the same lines as this.]

    Source: Kevin Gosselin

    What he isn’t

    My son is 8. And he’s a lot of things. Over the course of the average day he saves the world from all sorts of bad guys, he rescues damsels in distress, and he designs and builds a variety of mostly flying vehicles for the aforementioned missions. He can also switch to being a dancer in a split second if the music and mood are right. He plays a mean air guitar. He sings while he works. He’s studying martial arts. And of course he’s also a student with a significant course load for one so young.

    And what is so very cool about any this is he hasn’t drawn any lines around himself stating what he isn’t. He is whatever he wants to be for as long he wants to be it. And then he’s on to the next thing. (Admittedly, often without cleaning up. We’re still working on that…)

    Soon friends, acquaintances, society will begin to ask him to make decisions about who he is. Probably before he’s given it much thought. The question in the less serious form has, of course, already occurred. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But there’s so many things wrong with that question it makes me grimace, although his answers on any given day can be amusing.

    I think the decisions about who we are *not* are complicated. Do you remember when you realized that you’re not an athlete? Were you picked last for any organized sports? Did it take any of the fun out of running or jumping? Riding or swimming? Should it have? Should you have thought “I’m not good at…” just because by whatever measure someone else seemed better? Is it good thing that “I’m not good at…” becomes “I’m not a…”? Is it helpful at steering us? Or is it the first real challenge we face—to not let anyone else define who we are and put off the decisions about what we are not for as long as possible.

    It might be more important to figure out who we’re not (do you want to be *that* guy?) but we should do it on our own terms, and as late in life as possible. By then we have the information that allows us to to be reasonably certain about our “nothood”.

    For years I’ve taught student of all types that most important thing you can do to get better is to concentrate on the things at which you are not good, because it’s easy to chase the I-do-that-well stream of endorphins. Want to be a great person? Work on everything you’re *not* good at. Want to be a good baker? Bake every day. When you realize you’re good at pie but not bread…bake bread every day. Etc. And if I can get The Kid™ to work on the skills he’s not good at, I’ll never have to be concerned about someone else defining who he is or is not, merely where he needs to apply himself.

    Data Scientist Intro Education, 6,800 at a Time – Business 2 Community

    Data Scientist Intro Education, 6,800 at a Time – Business 2 Community:

    “Wonderful things can happen when the instructor doesn’t jump in,” she said. She often would let the conversation go and several hours later weigh in and have everybody move on.

    “I think it was fantastic,” she said. “Our students who come back to mentor and tutor in on campus intro courses learn more than the students in the course. It’s not just that this is the second time around for them. They get the information again, but now they have to use it flexibly, they have to be able to respond to all the questions the students are asking. In any technical area we often make students take an intro course and then they have no interest in going on. This was a great opportunity to think how peer tutoring can be that second course — getting students exited, getting their confidence up.”

    It was also a great exercise for her, she added.

    “When you have to think about 10,000 students you will never talk to or explain things to, it took my materials to a new level. This had to work without my being able to talk to them.” She took a project approach to the MOOC, she added, with videos, lectures and demonstrations so students could go back to any areas they had difficulty with and collaborate with other students online.

    [Great stuff. More! Much More!]