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Martin Roberts
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Really cute video trailer of the upcoming Lego Movie.
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This is so cool!
 
The Pythagorean theorem

a² + b² = c²

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician who lived about 2500 years ago, and who developed the most famous formula in geometry, possibly in all of mathematics! He proved that, for a right triangle, the sum of the squares of the two sides that join at a right angle equals the square of the third side.
#sciencesunday  
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Very cool.
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This is really cool,
 
Elements : Experiments in Character Design by Kaycie D

“Elements - Experiments in Character Design” was Kaycie D's senior thesis project, which premiered at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Senior Thesis Exhibition from April 2011 - May 2011 for 72 of the elements. In November of 2011, the remaining 40 elements were completed.

Kaycie D. grew up on the animated Disney movies of the 90's and the songs have been stuck in her head ever since. Though she is a born and bred Minnesotan, she received her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design with a major in Animation and a minor in Illustration. She specializes in character design and is working on several large serial projects. Aside from art, she likes puppies, Julie Andrews, and singing loudly and off-key in public places

For more info go to Kaycie D's websites http://kcd-elements.tumblr.com/ and http://kaycie-kcd.blogspot.ca/   #sciencesunday   #scienceandart  
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22 Design Ingredients for a great blog
This gives us all an excellent visual reminder of solid and well-proven design practices for your blog!
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Yay, except for the part with the tel-number, which is a tad bit over the top :)
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Very impressive guy who is working hard and thinking deeply on what is the most effective way to teach school kids to program.
 
My New Strategy for Teaching Kids How to Code

We're one month into the second year of Catalyst, an after-school tech/computer class that I run for kids aged 9-13, and this year I've decided to try something different. [Last year, I had the kids learn in a browser-based / console-like IDE that I created - kind of like CodeAcademy, but ultimately it was just too much work to maintain and too limiting]. My new plan is to teach the kids how to build their own interactive websites from scratch using HTML, CSS and Javascript, and to do it on their own Linux VPS (CentOS 6) using Vim. I know it probably sounds crazy, but if the preliminary reception and results are any indication, I think it's going to be a success.

At this point, the kids already have a pretty solid understanding of basic HTML and CSS (inline styles and id and class selectors) , they're able to write simple Javascript event handlers (onmousedown, etc), and I've already transitioned a few of them over to working on their own VPSs via SSH and Vim. [I started them out on Neocities just so that we could get out of the gate quickly]. We worked on Javascript last year, so they have some background in it, but it's going to be interesting to see how well they can use it for building web pages that actually do things. I'm cautiously optimistic, but this is a lot to ask kids this young, even if they are gifted and talented, so we'll see how it plays out. Regardless, I've settled on a few component strategies that I think are going to stack the odds in our favor.

1. Don't Patronize We're working with real tools. No more sandbox, baby crap. I understand the motivation and thought process behind learning environments like Scratch and the various programming games and I appreciate the quality of work that has gone into many of them, but at the end of the day they're just not real enough (or, at least not for this group). I want the kids to develop real skills that they can use to create real things in the real world. Plus, the kids love it. Being able to login to their own server on the command line and create interactive web pages that the whole world can see is frankly pretty badass and they know it.

2. Breadth-first Learning Teaching the kids HTML, CSS and Javascript all at the same time isn't as hard as you might think because the technologies work together in a pretty common sense way. You just start with a little HTML, add in a pinch a CSS and Javascript, then rinse and repeat. Sure, all of the different types of syntax can be a little confusing at first, but it doesn't take long for them to pick it up. You just have to go slowly, step-by-step, and give them plenty of practice.

3. Challenges, Points and Levels Unsurprisingly, I've found that gamification works. For some reason, when you present a formal challenge to kids and assign points to it, they respond. I've tried just suggesting things for the kids to try out or work on, but often times that just results in a lot of screwing around with little progress.

Just so you can get a sense for the kind of stuff we're doing, here are the challenges from last night (session #4):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dR6TjmPW4szVbquppOgnyG-f4H1AKOely-wrCNd2XWk/edit?usp=sharing

Now I'm even going a step further and setting up a formal level system for each skill category - HTML/CSS, Javascript, shell / command line,  Vim, etc, which is something the kids are really excited about. The way it's going to work is that once you've completed enough points for a particular skill like Javascript, you can take a test to "level up". I decided not to follow the whole badges model like in scouts because that just seems like too much work and maybe even a little hokey, or belts like in karate because then you have to have them sort of figured out in advance, but with levels it's simple and open-ended. I can just keep inventing new levels as we need them, kind of like my old favorite, Dungeons & Dragons!

Anyway, it's all one big experiment and a work in progress, but it's exciting to see the kids progress and frankly I'm pretty much obsessed with it at the moment. More updates to follow ... ;)

Edit: Also, I owe a big shout-out and thank you to +Justin Vincent, my good friend, TechZing co-host and general partner in crime, for allowing me to Shanghai him into doing this with me. We've done 38 sessions so far and if there's one thing we've learned it's that teaching kids this young to code is NOT easy. In fact, I would have to say that it's easily the hardest 5-hours of my week and the sessions are only 90-minutes long! ;)
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I wish i could write code with this much excitement!
 
When a coworker is coding really loudly.
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Machine Learning used to reconstruct ancient languages
I think it is cool that Machine learning is being used in so many aspects of society! 
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"These days an absolutely staggering amount of research and development work goes into the very coarsely defined field of “machine learning.” Part of the reason why it’s so coarsely defined is because it borrows techniques from so many different fields. Many problems in machine learning can be phrased in different but equivalent ways. While they are often purely optimization problems, such techniques can be expressed in terms of statistical inference, have biological interpretations, or have a distinctly geometric and topological flavor. As a result, machine learning has come to be understood as a toolbox of techniques as opposed to a unified theory."
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Beautiful Glass sculptures of Killer Virus

The Unsettling Beauty of Lethal Viruses

The one of the left: Swine flu, by Luke Jerram. 

The one on the right: Enterovirus 71, involved in hand, foot and mouth disease, by Luke Jerram

Few non-scientists would be able to distinguish the E. coli bacteria from the HIV virus under a microscope. Both are as different in their design as they are in their outwardly effects. Artist Luke Jerram, however, can describe in intricate detail the shapes of a slew of deadly viruses. He is intrigued by viruses, as a subject matter, because of their inherent irony. That is, something as virulent as SARS can actually, in its physical form, be quite delicate.

Clearly adept at scientific work—as an undergraduate, the Brit was offered a spot on a university engineering program—Jerram chose to pursue art instead. “Scientists and artists start by asking similar questions about the natural world,” he told SEED magazine in a 2009 interview. They just end up with completely different answers.

To create a body of work he calls “Glass Microbiology,” Jerram has enlisted the help of virologist Andrew Davidson from the University of Bristol and the expertise of professional glassblowers Kim George, Brian George and Norman Veitch. Together, the cross-disciplinary team brings hazardous pathogens, such as the H1N1 virus or HIV, to light in translucent glass forms.

The artist  insists that his sculptures be colorless, in contrast to the images scientists sometimes disseminate that are enhanced with bright hues.

BBC Video Link: glass virus art.FLV

Article Link: http://goo.gl/3IvVn

Luke Jerram's website: http://www.lukejerram.com/

#science   #scienceeveryday   #virus   #glass   #sculpture   #art  
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Have him in circles
1,497 people
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math, science and tech geek, iOS developer, teacher - husband & very proud dad.
Introduction
Hi everyone. My name is Martin Roberts, and I am a geek. I spend my days and nights doing math, computing and data analysis. I learn about funky machine learning algorithms that will soon revolutionize the world. I make educational apps for kids. I teach math. And I am a very proud husband and Dad.

Having completed my PhD in nuclear physics, I spent some time doing computational physics in medical research, and then worked for a web startup company at the height of the web 2.0 craze. Combining these interests with my professional training as a high school math teacher, I later joined the millions of others and developed some educational and math apps for the iPhone and iPad.

I spend my days as an Assistant Director at Australia's National Statistical Agency managing the dissimenination of their statistical collections, and in true ninja style, by night I hack away as an covert Data Scientist attempting to devise new and improved statistical machine learning algorithms for snazzy stuff applications like Automated Essay Scoring.

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