Category Archives: Education

Teachers moved to head of vaccination line but do not want to re-open classrooms until there are zero cases

15 days to flatten the curve has now become “until there are zero cases”.

Teachers lobbied to go to the head of the vaccination line. Once they got that (vaccinations for teachers in Virginia started this week), they now wish to keep school closed until “zero new cases” of Covid-19.

Science and Health Safety data support and require that no one should return to in person instruction until there is a widely available scientifically proven vaccine or highly effective treatment. The metric for Safe Reopening should be 14 days of zero community spread.

Source: Fairfax teacher’s union letter to the school district

Same thing  in California – the teacher’s union lobbied to go the front of the line, and 3 weeks later after their demands were met, the unions said they do not wish to re-open classrooms.

Insurrection is more common than we realize, and how to stop this madness

Insurrection

noun

an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/insurrection?s=t

We’ve had 3 insurrections in the past 12 months. Version 1.0 was done by some in public health who thought they actually suspend the Constitution. Version 2.0 was a combination of Antifa, anarchists and right wing provocateurs, and version 3.0 was extreme right wing pro-Trumpers on January 6th.

Insurrection seems quite common – is it stoppable? I think so but it requires a government that truly listens, bases decisions on evidence and logic, explains clearly and is transparent.

Unfortunately, seems unlikely we will see that soon.

Continue reading Insurrection is more common than we realize, and how to stop this madness

ISS Astronauts communicate with school kids via ham radio

The conversations are a treat for the astronauts as well.

“You’re talking to someone and looking right down at where they are,” NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold II said.

Over the last 10 years, ham radio has become more popular, experts say, with about 750,000 licensed amateur operators across the U.S. (not all of whom are active on the air). Helping to drive that interest: emergency communications.

“Ham radio is when all else fails,” said Diana Feinberg, Los Angeles section manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio. “Unlike other forms of communication, it does not require any kind of a switched network.”

Source: Earthlings and astronauts chat away, via ham radio | The Seattle Times

Teachers in Oregon may begin to be vaccinated by Feb 15th

The CDC announced its recommendations for vaccine rollout for Phase 1a, 1b and 1c. Each state will adopt their own guidelines.

Phase 1b has several sub groups, including teachers. With the Governor announcing she wants schools opened by February 15th, she is signaling that teachers will be among the first subgroups vaccinated in Phase 1b.

Brown said in her letter that it is her hope that more Oregon schools, especially at the elementary school level, will transition to in-person learning by Feb. 15, 2021.

Source: Oregon schools can decide to resume in-person learning in 2021 | kgw.com

The decision on re-opening will be up to each school district, rather than the State.

Update: 1 day later, the Governor has removed restrictions on church services, changing earlier mandates to “guidance”.

Continue reading Teachers in Oregon may begin to be vaccinated by Feb 15th

South Korea was “a model for the world” and did everything right

South Korea was THE poster country for how to do everything right to control a pandemic, keeping the diseases tightly under control. Public health officials world wide scolded us and said but “only if we were like South Korea”.

December 23, 2020:

We wish there were a solution but it appears all the mitigations we’ve done mostly delayed spikes until later. Given the element of time, every place pretty much ends up with similar outcomes. There is no unified theory to explain this other than much hand waving and hypothesis generation. The favorite explanation – globally – is to blame the people for “not complying” even when data shows high compliance.

NOTE – I AM NOT a Covid-19 skeptic. Covid-19 is a real disease that spreads far too easily and causes severe or mortal effects for way too many. Based on actual data and prior public health papers, I am skeptical of the public health response and the narrative that if we only did more of the same, we would be in a better world. The evidence shows that nearly everywhere – regardless of what was done – eventually ends up at about the same spot given sufficient time.

A trillion here, a trillion there

Congress passed another huge borrowing bill to put all of us in life long debt. A trillion here and a trillion there. This, to compensate for the economic damage done by public health policy decisions, they say.

Meanwhile, the government spent very low billions to accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing.

What if we had doubled, tripled or quadrupled the spending on vaccine development, manufacturing and distribution so everyone was vaccinated by spring of 2021 – instead of end of year 2021 – and we had a real economy functioning and our kids back in school again?

This approach would have cost far less and killed far fewer people.

At this point, “Stay Home. Save Lives. Don’t Kill Grandma” was neither the goal nor the purpose as 15 days to flatten the curve became 18 months and trillions of dollars spent – leading to significant tax hikes in the future and loss of freedoms.

Elon Musk Decries ‘M.B.A.-ization’ of America – WSJ

“I think there might be too many M.B.A.s running companies,” Tesla’s chief executive says.

Source: Elon Musk Decries ‘M.B.A.-ization’ of America – WSJ

Earning an MBA degree added important business skills to my background as a software engineer (BS computer science, then). Prior to the MBA, like so many people in software, every problem in the world looked like a software problem. The MBA program expanded my perspective to see opportunities and solutions across a wider spectrum. I also enjoyed working with students from many other backgrounds – both in skill sets and in working with international students[1]

Coming from the engineering side of the business, in tech companies that invested little to nothing in on going education of staff, my background was strictly product development – with no understanding of marketing, sales, accounting, finance – literally the “Business”.

The MBA is a complementary degree to those with other product-line value-adding skills – but may be not as valuable to those with a BA in business admin, or marketing.

I later completed an MS in software engineering during the last economic downturn, adding important skills too. My only regret is I did these degrees late in my career which limited my ability to fully exploit what I had learned.

[1] I am a failure on international skills. I grew up at the wrong time in the 20th century. No study abroad. No travel abroad. No work abroad. The closest I came was to coordinating the international conversion of some software via a company office in Ireland – but that was all done on the phone and email.

Today, I view international skills and international perspective as 100% critical to global thinking. I literally would not hire myself today because of this weakness.

2020 was to be the year I was finally going to start traveling and develop international schools. This has now postponed until 2022 – after which it no longer matters for career opportunities for me, unfortunately.

My advice to anyone younger – if in college, do a study abroad. If out of college, do international travel. If in the right kind of business, pursue work abroad – such as transferring to a company office in another country. Do anything you can to develop international skills and a global perspective. This if FAR easier when you are young – and possibly do not have a family in tow as well. Similarly, if you may pursue additional education – including an MBA, ideally do this no later than age 30-35. You certainly can pursue degrees later – but your best return on investment will be served if you do so much earlier. Plus, your graduate education will likely open up additional possibilities.

“Experts” say schools may remain closed until at least the end of 2021

There are, however, reasons to believe that R-0 will be very low by next spring but let’s keep schools closed forever:

Several experts have expressed hopes that a vaccine could be available for children before the start of the new school year, putting an end to the disruptions in learning. One is Evan Anderson, a pediatrician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, who co-wrote an article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in September that pushed for pediatric trials to begin immediately.

But, Anderson said, the window is quickly closing for those younger than 12 who have not yet been included in the trials.

“The window is closing on any chance of getting an approved vaccine for children before next school year, and it realistically may have already closed,” he told The Washington Post.

Source: When will children get a coronavirus vaccine, and how will it affect school? – The Washington Post

Remember:

  • 15 days to flatten the curve
  • Well, may be a month
  • Nope, two months
  • Oh heck, 3 months
  • “We need to wait until there is a vaccine”
  • “We don’t trust the vaccine”

The virus is mostly mild in children with mortality potentially on par with other viruses in children each winter. If all or most adults are vaccinated, who are we protecting by keeping children out of school? I am not following the logic other than we are seeking a “zero risk” policy – which is not possible as keeping schools closed for 14 more months will cause other serious problems.

Best tutorial on learning to use Fusion 360

Computer aided design (CAD) tools like Autodesk Inventor or Solidworks – are difficult to learn to use.

Most available online tutorials are out of date as the software is updated annually – and you’ll quickly get stuck, with no where to go for help.

Products such as Inventor and SolidWorks are priced for professional engineering firms – with licenses costing thousands of (US) dollars per year per “seat”. Not something hobbyists can use!

For hobbyist use, you should check out the Educational license for Fusion 360 or the freely available DesignSpark.

With Fusion 360, I also quickly ran into the gotchas of learning CAD software and got stuck.

With much relief, I found Paul McWhorter’s outstanding Youtube tutorials on Fusion 360. Start here!

Right out of the gate, he recognizes the places new learners get stuck and smooths out those challenges right in the first lessons.

Paul is very calm, patient and mild mannered in his presentations. They are great. He also has extensive tutorials on Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Sketchup and other topics.

I had to look a bit online to find out about his background as he doesn’t say much about it. He is a retired research scientist/engineer, inventor, author of numerous top ranked research papers, executive management at a national laboratory (at which my late father-in-law worked as an electrical engineer), and co founder of a Silicon Valley tech company. Apparently he gets bored easily as he now teaches high school math too. He’s awesome – thank you Paul for all you have done!

Oddly enough, the very first video of his I saw was a video on how to protect home raised chickens from predators! Yeah, his several channels cover a wide range of topics!