Category: Web Things Page 2 of 3

Race & Privilege

I’ve been quiet on the blog as I finished up my last assignments for university and enjoyed these first sweet days of holidays with the kids. Now I feel the need for quiet due to the heart-breaking discord in the United States. As Canadians, we are not innocent of these issues but if we didn’t read the news we would not be faced with them on a daily basis. Our children certainly have much more in common with Royce Mann, this fourteen-year-old poet who speaks eloquently about “White Boy Privilege:”

My hope is that we are raising our children to be conscience of their privilege and the inequality that we benefit from. Our family plan is use the experience of travel as a means to educate the children on the commonality of all global citizens and to find ways that we can change the conditions of inequality.

One of G-Man’s favourite Youtubers is Vi Hart. She primarily vlogs about mathematics and music but the following video about Black Lives Matter is a greater visual primer for children old enough to want to understand:

 

What Kind of Traveller Are You?

Like anything, there’s all kinds of travellers in this world.  From those that barely go far enough to lose sight of their homes to those that travel to far off lands with the lightest of ease.  I would consider my family to veer towards the latter, as we’ve been lucky enough to travel to multiple countries with very little weighing us down.  Speaking of weight, I couldn’t imagine dragging giant rolling suitcases everywhere I go, like some travellers seem to always do.  2000 year old cobblestones and rough, unbeaten paths don’t work well with those flimsy luggage wheels, anyway.

So what kind of traveller are you?  Sarah Cooper of The Cooper Review has create cute illustrations that show different types of travellers (or, travelers for you Americans).   Here’s one, with more after the break (go to The Cooper Review for all of them!):

us

1 Second Every Day

Here’s a different take on the round-the-world video.  In this one, a couple spends six months travelling the U.S., Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Australia, Japan and England.  The difference is that they filmed their adventure one second every day for six months which makes the jumps between shots both jarring and interesting at the same time.  It’s neat to see how much their travel changes in a matter of seconds.  Most of those countries are places we’ll be visiting, and some of the shots in the video are definitely things we want to do!

Lego Sisyphus – JK Brickworks

We watched in amazement as Adam Savage built this amazing JK Brickworks Lego Sisyphus build:

I highly recommend checking out JK Brickworks if you a) enjoy Lego, b) enjoy having your mind blown, or c) all of the above!

Patti Smith & PBS

This new post from PBS’ “Blank on Blank” came out today:

And it reminded me to post about how fantastic Patti Smith last book M Train was!

If It Were My Home

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in another country?  Well, wonder no more!  A website titled If It Were My Home attempts to compare your country with another in a wide variety of data points.   For example, here’s a small number of comparisons between Canada and Costa Rica:

If It Were My Home (Canada vs Costa Rica)

Of course, the comparisons can be a bit sketchy since we’re not only talking about averages within an entire country but also comparing statistics that are collected differently in different parts of the world (e.g., unemployment isn’t counted the same way everywhere).  Nonetheless, the site is an interesting look at the grass on the other side.

Germs & Genes

I’ve just finished a course on the History of Science and wanted to share some neat resources:

Philip Ziegler’s The Black Death is a fascinating read about the spread of the bubonic plague throughout medieval Europe. Thoroughly gross (pus, pus, and more pus) and decidedly depressing (“Let’s blame the plague on the Jews, round them up and slaughter them!”), it is also useful for increasing the amount of trivia you have at the ready to gross out your friends and family. For example, to prevent contracting the plague just hang out around latrines and breathe in the fumes, it worked (not really) for the Europeans!

Ziegler

Continue this theme with a rousing game of Pandemic and feel completely paranoid and compelled to wash your hands repeatedly.

I was also fascinated by this great video by CGP Grey on the importance of the environment on the spread of disease:

I also wrote a paper on the controversy surrounding Watson & Crick’s Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the structure of DNA. Check out Watson’s “memoir” The Double Helix.  It is a quick and entertaining read, albeit rife with sexism. Sexism you say? Hoho! If Watson isn’t busy playing tennis or going to cocktail parties, he is criticizing Rosalind Franklin’s looks and dismissing her brilliance. Franklin was one of the many scientists that Watson & Crick took advantage of in their personal race for Nobel glories. Check out Brenda Maddox’s book on Franklin to learn more.

Scratch – How to Make Your Own Video Games

JBot and I have played the long game on this one, and this week – success!

G-Man has had a burning passion for video games for almost five years now. We have done our best to help educate him while making it fun. JBot has gone above and beyond to teach him about the history of video games, by introducing him to older styles, playing with him, and even adapting modern games to his younger sensibilities.

I was visiting the bigger downtown library last week, looking for ideas and extra reading material to have around the house for March Break and found two new books about Scratch. Added them to the pile, didn’t think too much of it. I have brought other books home before, but they were sort of dense and, well, boring. Like a “For Dummies” kind of reading experience.

Coding for Beginners

Coding for Beginners Using Scratch” by Rosie Dickens, Jonathan Melmoth & Lousie Stowell

How to Code

Super Skills: How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons” by Sean McManus

These two new books really grabbed G-Man’s attention. He read them voraciously in one night. He woke up absolutely vibrating with excitement to try programming out for himself two days in a row. I mean, hey, if you would rather wake up at 6 a.m. on your holidays to make cool stuff, go for it!

You can use this site run by MIT to try out the Scratch software.

G-Man had a lot of fun. Great stuff!

Travel Idea – Vans & RVs

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a camper van. Man, I loved that camper van. I was hoping to find something similar to take the kids on a road trip this summer but then I looked at the cost of rentals.

And then I had a small heart attack.

Soooo, that’s not happening. But I think I will file it away with plans for a later date. Sometime when I can maybe buy a van second-hand and do a diy transformation into a camper van of my own.

Something like what Christine On did here on her blog Defying Normal.

And what Lloyd Khan has been documenting in his Shelter books.

 

Smarter Every Day – Jungle Pilots

Destin at Smarter Every Day makes some of the best videos on Youtube. My son and I are big fans. If you haven’t seen the amazing toilet swirl videos that he did with Veritasium, CHECK IT OUT!

Destin’s newest video is about using your skills as a super power for good, in this case, pilot skills. This comes from this year’s Letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A fascinating video about flying to remote areas to help deliver aid:

 

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén