Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for November 28th, 2022

This course takes a broad look at failure – and what we can all learn when it occurs

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Robert Kunzman, Professor of Curriculum Studies and Philosophy of Education, Indiana University, writes in The Conversation:

Unusual Courses is an occasional series from The Conversation U.S. highlighting unconventional approaches to teaching.

Title of course:

“Failure, and How We Can Learn from It”

What prompted the idea for the course?

When I was a high school teacher, I found plenty of joy and fulfillment in my work. But I also felt the sting of failure: from a student who remained disengaged throughout the semester, or even just from a lesson that went off the rails. Now I prepare aspiring K-12 teachers to navigate that messy reality themselves, and I’m struck by how tough it can be for them to develop the resilience necessary to work so hard and yet inevitably fall short of their goals.

So I began to wonder how other fields and professions might view failure. What resources do they draw upon? What common threads might exist that could help future teachers learn from failure more effectively?

What does the course explore?

We explore the role of failure in a wide range of fields, and how what counts as failure varies as well. A bridge collapsing is pretty clear, and maybe a business that goes bankrupt. But what about a team losing or a patient dying? We also consider what mechanisms and strategies these fields employ in responding to failure, and the ways in which they see failure as part of the learning and achievement process.

What’s a critical lesson from the course?

As the semester unfolds, students begin to recognize that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2022 at 8:35 pm

Where Americans live

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Click to enlarge.

A monochrome map of the US with no boundary lines with peaks show population density, the West being mostly flat except for California and Seattle and south ofit, with lumps for Phoenix, and some few other cities.

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2022 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Daily life

The New York Times Is in the Tank for Crypto

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I’ve noticed this, too. The NY Times rather too often has feet of clay — the effects of privilege and poor priorities (“access is everything” does not provide good guidance). Robert Kuttner writes in The American Prospect:

In a recent post, I noted in passing the oddly soft coverage of the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried in The New York Times. The Times managed to compare the woes of FTX to a bank run, to blame Bankman-Fried’s competitors for undermining his credibility, and to take his professed charitable intent at face value.

Since I wrote, the Times coverage has only gotten worse.

A piece on the interconnections between Bankman-Fried’s exchange (FTX) and the investment company he controlled (Alameda) soft-pedaled the outright illegality of his making trades with customer funds. To hear the Times tell it, “Alameda’s need for funds to run its trading business was a big reason Mr. Bankman-Fried created FTX in 2019. But the way the two entities were set up meant that trouble in one unit shook up the other as crypto prices began to drop in the spring.”

But that’s not what happened. When customers demanded their money, Fried didn’t have it, because he had been using it and losing it, illegally, for his own trades.

And this: “Alameda’s methods borrowed many aspects from traditional high finance. It was a quantitative trading firm, similar to Wall Street hedge funds that use mathematical models and data to inform decisions. It used ‘leverage’—or borrowed money—to fuel its trades and make bigger returns.”

Note the alibis, and the passive voice. The subhead tells the reader “things got out of control,” as in Nixon’s infamous “mistakes were made.” The comparable Wall Street Journal piece ran rings around the Times version, explaining the interlocks and the sheer illegality.

More from Robert Kuttner

But the most appalling recent Times piece was . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2022 at 4:58 pm

The story behind the Equality v. Equity meme

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On the left three children standing on boxes to see over the fence to watch a baseball game. The tallest boy on a box stands way above the fence, but the shortest, even standing on a box, cannot see over the fence. On the right, the tallest boy no longer has a box but can still see over the fence, and his box, added to the box the shortest boy already had, enables the shortest boy to now see over the fence.

Craig Froehle, who created the idea behind the meme above, has an interesting article in Medium on how the idea came about. He wanted to shift the focus from equality of aid to equality of outcomes.

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2022 at 1:55 pm

A recipe hack for grain and a tofu trick

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Rolled oats in a bag that's next to a bowl containing more rolled oats.
Photo by Maria Cerda

I like to include both beans/lentils and grain with each meal — as the Daily Dozen suggests — which is why the tempeh I make is 50-50 beans/lentils and (intact whole) grain. (I cook them separately before combining them for the tempeh.) But if no tempeh is on hand and I am, as usual, improvising a recipe, what do I do?

Beans are no problem. Even if I have no cooked beans in the fridge and don’t feel like cooking lentils for dinner, I can just open a can of beans or use tofu. (I mention lentils as an option because lentils require no soaking and take only about 13 minutes to cook, once the water has come to a boil.)

Grain does have a quick-cook option like lentils: unpolished millets cook quickly, as do good pseudo-grains like quinoa and amaranth. But what if I don’t feel like cooking before I cook, as it were? For beans, I open a can (or use tofu). For grain?

The answer suddenly occurred to me: old-fashioned rolled oats. True, they are not an intact whole grain, but they are close: they’ve just been steamed, squished, and lightly toasted to make them shelf-stable. And — important for improvised recipes — they cook quickly, so I can just add them directly from the package to the stir-fry or stew I’m making and they cook along with it. (Important: old-fashioned rolled oats, not instant.)

For chili or curry, I usually use my tempeh, which takes care of both beans and grain, but if I don’t have tempeh, I will often use tofu. Tofu takes care of the beans, and now I can add rolled oats to take care of the grain.. 

The recipe where I discovered this trick is in my post on making tempeh from Du Puy lentils and Kamut wheat. I don’t know why I never thought of this before; it seems a natural and easy way to incorporate grain into a meal — much easier than rice, which I don’t eat anyway (and certainly not white rice: which lacks bran, the source of many important nutrients).

What about rice?

Most people eat a stir-fry with rice or incorporate rice into the stir-fry. However, white rice is not a whole grain: the bran and germ have been removed, which also removes nutrients (minerals and vitamins, along with dietary fiber). Brown rice would be better, but I prefer more nutritious grains, such as wheat, oats, barley, rye, kamut, and the like. 

I definitely want whole grain, with as little processing as possible. I generally use intact whole grain, but the oat groats used in making old-fashioned rolled oats are minimally processed, and given the benefit of quick cooking (so I can use it in, for example, stir-fries), I am willing to forego the intact part. Still, if I do have intact whole grain already cooked and in the fridge,  that would definitely be better.

Tofu trick

Here’s a neat tofu trick I learned from a post on Mastodon: Cut a block of extra-firm tofu in two, and put each half into a sealed baggie and then into the freezer. When you want to use one, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. It then is like a waterlogged sponge.

Hold it over the sink and gently squeeze it, and water will gush from it into the sink. Keep turning it and gently squeezing until no more water appears. Then you can slice it (on a mandoline, for example) or dice it for cooking. The once-frozen tofu takes up marinades extremely well — like a sponge. Here’s a downloadable PDF with various marinade ideas:

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2022 at 1:33 pm

Posted in Daily life

The glorious Monday shave with Fine’s superb slant

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Shaving setup: A brown badger brush with a oval steel base, a tub of Mike's Natural Barbershop shaving soap, and Fine American Blend aftershave. In front, an aluminum double-edge slant razor with a fluted handle with small horizontal ridges.

Monday is always a good shave day, and the gloriosity today is helped by a splendid sun and clear sky. Today’s shave began with my Plisson Gray Badger, a wonderful brush, here with a heavy plated-brass handle. Mike’s Natural Soap, in Barbershop fragrance, makes a reliable lather. 

Fine Accoutrement seems to have made but a single batch of this aluminum slant, and I’m so glad I got a copy. It’s a wonderful razor, inspired by the Merkur whited bakelite slant from the 1930s, but even more comfortable and equally efficient. It is important to mind the angle and the pressure with this razor, but if you do that, there’s none better.

A splash of Fine’s American Blend. The label notes that it consists solely of alcohol (first ingredient!), water, fragrance, and menthol. Indeed, there is but a touch of menthol, which is fine with me. But no glycerine? Nothing for the skin? With this is an aftershave, adding some balm is definitely in order — so I did. (Though my bottle is fairly old, the current version follows exactly that original formula.)

The tea today is Murchie’s Baker Street Blend: “Lapsang Souchong, smooth Keemun, rich Ceylon, Gunpowder, and floral Jasmine.”

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2022 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

How much public space is surrendered to cars

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Saw this on Mastodon. It’s by Swedish artist Karl Jilg.

An illustration of a street scene in which the spaces used by cars — the roadway and parking spots — are rendered as an abyss, the sidewalks narrow ledges clinging to stores.

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2022 at 4:21 am

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