Sunday, March 31, 2013
Today's bike ride: Two large raptors with white band on back of their tails so maybe Northern Harriers? One large raptor with a rosy tail. One smaller raptor - looked Kestrel like. Many canvasback ducks, American coots who move their heads like chickens, canada geese, many pairs of Mallards, doves, pigeons, robins and crows. Redwing blackbirds perched on cattails at regular intervals sounding like spring. Lots of praire dogs and bunnies. No swallows in the mud nests yet and still waiting for the beautiful migrating pelicans. I like living in a healthy ecosystem.
Posted by CSPeterson at 5:55 PM
Friday, March 15, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
One of my students wanted to study time. So today we went to talk with a gentleman who repairs clocks. We opened the door to his shop and walked in to the quietness of soft ticking. It smelled of old wood, varnish, dust and oil. He showed us how he repairs clocks, the tiny tools, the lathe. He took out the works of a clock and we learned about energy transfer, gear chains, the escape wheel.
We learned that the period of a pendulum one meter long is one second. Coincidence? I think not! The oldest clock in the shop, 1780, had an ‘equation hand’ so that you can set it by referring to a sundial. My student made the connection that what we need for keeping time is a way to store energy, releasing it at regular intervals and that could be a wound spring, a quartz crystal or an excited bit of Cesium 133.
Who would have thought - history, physics, tools and time? I’m a happy teacher!
We were deep in conversation about the eighteenth century race to make a clock for ships so they could calculate longitude. The grandfather clock behind me struck 11 am, then the coo-coo. We stopped talking and just listened to all the ancient time keepers strike the hour.
Posted by CSPeterson at 10:12 PM
Baby shoes for sale, never worn.
On the radio this morning I heard about the Race Card Project (http://theracecardproject.com/) where people share their experiences with race in six word sentences.
I thought I try my hand at six word stories and came up with two. I gave them titles, a little bit of cheating as it sneaks in an extra word:
For sale: widows home, fixer-upper.
Cardinal thinks, "I AM choosing Pope."
I love all comments, but I encourage you to play too and leave a six word story as a comment!
Posted by CSPeterson at 8:32 AM
Monday, March 11, 2013
On Mondays I go learn about Neanderthals at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I get so excited when I learn something that challenges my perspective. Before this class my assumptions about Neanderthals were largely based on the Geico Caveman.
This evening we learned about Neanderthal genetics. Our presenter went through the history of studies published in journals like ‘Nature’ since 1987 and the challenges to each conclusion. Things really began to get exciting in 2006 when analysis of the Neanderthal genome began got underway. Genetic material was found in common with modern humans. Neanderthals had the FoxP2 gene, possibly the ‘software’ for language. We had learned last week that they had the hardware: the hyoid bone and nerves in the mouth. Red hair showed up with a mutation of MCR1 - although a different mutation than the one expressed as red hair in modern humans. Finally in 2010 the fist Draft Sequence of the whole Neanderthal genome was published. Of the genes that make us distinctly human, we share from 1 to 4 percent with Neanderthals.
But then it got even crazier. There is evidence that 40 thousand years ago there were up to four different hominids wandering the globe at the same time: Early Modern Humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans (found in Siberia) and Floresiensis (found on the island of Flores). All distinctly different from each other, but all shaping stone tools. Both Modern Humans and Neanderthals were using fire, living in organized social groups of up to 16 individuals, constructing shelters, practicing sophisticated pyro-engineering to create birch pitch tar, used to haft handles to stone points. They cared for the sick and old, buried their dead in shallow graves and covered them with flowers.
Posted by CSPeterson at 10:11 PM
Sunday, March 10, 2013
After an active morning I told my youngest son that he needed to do quiet things for the afternoon. He finished his book and was casting about for something else when a jigsaw puzzle box caught his eye. He went downstairs to the art/project room and sorted the edge pieces out onto a tray. After working for a while I heard my husbands voice down there discussing where a piece might go.
Dinner time came kids were at the table, but my husband? Still with the puzzle. Bed time stories and brushing teeth. I wander downstairs to get a glass of ice water. The puzzle has expanded to three trays of sorted pieces that fill the kitchen table. “Who is doing this puzzle?” I ask. “I’m just helping him out,” he answers. My bedtime comes, I go back down to the kitchen. My husband almost has the edges finished. “You’re helping him out a lot. Are you going to finish it for him?” “I’ll be right up,” he says, “I’m almost done with this bit with the letters on it.”
Posted by CSPeterson at 9:13 PM
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Snow Day in Three Acts Saturday Snow
I want to paint my face like an ice dragon. Saturday snow
No it will get on your scarf. nowhere to go
But it will come alive outside in the snow falls on the world
I’ll paint it when you come in soft as
(from upstairs) cat’s feet
I can’t find any sweat pants! (no that’s been taken)
Where’s my coat? kisses
Where’s MY coat? (could be mistaken)
Zip me up? blankets the world in a silent shroud
I ate your coat. (oh, for crying out loud)
Oh so that’s where my boot was. But this moment I have
Ow! My chin's in the zipper. curled up in my chair
I’m going to throw the snow! children outside
Can you throw your boot? snow in the air
I need shoes. running and falling
They’re in the bathroom. sliding and calling
Mom, please tighten my boot tops. Shrieking with laughter
No! (like a pirate) Never! how could I no?
Mom! I suit up and go
(youngest, in the middle of chaos, spins
around on a stool, chirping ‘no!’)
Can you tighten my boot so I don’t have to take my snowpants off?
I look like a marshmallow.
Take your school backpack upstairs. please.
Mom where are my gloves?
(youngest, still spinning on the stool)
Mom why do gorillas have such big nostrils? Because they have big fingers!
Oh no! My shirt’s on backwards!
(struggles to turn turtleneck around without removing bibbed snowpants)
Mom can you tighten my shoes now? I think I may overheat.
I look like a red marshmallow!
(sister shouts to brother upstairs)
Will you go get my hat? It’s on my bed!
I see my gloves! Mom will you lift me up? They are too high.
Get the step stool.
Mom could you help me get my other glove on?
Could you zip me up?
Where’s your hat?
Upstairs in my backpack.
sound of the clothes dryer
click of the computer keys
faint swhirr of the fan
soft flow of warm air from the vent
creak of the chair
Grandmere’s voice in my head
‘snow like feathers sign of good weather,
snow like meal snows a great deal.’
Snow skitters agains the glass
I break off an old leaf from the geranium
blooming a blood read burst against the white window
soft snap as the stem comes away, the smell of geranium
bubble of boiling water
sharp fresh smell of the tea
soft ceramic 'tunck', the lid on the tea pot
Muffled sounds of glee
through the window to the back yard
The door slides open
Mom come and help us!
We can’t get the ball of snow on top!
Posted by CSPeterson at 11:11 PM