Tag Archive: Geek

Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

Knowledge will make you free

Knowledge will make you free (Photo credit: tellatic)

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values and impart wisdom. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

Anyways… I started thinking about parents I know and students I see where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that most parents rely on the school to teach everything and that simply isn’t reasonable. Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. you have to have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose then to the arts through film, theater, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have active involved parents.

My dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and spent a lot of time talking… not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful. My parents owned my success and failure and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that any more.

I have some BIG plans for my kids. Long backpacking trips, sailing around the world, volunteering, etc… BIG life events where you learn about yourself and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but wise, and god willing insightful.

Without slamming the public school system… I’m curious to hear what other people think about this and how they are helping to prepare their kids for life. I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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The White House Denies Petition to Build a Death Star

Let me start by saying I am very active in my government… I write my congressmen and senators about key issues and I follow the news closely. I try hard to keep most of my political bias out of this blog, but I thought this was a GREAT way to make sure people knew about the We the People a petition site started by the White House where any citizen can start a petition on any topic and if it reaches the target number of signatures will receive an official response from the White House.  I think it’s worth visiting this site regularly and taking a few minutes to look over what other people think is important and also put your support behind a few worthy causes. Now this being the internet you know this had to get trolled  It is moderated, but somehow the request to the White House to build a Death Star as a job creation plan and defense initiative slipped through so I HAD to sign it! Well here we are several months later… and as a signer I and received a response that made me literally laugh out loud. I hope you enjoy this half as much as I did!

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This Is Not the Petition Response You’re Looking For

By Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sizedInternational Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs – one wielding a laser– roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building aprobe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on buildingLuke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-everWhite House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

What’s likely to happen over the next 150 years? (infographic)

This is an interesting question and as a person who reads allot and is into sci-fi I find this topic very fascinating. In the following infographic shows  some predictions whats likely to happen and it’s odds over the next 150 years. Interesting topics in here about the singularity (possible in my lifetime!), space bases, genetic research, and cybernetic technology. Take a look and let me know in the comments what you think! I’m curious to see everyone’s thoughts!

A info-graphic covering what thinkers scientists and pundits think is likley to happen over the next 150 years!

What makes a game?

Atari 2600 JoystickEarlier this week I talked about Why Gamification fails. Today I’d like to talk about what makes a game. On the surface I think we all THINK we know what makes a game but many of the things we think of as core features are simply not required to have a game. Games to not have to have scores, points or clear winners. Wow! Who would have thought? A lot of games DO have some or all of those things, but they are not required. So what IS required? Jane McGonigal give us a great list of things to think about in her book Reality is Broken: Why Games make us better and how they can change the world. She says a game needs only 4 things to be complete

  • Goals – A specific outcome you are trying to achieve
  • Rules – Set limitations on how players can achieve these goals
  • A Feedback System – How close are you to a goal? Points, scores, progress bars, players personal knowledge of an outcome, for example the game is over when…
  • Voluntary participation  - This requires everyone to knowingly and willingly accept the rules, goals, and feedback. You can not force anyone to participate, and this ensures that any challenging or stressful work takes place in a manner that is safe and pleasurable.

That’s it… That’s ALL you need! points, scores, winners, graphics, etc are all tools to increase the players engagement in the game but they are not core to the game itself.

Lets look at some examples. In one of my favorite games Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) there are constantly changing story driven goals and the obvious goal of leveling up my gaining XP (Experience Points) You have the dice and Dungeon master as a source of feedback, and lets face it, no one is forced to play something as awesome as DnD! the most important one is no player wins DnD. The party may lose battles, but the game has no real winners and losers the story just progresses.

Starbucks reward points:  After 20 drinks you become a gold member and start getting a free cup of coffee every 5 drinks and other perks. Guess what? it’s a game… You have a goal: get 20 points for the perks then free coffee every 5 points. You have a feedback system with the little stars in the coffee cup of the app (a progress bar of sorts) the rules are quite clear, and again everyone agrees to play.

Other examples are fuel rewards, frequent flyer programs, Foursquare, and Mozilla Open Badges. Games are everywhere you look once you know what you are looking for… They are used in marketing, management  and education on a daily basis. What are some examples that come to mind for you and how do you feel about them? Are you engaged? Why or Why not?

 

Can Tabletop RPG’s Make You More Confident And Successful?

When people think of tabletop RPG’s the first thing that most people think is “Wow… Huge nerd!”  I have for many years thought that there were countless uses for games as a tool for teaching children, developing skills, and developing quality real life relationships. So much in fact, that I have committed a lot of time and study to the idea, so it’s always nice to see that someone else agrees with you!

By the way he uses DnD as the example, but the case is just as true if you use Shadowrun, Traveller, World of Darkness, Mouse Guard, Eclipse Phase, or any other game you can think of. Honesty, I believe the more games you play the more this may be true, because it is teaching you to be flexible and uses different systems and tools to solve a similar issue.

Games teach imagination, problem solving, strategy, and social skills. They also encourage reading and develop strong long-lasting relationships with others. I honestly can not think of a single reason a parent would not want their kids to grow up gaming. I understand the argument about violence many people will make. To that I will say some of the best gaming sessions I have had have lasted 4-6 hours and not have a single combat. Fighting is not always the best way out of a problem and nearly every game has rules for negotiation and other alternative solutions many of wich are far more entertaining! That however is a topic for another post. :)

The question here is: What do YOU think? Can games make us better people?

Songs that get stuck in my head! Re: Your Brains!

I may have to start a new reoccurring category on my site called Songs That Get Stuck In My head! This song came up on my random play list on Spotify 4 or 5 times yesterday and the situation I was dealing with made it SO appropriate! I LOVE Jonathan Coulton’s music! If you get a chance to see him in concert DO IT!

Have you ever felt like you were in this situation?

 

The Whole Foods Parking lot

I went shopping at Whole Foods yesterday to pick up a few things I wanted that were hard to get at the regular grocery store and some how this got stuck in my head:

I hate it when this happens because 24 hours later it’s still there so I’m just going to leave it here so it can get stuck in yours too!

Bugdroid The Android Robot Made From Lego Bricks!

I was checking out Lego.Cuusoo today where amature builders can submit their ideas to Lego for consideration to be built into official Lego kits when I found this awesome Bugdroid the Google Android logo made from Legos:

Bugdroid the android logo made from Lego Bricks

The Android logo build out of legos!

 

Now most of my friends know I am a HUGE Apple fan, but I like to think of myself as OS agnostic. I am by no means a fanboy I do have a preference for IOS over Android and OS X over Windows though I do/ have own products with all three operating systems.

Anyways I thought this little Droid was kind of awesome and worth sharing so here he is! make sure you click the support button if you want to see this go into production.

If you are curious this was designed in Lego Digital Designer a free product from Lego that helps you design your own creations and create brick lists. If you love Legos you may be interested in supporting this Jawa Sandcrawler or the Mars Curiosity Rover as well.

What are YOU building?

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