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When will we actually learn?

In light of Friday’s video on walkable cities, I found an article on treehugger which deals with Boston area doctors now being able to prescribe a membership for their bike-share. It’s a subsidized annual membership which costs $5 instead of the usual $85 annual membership. This is an awesome program in my opinion.

HubwayBostonBikeShareAtRack

We hear about it all the time, America is in an obesity epidemic. Despite the fact that almost every American can tell you this AND every American can tell you how to lose weight (diet & exercise), we still see obesity numbers rising. How are we letting this happen? How is it that society is suddenly okay with children having a shorter life expectancy than their parents?

Many of us spend all day sitting at work or school and then what do we do when we get home? We want to sit down and watch TV or use the computer. In the eyes of mainstream society, there’s no such thing as a useful walk and barely ever such thing as a useful bike ride anymore. We live in a society where people are content to get in their car, drive to a gym, and then only use the treadmill! I’m sorry, but why not just run outside?

There is no instant gratification in working to lose weight and fix this obesity epidemic. There won’t be a magic pill. There won’t be a no-work solution. There’s a very simple solution though. If you need to lose weight… Burn more calories than you eat on a consistent basis. That’s it. It won’t be a quick process and it won’t be easy. But it works.

Here’s the deal too, let’s stop pretending that being really overweight is okay. In the same breath I have to say that it’s not okay to stigmatize, stereotype, or treat very overweight people differently. However, we need to start realizing that being really overweight has consequences for us all (high healthcare costs, etc.). Instead of looking down on obese people we instead need to help support them. However, the way to support them is not by telling them “it’s okay to be obese.” That is the route we have collectively taken as a society. That isn’t the best route, it’s not sustainable. We need to support them in their journey to get healthy.

I realize that this was just a random collection of thoughts that was brought on by the Tree Hugger article. I’ll probably write up an entire post (or couple posts) on obesity and my thoughts on it. I really like the prescribe a bike program though.

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Video Friday: Walkable Cities

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.
~Winston Churchill

America had the unfortunate circumstances of having a lot of development after the invention of cars and a large amount of space to utilize. That is clearly evident in all the huge suburbs that we have in this country. This means that many of us are dependent on cars for even the shortest of errands. As Speck says in the video, “there’s no such thing as a useful walk anymore.”

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Jeff Speck on the topic of walkable cities.

I must say, when I’m out of school, walkability will be a major factor in my selection of housing. I also really don’t want to own a car for both environmental and financial reasons.

You should also check out the Walk Score website and see how walkable your current location is.

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This is NOT Common Core…

And it makes total sense.

Ok… time to get something straight. I believe most regular readers should know this, but I am majoring in statistics and mathematics. Numbers are basically my life in college. I’ve seen this link going around Facebook a bit now and I’m getting really fed up with it.

Here’s the picture I’ve mostly seen:

This is not material that is related to common core in any way.

This is not material that is related to common core in any way.

Alright, there are a couple problematic things with this picture. First of all, I must say that I am not a fan of essentially having the parent grade and correct their child’s work. Isn’t that what a teacher is supposed to do? The whole set up seems a bit contrived in my opinion. Moving on from that though, let’s get something straight, Common Core does NOT dictate teaching pedagogy. It doesn’t play any role in telling teachers how to teach their students. It only dictates areas of knowledge which must be taught and what students must know within each area. Now I’m not a fan of Common Core, but if you want to criticize it you have to at least know what it does. And in my opinion, you need to have a concrete way to make it better.

Finally, I’d like to point out that this method of subtraction actually makes a lot of sense. You see, a lot of the time when we actually need to do math in our everyday lives, we don’t have a calculator that we can reach to in say… 5 seconds. Even if you use your phone you’ll have to pull it out, open up the calculator app, and then do the calculation. The method of subtraction being taught here is extremely useful for mental math. I want you to do the following problem without using pen and paper.

578-329=?

I would be willing to bet you used one of two techniques. Either 1) you essentially did 329+x=578 or 2) 578-300-20-9. I think the latter is the easiest way to do the problem in your head. What’s more, the technique being taught above is essentially that second method of solving our example.

Mental math is a highly useful and highly underrated skill. I worked in customer service for 2.5 years and I never used the cash register for making change. I always did it by way of mental math in an effort to keep my mind sharp and better my skills. I don’t want to have to take out a calculator every time someone asks me a simple question.

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Gardening, Landscapes, and Aquaponics!

This is what lies in my future and honestly, I’m extremely excited! My parents very recently moved houses and my mom signed us up for the community garden in the new town. We have 64 square feet to work with and I’m currently trying to figure out how best to go about using that space given the awkward timing of the move (we missed the planting times for most of the spring crops, but we should be able to get some decent summer and fall produce from it). One resource I recently acquired to help out with this is Mel Bartholomew‘s Square Foot Gardening book. This book has some great techniques and is very beginner friendly. I’m mainly planning on using this book along with some online resources from NC State University and some random other blogs that I’ve found.

Along with a new house obviously comes a new yard! As such, my mom has been open to putting in some new trees to both give us some more food as well as attract birds. Our old yard had many trees and a good number of birds, squirrels and even some bunnies. The new house is in an area that was mostly cleared of trees, but not entirely. What remains is almost all pine and sweet gum. I’d like to add a bit of diversity to that and hopefully attract some more birds. I’m thinking of suggesting tulip poplar, red buckeye, sourwood, persimmon, and (as per my mom’s request) a couple dwarf fruit trees. She’s also talked about the possibility of an herb garden in the backyard, but that wouldn’t go in until fall or winter once things settle down a bit.

The last plant-related part of this move is an experimental aquaponics system. Now, if you don’t know what aquaponics is, I suggest you watch this short video.

Now, his system is much larger than mine will be and uses several things that I won’t (radial filter, sump tank, etc.). My system will be quite small and basic. There will be one smallish tank for fish which will house about a dozen tetras and a couple of catfish and one grow bed. I’m thinking of adding another grow bed if my first one does well and I enjoy doing it, but we’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’ll be keeping the blog updated as to how everything is progressing. Especially on the aquaponics side because I think that’s really what I’m most excited about. I’m debating doing a video series on how I’m setting everything up I think it could be really useful because I haven’t seen many people with really complete guides on these mini aquaponic systems that you can have anywhere.

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Video Friday: Beautiful Notebooks

Alright, back to video Friday posts! This one came to me by way of my subscription to Field Notes seasonal editions. Field Notes makes small notebooks which are easy to carry around and use. I’ve been using them mainly to try out bullet journaling recently, and so far it’s gone pretty well. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised about their durability. I was suspect at first, just because they aren’t a hardcover or anything, but I love the way they conform to your pocket. with use.

Anyway, I’ll be doing a full review of these later (probably once these journals arrive and I can take pictures of them myself). Here’s the video of the process making it:

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101 Goals in 1001 Days Updates

First of all… Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Although it’s really too cold right now to be wearing a kilt, I’ll entertain you with a picture of me from last year in my running kilt and custom shirt. (And yes, I know that kilts are traditionally Scottish.)

Me in my kilt and the Clancy family crest on my back. Also my triathlon website which I really don't update any more.

Me in my kilt and the Clancy family crest on my back. Also my triathlon website which I really don’t update any more.

St. Patrick’s Day is always a great day for my family. It’s definitely one of my favorite holidays of the year. Anyway, let’s get to the 101 Goals updates. First of all, if you haven’t checked out my full 101 Goals in 1001 Days list, please do so. You can also find my one month update here.

Academic Goal 13: Read/listen to 40 non-fiction books. First up, by Richard Carrier is Proving History. This book makes a compelling argument for the use of Bayes’ Theorem in historical studies. It mainly uses the Bible as its case study, but it’s applicable to any historical claim, as it makes clear. Next up is Brain Rules by John Medina. This book was phenomenal. If you’ve never read it, please do. It’s a fairly quick read and can literally change the way you live your life. It should be required reading for anyone in education and really everyone in general to be honest. Finally I finished Richard Heinberg‘s The End of GrowthI enjoyed this book and learned a lot. It makes a sound argument as to why an economy based on continual growth is no longer viable. It did get a bit repetitive for me towards the end, but that may be because I already had a decent amount of background in the topic. I would still definitely recommend the book though. Total: 5/40

Blog goal updates: 98 followers, 1k page hits

Experience Goal 16: Go Camping 5 times. Over spring break I went camping at Medoc Mountain! It was really fun. It did get cut short by a day (due to a storm), but even still, I had a great time! Total: 1/5

Experience Goal 17: Slackline 10 times. I’ve been able to slackline twice since my last update. I really enjoy doing this. It’s a nice way to pass some time with friends and catch up on things. I highly suggest trying it out if you can! Total 2/10

Habits Goal 1: Create an organized list of great quotes and keep it updated. I’m using Evernote for this and it’s awesome. I am really starting to like Evernote. It’s so easy to use and being able to access everything from all my devices is really awesome!

Evernote

Seriously… Evernote is awesome. I didn’t expect to like it this much.

Habits Goal 6: Stop hitting snooze. I just recently got a sleeping app called “Sleep Cycle” and so far I like it. I’ve only been using it for a couple days, but it’s been fairly effective so far. We’ll see how it holds up over the next month or so.

That’s about it for now, thanks for reading, I hope you subscribe and let me know how your goals are going below!

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I’m Back For Good!

Alright… It’s been quite awhile. After about a month of basically radio silence, I’m happy to say that I’m back here for good. My computer is fully functional again and I’m able to resume a fairly regular posting schedule. I just got back from a camping trip to Medoc Mountain that I took (we have spring break this week). I’ll be putting up an update on my 101 goals as my next post since that will hit on a lot of the cool stuff from the past couple weeks.

 

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Unexpected Complications

Got my computer back….

20140302-224430.jpg

Now it didn’t recognize that there was any WiFi hardware installed. Thus, the posting won’t really resume til the end of the week. My apologies.

I’m back!

Wow… it’s been awhile! But luckily my computer is back in well working order and I can get back to (hopefully) regular posts! A lot has happened over the past couple weeks. I hope to update you about all of that soon, and today I’ll post about one big part of the last few weeks.

In the past month, I’ve gone from never having seen a broadway show to having seen 3 well known shows live. My first one was seeing the musical Once when it came to DPAC. It was great, I really liked the storyline (though the end is a bit unsatisfying in my opinion). The performers were absolutely amazing and the song book was great.

The playbill for Once along with a production of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee put on by Duke's Hoof 'n' Horn. Both were great!

The playbill for Once along with a production of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee put on by Duke’s Hoof ‘n’ Horn. Both were great!

Then, last week I had the incredible opportunity to see Les Miserables and Book of Mormon. Of course the two shows are very different but I enjoyed both a ton! It was the first time I had ever seen Les Miserables (never saw the movie or anything). Of course, Book of Mormon was absolutely hilarious.

Les Miserables came through Raleigh and I got to see it!

Les Miserables came through Raleigh and I got to see it!

Book of Mormon was hilarious! I loved watching it. Definitely recommend seeing it!

Book of Mormon was hilarious! I loved watching it. Definitely recommend seeing it!

That’s all for now. It’s nice to be back.

 

 

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Hiatus

Hey everyone, just wanted to give an explanation for the silence lately. Unfortunately my computer is in the shop. Hopefully I’ll be back to regular posting soon!