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A very mild man

So polite

Always drank the weakest beer and

never bitter.

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Report on migrant 0425

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 9 Aug 2015, 04:27
About 0425

Iraheta Guardado, 37, from Honduras (murder rate 45 x US). Husband killed in cross-fire some years ago, mother supports two young children.

Tired of violence, hoping to send money home, Iraheta decides to emigrate to the USA, to join her sister working in New York. Chooses risk of crossing the border illegally to escape violence and help family.

Crossing 15 June 2012

Group of immigrants enter Texas. Iraheta faints after 75 miles, others press on.

Remains found 13 days later, scattered by predators. Some possessions recovered from vicinity: backpack, toothbrush, Doritos, can insect repellent. No ID. Unidentified body number 0425 buried in nearest town.

Identifying Iraheta

Many immigrants die crossing borders. In the Texan county where this death occurred, over a third of its population live below the poverty line. Authorities don't have the resources to identify all the bodies and many are buried anonymously.

However Lori E. Baker from Baylor University was appalled by this and instigated an effort by forensic anthropologists to help identify the people concerned.

Various different people and agencies were involved in the team. The group exhumed 75 migrants and attempted to identify them.

The story of how they identified 0425 is a triumph of humanity and science. It's an extraordinary detective story as well. It filled me with sadness but hope. It's been on my mind a lot.

If you are logged into the Open University you can download the Scientific American article here. I hope you will. It is very moving.

If you can't access the article there is summary here.

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Grove Made Silly

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 7 Aug 2015, 04:30
Sample definitions from our upbeat Musipedia

Accent: A mishtake.
Baroque: Badger (Or in US pronunciation: having no money.)
Barcarolle: Bundle of notes.
Breve: Inhale.
Clef: Precipice.
Dissonance: Insult to aunts.
Gong: Departed.
Keyboard: Fed up with key.
Lute: See viol.
Madrigal: Cross royal.
Metronome: Underground dweller.
Piu: Blind character in Treasure Island.
Spinet: Make it rotate (Alt: already consumed.)
Viol: Nasty.



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Clerihew

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As far as we know it

No serious poet

Ever wrote a clerihew.

Or very few.

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Haiku Without Title

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 6 Aug 2015, 00:45

a fly buzzing around

with no idea you exist.

summer visitor

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Be geon burn glowendee

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 5 Aug 2015, 02:59

Here is my attempt at translation into Anglo Saxon.

cume drohte mid mec healsgebedda

be geon burn glowendee and ælfscíenee


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Come to the bright stream

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 9 Aug 2015, 20:24
Purple spiked flowers by a stream

Come live with me my love

By a stream.

Glowing and bright.

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Late summer haiku

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 4 Aug 2015, 04:00

Suddenly, late summer

the millstream's clogged.

All of us jostling against winter.


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'Groans from The Grave', the latest instalment of our witchionary

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 3 Aug 2015, 03:48

Cemetery: Half a tree.

Elves:  Music legend.

Goblin: Shoe-making (sometimes assisted by Elves).

Gothic: Report illness.

Grave: Seriously illegal party.

Igor: Enthusiastic assistant.

Necromancer: A vampire.

Sorcery: I'm really sorry.

Vampire: Burning van.

Vault: Unit of electricity, as applied by Igor.

Wraith: Beams of light (fatal to a Vampire).

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I saw and remembered

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 30 Jul 2015, 01:19

My parents wouldn't understand me now.

Even my neighbors grow rhubarb.

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Hot From The Kitchen

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12 must-know definitions for the budding kitchenista

Boil: See sauce

Broil: Not common

Confit: Too big

Fillet: Try anyway

Grater: Less reduced (see reduced)

Mincing: Male voice choir

Oath: Used for porridge

Pastry: Predecessor of pay for

Quenelle: Oath

Reduced: Deuced again

Sauce: Painful skin complaint

Tureen: Computer pioneer

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Evidence Makes us Smart and Stronger

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How do we learn?

Of course it makes a difference *what* we are learning. But evidence suggests that in most fields we will learn better if we structure the new learning.

This is not really a surprise. If we look at informal learning, even in adult life, we see that people fit new information into the matrix of what they already know. Of course they don't know they do this, it's just how they instinctively try make sense of the world. Formal learning often disrupts this process, because it offers fragments  learners can't easily fit in.

Back in the 80s Richard Skemp put forward the notion of a "Schema", which is just another word for a framework really. He was interested in mathematical learning, but I think his message applies in any academic sphere. If you want people to learn, make it possible for them to assimilate new information into an ongoing conceptual structure. Otherwise they'll find it hard to learn, hard to retain what they have learned, and at best the learning is likely to be shallow.

What reminded me of all this was that when looking for evidence of what works well if you are preparing for an exam, I wondered what the latest research pointed to.

I found [1] and from there [2]. I think in many ways this is saying what has been said all those years back, but maybe if we can bring the evidence base together better now these ideas will have more effect.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jan/08/five-secrets-of-successful-revising

[2] http://mindhacks.com/2011/10/24/make-study-more-effective-the-easy-way/

Feedback please!

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Learning, learning, learning

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 26 Jul 2015, 15:46

How we learn - and how educators (such as me) think we learn - has always fascinated me.

In the last 25 years or so medicine has embraced evidence-based practice but we in education have been slower in following evidence.

So I liked an article I just read.

I have tried to summarize its message in the graphic above.

The article is here

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/education-why-cramming-gets-a-c/

[If you get a pop-up about Pi, I'm do apologize and think Sci Am should know better.

How I wish I could evaluate Pi. Sorrow fills the heart.]


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A haiku thinking of winter

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No poem's a blanket.

Even the smallest have tiny holes

Leaking infinity.


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Goethe

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 23 Jul 2015, 03:55

Although less remembered now, Wolfgang Goethe was a German polymath and intellectual with gigantic influence in his time and place.

In 1782 he was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar and became Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This was an example of "Herr today, von tomorrow".


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long ago haiku

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015, 01:16

i

still remember the morning

your parents were away

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The Language of Flowers

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015, 14:24

As more and further evidence that our Team are Close to the Concerns of the Nation and at the same time -

Well and hale in point of body

Healthy in mind

Sound in mental conception

etc. etc

- we offer the following floral arrangement, or 'ensemble of horticulturalist daffynitions'.

Rose: Orthogonal to columns.

Columbine: Purchase of columns. Usually illegal.

Violets: Aggressive problem resolution.

Feverfew: Gosh, I'm hot!

Primrose: Inhibited rose.

Larkspur: Unlikely purring of lark.

Clematis: So come on, eat yours.

Orchid: Metal Mickey.

Speedwell: Dialect comment in first person plural on successful urinary function, for example after communal consumption of Dandelions.

Peony: Still got problems?




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New blog post

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Mosquito

Summer and the same old thing.

Good luck, let's enjoy it you and I.

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Silliness Rebuked

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A relative sent a wounding message to me, on the occasion of yesterday's flippant post, as follows

'How does this stupidity make people admire Science?'

We felt this harsh and lacking in educational principles. As a riposte here are some definitions from our companion 'Dictionary of Poesy'.

Verse: Not better.

Ode: A debt.

Sonnet: Snot offit.

Metre: A date.

Dacyl: Non-scary pterodactyl.

Consonance: Not vowels.

Paradox: Two dogs.

Quatrain: Enquiry about presence of drain.

Iamb : Second part of Cartesian saying.

Pastoral: Beyond words.


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Chemistry made silly

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We have recently begun work on the Uxbridge Dictionary of the Periodic Table. Here are 10 sample entries

Bromine: A mean brother.

Iodine: Thanks Dean!

Flourine: The floor.

Silicon: Pathetic attempt at a scam.

Boron: I'm not interested but continue if you must.

Gold: Similar to rhinitis.

Antimony: Preferring barter.

Zinc: Place for washing dishes.

Arsenic: Buttock injury.

Hafnium: 50% of Holmium.



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Dragon

Haven't I said I love you?

My sparkles show this is so.

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The Moon Under Water

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My local pub was drowned tonight. I just got back. I'll explain later.
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Before The Fall

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 16 Jul 2015, 23:12

On the far side of nowhere

Two poets were inventing people.

"Where shall we keep them?"

"In a garden."

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Down a bright stream

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 16 Jul 2015, 02:41

Tonight at the Moon Under Water, someone read out an article about rhino horn. Then someone else mentioned whale hunting. 

This reminded me of the Inky Fool blog (IFB).

What's the connection between Vikings and a well-known coffee chain? 

From memory of the IFB.

In Yorkshire (sub-question, where did Yorick come from and why did he get dug up in Elsinore?) there was a place the Anglo-Saxons called 'Sedge brook'. Sedges are a sort of grassy plant that like the verges of streams, but they are pretty common. It's a bit like calling a moor 'Grasmoor" I suppose.)  But the sedges must have seemed distinctive enough to name a small village for them. It's quite sensible when you think about it though. The Strand is just a strand=beach and there must be many beaches. Sedgebrook wasn't Redbrook or Rushbrook, which would have been easily distinguished.

Along came the Vikings and had a big local influence, so it got renamed 'Star beck'. You can see the words are the same but Vikings and Anglo-Saxons just had different dialects. 

Back to coffee. As The Inky Fool describes some people from Starbeck acquired the surname 'Starbeck' because that's where their ancestry was from. Back then not everyone was a good speller. So we got 'Starbuck'.

People called Starbuck crossed the Atlantic to Natucket Mass.They became big in whale hunting. They were so famous that when Hermann Melville wrote 'Moby Dick' he called one of the ship's main people, apart from the obsessional Ahab, Starbuck.

Now, when the founders of Starbucks were searching for a company name they looked in Moby Dick. I'm not sure why really but the notion isn't silly and turned out rather well.

To go back to the beginning. Regulars at the Moon Under Water hate rhino and whale hunting.

So perhaps the human race is becoming more honourable in spite of all.


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Clerihew

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Sherlock Holmes

Detested combs.

When the game was afoot he didn't care

About having unruly hair.

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