Saturday, December 30, 2006

Progressive Arab Voices

The following is a list of some of the voices of moderation in the International Arab Community.

Walid Phares
Specialist on Jihad Operations worldwide

Brigitte Gabriel
The voice of a survivor of Islamist hate

Walid Shoebat
Former Palestinian radical - Now works for legitimate peace between Israel and the Arab World.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Power of Hatred

Have been giving some thought to the dangerous alliance between New leftist radicals and paleo-conservatives. One thing they both seem to share is a strong disdain of the state of Israel. Both the leftist site: Counterpunch and the Paleo rag routinely link to one another.
Who would have thought that the Paleo's would have been so gaga over Chomsky, Pilger and Vidal? Goes to show you the power of hatred.....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

In the News XIII

Gerald Ford passes away
He never won a presidential election but he helped the country through a difficult time.
Some say he was the Last of the Moderate Republicans - whatever that means. Also helped Canada into the G-7 (now G-8). I wonder what Chevy Chase, who impersonated him on SNL, has to say now?

Jean Kirkpatrick RIP
Non-partisan US Ambassador to the UN during the 80's. Champion of the Strong American Policies that helped revitilize the US after the woeful Carter Administration years.

Israel allows Egypt to ship arms to Fatah
This is the types of dangerous game that Israel should not be playing.

A victory against the Islamists,21985,20983463-663,00.html
Unfortunately the AU and the Arab League will probably find a way of screwing this up.

Iran 'facing disaster' over collapsing fuel exports
Has the rogue regime bitten off more than it can chew? Lets hope so.

Homeless problem lingers in Venezuela despite Chavez plan
Maybe if he stopped dishing out oil to the dregs of the political world he could actually help
his own people. Just a thought...........

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

50 Inductees into the American Gallery of Nudniks

1. Noam Chomsky
2. Ward Churchill
3. Louis Farrakhan
4. Ann Coulter
5. Robert Novak
6. Seymour Hersh
7. Jessie Jackson
8. John Sinunu
9. Jimmy Carter
10. Joe Sobran
11. Mark LeVine
12. David Duke
13. Tom Metzger
14. Fred Phelps
15. Rosie O'Donnell
16. Sean Penn
17. Al Sharpton
18. Chuck Rangel
19. Mark Foley
20. Ted Haggard
21. Darrell Issa
22. James Baker
23. Jimmy Carter
24. Ramsey Clark
25. Pat Buchanan
26. Alex Cockburn
27. Ibrahim Hooper
28. Jeff Rense
29. Paul Craig Roberts
30. Bell Hooks
31. Juan Cole
32. Taki Theodoracopulos
33. Martin Sheen
34. James Zogby
35. Michael Lerner
36. Gloria Steinem
37. Woody Allen
38. Tom Hayden
39. Lyndon LaRouche
40. Alex Jones
41. Amy Goodman
42. Kevin Barrett
43. Cindy Sheehan
44. Cynthia McKinley
45. Justin Raimondo
46. Jane Fonda
47. George Soros
48. Cayne West
49. Jerry Falwell
50. Marion Barry

Monday, December 25, 2006

In the News XII

War heats up in Horn of Africa
Could this be the next front in the War against Terror?

US Republican senator arrives in Syria for talks
More in the appeasement watch. I wonder if the anti-Semite al-Assad knows that Spector is a Jew.

Raul Castro gives a taste of his 'frank' style
I still wouldn't hold my breath on the Cuban Economy openbing up.

Obama eyes Iowa in putting '08 HQ here,CST-NWS-sweet25.article
The Obama train gains some speed but I am not sure if he has the 'oomph' to defeat Hilary.

Iran Remains Defiant Following UN Vote
Should we expect anything less from the Radical Regime?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

How to spot a Leftist?

1.Insists on being heard but then denies the rights of others through highly restrictive speech codes.

2.Rallies against the US as the Great Satan while embracing such dictatorships and human rights violators as Syria, Iran, Libya andNorth Korea

3.Worships at the feet of Noam Chomsky without ever questioning the skewed logic and information that underpins his arguments.

4.Has a 101 excuses to apologize for the evils of the Khmer Rouge, Stalin, Mao, etc

5.Insists that every country has a right to self-defense except the US and Israel.

6. Still believes deep down that Marxism can work despite is horrendous history of failure.

7. Claims to represent the people while hiding behind the coattails of academia.

8.Dismisses all gender arguments in opposition as sexist thus ending debate.

9. Dismisses all race relations arguments in opposition as racist thus ending debate one again.

10.Claims to champion diversity unless the diversity disagrees with his/her own opinions.

11.Insists that all cultures have contributed to science equally (as of late) despite the fact that over 90% of all innovations in the last four hundred years are the product of Western thought.

12.Champions Feminism in the West but can’t bring him or herself to back NATO forces against the Anti-Woman Taliban (whose treatment of Women and Girls is not morally justifiable at any level).

13.Loves the culture of victim hood – sees it as empowering – for themselves.

14.Can’t see the bias in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 – insists it’s a work of art.

15. Loves to see the government spend other people’s money.

16.Has no problem with those who abuse welfare but still insist on criticizing the system.

17. Ignores all factors to the contrary to idealize such figures as Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro.

18. Believes in Utopias and will stop at nothing to see them implemented.

19. No policy by the Liberal Democracies are ever good enough – unless of course they bring the revolution closer.

20. Believe in a journalistic culture that seeks to twist public opinion based on anecdotal cases.

21. Favorite phrase when cornered is to insist on a Right Wing Backlash

22. Still can’t understand that Hitler was a socialist whose policies of societal engineering were akin to Marxist-Leninism.

23. Hates Ronald Reagan for ending the Cold War. Loves Jimmy Carter for allowing the Soviets to gain an upper hand during the Cold War.

24. Believes that the root cause of violence is poverty and insists that terrorism is a consequence of poverty despite the fact that the poorest countries on our planet have no record of terrorism.

25. Denies that threat of Islamic terror is real despite all evidence to the contrary –Methinks - Denial as defense.

26. Will continue to blame all problems in Africa on Colonization (at least for the next millennium or so) while ignoring the abysmal records of Africa’s post-colonial dictatorships.

27. Have satisfactorily whitewashed Nelson Mandela’s support for Terrorism in his earlier year – granting him the virtual honour of sainthood.

28. Favors affirmative action while claiming to oppose discrimination.

29. Ultimately believe that the source of all evil is wealthy white men – The Scapegoat Theory – while claiming to love all people.

30. Favour a dumbing down of education so that those who are intellectually challenged can reach the same levels as those who are bright.

31. Hates IQ tests as they confirm what a leftist wishes to deny – that humans have differential levels of ability.

32.Insists on socialized medicine as the panacea for all despite its inability to support itself. Rejects all attempts at reformation of such a system as elitism.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Multiple Standards and other Paradoxes

Just a few that I have noted..........

1. Animal Rights activists who think nothing of physically attacking their fellow human beings.
2. Anti-Stereotype activists resorting to the Dead White Male Classification.
3. Anti-Racist Activists who insist on rectifying the situation with reverse discrimination policies based on race.
4. Uber-Liberals who chastize conservative black leaders for not thinking like 'Blacks'.
5. Pro-Life advocates who support the death penalty.
6. Anti-American radicals like Noam Chomsky who think nothing of holding positions at MIT (one of the hubs of the military industrial complex)
7. American Labour Champions such as Nancy Pelosi who use migrant Mexican workers on their family vineyards.
8. Scientists who decry Intelligent Design as Unfalsifiable (and therefore unscientific) while insisting that science has ruled out the presence of God (an equally unfalsifiable pursuit).
9. Feminists who rally that Augusta Golf Club is misogynst institution while at the same time downplaying the persecution of women under the Taliban.
10. Anti-Marijuana champions who have no problem binge drinking.
11. Multi-millionaires like Bono who wax on consistently as to how niddle class families should spend their money.
12. AIDS activists who don't practice safe sex.
13. Michael Moore suing an ex-employee who did a documentry about him.
14. Politicians who support a war but then arrange cushy non-military positions for themselves.
15. De Gaulle adopting a decidely Anti-American and Anti-British policy after the two countries liberated France from the Nazis.
16. The Arab Nations who criticize Israel while at the same time persecuting their own populations.
17. The US championing democracy while at the same time ignoring human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.
18. Human Rights Champions who support Castro on ideological grounds ignoring his history of suppression of dissent.
19. Teachers who insist on creativity and then give multiple choice only tests.
20. Anti-Gay advocates who engage in gay sex.
21. Universities that claim to encourage free thought while at the same time implementing speech codes.
22. Marriage Counsellors who have been divorced several times.
23. Anti-Child labour advocates who buy clothes made in South East Asia.
24. American sports fans who criticize soccer for being too slow but then watch baseball.
25. Germany repenting for its Holocaust past but at the same time helping Iraq with their chemical weapons program.
26. Diversity Champions who won't even listen to opinions from the traditional right.

My Teaching Philosophy

Initial Assumptions to a Meaningful Praxis Outlook

I believe that total education can be divided into three realms: the parental/family, societal and the school-based pedagogy. The parental/family falls outside the jurisdiction of the teacher, but does impact the individual significantly. It is the first source of education that the student receives. It can carry the wisdom of survival skills and cultural continuance but may also be biased with prejudices and misconceptions of previous generations.

The same is true of the societal/community whose impact on the student is defined in Blos’s second individuation[i]. Peer groups and the media/internet influence the student here as do the external factors of community (secular and/or religious) and extended family. Again the teacher’s role in this realm is minimal.

So in a sense it must be understood that the teacher’s sphere of influence in total education is not all-encompassing but largely limited to school-based pedagogy. Too often I believe, teachers forget about the dynamics and importance of non-classroom education leading to myopic expectations. This is certainly not to downplay the role of a teacher. School-based pedagogy is vital in stimulating self-initiative thinking and can in many cases make up for shortfalls in other avenues of the total education process. However a realistic sense of expectations and boundary is essential.

In my philosophy I see teachers as builders – constructors of frameworks upon which the student can develop skills for knowledge acquisition. A teacher is both an assessor and an evaluator but most important a linkage facilitator supplying the student with the tools to close the gaps between the known and the unknown. In such a regard my philosophy has been influenced by the Russian thinker Lev Vygotsky who referred to these gaps as ‘Zones of Proximal Development’[ii]. Like Vygotsky I see the force of culture as aiding this bridging interplay, but without the input of a competent teacher, the process would be compromised in the classroom.

I have seen this first hand in my own learning experience where sub-standard teaching failed to close the gaps of understanding at the time leaving me with a sense of under-accomplishment and an overall lowering of self confidence. It is therefore a factor that I am always conscious of in my praxis. At both my private school teaching, as well as my practicum I have made it a strong priority that my students are not left with any erroneous understanding of concepts (in the complexity of my teachable, physics, these pitfalls are all too abundant).

Teaching in another sense is about the development of skills as well as the opening up of the student’s mind to various social and cultural perspectives. It is about finding the real essence in what there is to know and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our assumptions. It is about learning to think and analyze not merely for purely sophist reasons but to add to human understanding and improvement – both on a personal and then perhaps a universal level.
So in a way I am a pragmatic idealist (I don’t see these philosophies as mutually exclusive) but if one does not enter with a full heart then one’s role as a teacher is easily reduced to that of a mechanical processor – a system shunter – which is not in my opinion what the profession is supposed to be. I don’t believe in languishing in the mundane for it is in the extraordinary that our species moves forward and overcomes its difficulties. Too often students don’t see this as they trod disparate pathways, but what they need to know, is that the extraordinary is not only a product of self but often arises through co-operation with others and the breaking of stereotypes. Therefore I am a strong believer in project based team learning opportunities as a format for ideas generation, synthesizing of academic synergies and enrichment through cultural meme exchange.

I am a fervent proponent of the cultivation of the holistic learner and of cross-disciplinary teaching. I feel that it is important to go beyond the subject divisions (that have their basis in Aristotelian philosophy[iii]) to make the connections between academic fields and so nourish the meshwork that provides for both novel thought and informed action.

Understanding the activities of the understated Han, Mayan and Songhai[iv] civilizations is directly linked with the mathematics behind their calendars and agricultural systems, a comparative theme that I have consciously reinforced in both the history and science courses that I have taught. If one looks further with the foresight to bridge it will become evident that such examples are ubiquitous and that divorced from a blinkered outlook provide for a clearer picture to the student of the total knowledge panorama.

In a sense the product created extends far beyond its parts and begs for the inclusion of differing perspectives for further enhancement. Learning then enlivens fueled by a dynamic inclusion of the broader human picture. For this is what school-based pedagogy is. Not just a series of eureka moments, but a strengthened matrix of knowledge that complements and prepares the student for their complete education so that they can live fuller with a richness of life and an enhanced understanding of others.

[i] Muuss, R.E. (1980). Peter Blos’ Modern Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Adolescence. J. of Adolescence, 1980, 3, 229-252.

[ii] Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

[iii] The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation (2 Volume Set; Bollingen Series, Vol. LXXI, No. 2), edited by Jonathan Barnes ISBN 0-691-09950-2

[iv] For more on the Songhai Empire read Duiker W. and Spielvogel J. (2004) World History 4th Edition Thomson Wadsworth pg 400-405.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

In the News XI

Trump and O'Donnell won't be celebrating Xmas together
This one won't give me sleepless nights

Chavez's ego knows no bounds,2933,238015,00.html
If he wasn't such a regional pest he would be great comic relief.

Assad will abandon Iran if Israel talks peace with him
Once again Yossi Beilin is in never-never land. You could sell him the Brooklyn Bridge.
Visions of Munich....

Russia wants delay on UN vote on Iran sanctions
Looks as though the Evil Empire Version II is back. I guess Putin is hoping to cash
in on some deals in the interim.

Some Positive News from Darfur
Money to stop the spread of Islamofascism and deal with an international tragedy - its about bloody time.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cognitive Barrier Theory – A Brief Overview

Piagetian Cognitive Analysis[i] largely focuses on the various stages that a child passes through in developing an intellectual platform for knowledge acquisition. Its vision is linear and incremental with a directive favoring an idealized outcome. In Cognitive Barrier Theory (aka CBT) I look at Piagetian Development on a micro-level with an emphasis on the self-imposed barriers that I suspect delay the rate of progression of the regular learning process. My theory is based on an adopted version of a mini-grief cycle model and borrows freely from the arguments of Lev Vygotsky[ii] and Jerome Bruner[iii]. Its scope of functionality is broad and I envision the theory having applications beyond the pedagogic realm into the mechanism driving the moral and emotional development of the adolescent.

The Kübler -Ross Grief Cycle (KRGC)

In her 1969 book On Death and Dying[iv], Swiss Psychologist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross outlined the differential stages of the Grief Cycle that now bares her name. According to Kübler-Ross, after hearing bad news a person’s emotional state cycles through seven different stages viz. Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing and Acceptance. At first, in shock the person is paralyzed by hearing the bad news. Denial sets in as one tries to avoid an inevitable, but this eventually spills over into anger caused by frustration. Bargaining is then sought as a way of escaping the problem but this too fails, leading to the eventual realization of being trapped in the new fate, a state that can lead to depression. Positive progress can only occur with the testing of realistic solutions and an acceptance of a new status quo. However the transitioning between stages can be complex and it is possible that movement from one stage to another may be significantly delayed or even worse, a person may be forced into a seemingly endless recycling of the seven stages with no hope of escape from the looping process. If psychological help is not sought the long term prognosis for the sufferer can become serious.

What Constitutes Bad News?

The key trigger for the KRGC is bad news - a vague term but certainly one that can be deconstructed. I see bad news as a negative shattering of normality that forces one to rethink and adjust one’s framework of comfort in a non-desirable manner. Clearly the extent of such a shattering can be extreme such as the death of a spouse or child, a context from which the initial ideas leading to the KRGC were developed. However bad news is a relativistic concept that is best understood through the eyes of a recipient. A consequence of which is the possible extension of the KRGC into a broader realm. In formatting CBT I have extended the grief cycle to the ‘shattering’ that occurs when paradigms of knowledge comfort are destroyed.

An Explanation of the Mechanism behind CBT

Take a simple paradigm shattering phenomenon – in science/math there are many of them – for convenience I will choose the concepts of integers that nullified the earlier idea of positive-only numbers that one learns in grade school. Integers represent a critical change in our thinking of the world of mathematics but without their presence any real future progress in algebra, trigonometry and vectors would be stifled. So we are forced in a sense to conform to their existence. For many this is not a serious hurdle but for others this is clearly not the case.
Adapting our brains to work through such a radical shift involves the unbundling of old ideas, the possible loss of a comfort region and a feeling of a new and often undesirable beginning. The brain can choose to resist (or cope) by jump starting a mini-version of the KRGC in an attempt to maintain the status (a type of intellectual ‘flight’ or ‘fright’ response). I have seen aspects of this in students that I have taught especially when the concept under review appears to be ‘overwhelming’ in level of difficulty. Some students break the cycle quickly others don’t. If a student falls into the latter category, this can become problematic especially if the looping is not terminated prior to the introduction of yet another new concept. What then may occur is the buildup of loops of irresolution that overlay one another creating a sense of powerlessness and eventually lowered self-esteem. In concept rich courses such as Math this may provide for the mechanistic pathology behind the condition of mathematics phobia[v] - a hypothesis worth investigating further.

Breaking the Loop and Overcoming the Mini-Grief Cycle Inspired Cognitive Barrier

The informed teacher or tutor is best equipped to assist the student in overcoming the cognitive barrier. However since the barrier is to a large extent self-imposed the student needs to possess the will to snap the cycle. In severe cases, which can evolve if a situation is left to continuously worsen, an educational psychologist may be required to facilitate the process as well. Vygotskian pedagogy, that uses a process of scaffolding[vi] to close zones of proximal development, may be useful but in a sense it too has to be modified and perhaps customized as the cycles of irresolution that are setup in the students mind may possess a unique physiology.
A flexibility of approach that speaks to the multiple intelligences[vii] may be utilized but what is perhaps just as important is the emotional energy and support that the teacher is capable of supplying. One may be tempted to see this as an exaggeration of a circumstance, but once cognitive barriers have created emotional walls the task of re-adjustment can be very difficult and requiring of a more holistic approach.

What other aspects of personal development may be influenced by the CBT?

It is impossible in personal development to take the finest scalpel and separate one factor from all the others. Cognitive, emotional and moral progression are linked in a way that social scientists are only just beginning to understand. Consequently, if cognitive barriers are set up it is natural to expect an overflow into other realms. A falling self esteem arising from a feeling of being inadequate is an obvious outcrop but I believe that cognitive barriers may skew or alter moral development as well. A sophisticated moral outlook can often (but not always) be cultivated by broadening one’s perspective, questioning assumptions and understanding the need for an extended sense of self. This is or should be an underlying principle behind most pedagogy but such a platform may be compromised in an individual if cognitive barriers have frozen intellectual development into an immature framework that blocks such critical abstraction.

Additional Factors to consider

The mini-grief cycle approach to cognitive barriers rests within the psychopathology of the Transactional Model[viii]. It is very much environmentally dependent and must be viewed as such. It also takes on more of a discontinuous[ix] approach to cognitive development which is an inherent simplification that later versions may address. A further avenue of research that flows naturally from the theory is a possible investigation of the sensitive or critical period[x] nature of unresolved mini-grief cycles.


The CBT provides a possible model for understanding how students, through an emotion driven process, build and augment hurdles toward learning. The process is worsened by an aggregation of mini-grief cycles of irresolution that can impact both the emotional and intellectual development of the learner. Fortunately early pedagogic assessment and an active teacher response are potentially available as stop gaps to prevent such situations from spiraling out of control.

[i] Piaget, J. (1972). Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood. Human Development, 15, 1-12.
[ii] Vygotsky, L.S. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
[iii] Bruner, J. (1983) Child's Talk: Learning to Use Language, New York: Norton.
[iv] Kübler -Ross, E .(1969) - Collier Books, New York, NY.
[v] For more on mathematics phobia go to
[vi] Mok W.Y. and DiGiuseppe M (2006) CMYR Course Notes, MST Program, York University.
[vii] Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.
[viii] Ennis, L (2006) Adolescence Course Notes, MST Program., York University.
[ix] Ennis, L (2006) Adolescence Course Notes, MST Program., York University.
[x] Ennis, L (2006) Adolescence Course Notes, MST Program., York University.

Football Update Dec 17th

Liverpool defeated Charlton 3-0 to move into third spot in the league. Alonso, Bellamy and Gerra scored for the good guys who face some tough games ahead (League Cup and FA cup matches against Arsenal and a Champion's League fixture vs Barcelona).
The win at Charlton represented Liverpool's sixth league clean sheet in a row and their second away victory. It seems promising but the chance's of finishing higher than 3rd in the league is still remote.

Other results:

Arsenal 2 Pompey 2 - Silva saves a point for the Gooners. Pompey drop to 5th.
Reading 1 Blackburn 2 - Rovers gain some breathing space.
Wigan 0 Sheffield U 1 - Blades are moving to the middle of the table. Good for them.
Aston Villa 0 Bolton 1 - Trotters definitely want a top 6 finish this season.
Newcastle 2 Watford 1 - Toon on a roll. Hornets are sinking fast.

Champions League Draw

Arsenal v PSV - Money is on the Gunners but it will be close
Liverpool v Barca - Anyone's bet. Second night at Anfield - Good sign. Tie of the round.
Man U v Lille - United should win this.
Chelsea v Porto - Mourinho will defeat his old club
Celtic v Ac Milan - Hoops run will end here
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich - Money is on the Spaniards
AS Roma v Lyon - Gerard Houllier's team are the better of the two and will win.
Inter Milan v Valencia - Inter to succeed but the Spaniars will fight to the death

Saturday, December 02, 2006

50 Gems about Myself - not in any order

1. I prefer to think outward than inward. I love big ideas and underlying concepts.
2. I am a generalist rather than a specialist.
3. I would rather watch English Football than any other sport on television.
4. The greatest moment of my life was the birth of my son.
5. I will be the first to admit that I daydream and am absent-minded.
6. I have had OCD and Asthma for most of my life.
7. If not stimulated intellectually I become bored quickly.
8. I believe in God but struggle with the rituals of formal religion.
9. I am a sucker for anything to do with the French Revolution and Napoleon.
10. Physics is a passion of mine. I see it as the most philosophical of the sciences.
11. My Myers Briggs profile is: INFJ.
12. I am deeply interested in the science of psychological testing - especially with respect to intelligence.
13. I pride myself of my strong general knowledge. I competed nationally in my high school days and cannot resist tackling a trivia quiz book that comes my way.
14. I am strong in History, Science and Geography but need to work on American Pop Culture if I am ever to compete on Jeopardy.
15. I believe that Freedom of Speech is a critical value for a democratic society that must be upheld at all times. For this reason I oppose all censorship and Hate Speech Laws.
16. I have always been a strong anglophile but the moral relativism and atheism that seems to dominate British society today has cured me somewhat of this feeling.
17. I prefer the DC Comic World to that of Marvel. Batman being my favourite character.
18. I have a nostalgic attraction for the Brit Comics of yesteryear - Tiger, Roy of the Rovers, Battle, Eagle. Judge Dredd in my opinion is the greatest comic character ever created.
19. I enjoy visting Art Galleries and have tastes for a myriad of differing styles. I believe that one can enjoy Raphael, Cezanne and Pollock.
20. I have a soft spot for the power of Ludwig van Beethoven's music.
21. I truly love my wife Dina - and wonder at times how she puts up with me.
22. I used to be a dog person but have become increasingly fond of cats - we have two.
23. I still say that Sean Connery was the Greatest Bond Ever.
24. I am a bit of a political junkie - especially if the politics concerns the Middle East and Africa. Europe is so boring these days.
25. I find Roman History fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed teaching that unit in Ancient History.
26. I am consistently making an effort to understand the history of science.
27. I am a moral absolutist when it comes to identifying evil.
28. I have become somewhat of a Roger Federer fan. I predict that he will suprass Pete Sampras in the number of Grand Slams won.
29. I am driven to understand the history of the Jews as well as the history of my birth country South Africa.
30. My favourite Historian is Paul Johnson followed closely by Martin Gilbert.
31. I consider myself a Classic Liberal and believe that the ideals of Western Democracy are well worth defending.
32. The best career decision I ever made was to become a teacher.
33. I have a chemical engineering degree and have worked as an engineer but I don't have the same passion for the profession as I do for teaching.
34. I often feel stifled by bureaucracy.
35. I love speculative fiction and took this to a personel height when I wrote my book: A History of the Future.
36. I wish I loved in a part of the world where I could truly see the Night Sky. I have a bit of an Astronomy bug.
37. Winston Churchill and Menachem Begin are two men whom I admire.
38. Even if I say so myself I have yet to find a better History Quiz Book than the one I wrote myself - Take the History Challenge.
39. Luzzatto's The Way of God is one of the best books on Jewish Philosophy that I have ever read.
40. I liked U2 up to and including the Joshua Tree Album.
41. I am very much motivated by the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam - Healing the World.
42. If I could I would be a poster boy for New Scientist Magazine.
43. My favourite show on TV these days is House.
44. I find evolutionary theory fascinating. I have my own ideas in this field largely with respect to how systems become complicated.
45. I love looking at 'What if' Scenarios in history.
46. Brainstorming motivates me.
47. I went through a stage where I wrote a lot of poetry but it is not my literary medium of choice nowdays.
48. I believe that for Peace to be achieved both sides must want it. Unfortunately this is rarely the case.
49. I abhor Dogma.
50. For an engineer I have terrible Visual-Spatial skills nevertheless I did score at the 99.5th percentile on the WAIS-III test.

Weeks Report

Teaching Physics 12 and Science 10 at my practicum school. Its not difficult but the fact that I the students are ultimately those of my host teacher forces me to more vigilant about my teaching. At the end of the day it will (or should) improve my pedagogic skills.

The following is an example of a quiz that I set for the Grade 12 class.

Work, Energy and Satellite Quiz

Total Marks: 15

Physics Grade 12

Read the Questions carefully
Show all working. Remember Units and Sig Figs.
Good Luck!!

1.A 70 kg skier starts from rest and skis down a 450 hill of vertical height 350m. If the coefficient of kinetic friction is 0.1
How much energy is lost to friction from the top to bottom? (1)
What is the speed at the bottom? (2)
If another hill of inclination 30 degrees sits at the bottom of the first hill. How far will the skier go up the second hill. Assuming the friction on the second hill is 0.1 as well? (1)

2. A horizontal spring of k=40N/m is elongated 25 cm then released. The spring has a mass of 750g at one end.
What is its maximum speed? (1)
At what point(s) is Ep: Ek = 4:1 for one cycle? (2)
If 12% of the energy is lost to the surroundings per complete cycle. How many cycles will it take for the Total Energy of the system to drop to less than 5% of the original total energy? (1)
Give a rough sketch of an Fres vs t graph for a single cycle starting from compression? (1)

3. A 300 kg satellite is released from the surface of Vulcan-5. The planet has six times the mass of the Earth but three times its radius.
Mass of Earth = 5.98 x 10^24kg Radius of Earth (re) = 6.38*10^6m

What is the planet’s escape velocity at the surface? (2)
What is the planet’s Ep at an orbital radius = 8 re? (1)
How much additional energy is needed to escape from the orbit mentioned in b? (2)
What is the theoretical Schwartzchild radius of the planet? (1)

Football results - December 2nd 2006

Liverpool finally won an away game in the EPL defeating Wigan 4-0. This was the fourth shutout for the reds in the league - 5 in all competitions. The defence is finally working as a unit but I still (despite the score line) have my doubts about the attack.

Man U in the mean time won away for the sixth time in a row defeating Boro 2-1 with a bit of theatrical help frrom Christiano Ronaldo. The Gunners also had something to cheer about defeating Spurs 3-0 at the Emirates to end a two game losing streak (both Bolton and Fulham beat them).

Liverpool have moved up to 5th place in the league and have the same number of points as 4th place Pompey who drew 2-2 with the Villains (this season's draw specialists).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Paradigm Shift in Education - A personal view

My pedagogic experience as a student at the primary and secondary level in South Africa defined my initial impression of the role of a teacher. It seemed clear based on my immersion in this British-style traditional system that teachers were first and foremost disseminators of knowledge, skilled practioners in dispensing a truth, that that we as students were expected through testing feedback to acknowledge understanding of.

Although the select few teachers offered debate and discussion as a way of processing this new information for the most part the transmission procedure was unidirectional and rigid. Biology for example was taught with strict memory-based criteria, so that those who could incorporate the names of muscle groups, skeletal parts and alimentary canal enzymes into their cerebral storage network were most rewarded. Formal testing was paramount with exams constituting up to seventy-five percent of the course breakdown.

Teachers were not course guides and the concept of a mentor was as alien to the system as was the notions of self-discovery learning or for that matter independent thinking.
Even after school extra-help was frowned on as students battled it out in a Darwinistic-like environment that favoured those who could best play the game of ‘give me what I want to hear’.

Now its not to say that my scholastic experience was one of doom and gloom (I did graduate with distinction and there were a handful of teachers who were motivating) but looking back now as a teacher candidate I can see where I and so many others, were short-changed. My education was teacher not student focused. Coverage was paramount and critical thinking was reduced to an after-thought best left to the universities.

My four-year experience as a teacher in a private school; where I worked alongside several educators versed in the new paradigm shift towards skills acquisition, multiple intelligence instruction and the development of big concept understanding; was enlightening. A more holistic role of a teacher as a motivator and outcomes director was revealed. This underpins a vision that both educator and student are partners in a joint learning venture that should be inspiring not daunting. Responsibility sharing is key.

Students are no longer seen as vessels requiring the suffusion of knowledge, but individuals incorporating ideas, memes and connections into their own framework of thinking (Brooks and Brooks Ch.1). Teachers act as facilitators to bridge Vygotskyian zones of proximal development, erecting the scaffolds from which the learner builds to realize their actual potential as a human being.

My practicum observation has further shed insight into the mechanism whereby student understanding can be enhanced. My host teacher’s intelligent use of Socratic questioning in a constructive Piagetian environment and his creative use of independent study projects (such as assigning the task of the students to build Rube Goldberg-like machines to solidify their knowledge of classical mechanics) are just two examples of how the students can be encouraged to think on their own.

In his effective use of demonstrations and challenges (like asking Grade 10 Science students to problem-solve a method for optimally emptying a 2L Pop container), he also augments both the individual’s desire to know and the enthusiasm for the subject that are necessary for the learning process.

However at the same time he is very cautious that the core foundation knowledge is not neglected. He evaluates both formally and informally with a conscious backward design (Wiggins and McTighe Ch. 1) so that the meshwork for concept development grows concurrent to application and inquiry. The student is encouraged to see, synthesize and communicate the scope of what is learnt both within and beyond the subject. A construct that was much overlooked during my time as a high school student.

The change is refreshing but what it implies on a larger scale is that an effective teacher must constantly be open to self-analysis and reflection, willing to expand their often specialist based training and always keep in mind the perspective of the student as a unique learner with performance based personal goals. It is no easy task nor should it be. Education is too vital a necessity to take short cuts for simplicity sake.

Class Notes – The Various Education Theorists – Abraham Maslow, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner.
Wiggins, G and McTighe, J. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, Virginia. ASCD. 1998.
Grennon Brooks, J. and Brooks, M.G.. In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Alexandria, Virginia. ASCD. 1999.

Essay Questions on Ancient Rome

Calling all History Teachers.

Here are examples of essay questions that I set on an Ancient History Course that I once taught.

Write an essay with an introduction, three or more body paragraphs and a conclusion on one of the following items below.

It can be argued that Rome’s decline was set in motion by the beginning of the Empire. Discuss this idea in looking at the Period from 27BC to 476AD?

What were the successes and failures of the Roman Republic? Why did it collapse from within?

What parallels existed between the civilizations of China, Greece and Rome? Discuss with reference to Art, Literature, Science and most importantly politics.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Both sides of the Intelligent Design debate

Key Concepts:

A list of topics for a possible Evolution by Random Mutation vs ID debate/discussion.

The History of Evolution

· Thinking of the Ancient Greeks
· The Geological Work of Lyall and Hutton (Old Earth)
· Influence of Thomas Malthus
· The Power of Time
· The Fossil Record
· Lamarck’s Work
· Vestigial Organs
The Platypus
· Melanism in Moths
· Archaeopteryx
· Darwin: Evolution by Natural Selection
· Adaptation and Speciation
· The Birth of Mendelian Genetics
· Micro vs Macro Evolution
· Neo-Darwinism
· Selfish Gene Theory
· Punctuated Equilibrium vs Gradualism
· Convergent vs Divergent Evolution
· Random Mutation/Transposons
· Opposition to Darwinism
· Wrongful Extensions: Social Darwinism
· Genome Projects
· Computer Modelling

Intelligent Design

William Paley – The Watchmaker
Michael Behe – Irreducible Complexity - mousetraps
William Dembski – The Mathematical Challenge
The Infinite Monkeys vs Infinite Typewriters Argument
Lee Spetner – Random Mutation fails the probability challenge
Design from physics – Fine Tuning of the Universal Constants
The Anthropic Principle
Fermi’s Paradox
Politics: The Discovery Institute
Blood Clotting, The Immune System, The Eye and the Flagella of Bacteria
God of the gaps
The Cambrian Explosion?

Other challenges to the traditional model

· Thermodynamics
· Contingency needs
· Loop Systems
· Complexity Theory

Challenges to ID

· God of the gaps
· Religious convenience
· Imperfect design
· Credibility
· Falsification
· The illusion of design
· Convenient Statistics – Geared for a specific outcome
· Ignores – concept of self organization
· Complexity through randomness

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Applied Physics

Some Vocations and the Branch of Physics that Applies to them


Anesthetics: Electricity + Mass Transfer(Fluids – Diffusion Rates)

Cardiology/Cardiac Surgery: Fluid Mechanics. Electrical Models of Pumping

Ear, Nose + Throat: Pressure Differentials, Fluid Flow

Endocrinology: Delivery Systems, Mass + Heat Transfer (Homeostasis)

Nephrology/Gastric Systems: Fluid Flow, Electrical Models of Filtration

Neurology/Neuroscience: Electrostatics, Current Flow

Ophthalmology/Optometry/Optician: Optics

Orthopedics: Mechanics (Stress, Strain, Torque, Center of Gravity, Equilibrium)

Plastics: Properties of Materials (Physics based- stress, elasticity etc)

Respiratory: Pressure Systems (Gas Laws), Fluid Flow

Sports Medicine – Biomechanics (Physics)


Construction/Commercial Real Estate – Statics

Tort Law – Slip and Fall, Coefficient of Friction

Medical Malpractice – Take your pick from ‘Medicine’ above.

Patent Law – Many Patent Lawyers have an engineering background. The physics helps understand the technology.

Motor Vehicle Accidents – Kinematics + Dynamics

Dentistry -

Orthodontics is built on the Principles of Dynamics. Also the operation of the Jaw, grinding, biting are all concepts that lend themselves to a physics analysis.

Business World

Ergonomics – Often Uses mechanics, optics principles

Market Movement – Has been analyzed using an application of the physics concepts of Gravity (Market driver), Friction (Market Drag) and other factors. Useful in the derivatives market. Rational Expectations have also been looked at as friction forces. I know it sounds bizarre.

Divergent Science Questions

25 General Science Issues for high school science students to think about

Where does life begin? When does it end?
Can it be argued that a human being is merely a stage in the lifecycle of a sperm or egg?
Is knowledge finite? (a bit esoteric)
Should we develop technology to allow us to live forever?
What are the limits of science (Different to #3)?
Is Intelligence primarily Nature or Nurture driven?
How can we spot ‘Bad Science’?
Is Intelligent Design real Science?
Does the Soul exist?
Genetic Modified Food (Good or Bad?)
Cloning - Yay or Nay?
Designer Babies
Ramifications of Time Travel (Parallel vs Non-parallel systems)
Extending Self-Awareness to other species
Scientific Funding (When does it become questionable?)
Science as Orthodoxy. Is Science a Religion?
Should all drugs be legalized and taxed?
What are the drivers for Science?
What would happen to the planet if humans disappeared overnight (New Scientist had a great article on this)?
Missile Defense Shields – Good or Bad?
Will a deadly pathogen wipe our species off the face of the Earth?
What are the next few milestones in Human Evolution?
Reproductive Technologies – How far do we go?
Does Science/Technology detach us from our humanity?
Is Artificial Life possible?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

18+ Unanswered Questions in Physics

Physics is my personal favourite science. I try and read as much of it as possible especially with respect to cosmology, theories of everything and the philosophy of the discipline.

The following is a list that I have compiled of 18+ Problems that add to the richness of this field.

1. The Nature of Time Travel - Is it possible at all? If so is it uni or bi-directional?
2. The Existence of Dark Matter - Where does it come from? How dense is it? What is its constituent makeup?
3. Does Dark Energy explain the accelerating expansion of the Universe?
4. Why are the physical constants h, c, G etc so finally tuned? Is there a rationalization behind this or do we have to resort to the Anthropic Principle? Do the constants change with time?
5. How are the Laws of Physics carried and conveyed? How did they come into being in the first place.
6. Will General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics ever be reconciled? Or do we need a third Theory?
7. Is String Theory a valid Theory of Everything or the modern day equivalent of the aether or Phlogiston Theory?
8. How useful is Quantum Loop Gravity as a Theory of Everything?
9. Will the Higgs Boson Particle ever be discovered? And if so will it explain the concept of 'mass'?
10. Is there a level of organization that exists beyond the Quantum Foam? Is it defineable?
11. Is it possible to alter radioactive decay rates? How did they become 'fixed'?
12. How does randomness lead to order? What is the mechanism that faciltates complexity at each level in a hierachy system? Is this independent of the sum of the parts of the system?
13. Is Quantum Mechanics observationally reconcilable within in itself? How does this relation to consciousness?
14. What conditions need to be in place for the expansion of a singularity?
15. Does Newton's Law of Gravity need a 'fix' to the distance term in the denominator to correct for the unknown mass of the universe?
16. How Complete is the Standard Model?
17. How can one ascertain the history of a quark from its structure? ie. Are Quarks time independent?
18. What does the Universe expand into? Is Expansion an illusion?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

External Group Units

This is a mini-paper I wrote for class on External Group Units - a self-coined term.


Identification with group units forms a vital part in the psychological development of humans (we are social animals after all). In adolescence an external group unit is often sought as an adjunct to the immediate family. In many cases the external group unit supercedes the family as the paramount body of influence for the adolescent, and hence it functions critically in directing the world view of the young adult. Whether the cause of such a drive is genetic (it may be hard-wired into our brains) or environment based is debatable. However the ‘need to fit into a larger-order stratum, a fact that I have seen in many of the students that I have taught is powerful.

It can be argued that a human being passes through several stages of interaction with others, increasing the contact field size at each stage. As an infant the relationship is directed solely toward the parents (usually the mother as a source of nourishment), as a child siblings and close friends become more crucial, while as an adolescent the interaction expands to include members of the respective peer group. The rise of the peer group often brings with it a questioning of some of the parental values. This can lead to a rejection of home values in what as often described as teenage rebellion. Craving a higher meaning and not finding this in peer groups (which are too unstructured and lack authority), the adolescent expands their horizon further exploring the various external group units that exist. These can be sports or club focused but often such organizations lack a spiritual worldview that can replace the solidity lost by foregoing the family unit. The adolescent is then open to be drawn to idealism and its many incarnates, a transition that can be either positive (joining a human betterment group such as Save the Children) or negative (generally one of the us-against-them type philosophies).

The phenomenon of the home-grown terrorist growing up with all the benefits of western society (often from an affluent home) willing to kill and die for a belief is a direct consequence of an extreme but unfortunately not rare identification with an idealism. It is no coincidence that many of these suicide bombers are adolescents as their identification with the external group unit as a replacement for the ‘dead family’ is developing. The Nazis knew this hence their focus on the Youth Movement, as did the Mullahs in Iran who had no shortage of adolescent martyrs for the war against Iraq in the 1980s. In autocratic countries it is not uncommon for children to betray their parents for the ‘cause’, a fact which both Hitler and Stalin (with his Young Patriots) knew only too well.

Adolescents need to feel part of an external group unit that’s far greater than themselves and if no positive outlets exist that can speak to them philosophically and spiritually, its conceivable that they can turn to the dark side with a zeal that can flip Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on its head (survival loses its significance). The drive is that strong and should be further studied.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Non-Existent Circles

I was teaching a physics class on Uniform Circular motion the other day which made me think about the concept of a circle.

A circle is defined as the locus of all points equidistant from a center. As any school kid can tell you a circle has both a circumference and a diameter and the relationship between the two is:

C = Pi*d
where C = Circumference
d = diamater (or 2 *radius)

Now Pi is an irrational number that does not terminate. So that we cannot say with 100% surety what its value is.
Therefore if we know exactly what the circles diameter is there will always be some uncertainty with respect to its circumference and if we know its circumference then its diameter is in doubt.
So we cannot know both its diameter and its circumference. Since a circle has to have both a defineable circumference and diameter. We run into a mathematical paradox.

A number of resolutions to this paradox are:
a. Circles don't exist. Neither do other conics dependent on Pi for dimensions.
b. Pi is in reality a rational number.
c. Higher Dimensions account for the uncertainty in circle geometry (ie. 2-D Euclidean Geometry is a simplification even in the flattest worlds) - A String Theory type of Approach.
d. Pi is not a constant but fluctuates somehow creating an illusion of existence.

Another point to consider is whether circle uncertainty is the mechanism behind Heisenberg Indeterminancy? Does it also effect observation and if so how? Its worth thinking about.

Football Results Today

After England's dreadful performances against Macedonia (0-0) and Croatia (2-0 loss) it was great to return back to the EPL.

I watched the Wigan v Man U game in the morning. Rooney was clearly man of the match and United deserved to win the fixture despite trailing 1-0 at the half. Baines' goal for the underdogs was priceless.

Liverpool 1 Blackburn 1 - Bellamy scored but the Reds are still not jiving. Consider this two points dropped.

Reading 0 Chelsea 1 - Blues lose both keepers but win with an own goal and nine men.

Arsenal 3 Watford 0 - Business as usual. Henry was fantastic.

Aston Villa 1 Spurs 1 - Gareth Barry goal in 81st minute keeps Villains unbeaten record in EPL alive. However Juan Pablo Angel misses a penalty and then scores an own goal. Now that hurts.

Portsmouth 2 West Ham 0 - Season continues to worsen for Hammers as Harry Redknapp
pulls one over former club.

Boro 2 Everton 1 - Toffees finally drop one - against inconsistent Teesiders of all teams. Mark Viduka scores the winner.

In League Championship One: Cardiff leads the division. The Welsh side defeated Crystal Palace 2-1.

Man City 0 Sheffield 0 - More zzzzzs

Bad news for Leeds - Stoke defeated them 4-0 at Elland Road. It doesn't get worse than this. Does it?

Oh yeah Roy Keane's Sunderland were whacked 4-1 by Preston. Wouldn't want to be in Black Cats dressing room after this one.

In Spain. Surprise. Getafe defeated Real Madrid 1-0.

Clearing up a Political Issue

Here is the response I sent to a bulletin board regarding the left wing nature of Fascism.

It can and has been successfully argued that Fascism is actually a far left phenomenon. A type of Socialism with a nationalistic as opposed to an international focus. Right Wing causes tend to be more individualistic. Left Wing ideals are based more on group think.

Fascism has a group think mentality that is ultimately driven by Social Engineering (very much a left wing force). It opposes existimg establishments and is therefore non-conservative. It also seeks to remold society in its own image upward by destroying the existing infrastructure through radical transformation. This is a characteristic of Stalinism, Maoism, Marxist-Lennism, International Socialism and of course National Socialism or Fascism.

Its no co-incidence that such a Fascist politician as Benito Mussolini was an ex-socialist.The transition was easy to make. Both philosophies for one believe in strong government involvement and nationalization of industry (controlled economy) to meet an agenda. Modern day Fascists such as Lyndon LaRouche are following in Mussolini's footsteps and have made the 'small leap from Communistm to Fascism. Chavez in Venezuela has made the switch the other way.

A Far Right Philosophy is more likely to be that of Strict Libertarianism that seeks to reduce government involvement to a minimum - oppsing all types of social engineering and nationalization.Its one of the giant misconceptions that Fascism is Rightist as it fails to agree to this classification when analyzed strictly.

Left wing historians prefer to brand Fascist ideologies such as Nazism and Islamic Fundamentalism (to superficially distance themselves from either one) but when analyzed critically against the excesses of the 'f'ormal' left in China (Cultural Revolution), USSR (Purges and Forced Famines), Cambodia (Killing Fields) and North Korean (complete economic overhaul and famine) the similarities are uncanny.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In the News X

Anti-Israel Hate Fest in town bought to you by the usual suspects
As usual the predictable forces on the far-left have gathered together to plaster Israel (the only democracy in the Middle East). Its sad to see CUPE sponsoring this crap.
Its amazing that one never sees any campaigns from the so-called champions of Human Rights regarding the boycotting of
Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Palestinian Authority, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan and other shining lights of 'progress' in that region. Once again the so-called champions of social justice reveal their hypocrisy.

Interesting discussion here on why the Palestinian's place little value on their own lives but somehow demand that the Israelis do

Its good to see Ignatieff ahead in Quebec Liberal race

Jacques Chirac accused of meddling again. No Suprise here from Western Europe's leading hypocrite.

Jack Straw stands up for common sense
Conservatives show no backbone.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sept 30th - Oct 6th Overview

I know its been ten days or so and I have last blogged. So this entry represents a catch-up on whats been happenning in my life.

Sept 30th - Had a meeting with Chapters regarding my book 'A History of the Future'. Looks as though I will be involved in an author signing initiative shortly. Excellent News.

This made up for Liverpool's 2-0 defeat at Bolton. At least Chelsea dropped points to the Villains (1-1 at the Bridge) though.

Oct 1st - Turned 38. A bit depressing but I cannot complain about my life and the blessings from G-d that I have received so far. My little son and wife are incredible.

Man United beat Newcastle 2-0 as expected. That fixture is so predictable.

Oct 2nd - Yom Kippur. Made it through the fast without my regular coffee withdrawel headache. Speeches at Aish were not as motivating as usual this year but then again maybe I have heard them before in one form or another.
Parents bought me an awesome book on the 'Race to Split the Atom'. Will be reading that soon. Although I have a stack of New Scientists to get through.

October 3rd - Back at School for more Teacher Ed. The debates in the Foundation Course are wonderful. Oh yes I managed to inform some young idealist Illuminati conspiracy nut on the bus that he had no real foundation for his Anti-Zionist position. This was somewhat enjoyable.

October 4th - Thinking a lot about Complexity Theory. Great Class Today on the Nature of Science. I was one of the judges in a debate about the 'Limits of Science and the bias of the subject. Prof gave an interesting oveview about Reaification in Science and the Epistemological/Ontological Axis. More to follow.

October 5th - Taught two Physics Grade 12 Classes in my Practicum Today. Topic covered was Friction - Static and Kinetic. In the evening I attended a Graduation Ceremony at the Private School that I once applied the pedagogic trade in. It was refreshing to see both the Graduate and current Grade 12 students, many of whom I have instructed in Physics, Science, History or Philosophy. I have to give them credit for sitting through my avalanche of puns. I wish them all the success in the future.

October 6th - Chilled out this day. Spent it with the family but also completed two assignments for school. Started reading Lee Smolin's book on the 'Trouble with Physics'. Expect a Review soon. He really digs into String Theory.

Thats all for now.

Till later


Friday, September 29, 2006

In the News IX

Pakistan needs to get serious about al-Qaeda
Musharraf's failure to do so is what is fueling Taliban strength in Afghanistan

Dems may gain ground in House and Senate but not enough to oust Republicans on either front.,2933,216263,00.html

Debt and Deficit may bury Gordon Brown

Had a chuckle about the dead person scandal that has been dogging Liberals
My question: How can they tell the difference between dead or alive Liberal voters?

If Bob Rae is elected Liberal head then there is more proof that the Party lacks imagination

Saturday, September 23, 2006

In the News VIII

First saw this linked to Dissecting Leftism. Its worth reading. An article from Global Politician on Communism and Islamic Terror
(From Global Politician)

What Hezbollah really wants? The destruction of Israel. A message to all misguided 'peaceniks'

Palestinians miss the opportunity again
This is hardly suprising but at least Hamas is consistent.,1,2375348.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

President 'Shove it' is at at it again.
The Venezuelan leader should look at his own dismal human rights records and national problems before opening his mouth.
But then again that would be too logical.

Violence increases in Darfur as Arab Federation does nothing
200,000 people have been killed here since (mostly Black Muslims) . 2.5 million displaced. But why is Black America and the Muslim world so silent? Where are the Anti-Apartheid Type boycotts and protests of the 80's.,,-6099828,00.html

Footer Today

Liverpool capped a great week defeating Newcastle 2-0 on Wednesday night, through a Dirk Kuyt strike and a Xabi Alonso 65 yard effort, by defeating Spurs 3-0 at Anfield today. The first half was played tentatively but after the break the big red machine came into itself destroying the North Londoners with goals from Mark Gonzalez, Kuyt and a John Arne Riise long range punch that Paul Robinson could never ever dream of stopping. The win pushes Liverpool into 6th spot in the league.

Other results:

Reading 1 Man U 1 - The Royals were lucky to be awarded a penalty. United had more than enough chances to win this one.

Arsenal 3 Sheffield United 0 - Good times for Gunners look to be back again after confidence boost at Old Trafford last Sunday.

Fulham 0 Chelsea 2 - Lampard brace seals this one for the Blues. Chelsea lead league but Pompey have a game in hand.

Villa 2 Charlton 0 - My dad feels that the Addicks may go down this year. he could be correct.

Man City 2 West Ham 0 - Pressure is off Pierce for now. Hammers continue to battle.

Wigan 1 Watford 1 - Good away point for the Hornets

Boro 0 Blackburn 1 - Rovers move up table. Teesiders near the abyss.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In the News VII

Democracy comes crashing down in Thailand
Another sad day for the popular voice.....I hope new leadership doesn't align themselves with
global radicals.

Maher Arar falsely Accused
Canadian Intelligence erred.. fine...but why is nobody criticizing that bastion of human rights Syria (they are the ones carrying out the torture in the first place).

Dennis Prager takes Howard Zinn to the cleaners
Loved it when Prager ties Zinn into knots over the Bush-Zarqawi moral equivalence.

A promising sign in Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue
Question Though: Is the Abbas/Hamas coalition serious about stopping terrorist attacks against Israel or is this more smokescreen?

Lamont Calls Lieberman a turncoat
Looks as though the Anti-War Dems are in panic mode. More name calling.....

More stupid rhetoric by Thabo Mbeki
SA President falls into blame game trap instead of seeking a workable solution. Reminds me of his conspiracy-based HIV policy (or lack of).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In the News VI

Hezbollah tells the UN what to do
Another sign that the ceasefire agreement might not last very long

Tough talking journalist dies,0,1665127.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines
Lets face it Oriana Fallaci was no Larry King. Thats a compliment.

Hugo Chavez continues his walk off the deep end
Chavez has taken over the international tough guy wannabee once held by Muammar al-Gaddafi. Gaddafi though was more intelligent.

More from the Nanny state
I had a chuckle at this one....

The UN - a watchdog for Corruption - NOT

It doesn't take much to get the Muslim world angry
Still waiting to see how much unecessary apologizing the Pope will do. Somebdy needs to introduce a critical thinking program to the Muslim world.

Clash of Civilizations rears its head again

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The War in Iraq

It should be clear to all what the War in Iraq has become - A battleground power struggle for domination of the Islamic World.

On one side are the Sunni indirectly and directly represented by former Baathists, Al-Quaeda, the Iraqi Accordance Front and co. On the other side are the Shi'ites championed by Iran, their Allies in the so-called US backed government and Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. A 'great' combo.

In short Iraq has levels of complexity which would drive the most sane over the edge (although isn't that so of most of the politics of the Middle East?).

Which makes me wonder what the US is trying to achieve there? Sadaam is out. Great!!!But building a democracy in Iraq is unachievable (the society hasn't even made it through to the enlightenment never mind grasping the foundations of liberalism). Both Sunni and Sh'ite are opposed to the American presence (whether they admit it or not) and as it stands right now it looks as though the US is doing the dirty work for a government that is buddy-buddy with Iran's mullahs (the biggest menace in the region).

The US should declare their goals met and leave. American deaths in this conflict are not worth it. If the Saudis and Kuwaitis are worried about an enemy presence on their front lines let them deal with it themselves. Why should American lives be sacrificed to ensure that the Saudis (who are also no friend of the US) are secure? Let them fight their own battles.

As for the oil. It will still flow. It may come in at a higher price but in a way that may be a blessing in disguise as it may stimulate the drive for alternative fuel (a venture that becomes more economocally feasible at higher oil prices). We should not be involved in a war for the benefits of the oil companies. Their agenda has often been contrary to the best concerns of the American People (besides cozying up to Fascist dictators in the Middle East, the Oil companies have also had strong relations in the past with such champions of human rights as the Nazi Regime).

My soultion. Withdraw and let the two Muslim Factions duke it out. Yes they will hate us but then they hate us anyway. The money saved can be re-directed into the War against Terror - the true fight - Protecting the homeland, forcing Iran to backdown on the Nuclear issue and pressuring and defeating the Fundamentalists internationally through more usefully directed covert actions.

English Footer Recap

I went to the Thornhill Village Fair this morning with the family and had an enjoyable time which is more than I can say for all those poor souls who sat through this mornings trilogy of games

Charlton v Portsmouth - Pompey won 1-0
Bolton v Boro - Zeroes
Watford v Villa - More Zeroes.

Nevertheless its Sunday's games that matter. Liverpool are away to Chelsea at the Bridge and almost every pundit has the Blues winning this one. I sheepishly have to agree with this one but my heart says that the Reds may be onto a pick-me up and may salvage a draw. I would love to see Dirk Kuyt score but depending on who he pairs up with chances may be minimal. Benitez has turned into the tinkerman and this worries me. Its stability that leads to performance and right now the 's' word is not in the Spaniard's vocabulary..

I would love to see Arsenal put one over the Scum tomorrow but again I am not holding my breath. Rooney is a Gunner killer and Wenger's boys mess around too much with the ball to make use of the few opportunities that will be available at the theatre.

On the god news front it was great to see the Toffees drop points at home (2-2 to Wigan). Don't want them getting a swollen head.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In the News V

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Spirals further into the Sewer
And to think that my Tax Dollars go to support these clowns.

Lebanese PM discovers his backbone
.....for now anyway.

Has Mahmoud Abbas woken up or is this more rhetoric for the Western Media?,7340,L-3304144,00.html
Still not sure if Abbas-Hamas alliance is good cop-bad cop or just bad cop x 2?

Hugo Chavez has been sniffing that Venezuelan oil too long?,20867,20403689-1702,00.html
He reminds me of someone's bratty little kid brother spoling for a good whallop.

Its sad what the press considers a 'moderate ' these days?
Khatami merely spins a 'good face' on an Iranian regime that is rotten to the core. Once again the pseudo-intellectuals in the press fall for this.

My Education at Pretoria Boys High School

The High School that I attended in South Africa (between the years 1983-1986) has a website.
The school is located in Pretoria and is (and was) known for its strong academic and sports focus.

Pleasant Memories include:

1. The Friends I made (isn't that true of so many experiences in life?)
2. The School Wide Cross Country Run (always a hoot for the non-competitive).
3. History lessons with Roy Hoggan and Carol Turton. Best teachers I ever had.
4. David Wylde (an Oxford Don) dissecting Hamlet. Another wonderful teacher.
5. The School's open air production of Hamlet - (The Main building was well represented as Castle Elsinor).
6. Winning the School Wide General Knowledge competition and then placing 4th in the Nationwide Championships.
7. Table Tennis and Philosophical discussions at Lunch
8. Representing the School in an environmental research Competition.
9. The Final Graduation Dance.
10. Discovering a love for science in Ms. Skinner's Grade 10 Physics course. Up until then I was indifferent to the subject.
11. The School Tuck Shop
12. I didn't mind the Assemblies - We had one per day and they usually started and ended on a positive note. Being Jewish and having to listen to Christian School Prayer didn't bother me either. I was never forced to participate in any religious instruction.
13. Winning Academic Colours on a few occasions.

Unplesasant Memories

1. The high level of Anti-Semitism and Racism in the School (amongst students and some Staff).
2. Dealing with Bullies.
3. Consistently poor Math teachers for the most part. I excelled at the subject despite them.
4. Being Forced to do vaults in Gym.
5. Caning (I must have been caned close to fifty times).
6. No girls at the School - A downer. Indirectly fostered cult of masculinity.
7. The over emphasis on Rugby as the Sport of All-Sports
8. Fascist based hair cut requirements.
9. Military Cadet marches.
10. Poor English teachers from Grades 9-11 who weren't interested for the most part in showing one how to write an essay - Another skill that I finally learnt on my own and improved on in David Wylde's Grade 12 Course.
11. Having to study Afrikaans - a dreadful language.
12. Shooting - I was a lousy marksman.

Monday, September 11, 2006

On September 11th 2006

My deepest sympathies go out to all those who lost innocent loved ones in the treacherous terrorist attacks of the 11th of September 2001.

NDP wants out of Afghanistan
- So I guess that Canada's no brain socialists are comfortable with leaving the Afgan people to the fate of the Taliban. I always thought the NDP cared about the plight of women worldwide? Clearly this is not the case.

'Harper cozying up to Bush argument' misses the point

I am growing tired of those commentators who criticize Stephen Harper for taking a stance against such terrorist groups as Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. One does not have to be a friend of George Bush or even motivated by a closeness to the US (as Harper is often accused) to realize that Islamic Fundamentalism and the terrorism espoused and undertaken by many of its loyalist followers is inherently evil and must be stopped. This is an outcome of a logical understanding of world issues. How long will it take these critics to realize that Fundamentalist Islam detests the West and wants it vanquished? Being Mr. Nice Guy won't help. End of Story.

Al-Qaeda vents at the UN, US, Israel and sanity
Just a reminder in case we forget.

Battle for Supremacy in the Muslim World
Shi'ite vs Sunni Fundamentalists
They do have one commonality though - a hatred of the West.
Pity the Ivory Tower intellectuals at Harvard can't see this.
Score one for the PR team of Iran.

A Ray of Hope - London Muslim leader honoured

Is David Cameron the next Neville Chaimberlain?
Remember when the Tories had such leaders as Winston Churchill and Maggie Thatcher. Looks like that ship has sailed some time ago.

Some Childishness from Jacques Chirac
Dug this one up. It is Chirac to a tee. Hehe...,,13509-2101032,00.html

Some advice from Ontario's One Time Primary Tax and Spender

More signs that Jack Layton was dropped on his head as a child
War on Terror - Pet Project?????

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What I like about teaching

1. The challenge of helping students understand an important but not always easy to understand concept. The 'Eureka' moment is spectacular.
2. The sense of community of the school setting.
3. The continous movement inherent in the mechanics of the work - I like being active.
4. The Students (for the most part anyway). Many of them have great insight.
5. Philosophical conversations with other teachers.
6. Teaching and being immersed in a subject you love - for me this is physics and history (I am very fortunate here).
7. Critical thinking brainstorming sessions with the students.
8. Ample Vacation time (being honest)
9. The personal growth as a human being that true teaching encourages.
10. The sense of contribution to the human spirit that I have not found in any other line of work that I have been involved in.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Footer Fiasco

I woke up early this morning to see Liverpool blow it against the Toffees. The sad comment about the match was the Reds dominated both the midfield and attack. But it's goals that count and Everton had three to Liverpool's zero. While flattering to the Blues they deserved to win in that they took their chances.
Player synopsis reads as follows:

Pepe Reina - Had a disasterous game. Was beaten at the near post by Andy Johnson and then gave up the third goal in what looked like a scene from a bloopers video. 4/10.

Steve Finnan - Was out of position for Goal #1 allowing Tim Cahill to score from an unmarked position. 5/10

Sami Hyppia - Struggled to deal with Johnson's pace. Slowness could be a growing concern this season. 5/10

Jamie Carragher - Also looked slugglish (although with fairness Carra is returning from injuring). Was at fault for Goal #2. 4/10

Fabio Aurelio. Still not sold on thisd guy. Is better at LW than LB. 5/10.

Momo Sissoko - Did well in Midfield 7/10.

Steve Gerrard - Hit woodwork twice. Lead by example but played out of position 8/10.

Luis Garcia - Very poor, lacked touch. 4/10

Xabi Alonso - Not playing to potential 5/10.

Robbie Fowler - Slow and ineffective. Should not have started. 5/10

Peter Crouch - Needed a faster moving partner. 6/10.

Dirk Kuyt - Had a solid game. Could have scored 8/10.

Jan Arne Riise - Injured again. 5/10. At least its not a break.

Jermaine Penant - Not on long enough to be effective.

Rafa Benitez - Terrible team selection. Fowler and Crouch up front removed the speed factor from Liverpool's attack. Alonso should have been dropped. Despite having a midweek game against PSV this coming week, one of Penant, Bellamy or Kuyt should have started. Everton are not a stroll in the park. Defence is looking woeful as well. Why is Pauleta not playing or Agger? Aurelio is not a LB. 4/10

Other results

Man U 1 Spurs 0 - United play badly but win. May be their season.
Chelsea 2 Charlton 1 - At least someone is keeping the pressure on United.
Arsenal 1 Boro 1 - Gunners still without a win this season.
Fulham 2 Newcastle 1 - Toons in a slump.
Portsmouth 1 Wigan 0 - Pompey in Europe next season? It looks that way.
Bolton 1 Watford 0 - Another nail in the coffin for Vicerage Road outfit.
Sheffield United 0 Blackburn 0 - Yawn.....

In the News IV

Anti-Semitism amongst Muslim Europeans
Trend is especially disturbing especially the belief (as outlinedin the article) that 37% of British Muslims believe that Jews in the UK are a legitimate target as a result of issues in the Middle East.

Iran's Ahmadinejad to meet Venezuela's Chavez,00050001.htm
The Unholy Alliance Starts to take shape

More criticism of Chavez - the new darling of the Left
I wonder how long it will take the left to realize that Chavez is not the good guy they believe him to be? Probably never. Look at Castro ad the die-hard apologists for Stalin, Mao and Lenin.

The Cult of Che Guevera - Pro-Soviet figure - who ultimately bought disaster to Cuba
Dug this up while perusing the net. More reasons not to be caught dead in a Che T-shirt.

Hypocrite Watch: Ned Lamont
Not really a surprise here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thoughts on a Challenge

I have taught for four years at a Private School in the Greater Toronto Area and have thoroughly immersed myself in a variety of different courses. These included:
Physics (Both Grades 11 and 12 - My speciality).
Biology (Grade 11)
Chemistry (Grade 11)
Philosophy (Grade 12)
General Sciences (Grades 9 and 12)
Ancient History (Grade 11)

In addition I have tutored Math 10, 11 and 12 (both Calculus and Algebra) as well as Chemistry and Biology 12. Hence in true form I have lived up to my ideal as a generalist (as much as possible). Having said all this I still lacked one essential ingredient - a Teaching Certificate that would allow me to teach beyond the Private School System. For this reason I have chosen to take a year long sabbatical from my Private School Teaching to earn the B.Ed qualification at an Ontario University.
My colleagues at the Private School warned me to not expect much. Often telling me how bored I would be in class. So far I have found the program somewhat to the contrary. My instructers are very informative, with strong real world experience and my practical experience at a Public School has shown me several techniques that I can use in both improving my content delivery and classroom management skills. In addition the quality of people that I have met in the Program have been first rate and my experience so far (although it is still early days) is certainly encouraging. In fact I look forward to each day of learning and teaching (the two aren't that different).

Now my impression so far might be a realization as well of the positive attitude that I have sought personally to engender but right now I am taking each task as a new opportunity, tackling hurdles with a zeal and putting as the Brits would say 'my best foot forward'. I believe that in life you receive that which you are willing to give out. You create your own happiness.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In the News III

The Problem with Human Rights Watch aka (Hypocrisy Forum)
Interesting points here on the biased nature of the Human Rights Watch Report.

The Congo:
More People are killed here in a day than who died in the entire Israel-Hezbollah War. Why then does nobody seem to care? Where is the Hypocrisy Forum?

Conservatives lead Labour in the Polls
My only fear is that Labour will ditch Blair and lean left to pick up Lib-Dem voters. This will signal a return to the Politics of the 80s. Not sure I trust Gordon Brown in the War against Terror.

South Africa: The Zuma Trial
If Zuma falls will the ANC divide as well?
Zuma's supporters could join forces with Inkatha (both Zulu).
These are not easy days for Mebeki. His reactionary poilicy on AIDS is under more criticism now than ever (and rightfully so).

The Mexican Elections
It seems that no election in Mexico ever goes smoothly. When Carlos Salinas took power in 1988 he too faced charges of winning through a rigged elections.

France 3 Italy 1
French finally have something to cheer about.,,30849-2346799,00.html

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Time Magazines Readership - Lost in Translation

I have to wonder as to what type of people read TIME magazine these days.

Here are the Top 5 Reader's picks of the People who influence the world.

1. Stephen Colbert- Yes at times he can be funny but influencing the world? How narrow is this world?

2. Ellen DeGeneres - Give me a break.

3. Dane Cook - We really are amusing ourselves to death

4. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Only one I might agree with

5. Will Smith - I rest my case.

Why don't they rename TIME - The New PEOPLE Magazine. It seems that they have the same readership. (Which is really sad as PEOPLE was spun off TIME originally to cater to an Entertainment focused audience. It seems that they shouldn't have bothered).

Monday, September 04, 2006

40 Ways that the Left has screwed up the World

1. Failed Socialist programs in Africa especially Tanzania - Under Julius Nyrere
2. Stalinist Purges and Forced famines
3. The Gulag system in the Soviet Union
4. Suppression of Human Rights in East Bloc
5. Farm Annexations in Zimbabwe - Beginning of an age of Poverty
6. Liberation before Education Policy - South Africa - Culture of Violence
7. Ignoring Union Corruption
8. Clamping down of Free Speech in University
9. Sixties Radicalism and the Birth of the Slacker Culture and mediocrity
10. Supression of the legitimate criticism of the gay community by outsiders as homophobic
11. Glorifying the dictator and Human rights abuser Fidel Castro
12. Fall of Philosophical Standards bought on by Deconstructionist Theory
13. Tolerance to welfare corruption
14. Culture of Entitlement
15. Assisting the Mullahs to seize power in Iran
16. Justifying the attrocities of Sadaam Hussein and Hafez Assad in the Middle East
17. Promoting friction between different groups by supporting unjust Affirmative Action Programs that only serve to keep racism alive.
18. Radical Feminism's war against the Male gender
19. Support for the dumbing down of education programs at the School Level
20. Promoting a culture of emotion over logic
21. Supporting and excusing Khymer Rouge behaviour in Cambodia.
22. Restricting economic growth by supporting high taxes.
23. Paying lip service (and in many cases supporting) to terrorist groups like the IRA, Hezbollah, Red Army, Action Direct, Baader Meinhof Gang and Hamas.
24. Turning a blind eye to Islamic Terrorism
25. Restricting discourse through the use of PC language.
26. Promoting ill-thought out environmental packages such as Kyoto for political rather than practical gain.
27. Encouraging a convenient global criticism of the United States while ignoring the world's many dictatorships who abuse human rights.
28. Advocating Moral Relativism.
29. For Lieing to the populace in claiming to support Cultural diversity - when in reality championing a classless social structure with very little diversity.
30. Weakening the Effectiveness of the War against Terror by using the cloak of 'Human Rights Violations' as a stopper.
31. Turning the University campuses into breeding grounds for radicalism and intolerance.
32. Encouraging litigation based on frivilous consumer rights initiatives.
33. Playing the race game in the Katrina Disaster for political gains.
34. Turning a blind eye to hate movements and racists in its own ranks provided they espouse the same Anti-Judeo-Christian views.
35. Promoting along with the extreme right a culture of conspiracy thinking that it is baseless.
36. Overemphasizing the 'poverty breeds violence myth' that shortcircuits all rational treatment of a specific crisis.
37. Not standing up against the inherent evil of Late Term Abortion.
38. Polluting the environment - The East Bloc Countries were notorious for this.
39. Ignoring the reactionary programs of nationalizing industries that serve to benefit the elite few while notoriously discouraging investment.
40. The Cultural Revolution in China.