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).