2009.12.30

Human Blood For Sale?

17.59.19 - Mark

I keep seeing random guesses on the cost of human blood, with some saying just the cost of training the people who help collect the donations to $200+ per pint, so while fruitlessly hunting for something that at least feels like a legit source, I did come across this older Slate article - "Does the Red Cross Sell Blood?" The title, and the first few points it makes go against what the American Red Cross says (second question on that page)

We all know that blood in worth far more than anything it may cost, but we know that it costs something to save lives - from the people who are trained to conduct and prepare donated units, the proper testings, storage, and transportation, to the fact that supply and demand fluctuates thought the year. Even the potential future of Artificial Bloodmakes us wonder about the cost of "free" blood. It would just be nice to have nice solid facts rather than wild uncited speculations.

I doubt it would cause me to stop donating blood

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2008.02.28

Photo Chaser

23.41.09 - Mark

After yesterday's long essay you just want something simple to look at, and since I haven't been posting many photos here recently (hint: I've been posting to my flickr account) I figured I'd throw up this one from last week's lunar eclipse. I had been hoping to take this series with the moon traveling to totality over pilot mountain, but being cold, windy, and insanely cloudy that didn't happen. There was about an hour reprieve in the cloud cover however, which let me shoot a couple dozen photos of the moon, from which I picked the 7 best and blended them in photoshop to create

Seven Moons - View Large (2724 x 1918)

Seven Moons

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2007.10.23

Mole Day

23.54.16 - Mark

I forgot that today was Mole Day, it's not quite as memorable as Pi Day, but more entertaining. The better science teachers in my life were probably igniting fireballs in the school parking lot about 18 hours ago. Much more amusing than watching the movie Pi

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2007.04.08

Random thought:

14.31.43 - Mark

I'm fairly sure that "Intellegent design" gets you the easter bunny.

You have a rabbit, except over grown and it's bipeddal. Its fur (a mammalian trait) is colored in pastel colors not commonly found in nature, and it lays bird eggs (an avian trait) which rather than the natural calcium carbonate, tend to have plastic or chocolate shells.

Yes its cool, but I'm not sure that it will survive in nature for very long.

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2006.01.24

What do you want to learn today?

14.35.33 - Mark

"so by the time they get to 12th grade, they come to college, ahh - now I'm free, I don't have this curriculum shoved down my throat, I'm going to take things that are 'interesting' " -- David Helfand discussing Science Education (Emphasis mine) on Science Firday, Dec 30th 2005

Of the many podcasts I listen to Science Friday and some of the other radio based shows tend not to rank up real high in my listening queue, but they tend to stay in the list. So today one of the ~20 minute ones that coincide with commute to and from school was on What Scientists Owe the Public, with a strong focus on education.

Like nearly all of the similar interviews it takes its shots at No Child Left Behind, the lack of science funding, the need to teach critical thinking, and all the usual suspects, but the above quote about 13 minutes in really hit. As in I listened the clip 5 times, hit me.

As a student, I think most students are aware of the curriculums imposed on them during high school, I certainly was. Curriculums are dry boring documents issued by fat white balding bureaucrats hundreds or thousands of miles away. Most of them probably grew up in an era where enforcing discipline took precedence over all else in the classroom.

It's a document designed to manipulate students. I don't think anyone likes being manipulated, in any way, but certainly not by unknown persons with no real connection to them. I'm sure if you need the obvious explained to you, there are plenty of psychologists out there who will explain how that's even truer when dealing with teenagers trying to assert their individuality.

I'm not going to turn this into an anti-centralization post, that's too vague a solution. I'm not even going to say you should completely overthrow curriculums. No I think educators need to have a very basic list of skills students need to walk away from the class with (ie identify good science and bad science, be able to summarize a novel) but have the flexibility to tailor the lesson plan around to goals to create something that students enjoy.

I don't think its too far fetched. Ask a class what they want to learn. Chances are, they'll always be able to tell you.

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