This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, and Amy McGrath, the Chief Operating Officer of ASU Prep and Deputy Vice President of ASU Educational Outreach. Mr. Khan shares the origin story of his wildly successful online K-12 education platform, which reaches 137 million users across 190 countries. Mr. Khan describes how he and his team develop academically rigorous lessons and translate them into videos to ensure kids have access to the highest-quality academic content. Ms. McGrath explains how innovations like Florida Virtual School (founded by current ASU Prep Digital CEO Julie Young) more effectively meet 21st-century families’ needs than the current K-12 American public education system, which is still based on the factory model and agricultural calendar. They discuss how the new partnership between Khan Academy and ASU Prep will enhance online education and address learning loss in the post-COVID era.

Stories of the Week: Many welcomed President Biden’s recent announcement of a loan forgiveness plan for up to $20,000 in student debt – but it excludes holders of private loans. Is physical education undervalued in schools?

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I know that people have been clamoring for a Ricochet app for a while now.  The site doesn’t have the IT bandwidth to create one or maintain one.  But yesterday I found the next best thing, and that’s how to add the Ricochet icon to your phone home screen so you can get here directly […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Bill Evers and Ze’ev Wurman, of the Independent Institute, about the challenges of ensuring all students have access to quality K-12 math and science education in California and across the U.S. They review the findings of the 1983 report, A Nation At Risk, and international TIMSS and PISA data going back a decade, as well as recent NAEP results that highlight the ongoing educational crisis, compounded by COVID-related learning loss. They discuss some of the time-tested approaches taken by higher-performing countries such as Israel, and those in East Asia and Europe, to prepare students to succeed in STEM, and how state policymakers can address the gaps so America can become competitive with international peers in STEM fields. They share the findings of Dr. Evers’ Wall Street Journal op-ed about the rise of “woke math” in California, and how we can resist politicizing learning. They conclude with a review of a 2020 Pioneer Institute report that found that less than half of all U.S. high schools offer computer science instruction, and that women and people of color were underrepresented in those classrooms.

Stories of the Week: In Massachusetts, supporters of a proposed progressive tax claim the revenue will increased education spending – but will the measure instead harm the economy and reduce state resources for education investments? A program adopted by 19 colleges across the country is facilitating connections between conservative Christian colleges and liberal institutions to address religious and political polarization.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome the news that badly outspent GOP candidates are getting an infusion of $160 million from Mitch McConnell’s Super PAC for the final push to November. They also shudder as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says he will be acting aggressively to rein in inflation but that many people will feel “pain” in the meantime. And they hammer the FBI after Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg tells Joe Rogan how the Bureau told Facebook to be on the lookout to confront expected Russian disinformation. That led Facebook to limit the reach of posts related to the Hunter Biden laptop story.

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Ray introduced me to Dr. Jonathan Couey, a biologist in Pittsburgh, who used to have a blog entitled “JC on a bike”.  He would speak about what was going on in his world, as he rode his bike around town.  He has spoken out forthrightly about the dangers of the mRNA vaccines in general, and […]

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Stad began this conversation here:https://ricochet.com/1293879/where-are-the-hurricanes/ Then OldPhil made this comment: “I read something a few weeks ago about sand/dust from the Sahara blowing into the upper reaches over the Atlantic this season, thus stifling the development of storm cells that come off the African coast.” Preview Open

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Numbers Too Large (and Small) to Count

 

At one point in the children’s novel “The Phantom Tollbooth,” its protagonist, Milo, sets out to reach infinity. When he abandons the quest as hopeless, he is advised “Infinity is a poor place.”

“Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them: A Cosmic Quest from Zero to Infinity,” by Antonio Padilla, holds a different view. As the author shows, infinity can be terrifying, but it is filled with an endless amount of numbers.

This is not a book just about numbers. It is about the relationship between numbers and physics, and how the world works at both the largest and the smallest scales. The numbers Padilla examines are fantastic in two senses. They are so extreme as to challenge belief and they are so extravagant as to seem fancy. And they define how the universe works.

‘Science’ Sinking

 

Hello Ricochet!  I subscribed to Ricochet in 2018 mainly to support the excellent flagship podcast, which I listen to every week.  I have not posted before, not for lack of interest but for lack of time. However, I came across an item yesterday in the journal Science that was so troubling that I had to make time to put my thoughts into words. The lead editorial in the latest edition shows not only that Science the journal is lost to progressive ideology, but also that science the intellectual pursuit may be well on its way.

Yesterday morning a link to the electronic version of Science arrived by email.  Science is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the leading cross-disciplinary science journals.  A paper published in Science is a major achievement for academic scientists.  Every week the journal has an opening editorial published by a guest contributor.  The editorial typically provides an opinion about some current issue related to science.  Typical headlines for the editorial would be statements like “Only international action can save sea turtles from climate doom” or “Academic scientists desperately need more money.”

A Little Fun with Math for your Weekend

 

Back when I was in high school I would memorize things. Equations, the values of constants, I was that kind of nerd. In my college career I ascended to another kind of nerd, the physicist who never memorizes anything because he can always rederive it. But to rederive things you need somewhere to start. There are a few things I find to be so fundamental that I memorize those. Euler’s formula is one of them:

Euler’s Formula and how to Check It

e^(a+bi) = (e^a)*cos(b) + i*(e^a)*sin(b)

Chips—semiconductors—are a critical part of our modern economy (read all about that in Mark’s book). So, where they’re manufactured matters. It’s good that Congress finally noticed.  But there’s far more to the story, and more to be done, much of it differently, to reignite American “soft” power in the “hard” industries of manufacturing.

For historical perspective see “How America Can Create Jobs,” by Andy Grove, in Bloomberg, July 1, 2010.

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Resupplying the Dragon Resupply is not exactly elegant but simple and utilitarian. The Dragon cuts power; drops to about 45,000 feet and coasts. A special fitted Boeing 737 jet with a bi-fold retractable bay door attaches to the top of the Dragon, drops supply modules and shuttle pods with personnel, detaches, and separates when the […]

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A Small Thought About Some Big Numbers

 

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t find the thought of life originating and evolving on Earth through purely naturalistic processes incredible. Five hundred million years — the approximate time we think it took life to get a figurative toehold on our cooling orb — is a long time: multiply that by the number of ponds and puddles and deep ocean vents and, well, there are a lot of places where naturally occurring lipids might self-organize, as lipids do, into little test tubes in which organic molecules can dance.

I find it entirely plausible that that’s what happened.

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Chet Manikantan, immigrant from India and founder of Aegis Studios, which builds crypto games. Chet was founder of a string of companies and a partner at two venture firms, but he was almost denied the opportunity to innovate and create jobs in the U.S. by our outdated immigration system, if not for a chance encounter that led to a workaround for select foreign-born entrepreneurs. And he’s keenly aware and grateful that this country gave him what he needed to succeed, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers podcast.

Guest:

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Dr. Hussain Lalani about his recently published research on the potential for more than $3 billion in savings were Medicare to use Mark Cuban’s new direct-to-consumer drug company to purchase generics.

Guest:

Weekend Wandering: A Priest and the SR-71

 

As the college football world is in turmoil over new conferences and traditional rivalries that might disappear, I found a different story about Notre Dame. Notre Dame football is in the spotlight; will they remain an Independent or will they join a Conference. There is more to Notre Dame than football.

The late Father Theodore Hesburgh President of Notre Dame was an aviation buff.