Sunday, May 9, 2010

PLN 31

The article "The Unburdened Mind" by Christopher S. Putnam takes a position that there are more people than anyone would believe that are actually clinically psychopathic. Psychopathic in the sense that they have no conscience, not that they are serial killers. The article claims clinically psychotic people are very common in the world, but just don't get noticed, either because society doesn't want to recognize them or because there is an ignorance about the symptoms of psychopathy. This matters to me because I want to become more aware of who the people are around me and how to handle interactions with all types of people. This matters to the world and education, because we as a community must learn how to identify abnormal behaviors in order to help people overcome their illnesses.

PLN 29

The article "PEPCON Disaster" tells about a company named PEPCON that created rocket fuels that are extremely explosive and send out massive shock waves. One day while a PEPCON crew was doing some welding work, a spark flew off and started a fire. When the workers spotted the flames, they ran to warn other workers to the danger. The fire spread to the rocket fuel building where it would eventually cause a massive explosion. There were only two people left in the building right before the explosion. One of them ran for safety, but the other was wheelchair bound. Knowing he couldn't make it out in time, he made the decision to stay behind and call the fire department, telling them to bring as many trucks as they could. When fire fighters arrived, there was no hope. When the shockwave from one of the smaller explosions knocked windows out of the fire trucks, the fire fighters knew more explosions and shockwaves would follow. A TV crew on a nearby mountaintop filmed everything. They caught the explosions on camera along with the massive shockwaves they created. When injured fire fighters came back to the town's hospital for aid they saw many injured people. This matters to me because the story shows the need for strongly enforced safety codes and policies in any situation with dangerous materials. This matters to the world and education because people employed in dangerous environments must be protected.

PLN 28

The article "The Flying Saucers of North America" is about the years following WWII, and the start of the Cold War, when everyone seemed to be seeing flying saucers. Many in the Army thought that the "aliens" were dangerous, invading Russians. The thinking at the time was that the Russians were collaborating with the Germans to build UFO's to invade the US. The reaction of many was that the US should build one as well and that's exactly what we did. Though it didn't work out very well, it was an admirable effort and resulted in many advancements in aircraft and aviation engineering. This matters to me because I'm interested in engineering and want to contribute to aircraft and aviation innovation. This matters to the world and education because this shows how we can make mistakes and learn from them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PLN 30

The article "The Deepest Hole" discusses how Russian scientists engineered a project to learn more about the Earth's interior by drilling deep into the Earth's surface The scientists originally planned to drill down 15,000 feet but when they reached 2.3 miles they realized that sit was too hot to drill that far down. They discovered a lot more about the Earth's interior, why it was so hot and what kind of rocks were deep in the Earth. This matters to me because I'm interested in gaining a better understanding of the potential of geothermal energy to replace fossil fuels. This matters to education and the world because we can learn how to make use of the Earth's energy when new technology enables drilling even deeper into the Earth.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PLN 27

The article “The Personal Air and Land Vehicle” by Allan Bellows discusses an air and land vehicle. This vehicle transforms into a helicopter type plane. There is a rear propeller, on the car which propels the vehicle forward and a top rotor that turns with the wind for stability. It needs 165 feet to take off and only 16 feet to land. The plane has three wheels so it’s kind of like a motorcycle in the way it leans into the turns. There has been no price set for the Personal Air and Land Vehicle, yet but it is estimated to cost around that of a luxury sedan. This matters to me because if I bought a Personal Air and Land Vehicle, I could teach people how to fly these types of plane/cars. This matters to the world because it demonstrates that we can perfect more efficient airborne cars and not have to build so many roads.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PLN 26

The article “Did Extra Terrestrial Rain over India” by Anthony Kendall talks about an odd event that happened in India. Once when it rained, it was an odd red rain. After further examination by scientists, they found bacteria and microorganisms living in the rain. Their first thought was the microorganisms were alien. Scientists believed the organisms were introduced into the atmosphere when a meteor burned upon entering the atmosphere, then rained down on India. Scientist that made this discovery published their findings in two magazines. Other scientists that read or heard about what happened were skeptical over the two scientist’s conclusions, after all, skepticism is the nature of scientists. After further investigation, scientists discovered the rain and microorganisms originated from coastal South Africa dust storms. This matters to me because I think it would be very cool if there was extra terrestrial life on Earth. This matters to the world and education because if extra terrestrial life existed we could learn a lot from it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

PLN 25

The article “Motorcycle Airbags” by Cynthia Wood talks about the day when Kenji Takeuchi viewed a motorcycle accident and thought how helpful it would be if motorcyclist had airbags with their bikes. His first idea was to add airbags to the chest on the jacket and on the upper back, but when he put his product on the market it was rejected by most companies because they weren’t convinced it wouldn’t save motorcyclists. Kenji Takeuchi then focused on how bikers usually fell off of motorcycles in crashes and made his system with pull cord attached to the bike’s frame so airbags would inflate if the motorcyclist is separated from the bike. This system sold very well internationally and Takeuchi flooded with calls from people who had been saved by this invention. To this day though, the biker airbag is not sold in the US because of complications to bring his invention in compliance with U.S. standards. If and when Takeuchi’s safety invention does come into compliance it will be a huge hit. This matters to me because if I ever get a motorcycle I would order an airbag jacket from Japan and know that it could save my life. This matters to the world because Takeuchi’s invention has saved many motorcyclists lives.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PLN 24

The article "The Falkirk Wheel" by Alan Bellows introduces the idea of using a pulley system instead of using locks to get a boat from one water height to another. This wheel uses gravity to lower boats from the bridge to the river below. There are two arms on the wheel which are both filled with water and can hold four, 20 yard long boats at a time. The two wheels are very energy efficient using mostly gravity and as a result they only use 1.5 kilowatts per hour. This matters to me because this is a great idea and will inspire future creativity. This matters to the world and education because it should inspire other countries to try to integrate this idea into other countries.

PLN 23

The article "Germany's Pleasure Dome" by Allan Bellows evaluates a dome in Germany that stands 350 feet tall, and encloses 194 million cubic feet of space. Inside this dome is an imitation beach environment with water, a large beach and palm trees. The air temperature is always between 77 and 82 degrees. The combination of heat and water, forms condensation on the inside of the roof and when there is enough condensation it actually rains creating quite an intricate atmosphere inside the dome. The windows allow UV light rays through, mixed with the water and oxygen, let plants grow. This matters to me because if I am ever in Germany and want to go to the beach, I can go to the dome because they let everybody in. This matters to education and the world because this German experiment has furthered our knowledge of growing plants indoors if something happens to our atmosphere that doesn't allow plants to grow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

PLN 22

The article “Flying Rams” by Greg Bjerg reviews the wartime invention of a specially armored plane designed to crash into and destroy enemy planes without damaging our planes. These planes were tested during WWII. The idea was that it was easier to fly into another plane and destroy it rather than use bullets and missiles. This tactic was also a lot “stealthier” because it could fly above the enemy plane and take it down before the enemy saw it. This invention failed because the pilot couldn’t eject if anything went wrong while flying. This matters to me because I would be interested in helping engineers perfect this design to help make our military better. This matters to the world and education because this experience can help us learn from our mistakes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

PLN 21

The article, “Dream Car: The Ariel Atom 2” by Alan Bellows reviews the performance of the Ariel Atom 2 car, which is like a supercharged go-cart. This little car has about 600 horse power per ton and weighs around .6 tons. The car manufacturer believes that, “if the car doesn’t need it, it hasn’t got it”, meaning that the car doesn’t have a windshield, doors, a roof, windows, but it does have seatbelts. This car can also go from 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds, if you can shift fast enough. It is a British made car and straight out of the box it costs around $36,000 (£20,000). It is not street legal in the United States without the “road pack”, which adds tail lights, head lights, blinkers, windshield and wipers. This matters to me because when I’m older I would like to try to buy one of these cars. This matters to the world and education because we can learn how to better engineer cars to have better gas mileage and better all around physics.

Friday, April 2, 2010

PLN 19

The article “Free fall from near space” by Daniel Lew reviews the story of Joseph Kittinger and his amazing free falls from near space. He first started out in the aviation by joining the Air Force and became an experimental pilot. While with the Air Force he flew high altitude balloons as high as 102,000 feet, which is almost out of the atmosphere. While piloting these hot air balloons he would take measurements and when he finished he would have his co-pilot float the balloon back down to Earth while he jumped and parachuted to the ground. He would free fall for about 55,000 feet until he pulled his ripcord and landed. Joseph Kittinger broke many aerial records and free-fall records. He helped the United States discover many things about the atmosphere, while exploring ways people could live in space. As a test pilot, he flew at 632 mph to test the gravitational stress on the human body. This is important to me because Joseph Kittinger showed me that preconceived ideas of human limits are often wrong. This matters to education because it proves there are no limits to the capabilities of man. This matters to the world because Joseph Kittinger provided valuable insights as to the unlimited capabilities of mankind.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

PLN 20

Don't, Don't, Don't vs. Do, Do, Do by Will Richardson describes how the author made a presentation at a school to help teachers with their teaching methods. When he read the packet the school provides their students, it described what students couldn’t do with the computers at the school. As he read it, he thought that if he were a student at the school he would “beg” not to use the computers, because you could barely do anything with them according to the packet. The author’s position is the student packet shouldn't talk about what you can't do, but what you can do on the computers. A positive message will inspire students to think of what they can do rather than what they can’t do. For example you can publish your work on websites and you can edit your papers to make them better and help students learn. The author pointed out to the school they should try to encourage rather then discourage. Some say “use the carrot not the stick”. Inspiring people by pointing out what is possible and emphasizing the positive side of things will produce better results, instead of having students think what they can’t do. Students will think of how much they can accomplish and how to improve their computer skills. This matters to education because it can teach us how to better educate students today. This matters to the world because all people need to learn to lead in a more positive way to produce better results. This matters to me because to become a successful leader I must learn to lead in a positive way.

Friday, March 19, 2010

PLN 18

The article “Barnstorming” Marisa Brooks is about WWII and how there were a huge number of planes left over. The government took these planes and sold them to the people for as little as $200 when it cost $5000 to make them. They sold the planes to anyone that they wanted because pilot’s license weren’t required back then for people to be able to fly a plane. This is when the flying circuses started. People could fly without being licensed began flying circus entertainment businesses. This matters to me because I learned that flying circuses were real and not some story out of a movie. This matters to the world because it shows the origins of the flying circus and why many people became interested in flying. This matters to education because we can learn how to be safer in flying because there were a few accidents here and there.

Monday, March 15, 2010

PLN 17

The article "The truth about truth serums" by Alan Bellows talks about what truth serums are made of and why they are and aren't reliable. Truth serums are only concentrated doses of alcohol, which makes you a little slower with worse judgment. They were used by the FBI, CIA, KGB and the DOD. They were used mostly during the cold war and people were tempted to bring them back after 9/11. In "truth" though, they don't work, because when you inject someone with truth serum they could say anything they want. This matters to me because now I know the "truth" about truth serum. This matters to education because now that we know that what we use now is relatively ineffective that we can refine it to make it better, and that is also why it matters to the world.

Monday, March 8, 2010

PLN 16

The article "The Relics of Mu" by Jason Bellows talks about what the ancient city of Atlantis is to the Chinese. It is Mu, and they think that the people that were the people of Mu could fly and drank a magic drink that stopped aging. A man by the name of Kihachiro Aratake was diving off of the coast of China and found underwater ruins that could have been related to Mu. There the divers found stairs and walls but no tools or doorways. This matters to the world because we could learn a lot from these people and how they lived. This matters to education because we could learn better schooling methods and improved architecture. This matters to me because it would be interesting to see where these buildings came from and why they are underwater today.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

PLN 15

The article “An island is born” by Marisa Brook talks about how the island of Surtsey was created in 1960. What matters about this article to me is that this was an interesting article that relates to what I am learning in science class right now. How it is important to the world in that it could be a large break through for the scientific community because we can see how life begins on a newly formed island without much human contact. This also relates to education helping the scientific community by being able to learn how life forms, where it forms and how it forms to introduce to students. In 1960, a fishing boat was sailing and saw smoke rising from the water. They though it was another ship on fire so they sailed closer but it turned out it was an underwater volcano erupting. After 3 years of eruption the island was measured at 174 meters tall and about 2.8 square kilometers long. Following the eruptions, scientist closed the island off because they didn’t want anything to be brought to help out life there. Soon the scientist discovered various forms of plants and later found a bush on the island. They also learned that migrating birds were using the island for a resting spot. The island is still closed to the public and still doesn’t have many forms of life but it will and when it does, it will be a scientific breakthrough.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

PLN 14

The article “The Daedalus Spacecraft” by Allan Bellows talks about a massive plan to send a space craft. It would be moving at 76.6 million kilometers an hour or 1/8th the speed of light, propelling towards another star to see if there was any life there. This project was thought of in the 1980s but never agreed on because of the cost and the rareness of the element Helium -3. The fuel would power the nuclear reactor engine. Atoms would be bombarded with explosions and explode at 250 times a second to propel the rocket forward. The rocket would have 3 main objectives: (1) use current or near-future technology; (2) it must reach its destination within a human lifetime and, (3) the spacecraft must be designed to allow for a variety of target stars. The rocket would also have 3 main parts. The fuel tanks and combustion/exhaust 1 and 2 and storage for the pods that would exit off of the craft to go exploring elsewhere. All of the crafts would be able to take pictures of what they were flying by but would not be able to stop and explore. The cost of receiving the extra fuel and installing it on the craft while letting it be able to carry all of the fuel would slow it down too much. The Daedalus spacecraft idea has been hung up because people want the space program working on something more achievable and because of the cost. They might reconsider if it was a world effort instead of just a single country attempt.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PLN 13

The article “The Most Powerful Bomb Ever Constructed” by Allan Bellows talks about how the Soviets during the Cold War built the most powerful nuclear bomb in the world called the Czar Bomb. This bomb yielded 10 trillion pounds of force, while the US warheads only yielded 40 billion pounds. Since the Soviet’s goal was to beat out the US in the nuclear arms race, they built the biggest and best nuke. They skipped all of the mathematic equations needed to estimate the explosive power of the bomb. When they detonated the bomb up the flash could be seen for 1,000 kilometers and the mushroom cloud reached 60 kilometers high. The diameter of the blast was about 40 kilometers which was much larger than they estimated. During the hour of the blast most radio communications were disabled. Also, when photographers were sent to the bomb site to record the effect, they reported that the ground was completely flat and that all of the rocks were smoothed over by the blast. This showed that the blast was 10 times more powerful than anything ever produced. Though the Soviets never actually used this bomb or any other type of bomb during the Cold War, there was always the threat that they would. They knew that if they sent nukes over to obliterate the US then we would retaliate and destroy all life on Earth.

Monday, February 22, 2010

PLN 12

The article “The Timber Terror” by Alan Bellows talks about the Royal Air Force during WWII and what kind of planes they invented to out run the Germans. The RAF sent out requests for airplane ideas. One company, De Havilland, had the idea to use wood instead of metal because metal was in short supply. The plane wasn’t accepted for a long time because the RAF didn’t like the idea of a wooden plane. De Havilland was persistent through making major and minor adjustments to the plane which included removing and making lighter engines. When De Havilland had thought that they had perfected the Mosquito, as it was later called, they talked to their man on the inside of the Royal Air Force named Sir Wilfred Freeman. After they conferred with him, the Mosquito idea was approved. The Royal Air Force made some additional adjustments and tests. They discovered that the Mosquito could reach 392 miles per hour with a full bomb load. The plane could out run the Germans planes any day and they did. The planes were also transformed into other types of planes like fighters. They were used to complete more than 28,000 missions during the war. The missions included freeing prisoners of war, destroying Gestapo head quarters and bombing German head quarters. Though none of the remaining Mosquitoes can fly, the original design was saved and is being remade.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

PLN 11

The article “The Skyhook” by Jason Bellows talks about the invention of a plane that doesn’t have to land to pick you up off of the ground, called the Skyhook. The way this plane works is the person that is being picked up has a pack with an empty balloon and a bottle of helium and a 500 foot long cord that they use to attach themselves to the plane and be pulled in with. They inflate the balloon, then float up and let the plane catch them. Then they slide along the cord to the end of the plane were they are pulled in with a hook. The reason they made these planes was because they didn’t have long range helicopters and they were in the artic so they couldn’t land very easily so they invented the no stop pickup. Soon after they created the long range helicopter so they could do long range stop and drop instead of parachuting out. The reason this matters is, we could have perfected the Skyhook but the long range helicopter is a lot safer because you’re not getting picked up in mid-air. The reason this plane was built was because we didn’t have powerful enough helicopters to get men in and out of these areas. Lastly, these planes stopped being produced because we had invented the long range helicopter which was more maneuverable then the Skyhook.

PLN 10

The article “Village Hall to crack down on skateboarders” by Jennifer Choi talks about New Yorkers growing dislike of skateboarders. People in New York and all over the country are becoming more wary of the property damage and personal injuries skateboarders create. New Yorkers are very concerned of walking amongst skateboarders for fear that they will be injured in a collision. Property owners are also concerned over their liability when a skateboarder injures someone on their property. Lastly, the high cost of repairing property damage skateboarders create to benches, tables and hand rails creates real hostility from landlords. City officials have passed numerous laws to discourage inappropriate skateboarding, while spending millions of dollars to encourage safe skateboarding in skate parks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The article “The Windscale disaster” by Gerry Matlack talks about during the Cold War, how the UK was inventing a new radiation grenade. The grenade would be given a lot of gamma rays to get it to emit all of its gamma radiation in one quick burst or an explosion. A teaspoon of the Uranium would cause an explosion the size of 100 tons of TNT. The explosion would also have a half-life of 20.35 years. Meaning that the radiation from the grenade would be radiating through that area for 20.35 years. Gamma radiation is what is used to kill off cancer cells and would cause major radiation poisoning in the people in the blast area. The reason the UK was inventing this was because they weren’t allowed, by army law after WWII, to make anything that had to do with nuclear and that kind of thing because they didn’t want to get involved in the Cold War even though they had won the war, there army had been decimated. When the Americans heard about this they put thousands of dollars into this project to try to catch up with the British. If both countries were able to build this grenade then they would have a greater chance of defeating the Russians.

Monday, February 1, 2010


The article "The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk" by Ben Taylor talks about how the story of Robinson Crusoe was created in the 17th century. It all started when Alexander Selkirk thinks that his captain’s boat is full of too many holes in the hull from all of the storms they have been through. The captain doesn’t like the way that Alexander is thinking, so they maroon him on Juan Fernandez, and island about 600 miles from Valparaiso which is off of the coast of South America. When the crew marooned Alexander they left him with a pistol, knife, hatchet, a navigation instruments, a bible, a flask of rum, and enough food for just a few days. After he inventoried the items that he had he realized that he could do what he wanted with his life know. Alexander spent a surprising four years on the island surviving by eating goats and plumbs. To keep himself in shape, Alexander would go and catch the goats. Not to eat them, but to keep track of his physical ability, he would carve a little notch in the horn. He also kept track of how many goats he ate over the four years that he was on the island and it was around 500 goats. He also found a freshwater spring on the island so he wouldn’t die of thirst. Once a Spanish boat docked at the island, and since Alexander was Scottish, he knew that the Spaniards would enslave him or kill him. So, he scrambled up a tree to avoid being caught and stayed there for two days until the Spaniards left the island. At the end of his time on the island an unidentifiable ship docked at the island to replenish supplies and he ran and signaled them and found that they were friendly and planned to sail with them back to England. Unfortunately, he died but after he got back to England and married twice. The writer Daniel Defoe was intrigued by Alexander’s story and decided to write a book on it called Robinson Crusoe and since it was so popular he had to write two more to make it a series. The main character, Alexander named Robinson was never alive to see the book but it got his story out and now the island is now named Robinson Crusoe Island which was changed by the Chile government in 1966.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


The article “The Mechanical Battery” talks about a flywheel which is basically a cylinder on a spit. When a flywheel is spun, the gathered kinetic energy from the spinning will create energy that can be stored or used. The flywheel has been used in the past but hasn’t been used to its full potential. In Switzerland there was a bus with a flywheel engine which weighed around three tons. The bus could stop and the battery would take 30 seconds to 3 minutes to charge and could go about 3 to 6 miles at 30 to 40 miles per hour. But since the motor weighed so much and the friction of the motor was so great that the bus would have to stop regularly to keep moving. Today NASA is using the flywheel in space because there wouldn’t be any friction. While using two flywheels in an orbiting shuttle, we are able to steer the shuttle. If both are moving at the same speed then the shuttle will go straight but if one slows down and the other stays the same, then you can turn. The great thing about the flywheel is that it is 85%-95% more efficient then any other motor on the planet right now. If we figure out a way to use a flywheel in a car, then we could be very green very fast because the flywheel doesn’t have any emissions. The flywheel sounds like a great motor but I think that we should take the motor part off keep the arm and cook something on it.


On Dr. Warschauer's blog, he has the question posted: Lots of people think that computers are a waste of money, and that students should be learning important skills like writing and reading rather than wasting time on computers. Do you agree that computers in the classroom are a waste of time and money? Why or why not? In my opinion, computers are not a waste of time and money because they improve productivity. Prior to the mass use of personal computers there was the typewriter. Typewriters required you to completely retype your document after you had edited it and typed it for the first time. Computers enable us to type, edit, email and print documents without having to retype the document two or more times. This makes us more productive. If you are working on a project for school you can save the document on a thumb drive and take it with you anywhere to be used on any computer. You can also email the document to another person in your group and combine the documents. The productivity rate since computers were introduced has skyrocketed. We are now able to do research, copy and site our research in our papers without leaving the computer. Lastly, online shopping is available for everything that we can purchase in stores and have it shipped to us. Now there is no need to use your own gas when you can use someone else’s. Those are some of the reasons that I think computers are not a waste of time and money.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The article “Apple unveils iPad, bets on new device class” by Gabriel Madway and Alexei Oreskovic talks about the new unveiling of the Apple “iPad”. In an online survey before the meeting, 37 % of more than 1,000 people said that they would pay $500-$699 for the iPad. Nearly 30% said that they weren’t interested, and the other 20% said that they would pay $700-$899. This new device claims to be the new bridge between the smart phone and the laptop. What they are never really clear about in the article is if the iPad is also a phone, because if it is, then that would be a very large phone. The screen is over 9 inches which would require some very deep pockets in both meanings of the phrase. The iPad is almost the exact same as the iPhone, both can run movies, and music while playing games. The difference is the iPad comes loaded with Microsoft Office. It has a touch keypad which is separate from the actual iPad itself. It also comes with a SD card port and USB port. The iPad can display books like Amazon’s Kindle and with the iBook store; users will be able to find over 4,000 titles. The iPad price will be $499 with 16 gigabytes of storage and if you add an extra $130, you can add on the wireless internet package. Following the introduction of the iPad, Apple shares rose 5.5%. AT&T will be partnering with Apple again, which makes me think that the iPad is a phone, and if it is, hopefully it has speaker phone. It should have a speaker phone or Bluetooth on it because; I wouldn’t want to be holding a 9+ inch “phone” up to my ear. I think that the iPad has real potential but I will be in the group of the uninterested because I have an iTouch which is the same thing as the iPhone without the actual phone part. Not to be negative, but I don’t think this has been one of Apples best ideas.


The article “GOP Congressional Report Accuses ACORN of Political corruption, Widespread Fraud” by talks about when ACORN was accused of corruption after it was found out that they had been receiving $53 billion since 1994 and have been marked as a tax-exempt business which means that when they receive money they don’t have to pay taxes on it because of religious of other reasons. But what ACORN did with that money is they lent it to Obama and his personal campaign while he was running for president. When you are marked as a tax exempt business you aren’t allowed by law to have a public political opinion about anything because you are for the people and by the people. So when they gave the money to the Obama campaign, they were breaking the law. I think that someone should have said something about that besides Fox News because this is a vital issue if one of our large aid type businesses goes political and promotes one party then it will only be covered by the other side. Also if only the people that watch Fox News are going to hear the truth and the people watching the other networks that are going to reinvent the truth to keep the people oblivious. Which goes with the quote “Ignorance is bliss” meaning that keeping the people dumb will keep them happy. Now by taking away the factor of the people that lent the money I probably would be typing this article on something else.