Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: A Hungry Chickadee

Favicons Part 2

In my previous post, I described how you can design your own favicon using the pattern block virtual manipulative from the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) from Utah State University. Not only was I unhappy with my resulting favicon, I decided not to install it on my blogs.

Tonight I decided to continue playing with my pattern blocks and I cleaned up the favicon: I used the rhombuses to make a different style of the letter M (for meeyauw). I placed it in the top left corner of a square. Again, I used Skitch to grab my design from NLVM and then imported it into Photoshop Elements. I erased the black boundaries but not the black outline. I used yellow around the graphic to make it stand out.

I had been unhappy with favicon.ico because it required me to change the file type of my image after favicon.ico had created the favicon. I also would have had to host the favicon on ImageShack and alter the code of my blog myself. I'm too tired to do all that.

I then went to and learned more about the site. It was somewhat confusing but I played and learned. You register your blog on myfavatar just as you register on mybloglog. You upload your favicon image and myfavatar creates and hosts your new favicon png file. It then delivers the code for you to install on your blog (for blogger, you simply copy the code and paste it directly after the HEAD code in your template). I also deleted the code for my old favicon that I had created ages ago with favicon.ico. I previewed the blog before I saved any changes. My new favicon was there! I saved the changes and followed the same steps for my Barton Daily Photo blog and for meeyauw's recipes blog.
According to, a favatar is a "favicon file on a server controlled by the represented user as an avatar." offers other services that I want to learn about. I am very happy with the fast loading of the favicon (which didn't always happen when ImageShack hosted it). The process is much simpler then the old sequence of steps I detailed above.

I am happier with my new favicon. But I'm not finished designing it. And this is the greatest advantage to myfavatar: if you change your favicon, you simply upload it to your myfavatar account. You never need to change your blog's template code again. The code that you first installed links your blog directly to whatever image you currently claim as your favicon. Change your favicon, upload it, and all of your favicons in your blogs are updated. That gives me a lot of freedom to change the image as much as I like until it is perfect. is on of those great finds for bloggers. It's easy, fast and fun. (No, myfavatar did not pay me for this endorsement, unfortunately.) All of my blogs now carry this new favicon. You can see it as an M, a bird flying to the northwest, or a flower whose petals open to the southeast. I used a slide tessellation (of unknown degrees) to create it. You can be sure I will continue to work on it in the future.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Heads or Tails: Mark: Make Your Mark

Favicons are those little icons in the address bar of your browser. You can make your own favicons easily at sites like myfavatar or favicon.ico. I had made poor favicons for this site and for my recipes blog but I wanted a more mathematical, trademark favicon to use across these blogs and my photography blog. We all identify each other by our trademarks, which are distinctive signs or symbols that each of us chooses. Our mark.

I went to one of my favorite sites that I use in labs with my students: the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives at Utah State University, an NSF funded project to make manipulatives accessible to all schools and students, no matter what their age. The site is always growing and is a priceless resource. You can now download all of the manipulatives for a free trial period. But if you are a student, a designer, a parent or a child, it is worth $40 to buy it. All of the manipulatives have directions and most have activities that are mathematically valuable without overwhelming any learner. Here is a screenshot of my desktop while I worked with the software:

I played with the pattern block applet, and tessellated (turned, slid and flipped) equilateral triangles and rhombuses in attempts to make a stylized M for meeyauw. The graphic you see in this post is what I came up with. I then used my mouse to select my creation. This kept all of my blocks "glued" together. I colored the blocks blue. I used Skitch to create a jpeg of my logo and Photoshop Elements to make the background yellow. I am sure that I did not need to use Skitch or Elements, but I am familiar with the software and could use them quicker than finding an easier way.

I uploaded my graphic to favicon.ico which made the favicon. I downloaded it to my hard drive and I will upload it to Image Shack. In the next few days I will put the URL of the favicon on Image Shack into my templates so that it will be visible. Favicon.ico returns an ico file which Image Shack does not accept. I will have to change the filetype in Elements or iPhoto before I upload it. I also see some editing I want to make on the graphic before I am finished.

If you have any questions on this process, be sure to ask in the comments (with your e-mail if you don't have gmail). I'll answer as soon as possible.

I'm still not happy with this icon because it is not the one image that I could use for my profile. . . for my signature, or mark. But it's a start.

To see more Heads or Tails participants, visit Skittles.
I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful week.
It may take me awhile to visit all of you because I teach on Tuesday nights. Thank you for your patience.


Cats Tuesday: Buddy and the Seven Random Facts Meme

The photo is from the video Buddy Meets The Chickadees that I made this past weekend.
You can view it in this post below.

Buddy was tagged by Musings of a Mad Macedonian for the Seven Random Facts Meme.

The rules:
  1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself
  3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs
  4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here we go!
  1. Buddy is half Siamese. I guess that makes him a meezer, right?
  2. Buddy is a yo-yo dieter. He reaches his target weight at the end of summer and seems to double his weight by the end of winter.
  3. Buddy loves Sophie The Dog.
  4. Buddy loves Pansy The Cat.
  5. Buddy hates Charlie The Cat. Buddy wishes Charlie would disappear forever.
  6. Buddy's favorite activity is hiking and hunting with beans, whether his beans or strangers
  7. Buddy won't drink water from a bowl. He only drinks wild water outside or toilet water inside.
You can watch Buddy's newest movie below this post by clicking here.

I tag (but I may not have told you yet)
Christina at My Blog because she is a new, young (bean) blogger and wants more visitors!
Blue the Tomato Eater at Cats Unplugged
Zed Monster at Bad Kitty Cats
Miss Peach at Miss Peach's Meowz
Gretchen at Gretchen's Paw Prattle
Luna at Cat Synth
Daisy at Daisy The Curly Cat

Thank you for visiting.
To visit other participants, see Gattina here.
Happy COT!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Buddy Met The Chickadees When We Hung The Feeders

Which video plays better? The YouTube one above or the Google one below? Thank you for your feedback.

Please look at the post below this if you can help me identify a new bird at the feeder. Thank you!

New Bird At The Feeder

I have this new bird at the feeder that likes the thistles. Does anyone know what it is? For more views of this bird, please see my Barton Daily Photo blog. Thank you for the help.

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Why I Oppose Wind Farms

Last Wednesday I posted a photo of a residential wind turbine used at a local school for their electrical needs. I don't know too much about the impact of residential turbines, but I have learned a lot about the huge (430 foot tall or 131.1 m) industrial turbines that UPC Wind wants to build on Hardscrabble Mountain in Sheffield (visible from Barton).

Several people have expressed an interest in knowing why I oppose wind farms and signed the petition in Barton.

UPC Wind, from Massachusetts, has targeted Vermont for development. The local opposition group is Ridge Protectors in Sheffield. There are similar groups all over the world. The site I read most is National Wind Watch. I have decided not to rehash the arguments against the wind farm because each of these sites provides pages of data. I have chosen to mention the objections (in case you have not heard of them) and then add my own personal opinion. I have read and listened to both sides of this debate.

The turbines are documented to have negative impacts on the wildlife where they are built (particularly bats). They are noisy (read testimony from Mars Hill, Maine here), subsidized by tax incentives, and produce little power to justify the destruction of wilderness areas. If you are actually interested in the debates, be sure to read as much as you can.

My Personal, Emotional, and Unscientific Objections
  • As many people of my generation, I have a natural aversion to large corporations such as UPC. Especially when they target populations in another area. Especially when those targeted populations are not as sophisticated and well-funded by friends in Washington DC. I find their tactics bullying and intimidating.
  • I resent that our people need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect the land that we love so dearly from people who know nothing about us and have no ties to the land. UPC's pockets seem to be infinitely deep.
  • I resent that Barton would have to upgrade Duck Pond Road just so UPC's behemoth trucks can crawl up the mountain in order to destroy it. I resent that my town is already fearing lawsuits from UPC and may capitulate because of the fear. If the children of UPC executives were bullied like this in school they would be the first to cry out. UPC is the worse bully.
  • I won't believe one word of propaganda that any corporation like UPC (or Exxon or Dow Chemical) puts out to convince me of anything. Don't tell me, after all the scandals and greed, that you believe them.
  • I resent that the mountains I love could be sacrificed so that someone somewhere can produce more light pollution and otherwise waste our resources. I want to see some serious conservation. I am tired of half-hearted yet well documented faux conservation efforts.
  • Any claims that wind power is The Solution are false. There is not one solution to anything. I become angry with the argument that if we don't adopt wind energy, if we don't destroy our wilderness for our greed, then our world will go to hell. We need combinations of solutions that are appropriate for different cultures, climates, and needs.
  • We need to stop being energy pigs. I am willing to pay more for my energy. I am willing to help those not as fortunate as me who are having problems paying for the energy they require. I am even willing to go without many of my energy needs as long as I am reasonably warm, housed, and fed. And as long as I remain free.
  • I am fed up with this nation's two-faced energy policy. Is it easier to sacrifice thousands of people's lives in foreign wars (in order to prop up our destructive petroleum industry) than it is to be serious about reform? Tell me: exactly what are we trying to conserve?
  • Don't bother telling me that this is a "not in my backyard" reaction. It is and it should be. Do you seriously want some corporation telling you how you should live? We fought that war over two hundred years ago.
  • This is not a debate about wind power vs. nuclear power. It is silly to threaten to build more nuclear reactors and to bury more nuclear waste in Utah in order for me to agree to the wind farms. It's illogical and not well thought out.
  • If wind farms are so great, build them in Boston and New York City — where you live. Put them in your backyard, not mine. Corporations such as UPC have destroyed enough of this earth because of greed. It's time to stop them. It's time they stole from the rich.
  • I am not willing to sacrifice our wilderness for the energy problems in the United States. Our national wilderness is more important than your goddamn bank account and high standard of living.
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Photo Hunters: A Morning Stroll In The Warm Sun

A black-capped chickadee is strolling in the new snow in air temperatures of 15°F (-9.4°C). Any warm sun is a good reason to take a walk in the sparkling snow. To see more chickadees and downy woodpeckers, please scroll down to yesterday's posts.

Thank you for visiting.
Click for more participants.

Unplugged Project: WKDQN IXOHF for FLSKH UVHFG

The theme for this week's project is Thankful.

Have you ever played Cryptograms? A cryptogram is actually a Caesar Cipher, or a secret code. Like on a secret decoder ring. You shift the alphabet as many places left or right as you desire and replace the original message with the new letters. The Caesar Cipher that I used for my two secret words in the title of this post has a shift of 3 places to the right. Here is my cipher key (P means plain text; C means cipher):

Do you know what WKDQNIXO means?
Do you know what FLSKHUV means?

But why, in the title to this post, have I typed WKDQN IXOHF and FLSKH UVHFG? In English, there are a few one- , two- and three-letter words that we can easily decode (such as a, an, the, I, we, etc.). In order to prevent this happening (because we don't want the wrong person to read our secret code notes), codes are broken into five letter segments. If the last segment is less than five letters, two more random letters are sometimes added so that the total number of the letters is five. These random letters are called "nulls." The five-letter segments and the nulls make it more difficult to decode my message.

Julius Caesar is said to have used this same cipher key to send secret messages to his generals in war time. You can make your own code very easily (as you have probably figured out by now).

There is a mathematical way to code and decode ciphers and it uses modular arithmetic. I'm not going to go into modular arithmetic here except to say that you already know how to do modular arithmetic if you can add, subtract and convert inches to feet, days to months, seconds to minutes, weeks to months or months to years. Modular arithmetic is also called "clock arithmetic" and you can play with it in this java applet. Your family can study the discussions and help files for the instructor and learner so that you can all learn more.

When you understand clock arithmetic, move on to the Caesar Cipher I applet and make your own secret codes. Again, your family can study the discussions and help files for the instructor and learner so that you can all learn more.

Besides writing secret messages, why would anybody want to learn the mathematics behind ciphers? Ciphers are a type of encryption. And encryption rules our world now. Every time you download a zip file, use a debit or credit card, buy something online, or even send an e-mail, encryption is involved. Children who understand the value and importance of mathematics in our world will not be afraid to pursue careers in mathematics and computer science. (They'll make good money, too!)

Here are two more puzzles for you.
Each puzzle will open in its own window if you click on it.

The first uses the same Caesar Cipher key that you used above. I made it with the Caesar Cipher I applet from (I used a multiplier of 1, and a constant of 3):

This second cipher is more difficult and will require the whole family's participation:

And don't forget: be sure to play Cryptograms often!
You can play cryptograms on this blog — down on the right sidebar.

Visit other participants of the Unplugged Project here.
Next week's project is open-ended and the theme is PAPER.
Or if you prefer — Water Paper Painting:
Wet some paper down with a paintbrush. 
Have your child (or you!) draw on it with paints or magic markers and see what happens.


Caesar cipher. (2007, November 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:16, November 24, 2007, from

Caesar cipher I. In Interactivate Activities. Retrieved 10:12, November 24, 2007 from

Clock arithmetic. In Interactivate Activities. Retrieved 9:55, November 24, 2007 from

Modular arithmetic. (2007, November 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:27, November 24, 2007, from

Malkevitch, J. and Froelich, G. and Froelich, D. 1991. Codes Galore. HistoMAP Module 18. COMAP, Inc., Lexington, MA.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Downy Woodpecker

Picoides pubescens

Readers of my blog will need to be patient while I post bird photos now.
I can't tell you how excited I am.

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Five Feeders Every Yard Should Have

1. Ground-feeding table
This screen-bottomed tray sits several inches off the ground and is useful for helping to keep grain and bird excrement from coming in contact with each other. Some designs have covers to prevent snow from accumulating over the seed; others are surrounded by wire mesh to keep out squirrels and large birds such as crows and grackles. Place the feeder in an open location, at least 10 feet from the nearest shrub, to give birds a chance to flee in the event of a cat attack. Ground feeders are especially favored by doves, juncos, sparrows, towhees, goldfinches, and cardinals.

2. sunflower-seed tube feeders
If you are going to put out just one bird feeder, this is the best choice. Be sure to select a model with metal ports around the seed dispensers to protect the feeder from nibbling squirrels and house sparrows. Hang the feeder at least five feet off the ground and position it near a window, where you can enjoy the visitors. These feeders are especially attractive to small birds such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, siskins, and purple and house finches.

3. Suet Feeder
Suet is readily eaten by titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers. In addition to the regular suet-feeder visitors, wrens, creepers, and warblers occasionally pick at these mixes. You can hang suet chunks from a tree in an onion bag or a half-inch hardware-cloth basket, or in a more durable cage feeder like the one shown here. You can also make your own suet pudding and feeder. Suet puddings are made by grinding and melting suet and adding seeds. (There is no evidence that suet puddings are more attractive to birds than chunks of suet.) Pack peanut butter-cornmeal blends (when you mix the peanut butter with cornmeal it not only stretches the expensive peanut butter but also makes this sticky treat easier to swallow) and suet puddings into the crevices of large pinecones or into one-inch-diameter holes drilled into logs. Hang the pinecones and the logs from poles near other feeders, from trees, or from a wire stretched between trees. Avoid feeding suet when temperatures climb into the 80-degree range; it turns rancid and drippy and may damage feathers.

4. Hopper Feeder
Hopper feeders provide dry storage for several pounds of mixed seed, which tumbles forward on demand. Position hopper feeders on a pole about five feet off the ground. Hopper feeders attract all of the species tube feeders attract, as well as such larger birds as jays, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and cardinals.

5. Thistle Feeder
Especially designed to dispense niger seed, also known as thistle seed -different from the prickly garden weed-these feeders typically have tiny holes that make the seed available only to small-beaked finches such as goldfinches, redpolls, and pine siskins. Thistle-seed-dispensing bags are not recommended, since squirrels can easily tear holes in them and waste this expensive seed. Hang your thistle feeder from a tree or place it on a five-foot pole near other feeders, taking care to protect it from squirrels with a special baffle.

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Chickadee At The Feeder

I have set up the suet feeders on the only tree that I have outside any window. I am so excited because I am beginning to get my long desired winter bird photos. This will be a wonderful winter now. All photos will open large size in a new window when clicked.

I am pretty sure this is one individual chickadee. I didn't see any others.

Tomorrow I am running down to the village for more feeders and seeds to attract more and different birds.
Parus atricapillus

Those little toes must be cold as they dig into the snow. I absolutely know that I get many woodpeckers. I have seen them and you can see the evidence of them on the trunk of the tree that the feeders are in:

I just checked: a woodpecker is there! Have to run!

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LOL Cat Bible: Lectionary Readings for Christ the King Sunday and Zed Monster Asks For Forgiveness

Oh Hai Mary created for the LOL Cat Bible

Christ the King | Proper 29
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Luke 1:68-79 or Psalm 46
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43

Many of today's readings have been translated:

Luke 1:68-79
68 "Good for u Ceiling Cat, u maed thingz bettr for Israel.
69 U pickted up a trumpit for us.
70 Liek teh profetz sed u wud.
71 U protectided us from all teh bulliez.
72 U wuz niec to our daddiz an remembrd dey hadded a deel wif u.
73 Teh deal u maded wif Abraham,
74 to protect us, n let us work for u wifout fear
75 n be good all our lievz.
76 Mai kittn, peeplz wil call u Ceiling Cat's profet becz us wil get evrithin reddi for him,
77 so dat peeplz Invisible Errors will be forgivn,
78 bcz Ceiling Cat iz niec, liek teh sun
79 dat shienz an liets teh wai."

Psalm 46
A Mightee Hidey Place is Our Ceiling Cat

1 Ceiling Cat iz our hidey place and our strenf, he iz dere for all timez we sez, "hlep!"
2 We iz not teh skered, even if the Urf eated itself and mountinz fallz down into sea
3 Even if waterz go RAWR and mountains go RAWR
4 Dere is river wif streamz that make Ceiling Cat's citee pleased, is holy place where only holyist can sit and lick harblz.
5 Ceiling Cat iz inside her, she is not fall down. Ceiling Cat wakez her up with gentul pawslap to faec.
6 Nationz iz angry, kingdoms fallz, Ceiling Cat meowz loud and Urf turnz to smoosh liek wet fud.
7 CEILING CAT IS WIF US, the Cat of Jakob is our hidey place.
8 Come and seez the wurks of the CEILING CAT, the mightee scratchez he haz maded on the Urf.
9 He makez warz stop to the endz of da Urf; he breakz the claws and shatterz the teef, he burninates the kitty carriers wif fire.
10 "Make quietz, and seez I am Ceiling Cat; I am bestest in ur cuntrees, everyone is want wurship me on Urf."
11 Celing Cat Almightee is wif us; the Cat of Jakob is our hidey place.

Colossians 1:11-20
11 b'ing stronged wif all da base laik he wanz so'z u may haz loong napz 'n pacient wait 4 cheezbrgr, 'n hapi
12 givin' thanx to da Dadz whu maik u valid 4 inheritunz ov All Saints 'n deir tunez. (r'ly! wan sentincz!)
13 4 He iz da wan who savez uz fron lotz ov darkniss (4 He is Cat and seez) 'n gived us dem ginkdom ov theez Son he <3 style="font-style: italic;">The Supremacy of Christ
15 'e is de imigz ov da invisibl Ceiling Cat, da furst cat ovr dem rest.
16 4 he maded all stufz: stufz in da hoodz ov da Ceiling Cat 'n stufz on dis planit, visibl an' invisibl, if they iz seatz ov base or bossmen or bossmen ov bossmen, he maded dem 4 himselfz!
17 He iz wat iz befor all stufz, and he maik all stufz b.
18 He iz da 'ead ov da body, da churchz!: he is da begining and the furst cat from da zombicatz, so whatevir iz he iz bossman!
19 4 de Ceiling Cat was hapi to haf everithin in 'im,
20 'n be also da settlimnt-maker ov all playces, even if iz in da hoodz ov da Ceiling Cat or on dis planit, so he go to da X and bleedz.

Luke 23:33-43
33 Dey caem to dis plaec called teh Skull (rock!) an crucified Jesus betwin teh criminalz.
34 Jesus sed, "Ceiling Cat, forgiv dem, dey duzint know what dey iz doin." An teh guardz playd diec to desied who got Jesus's clothes.
35 Evribodi maed fun of Jesus. Dey wuz liek "If he is Ceiling Cat's son he shud saev himself."
36 Teh soljrz wuz liek "LOL" an gaev him vinigar to drink.
37 Dey wuz liek "If u iz teh king of teh Jews, saev urself."
38 An dey putted a sien on him dat sed KING OF TEH JEWS LOL.
39 Wun of teh criminalz wuz bein all rude.
40 But teh othr wun wuz liek "Izint u afraid of Ceiling Cat? U gotted teh deth penalti too, remembr.
41 We dizrv it, but Jesus didint do ennithin rong."
42 Den he wuz liem, "Jesus, remembr me when u getz bak to ur kingdm."
43 Jesus wuz liek "Todai u wil be wif me in hevn."

Last week: Ceiling Cat sayz:
Malachai 4: 3: "Stamp on teh bad kittehs pls."

Bad Kitty Cat Zed Monster would like everyone to know that despite his bad reputation he does ask forgiveness daily to the Ceiling Cat. Zed Monster lives with other Bad Kitty Cats here. We should all follow Zed Monster's example and ask for repentance. Visit the Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos every weekend.

HALP! More Holy Cat photos are needed for this weekly post. If your cat is without sin, has a visible halo or any other mark of holiness or worthines, please send me her/his photo as soon as possible.

If you would like to help translate the LOLCat Bible, click here.

Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator (submit your post here)
Weekend Cat Blogging Thanksgiving Edition: House of the (Mostly) Black Cats (see the week’s host to enter your WCB post in the comments for the weekend roundup)
Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos is at Mog & Kitty Cats at Mind of Mog
Optional Theme - Whiskers Or Ears(submit your post here)
The Carnival of the Cats is going to Wonkitties Sunday Evening
(submit your post here)

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dogs on Thursday: Being Grateful on Thanksgiving

This is one thing I am grateful for: even on a bad weather day when the cats refused to go out, there were no fights. Sophie the dog even gave Buddy the cat a bath.

I am grateful for this bad weather because it is creating dense fog, which I love, all around the mountain.

I am grateful that even though Vermont Public Radio went all-(boring-political)-talk, which essentially cut me off from their classical music, I am now able (just today, in fact, for the first time) to listen to VPR Classical by streaming the music over the Internet. I plug the computer speakers into other speakers so that I can hear the music wherever I am in the house. But shame on VPR for stranding us in remote areas without our music. Marketing trumps goodwill again.

I am grateful for the phone calls, e-mails and computer chats that I had today. I have not been forgotten. Except by the church ladies. I will be resigning my seat on the parish council in two weeks because their meetings conflict with my new class schedule at the college this next semester. The church and I have grown apart, which breaks my heart. I am losing yet one more family.

I am grateful that as an instructor at the community college, I can audit classes for free. I will be taking a digital photography course in the spring.

I am grateful for four days off from work.

I am grateful that Buddy will now sleep in a cat bed next to me and my MacBook instead of on my MacBook.

I hope you all had a quiet and peaceful Thanksgiving with those you love, as I did.

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Ms. Whatsit: Teacher Potluck Carnival: Thanksgiving

Ms. Whatsit: Teacher Potluck Carnival: Thanksgiving

You have to go visit the carnival even though you are done with Thanksgiving. It is full of other ideas for Christmas gifts and what to do after Thanksgiving. I was so busy this past week at both schools that I missed this post on Tuesday. Don't you miss what's in it.

BTW: I'll be hosting the Potluck Carnival here soon. Keep your eyes open.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007 Vt. town petitions against wind farms Vt. town petitions against wind farms
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2007 

Vt. town petitions against wind farms BARTON, Vt.  (AP) –
About 200 residents upset about recent state approval for a wind power project in a neighboring town have signed a petition to change the town plan to prohibit commercial wind power development. 

The petition drive was response to the Public Service Board’s approval in August for 16, 420-foot wind towers on a ridge line in Sheffield. 

The developer of that project, Massachusetts-based UPC Wind, still must win approval from a federal agency before proceeding with the project. 

Petition organizers say that passing a change to the town plan is designed to protect Barton from such development in the future. 

A total of 100 signatures out of 1,600 registered voters were needed to bring the petition to the planning commission. Petition organizers plan to discuss their concerns with the selectboard and planning commission Monday.
Yes, I signed.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Cats Tuesday: Charlie In The Snow

We had our first snow last week.

The wind scoured the snow here to a cat-manageable depth.

But to get to the barn, the drifts were over a foot (30.5 cm) deep.

The cats make a trail through the deep snow and then carefully step in old tracks from then on.

Thank you for visiting.
To visit other participants, see Gattina here.
Happy COT!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007 Holiday Challenge Holiday Challenge:
Since we are coming up on the Christmas season, I thought I’d toss out an idea that just might work. I’m looking for a few people out there who are willing to share their opinion and aren’t afraid of the rest of us debating it. I’m looking for your input on one very tough issue… 

Why do you think Jesus doesn’t have what it takes to be important in your life? 

That’s it. Plain and simple. It’s really not that hard. Everyone reads that and has a response. I know you have some feelings about it, probably even strong feelings. But, are you brave enough to jump in the mix? Are you strong enough to deal with a bit of critique? 

All I’m looking for is that you read that question and take a few minutes to think hard about your response. Then comment on this post. However, if you’re already a blogger, why not put a bit more effort into it and blog it at your blog. Then, just make sure that you link back to this post and I’ll make sure that we all share in the exchange.
This question stumped me. I have fragments of responses in my mind but I think it is such a complex challenge that I need to think and listen to others. I took the time to read the comments at Trevor's post, and while a couple were the mandatory "Jesus is my savior" statement, a couple of them led me to think more fully about what my response might be.

My first thought: if Jesus were important in the lives of Christians, wouldn't we have more tranquility in our daily lives? More peace on earth? If he were important in my life, would I have more peace of mind and less doubt? Does the lack of peace and my doubts mean that Jesus is not important to me or others?

Be sure to click the box on the comment page (hopefully you have gmail so that you can utilize this feature) and follow the comments. Come back if you need to say more. I need to listen to you. Thank you.


Last night, at about 10:30 PM Eastern time, I reached twenty thousand hits. Peppylady was that twenty thousandth visitor. Be sure to run over there, say O HAI! and visit. She is in northern Idaho and I deeply admire her spirituality.

The graphic on the left is 20,000 in Roman Numerals according to the site Nova Roma. Twenty Ms? No wonder we use Hindu-Arabic numerals now. Nova Roma has a nifty numeral converter that's fun to use.

The Romans did not have a symbol for zero. Even without zero, Roman Numerals were used until Leonardo de Pisa (also known as Fibonacci) introduced Europe to the Hindu-Arabic numerals and number system in 1202. Fibonacci's bunny problem in his book Liber Abaci:

A certain man had one pair of rabbits together in a certain enclosed place, and one wishes to know how many are created from the pair in one year when it is the nature of them in a single month to bear another pair, and in the second month those born to bear also.


Coming Up: Teacher Potluck Carnival Submissions Due

Teacher Potluck Carnival — Thanksgiving Lessons

Submissions for the Thanksgiving edition of the Teacher Potluck Carnival are now being accepted at
through November 19th (Monday, tomorrow!), midnight PST. I have submitted recipes. You need to, also.

Like Ms Whatsit says: Where there are teachers, there is food!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

LOL Cat Bible: Lectionary Readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time and Our First Holy Cat!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time | Proper 28 | Pentecost +25
Isaiah 65:17-25 or Malachi 4:1-2a
Isaiah 12 or Psalm 98
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

Here is HUNTER, a Most Holy Cat.
Hunter is praying to Ceiling Cat.
His disciples are the Family of Medelise of Yearn To Travel and Travel Plans.

Hunter is worthy because of his Holy Hugeness.
He is 25 lbs. (11.4 kg).

HALP! More Holy Cat photos are needed for this weekly post. If your cat is without sin, has a visible halo or any other mark of holiness or worthines, please send me her/his photo as soon as possible.

If you would like to help translate the LOLCat Bible, click here. This is the only section of today's readings that has been translated:

Malachai 4: 1-6
Teh Ceiling Cat Sum Zup
1 Teh ceiling cat sez "Glowbl Warm iz happen d00dz - Rly!"
2 "Not worriez - Am save u. Put u wiv der mooes."
3 "Stamp on teh bad kittehs pls."
4 "No forgot Moses? Dat storey iz klassik! Memba da ten r00lz"
5 "Elijah sez 'BRB!' He bak b4 Urf go BOOM!"
6 "Elijah start HART TRANSPLANT FRENZEE!! Or teh ceiling cat spank. Big tiem!"

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Unplugged Project: Boxes Without Topses and Pentominoes

graphic from the Wikipedia Pentamino article

The Unplugged Project this week is boxes. I often do the following "boxes" activity at school.

Our text book, Math Thematics, has a problem in which it presents several nets constructed with five squares and has the students decide which net will make a cube. I follow this problem with Marilyn Burns's activity "Boxes Without Topses" that can be found on page sixty in The I Hate Mathematics Book. I make a template of squares for the students and copy them onto oak tag or card stock. The squares are the size of the squares on the checkerboards that are in the school. Each student has to carefully cut five of these square out. I find that sixth graders and older can cut well with scissors. For younger students, I would suggest that you cut the squares for them.

Challenge the students to arrange their five squares in different ways with two rules: the edges must be touching and their corners must be aligned. Show them what is acceptable and what is not. There are twelve ways to arrange the five squares (please use the correct vocabulary: these are squares and not boxes). They are shown at the top of this post. Do not help them find the twelve combinations. They may get frustrated, but they will feel prouder of their accomplishment if you encourage and not enable. For this reason, it is best to have at least two students doing this activity. Have them sketch their combinations so that they can keep track of them. Sometimes I tell younger students that there are twelve combinations. I do not tell older students. Flips of shapes do not count as another shape.

After they successfully find all twelve combinations, we talk about the shapes and what letters of the alphabet they represent. This gives us a common vocabulary for discussing the shapes. I also tell them that these shapes are called pentominoes. I often conclude this part of the activity with a discussion and table of the other shapes with squares: dominoes, tetrominoes, etc. and how many different combinations can be made with one square, two squares, etc. Is there a pattern in the number of shapes that can be made with different numbers of squares? (I leave that exploration to you and yours.) Please be sure to read the Wikipedia Pentominoes article and become familiar with all of the enrichment materials that are easily available.

In the next part of this sequence, I have them create the shapes. They trace their squares onto clean and colorful cardstock and carefully cut them out. Even though they may not cut well, I feel it is important that they complete this part of the activity themselves, even if they use up a pile of expensive cardstock. Each child has her own unique color for her pentominoes.

When they are complete, I ask them to make shapes out of them (like tangram pictures). The ultimate challenge is that they use all twelve shapes to make one square rectangle. That is a very difficult activity. I have had only one student able to make that square a rectangle (and I have never been able to).

The next activity is with the checkerboard. I pair students and tell them the rules of the game: taking turns, they place one pentomino on the checkerboard. The last person to be able to place a piece on the board wins. Let them play often enough to develop a winning strategy. Would it make a difference if they played with one pentomino set or two?

For older, higher level students, I finally introduce them to John Conway's Game of Life. A good java applet for the game is here. If you have progressed this far with these activities, can you discover why Life is related to pentominoes?

The Game of Life opens up whole new worlds of mathematical exploration into his other game, Sprouts, and triangular numbers. I will explore that in a future post. I hope that teachers and parents develop their students' imaginations with this and other mathematical explorations. Mathematical games, puzzles, and recreations are rich sources of topics.

Visit other participants of the Unplugged Project here.
Next week's project is open-ended and the theme is THANKFUL.


Boxes without topses? Do you remember this song?

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine,
Lived a miner, forty-niner,
And his daughter Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever,
Oh my darling, Clementine.

Light she was, and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever,
Oh my darling, Clementine.

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