Dean Kamen rocks!

Posted by on Nov 29, 2011 in Connections, Inspiration, Learning, Making a difference, Science, Web/Tech | 1 comment

Prior to attending Learning2011 I had not heard of Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and other amazing and life impacting robotic inventions. He was such a down to earth humorous guy I was hooked before I even heard about what he's done with kids, science, and technology! He founded USFIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) twenty years ago "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders." I think you'll be wowed by Dean's story and inspired to pursue your dreams with a renewed enthusiasm!  ...

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Learning 2011 Transactive memory

Posted by on Nov 28, 2011 in Connections, Learning, Science, Web/Tech | 0 comments

I found this topic of transactive memory absolutely fascinating! These are two short videos from Learning 2011 of Betsy Sparrow, Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. Betsy is the co-author of “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips,” which appeared in Science magazine in July 2011. Here are the highlights for me: If people believe information is accessible they don’t bother to remember itThe Internet allows us to access the memories of other peopleTransactive memory allows us to devote more cognitive resources to...

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Kill a What?

Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 in Challenges, Family, Science | 0 comments

My dear hubby has become increasingly budget conscious over the past two years as he has transitioned from nine-to-five-JOB through unemployment to house hubby. Sustaining our household on one income is a challenge but we're up for it—we have learned to do more with less and been happier for it. Have you heard the comedian Bill Engvall’s joke about his family and their electronic’s addiction? He describes himself standing outside their home watching the electric meter spin out of control and yelling at the top of his lungs, “Turn something OFF you people are killin’ me!” That’s my hubby 😉 We have solar panels, we hang our laundry on a clothesline to sun dry (smells scrumptious!), we use compact florescent light bulbs, and we used fans instead of air-conditioning until late May! Still, our electric bill is one of our biggest costs. One of Jeff’s favorite gadgets is a tool called a Kill-a-WATT an electric usage meter. Here’s the layman’s explanation: you plug it into an outlet in and plug an appliance into it and press W for watts and it tells you how many watts the appliance uses. He’s geekily impressed by this tool. And it is cool. A fan might use 75 watts where a window unit air-conditioner might use 300-500 watts. But imagine this: our coffee brewer uses 900 watts whether it’s brewing coffee or keeping the urn warm.  This is equal to sixty-five compact florescent bulbs!  We still make coffee but we don’t leave it on after it’s made. Who knew? Some of the fancier models will even project energy costs and show you used energy costs.  We also discovered that some electronics like our DVD player and TV still draw electricity even when turned off so they are now plugged into a strip that we turn off when not in use. Our little thirty buck investment has paid for itself several times over and been an illuminating...

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The City

Posted by on Apr 4, 2011 in Creativity, Food and Drink, Inspiration, Science, Travel | 0 comments

One of the highlights of our road trip was an event Antonette planned (Thanks A!) for us to attend with her nieces, my awesome pen pals! We took the metro train into Washington DC and met her mom (who used to work with me as well and is a dear friend) and went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It was a Saturday so the trains and city were bustling and for this little country hayseed there were oodles of people. I gaggled like a tourist—people watching is one of my favorite activities! The diversity, energy, laughter, and camaraderie abounded and simply being in our capitol is energizing and inspiring. Of course we had to see the Hope Diamond first, it’s a must stop and has recently been reworked into a new setting ( A & I agreed we kinda preferred the old one, more simple) it’s alotta bling and the history is fascinating.  Next stop the Butterfly Exhibit where taller niece, Moni, and I went in to see them up close and personal. It was hot inside their habitat and though none of them ever landed on us they were gorgeous to watch flutter by, and I got a few good pix. Moni was excellent at identifying them via the picture charts, she’s a budding scientist. Antonette had visited the museum the previous week with one of her nieces and her mom and they were so wowed they wanted to bring us back to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit. The entire coral reef is made up of crocheted pieces of yarn. Yup, you read that right, it’s a giant wooly mammoth of a display to replicate an underwater reef. Okay so it doesn’t sound breathtaking, it sounds kinda out there, but wait till you see photos and watch this video on the inspiration for the reef: This project is about science, creativity, collaboration, conservation, education it covers every aspect to engage and empower people! And take a look at these colorful pix that Jeff shot:       Then peek at the online photos to see if you’re moved to visit the exhibit in person or find out how you can contribute a piece of your crocheting to a satellite reef! (I don’t crochet but I was inspired to take up knitting again in Maine with my friend Jaime and her daughter Kim. I’m still fumble fingered and lack confidence in my ability but I’m knit-pearling-away and enjoy the Zen of the moment. I find it meditative almost—yet my hands are busy and focused—it helps keep me in the now.) We worked up an appetite at the museum and were ready for lunch at the city's famous Ben's Chili Bowl! We didn't get relief from standing right away as the line outside snaked inside and wrapped up and down the narrow restaraunt. The atmosphere was lively and jumping and guess who met us there? My dear friend and past client Honoré! Thanks for joining us Honoré for a most memorable lunch in THE city! Here's pix she took of me, A, and Jeff waiting in...

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Posted by on Jul 9, 2010 in Challenges, Connections, Inspiration, Love, Science | 0 comments

My dear friend, Laura Allen, has graciously dedicated this blog post to Rett Syndrome and how you can vote every day in the month of July to help Rett get a $250,000 grant from Pepsi.   Cyndi Perron writes: Our family was blessed 33 years ago with a beautiful little girl named Missy Chapman.  Her parents, Becki and Scott, had so much to look forward to with their little girl, but their road was going to take a different journey than what they thought.  It began when Missy was about 18 months old.  My sister, Becki, started to notice a change in Missy and this started a search that spanned years and many, many doctor’s office visits, scores of tests, and hearing some very hard and insensitive things from “well-meaning” doctors.   We all knew the answer was out there and finally one day the answer came.  Becki writes:  Thanks Cyndi. The details are too many to share here but essentially we were fortunate that Missy was under the care of a wonderful man and pediatric neurologist, Dr. James Coldwell, for her seizures. (Which are pretty common for a person with RS.)  He and I both came to hear of Rett Syndrome at about the same time. He through his medical contacts and I through a newspaper article written by a Mom whose daughter was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. Missy was 8 years old at that time.  Not much information was available but what we did know fit Missy. She had seemingly normal early development but then around 18 months of age she showed regression. Her speech disappeared, her ability to move about changed as she developed a wide-based stance and gait. She began having seizures. She also developed an unending hand-wringing motion and breath-holding episodes that she was only freed from during sleep.  Literally it felt like we were watching our daughter slipping away from us. So, the excitement we felt having a name to what was happening with Missy would seem crazy but to me it meant we could then start focusing on treatment.   It’s been many years for Missy now but the Rett community and the researchers and doctors that are all involved in figuring this thing out are amazingly dedicated and we are so fortunate to have them all working so tirelessly for our children. I have never given up hope because I know how hard they work. I have never given up hope because I believe in Missy.  Cyndi here: To be the parents of a daughter with Rett is not an easy road.  It is a 24/7 job and you never get a day off, but my sister and her husband, have mastered the art.  Missy is an exceptionally happy, healthy and loving person who has blessed our family with her endless smile, laughter, love for food and the wisest eyes you have ever seen.  As her aunt, I know she understands and hears everything and gets it.  Missy is our special angel and we love her dearly.  In the last few years research has made some amazing leaps for Rett Syndrome.  In 1999, the MECP2 gene was identified as the gene that causes RS.  This was a huge discovery and now there is genetic testing for those who wish to know.  They have done some animal studies that show RS may be reversed someday.   None of this can continue without money to support the research.  Please take a few minutes each day this month and vote.  You can vote each day and see where we are.  Rett Syndrome is currently in fourth place and we need to...

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