Ethics teaching day! We started a new topic today (having finished “stealing” last week): Jumping to conclusions. It’s actually about applying a bit of formal logic to statements to transform them into other statements, and how that changes the truth value. For example, one of the statements we discussed today is “All carrots are vegetables”, which is true. If you reverse the statement, “All vegetables are carrots”, you get a false statement.
Then we moved to trickier examples, like “All Persian cats are fluffy” – which you can’t reverse in the same way as easily: “All fluffy are Persian cats”. You need to add a noun to the second part: “All Persian cats are fluffy animals” → “All fluffy animals are Persian cats”. Again, true becomes false. Then “All birds have wings”, which needs to be modified to “All birds are animals with wings” → “All animals with wings are birds”. Again, true becomes false.
Next week we move on to examples where the truth value doesn’t change when you reverse the sentence. The goal of the topic is really to get the kids thinking about the rules of logic rather than to teach them rote rules, so that they can avoid jumping to incorrect conclusions.
On the way home I walked a new route which I haven’t explored before, through a local bush park. This is a park that straddles a creek, and consists of uncleared eucalyptus forest. I took some photos on the walk:
It’s nice having relatively untouched bushland so close to home. There are several areas like this within walking distance of my home. The full walk to Ethics and home via the bush park was over 9 kilometres, and I climbed 176 metres of elevation. It’s a very hilly area around here.
Speaking of which, I’ve been keeping track of everywhere I walk using the Fog of World app for a few months. Here’s my current map showing everywhere I’ve walked in that time:
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Today I wrote another one of the 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe, number 25 out of the planned 100. A nice milestone! In fact, I have more than 100 planned… but it’s a quarter of the way to the nominal target.
In the afternoon I did more preparation for the Magic: the Gathering event I’m planning for my friends. I still have several hours worth of work to do, but I should have plenty of time before the date, which is still over 2 weeks away.
That’s kind of all I’ve done today – those two things together took up over 12 hours of work. Well, I also took Scully for a walk and cooked dinner (curried vegetables in pastry parcels) and other normal daily stuff. I’m a bit tired now…
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Today I installed the new kitchen cupboard shelves that I bought last week. First I walked to the hardware store in the morning to get a drill bit. When I got home I pulled all the mugs out of the cupboard and removed the existing shelf, then marked up locations for drilling holes for the mounting pegs for the new shelves. A bit later, I had nice new shelves installed!
Here are before and after photos:
After lunch I picked up Scully from my wife’s work and then took her to a dog park for some exercise. It rained a bit, big cold raindrops, but not very intensely or long. And there was a really bright rainbow against the dark grey clouds. We need some rain, it’s been so dry for so long. There are dangerous bushfires burning out of control in both New South Wales and Queensland, and it’s extremely early in the fire season – we’re barely out of winter. I fear this summer is going to be terrible for fires across Australia.
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Most of today I spent doing more preparation for the Magic: the Gathering game night I’m organising for my friends. Not much more I can say about it at this stage, I’m afraid.
Apart from that, my wife and I went out for a late lunch at Balmoral Beach, which is a pleasant harbour beach about 15 minutes drive away. We had a pleasant lunch of beetroot and roast pumpkin salads on the promenade looking across at the beach and the water. The weather was still a little windy, but there were several people enjoying the sunshine and swimming in the water, though most of the people there were on the grass, having picnics, walking dogs, etc. Unfortunately I forgot to take my phone, so I couldn’t capture any photos of the beach to show you.
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Housecleaning day! After dealing with the usual Saturday morning routines, I spent some time organising details for the special Magic: the Gathering games night I’m running for my friends in three weeks. I have still have quite a bit of prep to do, and will be devoting a few days to it in the coming week. No details yet, to avoid spoiling the surprise for my friends! I’m getting more excited about this every day though.
In between I worked on some photos from my trip to Portugal in May, completing another day of the trip, which meant that I could complete my travel diary entry for the day.
I also did some Real Work type work, reading through a proposed ISO standard for photography and writing up comments on the draft. This is work that I started when I had a job at Canon (and got paid for it), and am now continuing in an independent expert (i.e. unemployed) capacity, because I believe in supporting the work and representing Australia’s interests in these international standards. The next face-to-face meeting of the ISO Photography committee is in Cologne, Germany, in the last week of October, and I am going to attend – I’ve booked my flights and hotels already. Standards Australia may provide me with funding, dependent on their budget and how important they think it is for me to attend this meeting – but I’ve already spent the money, so I’m going whether I get funded or not.
While in Germany, coincidentally the huge Spiel board gaming fair is on in Essen just days before my ISO meeting. And since Essen is less than an hour from Cologne, I’m taking the opportunity to visit and attend the fair – probably a once in a lifetime chance for me. So I’m pretty excited about that!
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Most of today was spent writing a new article for 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe. It’s about the variation in the strength of gravity over the Earth’s surface. It was hard finding a map of the actual value of the acceleration due to gravity across the Earth, rather than maps showing the local anomalies compared to a smoothly varying reference value. There are hundreds of the latter, but I only found one of the former, copied on a few different blogs, and it wasn’t clear where the original came from. I finally tracked it down to the Western Australian Geodesy Group at Curtin University, but the link I found led to a 404 page. So I emailed the professor of the research group there to ask if the diagram was really made by them, and if not, if he knew where it came from. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’ll update the article if and when I do.
For lunch I went on a longish walk over to a bakery called The Grumpy Baker, near the dog park where I take Scully a couple of times a week. With Scully we always drive because it’s a bit far to walk with her, but I did the trip on foot today, almost 5 km there and back. The weather was glorious – it really felt like summer already, even though we’re barely a few days out of winter. I walked there on an inland route, and then walked back by the shore of the harbour to make it a loop. This is Oyster Cove:
And then this afternoon the temperature got even warmer. Between 4pm and 4:30pm the temperature rose by 6.2 degrees Celsius (11.2 degrees Fahrenheit). Yes, in half an hour! A strong westerly wind was bringing in hot air from central Australia. The wind was really strong too, gusting up to 100 km/hr across Sydney, and causing some significant structural damage and bringing down several trees. A few cars got crushed and people hospitalised, and there were blackouts from power lines being downed. Nothing severe near me, but there were some small tree branches littered about the road. And when my wife and I walked up the street for dinner, the fire brigade was dealing with a damaged tree as we walked past.
And then later it rained, very heavily, while we were eating dinner. That brought a steep drop in temperature, back down 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) between 6 and 7pm. Fortunately the rain stopped before we walked back home, but the walk was uncomfortably cold.
Today I also raided the garage to find tools to install the new kitchen shelves I bought from the hardware store on Tuesday. I found an electric drill, but no bits. I’ll probably have to go buy the bit I need.
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First thing this morning I had a dentist appointment. I went a few weeks ago with a tooth that was causing a twinge of pain when I bit down on something. My dentist said it was a cracked molar. Normally he’d fit a crown, but he thought it might be fixable with just a bit of a filling, so that’s what he did. Unfortunately it didn’t work and the tooth was still painful, so I went in again today to have the crown preparation done. This involves having several moulds made of the teeth using a quick setting rubber material, then the offending tooth is drilled and ground down to allow the crown material to be installed on top. The new crown is fabricated offline from the moulds, and I have to go back in a week to have that fitted. In the meantime the dentist has installed a temporary plastic crown, which he told me not to floss or chew with, as it is fixed only weakly and could come off if I’m not careful.
So, yeah. The anaesthetic didn’t wear off until a late lunchtime. Having tried to eat with dental anaesthetic in effect before, I waited it out this time to make sure I didn’t chew up the inside of my cheeks. Anyway, all this ate up the morning and I felt a bit unenthusiastic about doing much for the rest of the day. What I did was wash the car, which was way overdue, looking very dusty thanks to the extended period without rain, followed by the couple of rainy days we had last week to move all the dirt around and make it more obvious.
Oh, and I found this photo that a Reddit user took yesterday of a diamond python at my local railway station, just a few hundred metres from my home. And here’s a video. Pretty cool!
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I had some strange issues with WordPress last night, so this post is several hours late.
On Wednesday my year 6 Ethics class topic was the Heinz dilemma. I introduced it by reading the text from the syllabus: “Today we’re going to discuss a famous ethical dilemma.” Immediately one girl put her hand up and asked “What, like the trolley problem?” I hadn’t expected anyone in a class of 10 and 11 year olds to be familiar with that, but it was good to hear! I had to say no though, it was a different problem.
I was interested in how this discussion would go because in a previous topic most of the kids expressed the principle that saving a human life was of paramount importance, while previously in the current topic (on stealing) several of the kids had stated that stealing is always morally wrong, because it’s against the law. Often the same kids. So pitting the saving a human life against having to steal to do it led to a lot of interesting back and forth as the kids took their turns to talk. In the end, most fell on the side that stealing to save someone’s life was morally acceptable, but there were a significant number of holdouts who said that because it was against the law, sadly they would have to let the person die. Hopefully the kids will continue to discuss this one after the class.
I spent much of the rest of the day researching and writing annotations for the new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I made earlier in the week. I still have a few more to do to complete the batch, and then it’ll be on to writing a new entry for 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe.
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Today was an extra heavy housework day. I hired a carpet cleaning machine from the local hardware store, picking it up first thing this morning. Before using it, I did an extra thorough vacuum cleaning to remove as much dirt as possible. Then it was filling up the machine with hot water and carpet shampoo, and using it to go over the whole house (well, except the kitchen and bathroom and laundry, which don’t have carpet). It leaves the carpet slightly damp, so it was time to throw open all the windows for a cross breeze to help it dry out. But it removes a lot of gunk from the carpet – the retrieved water in the collecting tank was almost black. It’s hard work – I’d like to clean the carpet like this more often, but only do it a few times a year. It took a few hours and I was dripping with sweat by the end of it.
After all that hard work I treated myself to a nice lunch at a local pub. They have a chicken schnitzel that is really good.
In the afternoon I had to clean out the carpet cleaner and then take it back to the hardware store. On that trip I decided to buy some timber shelving so that I could install a few extra shelves in the kitchen cupboard that we use to hold mugs and glassware. The cupboards have two shelves, far enough apart that we can stack mugs and glasses two high on each shelf, with room to spare. I realised it would be better to have extra shelves, then we could spread the mugs and glasses out and not have to stack them on top of each other. I don’t own a saw, so I had the hardware store cut the timber to size, and they did a pretty good job. Now I just need to drill some shelf peg holes. I do have a drill, but I may need to go back and a buy a bit of the right size.
For dinner I cooked a Thai green curry with various vegetables: cauliflower, broccolini, pumpkin, red capsicum (red pepper, for non-Australians), onions. I thought it turned out pretty well.
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I spent most of today making that batch of comics I’ve been working on writing the past few days. Shooting the photos took all morning, after which I treated myself to a lunch up the street at the local “healthy” supermarket, which has a hot buffet lunch thingy. I got a box of various grilled and curried vegetables.
The afternoon was taken up with assembling the comics from the photos I’d shot in the morning. I finished that around 8pm, giving me time to watch some TV with my wife for the evening. And besides looking after Scully and taking her to the dog park for a while, that was pretty much my whole day.
Here’s a sneak preview of one of the strips I made today…
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