Teaching Resource – Parable of the Polygons

Parable of the PolygonsA few weeks back I came across Parable of the Polygons, a “playable post” from Vi Hart and Nicky Case. I’ve been pretty entranced by it since. This post uses simple, interactive cellular automata to demonstrate how preferences in each individual can affect the entire system. This is a metaphor, and a model, for how even slight individual biases can lead to segregation at the societal level.

The beauty of Hart and Case’s work is in it’s simplicity. Continue reading

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2013: Relationships, Education, Writing

While I don’t care much for typical New Year’s resolutions, I do think the beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect and refocus on my priorities. Looking back, I spent a lot of time these last several months putting time and effort into pursuits that weren’t actually very important to me. Areas of my life that are important to me suffered a bit for it. As I roll into 2013 I want to focus on the facets of my life that I neglected: people and relationships, learning and education, and the written word.

I prefer to have a few very close relationships. My connections to other people are a major part of my identity, really, so I’m only truly happy if those relationships are healthy. Much of my attention will be put into maintaining and growing my friendships and to more clearly communicating my love to those people I am closest to.

When the rest of my life has been uncertain and even disappointing, my friends have always been constant, supportive, and my home. I’m going to pull people close and make sure they know that I need them in my life.

I have bounced back from my failure with DC Teaching Fellows. I’ve established myself as a well-liked and much asked for tutor in the Eugene area. I worked over a year at a local sustainable farm. All of that has allowed me to rebuild my confidence. Now it’s time for me to start looking forward again. I feel more prepared for the GRE, so I will be retaking the Mathematics Subject exam and the Analytical Writing portion of the general GRE. Graduate school is again on my near horizon. I’ll be applying to a number of schools this time. This is my primary education focus.

I have some other areas I want to focus on, though. I want to develop a portfolio to demonstrate my ability to design and implement algorithms to solve problems and my understanding of numerical analysis. The implementation portion will allow me to learn and explore different programming languages. A secondary goal is to familiarize myself with a variety of languages.

Other than those two primary focuses, I am just going to read more. This includes everything from more science articles online to non-fiction books and also catching up on the fiction books that my friends have recommended to me. Then we can talk about them which will help me grow those relationships.

Focusing on relationships and on learning will give me a lot to think about and when I have a lot to think about I write. Writing is the third area of my life that will be getting most of my attention. I claim to be an enthusiastic writer, but the amount I write does not really reflect that. I have aspirations to release a collection of poetry, but I have not produced enough poetry within the last several years to find enough pieces worth pulling together.

Distractions will not force my relationships, education, or writing to the back burner, as they have this last year. Instead, I will maintain my focus and let the distractions wait until their proper time and give them no more than they deserve.

Numeral_Conversion program

Here is the program I just finished: Numeral_Conversion. For best results, please unzip the inner folder and read the READ_ME file. If you are more interested in what this arbitrary program is and why I wrote it, read on. Continue reading