Friday, December 7, 2012

Traditional vs. Online Schooling

     "Traditional" schooling is the professor-classroom relationship. Online classes require students to interact with more media to learn, selected by the professor. My view is that both formats are incomplete. A truly modern approach to teaching seamlessly integrates online and traditional formats. Students need to be able to access the information in as many ways as possible, and will need both lectures and independent study time.
     Undergraduate education is becoming more standardized, and this means more pedagogical media is available. For example, during my calculus courses, I found myself using the assigned textbook, Khan Academy, and three other books. My dad's text was useful for comparing definitions, and a popular math book provided a conceptual view of calculus and its history. Finally, I used a textbook written in 1910 that now exists on the public domain called Calculus Made Easy. This plethora of sources allowed me to really dig into the subject, and see it as something useful, and as a beautiful idea in a long history of ideas. I couldn't have found them without the internet.
     Parts of the traditional method could be abandoned. Professors can be the ones who identify when they are not being effective, and give students opportunities to pursue knowledge in a different way. The success of sites like Khan Academy show that students need a different format, and excel when that need is met. At the same time, those sites lack a holistic view, and cannot help students integrate their knowledge. The professor is there to ensure integration happens.
     Above all else, this should foster in students the desire to learn and self-assess, because the most important skill to learn as an undergraduate is how to teach oneself. An effective synthesis of methods would simply shift the emphasis from the professor-classroom relationship to the professor-student relationship.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Friendship is a worthwhile thing; it is the nurturing we can offer other people, without being expected to give anything more.

Friendship is a parallel-processing event; the mutual acknowledgement of some thing, and its subsequent development.

Friendship is a resource-distribution  mechanism; sometimes our friends are the only ones who can see and provide what we need.

Friendship is an eternal hunting party; forever creeping up the next hill, looking for the game that will secure the tribe through winter.

But, we can only have so many friends.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Space Checkers pt II: Singularity Chess

     To us, winning is not victory in the game, but finding the most novel way to end it. Both of us have highly developed but effectively suppressed competitive instincts.The game becomes a memetic Rochambeau; in my second turn I capture his bishop with my own from across the board, but he responds by taking my bishop with a knight that that had been his first move.
     Quickly, the board to my left gets pretty empty.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Robots and Swords

Calculus is one of those things. It just is. And, everyone has to learn it their own way. While I was in calculus II, a friend told me to start thinking of those operations like robots; I just had to learn how to tell the robots to do their work. And, that worked! I learned the basics and got through II & III.

But now, I'm in ordinary differential equations. This is like having a magic sword that ALWAYS cuts SOMETHING, then finding myself in a pitch black room with another fellow wielding a similar sword. Good luck not losing an arm.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Potentially Imprudent Notice

Today, I wrote a note on one of the NC3405 whiteboards;
Hello! Welcome to the Physics Lounge, A.K.A., the Euphoric Chaos Room. My name is Tabor and I'm sometimes at the desk to the right of the fridge. I'm a physics student, and I'm paid to assist you and your professors. I'm lucky to have this job. I have 12 hours every week to build, program, clean, write and repair whatever. So I need as much input as possible to be useful. If you have any suggestions, comments, or requests, please tell me. My email is tabor (dot) henderson (at) (geemail) (dot) com. Let me know! -T
This may have been imprudent, in that I've pasted personal information on a wall, specifically asking for work. But I like work! Good work, at least. So, I'll see what this brings me, and record the best of it here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Space Checkers

People play variations of draughts all over the world. Here in the U.S. of A., we play English draughts, more commonly called checkers. It's a simple, and sometimes fun, game. I played it with my dad and brothers growing up. The rules around the world are essentially the same, sometimes with a larger board, sometimes without "kings". It's a very abstract game, limiting everything to a small grid, and generally this grid is thought to represent some medieval battlefield. As a kid, I enjoyed this, but my attention span has waned. I can't find someone to play against without getting distracted. So, that, combined with my younger brother's continued interest in making his own "space game," led me to ask myself the profoundly inane question;

What if the checkers were in space?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Synthesynaptic Response

For me, learning is all about finding that groove where I can imagine cool pictures and interesting things, while searching for ways to allow the symbolic mind to "catch up." It's a process of synthesis; I have to combine the crazy shit my brain experiences with the actual information about what is. I feel like I can imagine so much more than I can actually do, and at times, it's really frustrating. The feeling makes me think I understand things I think I don't, and try to ask questions that I haven't even properly formed. But at the same time, that feeling is the whole point. When you get somewhere you can imagine something you can't describe, that gives you a reason to either study more, or start writing science fiction. Once I'm on the far end, though, it's worth it. If I can ingest a physical theory well enough, it becomes a piece of my imagination. Once I understand something, it is synthesized into all of my future thinking.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Cultural Leader

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing today to ask you a personal favor, as one American citizen to his President. I simply ask that you take a moment, and consider yourself in your position, as not an administrator, but a cultural leader.

My name is Tabor, and I've had a privileged life. I was raised in middle-class suburban America, and I'm barely aware of an era before the Internet. Needless to say, my perspective is limited. While I still feel more like a boy than a man at 22, men my age have seen combat and come home to tell about it (or not). At my age, some men have their first, or second, or even third child. At my age, some men have responsibility.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


As useful as it is, Wikipedia can undoubtedly be better. I think an important part of this is seeing what it has to offer as a non-traditional encyclopedia. Wikipedia articles represent the evolutionary synthesis of ideas. A new article format could let users see this process. A many-layered dynamic format, as an optional setting, can be much richer than a traditional single-page article format.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cell phone orgami photography

It is what it is, man.

Once I'd picked my favorites, it was easy to de\ete the rest.

Friday, January 20, 2012