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About Free

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    Learning Bee

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    South of the Vindhyas
  1. Well firstly, I am pretty damn sure the kid does not think he "invented" a clock, for goodness sake!!! He may have said so in an interview or two, but then even Presidents & CEOs are known to trip on words sometimes. When somebody dissects a child's words to this extent, I do not know what else to call this but mean spirited pettiness. And then to critique a complete stranger's work on the internet based off a grainy photo when a few pages back you admitted you did not know enough electronics to differentiate between a clock and a bomb? I don't know what to call that either. And what need is there to discuss the boy's device? Unless one resents his sudden fame and wants to tear him down? Sorry, Ahmed did not put anything up to the public, nor did he seek the horde of internet armchair experts to critique his device. The clock, from what I read was still in police custody. He is a 14 year old boy whose hand-cuffed picture was tweeted by his sister, which then went viral. His international fame is not the work of some evil genius mastermind. He may be sure be basking in the spotlight for now. But then, so what? I am happy for him. I am happy that a really ugly situation was turned around by the generous people who supported him and sent him some really cool invitations and freebies. I was reading an interview with him where he seemed to freaking out about "going viral" and that made me laugh. Because I have a 14 year old myself and I can relate to this boy. I would rather, a boy called Ahmed who showed passion and interest, get his 15 mins of fame, than the Kim Davises and the Jareds and the Duggars of this world.
  2. Or maybe he just used a word incorrectly? That can happen you know.
  3. It is kind of ironical that when religious people say "science requires faith" or "secularism is a religion" they mean that as an insult.
  4. Oh, but there are a ton of great threads I have subscribed to, and keep going back to. They are not curriculum threads, and those discussions are priceless!
  5. I just happened to notice the quote in your siggy: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. ~Carl Sagan Beautiful and relevant I think.
  6. I can understand that feeling, because many of us, and certainly I have believed at one time that the vastness of the universe and the complexity of life had to mean there was an overarching "purpose and meaning". Realising that my belief was based not on objective evidence but rather my desire for it to be so helped me in fact to create meaning in the present moment. I would hope to leave the world a little bit better than I found it. Other than that I do not need a grand plan for the reason for my existence. I can understand the desire others have to find a greater meaning revealed, for life and pain and suffering to all finally make sense, to think of ourselves as pieces in a jigsaw puzzle and to want to see the final picture emerge. This desire, IMO, reveals both the insatiable curiosity and the hubris of humans. Considering the size of the universe, we are insignificant specks and yet we believe that somehow our existence has some meaning. Millions of animals are born, they live, they die and over a period of time they become extinct. Do their lives have some ultimate meaning? They have meaning for us humans and they probably have meaning for themselves and their friends and families. That is all that matters in the vast scales of space and time. Neuroscience is offering fascinating insights into the human brain. We really don't know half of what there is to know about how the brain works and how our sense of self is formed. Altering brain function can alter your personality and alter your memories, so I do not believe in the concept of an immutable "self" even when we are alive, much less when we are dead.
  7. Won't we all like more time? Even a religious person who believes in an afterlife, who believes that death would mean going to a "better place" would still like more time here on earth to spend with kids, to travel, to read more books and watch more movies. Of course we all would like more time, here right now, to make a difference in the lives of the people we love and to make our existence count.
  8. Irrespective of beliefs of theistic people, morality is a combination of several factors - higher brain capacity in animals giving rise to empathy and a sense of justice and a need for rules for living in harmony in a social setting. We humans have for a long time believed that we are unique among animals in our capacity for language, thought, problem solving, love, grieving over lost loved ones, sense of humour, etc. Research on animal behaviour is slowly but surely proving us wrong in almost every instance. Not to say that the human brain is not marvelous and incredible, but rudimentary aspects of all our capacities can be found in animals. Your example of dogs showing a sense of justice is interesting. I had not heard of that study, but there was a very similar study done on monkeys and video below demonstrating that study is hilarious to watch.
  9. Jackie, I do so love it when you post about what you do with your kids. I have a reluctant learner and your initial struggles with your ds resemble my own frustrations with my ds so much. I take inspiration from the way you have done school with him. Your posts on homeschooling often contain a wealth of information and I keep coming back to them again and again and again.
  10. I have been there. I have had a spiritual "Aha" moment that made me turn my life 100% in a different direction. But I have now reached a point in my journey where not only do I not feel the need to hold onto those religious beliefs anymore, but also can see how some of the ideas I professed were wrong. I think of spiritual understanding as peeling the layers of an onion. Each layer just takes you deeper and deeper into understanding. You cannot access inner layers until you peel the outer ones and everyone finds the "truth" in the layer that they are in.
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