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About wathe

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee

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  1. A funny-sad story from "Under the Influence" (CBC radio show) about how the general public's poor math skills help the Quarter Pounder win out over a competitor in the 1980's. Poor understanding of fractions is nothing new, apparently. "More than half the people in the focus groups questioned the price of the third-pounder. They wanted to know why they should have to pay the same price for a third of a pound as they did for a quarter pound at McDonald's. They said A&W was overcharging them. You're ripping them off. People genuinely thought a third of a pound was less than a quar
  2. We started with Getting Started With French. I like it because it's a grammar based approach with limited vocabulary, not a vocabulary and phrase based approach (so many language learner programs seem to be very heavy on vocab and light on grammar). I think that once you learn the grammar of a language, then adding vocab is easy. Not so true vice versa, I don't think. We just finished it last week. We're going to move on to Easy French - still grammar based, but more vocabulary and more depth.
  3. My understanding is that that AZ shipment to Mexico is also a loan, not a gift.
  4. Nitpicky but important detail wrt to Canada: Loan, not give. To be repaid.
  5. Because you didn't have the good fortune to bear only left-handed children who struggle with righty scissors and therefore only ever use their own scissors.
  6. NYT article on influence of western vaccine "pauses" on vaccine hesitancy in the rest of the world. Makes me want to cry. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/world/europe/western-vaccines-africa-hesitancy.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage
  7. An interesting article on CBC about risks of the AZ vaccine vs risks of covid, and how we communicate relative risks. It links to this Cambridge paper about communicating AZ vaccine risk.
  8. I think this is true. Most of my acquaintances have no idea what I do. They all seem to think that I am required to follow the provincial public school curriculum, and that I'm provided by the province with the books/on-line resources to do so, and that we're somehow evaluated and kept in line by the province. All are surprised to hear that I am completely independent, provided with nothing, not beholden to the provincial public school curriculum, not evaluated by the province, and free to teach anything I like. I am required, as per the provincial education act, to provide a "satisf
  9. We've planned a few summer family camping trips in nearby provincial parks. I hope they will be open by then - they've all closed for camping now due to the third wave that's hitting us hard. We'll probably meet with friends for outdoor days at the beach or hikes. Assuming our third wave settles down. Our stay-at-home order expires in early May, but who know if it will be extended. Cases are still rising sharply, so I'm actually not hopeful. The kids' usual summer camp is cancelled again this year. Which is just as well. It's very unlikely that my kids will be eligible to be va
  10. We have municipal composting here, with curbside pick-up on garbage day. I think it's province-wide. So I have 2 compost pails on my counter: one for my own garden compost, which takes veggie scraps, eggshells, teabags and coffee grounds, and a second pail for municipal compost, which takes cooked food, meat scraps, bacon grease, and even soiled paper food packaging (like paper coffee cups). It's great.
  11. Right - Canada is super complex and very diverse, with lots of interesting politics and hot political issues. The core difference is that, despite enormous cultural diversity, there is general acceptance of relatively more government involvement (higher taxes, socialized medicine, social programs) in citizens' lives than in the USA, which, I think, leads to more social and community stability, which makes functional public schools possible. And I think that's generalizable to all the countries you hear about with functional public school systems (NZ, Singapore in this thread, and others not
  12. I've heard this and similar arguments before. I think the key difference is institutional trust and tolerance for government involvement in general and less of a culture of individualism (things like socialized medicine, more government support for marginalized people, higher taxes). Which directly affects poverty and wealth gaps and standard of living, and population health, and both directly and indirectly supports successful education systems. It's also true that the US is more populous that just about everywhere else, but I'm not sure that's as relevant. I don't buy the hom
  13. My kids really liked historical architectural books for kids: David Macaulay's Castle, Pyramid, City, Cathedral Stephen Biesty cross-section books. Man of War is wonderful (HMS Victory)
  14. Canadian Math Kangaroo ran about a month ago. Both kids participated (this is their 3rd year). We don't get results until May, I think. No T-shirts here. It's a nice, low-key, mathy fun thing to do.
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