Blog Posts

Modelling epidemics to learn about probability

My major focus in my work at the Adult Education Centre has been adapting online courses for the Hybrid Learning Project. Basically, these are high school courses adult learners can complete online, but there is also an in-person tutorial component to them. I’ve been adapting the e-Learning Ontario MDM4U (Grade 12 Data Management) course. I’m almost done. I could write an entire post about this assignment and how I feel about it, but that’s for another time.

You should watch Haphead

Recently one of the vloggers I follow, Nicole Coenen, tweeted about a video series she’s in. It’s called Haphead, and it’s an 8-part miniseries set in 2025 about young people, video games, and the pace of change. I’m a science fiction fan (big surprise, that), so I was immediately intrigued. I started watching the first episode … and I was hooked. As in, it has been a while since a TV show has so effortlessly drawn me into its world and made me want to watch more.

Haters gonna hate: we need Ontario's new sex ed curriculum

Ontario’s new health and physical education curriculum landed today. As with all curriculum documents, you can read it yourself. This marks the first revised curriculum since 1998/1999. I remember in 2010 being disappointed when the McGuinty government backtracked hard on its revised curriculum. Both Premier Wynne and Minister of Education Liz Sandals seem pretty committed to keeping this one around, however, and that’s a very good thing.

The problem with teaching STEM

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have announced they have evidence that mice can pass traits to offspring through bacteria’s DNA. That’s it, guys, I’m done. I took biology in high school, and enjoyed it, even though it is the squishiest of the sciences. I remember learning about genes and DNA and inheritance and Punnett squares. In the textbooks, it all looks so cut-and-dried. But it has been simplified to the point of being almost-but-not-quite a lie.

Just K1, P1 for 1115 days

I taught myself continental style last week, mostly on a whim. I can say things like this, because I have become fairly proficient at knitting. See, today marks exactly three years since I learned how to knit. Learning to knit changed my life. I never saw it coming. And since I started learning, I have never stopped. So, why the continental style?

Is this the future? I like it

Last time … on Ben’s blog! I got a Nexus 5. I spent most of that post rambling about why I got a new phone, why I chose the Nexus 5, and my initial reactions to unboxing the phone. Now I’ll go into more depth regarding my thoughts on the Nexus’ hardware and the software—Android 5.0, codenamed Lollipop.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Invasion (Animorphs, #1) cover image

ANIMORPHS!!!

That’s it. Review done. Go home.

What else do you want me to say? This was my series growing up. Sure, I read Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew—and someone was still writing new volumes in those series, too, updated for the modern 1990s. (I’m sure there is an entire PhD thesis devoted to tracing the ways those two series have been revised and rewritten and re-released throughout the twentieth century—and if there isn’t, there should be.) But it was probably an early indicator of my lifelong love…

Memory and Dream (Newford, #2) cover image

I don’t pay much attention to blurbs on book covers. The worst one are when the publisher has cherry-picked a list of adjectives from someone’s review, as if hearing that the New York Times thought a book is “inspiring, powerful, thought-provoking” is going to make me want to read it any more or less. Blurbs have little substance and are not helpful. Most of the time. But I’m going to start off by quoting the Library Journal blurb on the front cover of my edition of Memory & Dream:

De Lint moves…

The Mountains of Mourning (Vorkosigan Saga) cover image

The Warrior’s Apprentice was, by all metrics, fun, but I didn’t think it was especially substantive. Miles blunders his way into and out of a problem, succeeding more on luck and determination than any particular flash of brilliance on his part. (There is nothing wrong with luck and determination, of course. These are valuable qualities to possess!) I enjoyed the book, but it’s not going to keep me up at night.

The Mountains of Mourning, on other hand, brought me to tears.

In what seems to be a trend…

The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) cover image

Miles Vorkosigan has a mixed bag. On one hand, he’s the Barrayaran heir to a title. He has parents who care about him and have given him a first-class education. When he travels off-world to Beta Colony, he gets sweet diplomatic immunity and a tough bodyguard. Then again, the bodyguard is there in case someone tries to kill him. That’s the other hand. Exposure to a toxin in the womb has left Miles with weakened, underdeveloped bones that are prone to breaking. His diminutive stature doesn’t work…

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3) cover image

When I re-read this book, I might give it five stars. It’s that close. I just have all these … feelings.

I’ve waited a long time to read The Republic of Thieves and brought it with me as an airplane/travel book. It did not disappoint. For a third time Scott Lynch manages to deliver an incredible adventure breathtaking in the depth of its intrigue and the passionate portrayal of its characters. Without question I liked it better than Red Seas Under Red Skies—there was no heist plot derailed by a…

Mockingbird (Miriam Black, #2) cover image

Seeing the future is still never a good idea.

Over two years after I read the first book, I finally read Mockingbird, the second in Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series. Miriam is trying to move on after the life-altering events of the first book, but she isn’t having much success. “Lying low” is a difficult concept for her, and soon enough she finds herself drawn back into the fine art of messing with destiny.

This book gets better and more interesting retroactively following the twist, so that’s why…