Science Starts With Vocabulary & Attitude

14 04 2011

My Note –

When the nation wants to encourage science, math and engineering – well, that sounds pretty good.

But, it doesn’t start in a science class and not even with a nifty experiment seen in class or TV on a science show.

Science starts where we would expect it – in the home, in the community, in the neighborhood, in the family, in the basic curiosity awakened and encouraged.

When and as, a child starts to ask those questions about the world around them that was here when they got here – it is nearly always at the worst possible moment. Will that natural curiosity be met with harshness, contempt, disgust and hurtful words? Or with neglect? With frustration that the question was asked at all? Maybe the adult doesn’t know how the television works and would rather not make that obvious. Maybe dinner needs doing and clothes for work tomorrow washed and a thousand other things. Maybe the other adults in the community tell the child it isn’t anything worth worrying about – it just works because it does.

What is different between that and a neighborhood or moment between an adult and child that awakens an interest in science, discovery, putting together the pieces, learning and understanding (and consequently, in math, engineering and other fun things of learning)?

I suppose I’ve been both imaginative at times, and impatient in the moments with children that found those questions asked, too. Sometimes I’ve told more than they could understand about how that television works and sometimes I’ve had no patience with the moment when the questions came and said something flippant like, go look it up. What I didn’t say is, why do you need to know that? But, both as a child and as an adult – people have certainly said that to me and the first thing I felt was shame for even asking.

The best maybe has been those moments when a book lay handy nearby with pictures to explain it in ways easily understandable and interesting that I could open to that page sitting down in the floor with a child or children who had asked about it and get them started looking at it as I pointed to the big television and back to the small one in the book as it started helping them to see how all those things were inside that cabinet to make it work. Then, I could go back to whatever it was that I thought was so monumentally important, whether tedious or necessary or both.

Of course, I take for granted that when I see the book’s page, it actually does interest me nearly every time, too. There is always something I didn’t notice before which catches my attention and I say, Ooh what is that part – before remembering I’m supposed to be the grown up. Wonder what that part does? And, I’m ever reminded to say – “you know one time there was not any TVs and someone made one before any of them existed.” He built it from scratch, from parts put together in ways no one had ever done when he invented it.

Seems stupid doesn’t it? That our fascination as adults with things around us in science and an appreciation for it translates that excitement and interest and value to our children and the children around us even in the community. When people watched me taking pictures of a plaque on the side of Macy’s in NY which described the first Edison motion picture ever shown being presented there, people stopped and looked as if they had never even seen that plaque before or known anything about it. A child behind me nearby asked her parents – what does it say?

Well, does that child know of a time when there were not TVs and movies and motions pictures and shows filmed to stream live to far-away places? Will she ever know there was a time, a moment when men (and sometimes, women) came together to create these things and to make them available to the world we know today? Will she know that she could be a part of that for a future time in her own life and that whole new worlds are possible for her and her friends?

The other place that science starts beyond attitudes in our communities and homes about it is in vocabulary. Without the ability to understand the written and spoken words available to use for describing and expressing things, no one could learn what has already been studied, explored and known. I put on a twitter awhile ago, this note – when, after sharing this very nifty science thing I had seen on the news or internet, a friend patiently listened, politely showing interest and then asked, “what is a scheme”? That may have read in the mind of my listener as the word “Skeem” or “Skim”or may have been that inside was a personal belief that if it has to do with that science stuff, then its too hard to understand it.

cricketdiane photo of ye olde Webster's Dictionary 2011

cricketdiane photo of ye olde Webster's Dictionary 2011

Regardless, it reminded me that I had an advantage which many do not have in being completely obsessed to learn all the words that there are for anything and how to spell them, what they mean, how to use them and how to guess what they might mean in any context. However, that said, it is vitally important that words be available in an understandable form whatever the languages involved. There used to be a constant demand from adults around any child in America to look up words they didn’t know in a dictionary that every house seemed to have. I even went to friends houses and they had cupboards with a dictionary somewhere or a shelf under the coffee table with one and they were well used, not some kind of new coffee table book that was never opened. Now, online it is in a way much easier and yet it is not.

When a dictionary in book form gets opened, there are ways learned to look up a word even sometimes when the spelling isn’t known. Best guesses are forwarded and it causes a treasure hunt game to ensue. Other things are found along the way. If two friends, sisters or brothers are sitting looking up a word, the tendencies are to share those interesting entries found along the way with the spelling, definition and how it is guessed to be used. Adults around the kitchen table used to do this too when words were looked up in the household dictionary. And, then that habit and interaction carries forward into other forms of information and learning – of searching and sharing, talking about it and guessing together how it applies into real life.

It is an integrated approach where even the adults in the household learn and grow while sharing and teaching in an intimate conversation as equals in the learning of new words, and new things about words already known, and where those fit into other things of living. I think of a word I found once which had the little note, (archaic) in front of its definition. I turned to my mom and dad and said, “archaic” – does that mean its some word y’all would have used?

I’m sorry, but that is a level of intimacy in families that cannot be suborn by television, cable, internet or contempt for all things of learning.

– cricketdiane


It pays to read the dictionary. And, I do mean one with two covers, charts in the back for science stuff and words in between.


One other note –

When my lifetime started, there was likely a leftover common desire in our nation for educated children and educated adults. It seemed as though there was a lot more support for that “smart people” thing during the space race and national efforts to lead the world in technological and scientific breakthroughs, which I might add – we were caught off guard because we weren’t.

Then during my school years and beyond, it has been unpopular to be the nerd, the geek, the smart kid or adult in the crowd, to be the mathematician, the science geek, the astrophysicist or chemist or engineer. It was popular to be dumb and fun. That didn’t simply apply to girls and women – it applied to everybody. Well, if it popular to be dumb and show obvious stupidity, even better to be all together ignorant of those “science’ things, then that is what will happen – more and more people, including children will find it either unnecessary or undesirable to be smart, to be intelligent, to reason through things or to want to be educated and learned.

The infinite invitation to disdain, being publicly shunned and bullied exists in the above scenario and then to realize in an adult world that the riches and ease and comforts got to go for the dumb and fun who helped one another get it, acquire it, accumulate it and keep it – makes it hardly worth the efforts of study and apprenticeship to master the sciences, math and engineering disciplines. When the very stupidest of all are given the greatest wealth, whether it is on television shows, movies or in the society that supports doing it that way, there is very little good reason to develop one’s own talents, intelligences and abilities.

That would be the biggest barrier we have today in America to STEM education. It will keep being the problem as long as the lion’s share goes to those who would trade on the backs of others while never being a part of the solutions. Strangely enough, those same people are rarely the ones, for all that ease, comfort, resources, networks of powerful people, money and opportunities who can or do make innovations, inventions of merit, scientific discovery, engineering breakground or breakthroughs, developments or new innovative approaches to problems in the real world in real people’s lives. I don’t know why that is. It would’ve been my guess that the opposite would have been true but true reality proves otherwise. The pursuit becomes only to make the money faster and better within those spheres of influence without ever making a productive contribution with any of it in the multitude of other ways that individuals could with that level of resources. At the least, they sometimes create foundations which support others doing those things, but with far fewer of the resources than they would contribute if it were their own heart’s passion and inventions.

Because of these things, the most needed understandings are the most unappealing – Science, Math, Engineering, Technology and other disciplines of the same heady ilk. The teaching of these range from the most difficult to follow to those few whose passionate understanding of the underlying principles are conveyed with ease and clarity. It is a very muddled approach with any student at any level of the process getting a very hit and miss gamble whether the concepts will flow or be withheld by some ineptitude in conveying them. It is my belief as well, that when it comes to women, girls, daughters, mothers, female students, grandmums, there is an automatic distinction of assumption which determines the efforts. That assumption is that girls won’t get it, that it wouldn’t be worth explaining it to them. that college and university professors are wasting their time with the women students in their classes because they won’t get it or they won’t stick with it through to any real career with it, and that out of a group of any – the girls and women are the ones who simply won’t or don’t know anything about it or have any real interest in it. The “it” I’m talking about is, Science, Biology, Chemistry, Higher Mathematics, Scientific Studies, Research, Space Sciences, Physics, Computer Sciences and other Technologies, Engineering, Architecture, Structural Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Oil and Petroleum Sciences, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

When there are four people standing (adults or young adults) and three are women versed in the sciences and one is a man who has no information nor education and no interest in any of it – the tendency is still for the person coming to that group to assume that the one male in the group would be able to answer a science question, an engineering question, a math question, a computer question or be the only one of the group capable of knowing any of it.

That would be one problem my daughters should’ve never had to deal with but unfortunately, our nation has gone backwards instead of forwards. They would rather have women run around a football field in their underwear with shoulder pads and helmets playing football or running through videos in their underwear where all the men in the views of it are fully clothed, and the society in which we live would rather have women washing floors than doing science simply because none of the rest of the family want to have to pitch in and do any part of it. That is the world where we live now for America. And, without the brilliant minds of our women being massively involved in the sciences, we are being undernourished and under-served. The first computers were women, the computers of the world wars were women, the decoders were women, the first computer programmers that literally designed the interface that allows the machine’s zeroes and ones to be made into a presentation that looks like English or the written word or numbers and recognizable symbols was a woman and yet, most people wouldn’t know that nor believe it.

– cricketdiane


And just for a quick note for those who think Science is all that and too hard to understand –

Cooking is Chemistry.

Figuring out how much 10% plus a $2.00 coupon takes off the price of a pair of jeans is Math.

Knowing how much money is being spent as items go in the basket at the grocery is Math.

Knowing not to mix bleach products and ammonia based products is Chemistry.

Reading the labels and following the directions including the safety information is Scientific Method.

Knowing to roll a ball to a toddler who can’t possibly catch something flying at them is Physics.

Knowing how to keep your husband (or wife) from getting all the blankeys in the middle of the night when sleeping with them is, in fact a kind of Science well known in University circles – in fact – it covers several, including Physics, Physiology, Sociology, and Biology with a little Materials Engineering thrown in. If you get up and turn on the light to make them stop it – that is Physics, Physiology, Theoretical Cause and Effect Study –  some Photonics and a little Electrical Technology thrown in.

When you Garden – it is Topographical Science, Engineering, and Biophysics, Biology and Botany. Plus if you want to get the right amount of sunshine or shade, you are using Meteorological Science and Chemistry when choices of plant foods are made based on the kind of plants and what they need to grow well.

When you water the garden, put petrol in the car, run to the store, evaluate the overall budget for buying that gas, those are all things involving Math, Science, Engineering and Studied, Educated Reasoning. It is Evaluative Reasoning. It is using Quantitative and Qualitative thinking skills. It is Science stuff. You estimated how long it would take. You took the route most easily, safely and quickly traversed. It was obvious and easy to figure almost automagically.

That’s because Science, Math, Engineering and Technology are simply ways to describe the things we know about the things we do and the ways they are known to work. Some of it is best scientific educated guesses, but much of it is known because it has been studied and conveyed to others who expanded what was known from those studies. Then, when we come to learn it, we are simply learning what they’ve already figured out so far, by observation of what is already there and in the world around us.

Someone asked at some point, “why does the wind blow?” with enough interest and fortitude to try and understand what might be making it do that. We use and understand that Science every single day when we look to the clouds and note which way they are moving or check to see that storms are coming because the feel of the wind on our skin tells us its direction or quality has changed. We know that it means a storm could be on the way toward us because of that line of individuals in our history who thought to ask why the wind blows and find out what could be making it do that.

And, that is Science. That is what all the Math is for – and what the putting together of tangible observations and studies teaches us. As we use it every day, and everyone in this generations’ time is using Math and the Sciences nearly every day no matter where they live, it seems easy, not hard to understand, not too difficult to get it – we use it all the time.


Some Nifty Stuff – Sciencey Stuff –

PopSci Popular Science

2011 Skyscraper Contest: Energy Harvesters, Domes With Holes, and Other Buildings of the Future


TRooseveltNPS Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is celebrating National Park Week April 16-24.


YosemiteScience Yosemite Science

Bears, during hibernation, lose 15-30% of body weight but can lose half. Some will keep losing weight for two months:


BBCBusiness BBC Business

Ever wondered how pencils are made? Peter Day has shared pics for an upcoming programme on the BBC Biz Facebook page:


GreenITers GreenITers

Aoki Inc. will sell a suit designed to keep the wearer cool in the summer. (as much as 10 C cooler than conventional suits) #CoolBiz


physorg_com PhysOrg Science News

Student creates clothes that trap harmful gases


guardianscience Guardian Science

The art and science of glassblowing



Working on site

13 04 2011

This is the page I’m working on over at

The things from the cricketdiane weblog at wordpress are being placed on the site –

So far, there are fifteen galleries of artwork images with the rights to use the images available for purchase at $40 each image. That means to print it on something and make money with it which is really too little a price for that, but too large a price for most people to think it is a good idea. Figures.

– cricketdiane


But, I made a list last night of things that the images could be used on that would make money and it seems pretty ridiculous to offer two years of franchising the non-exclusive rights to use the image for $40, but there you go. That’s what I had guesstimated as appropriate to the market for a starting point even though it could very well be under-priced by a long, long way.

I did decide to make the purchased rights non-transferable such that the franchisee isn’t allowed to purchase a whole bunch of them and resell those rights to someone else. That seems fair.

Here is the list of what the images could be used on that could then be sold to customers –


coffee mugs


Can’t find the list, but it is here somewhere.

– cricketdiane


Going to go find the list.




Started putting the list on the first page of the website –

And here is the page with the Got No Money Guides





Just some nifty stuff

10 04 2011
A nifty way someone made a light character playing a piano – quick video with explanation

this is one of those 3-D prints believe it or not – all the elements are printed by a 3-D printer and then the elements placed where they belong for the model – if you haven’t seen 3-D printing, there are some videos of it – amazing.
Jay Leno has one of these desktop models of the 3-D rapid prototype machines which he uses to make replacement parts for the old cars he restores. (I’m not sure what particular company makes the one he uses.)

These are magnetic metal sculptures made from nano particles of ferro material fluids- very nifty –

This is a blog like I was talking about – very focused and attractive – a photo and a paragraph or two with info all along the edges about the same kind of things.


And, this – I would love for all of you and all of the children to see this one –

Scale of the Universe from the tiniest particle on one side of the slider to the greatest reaches of the whole universe – slide the slider at the bottom of the page to see it (works better doing it slowly to see the elements.)


Trying to stay away from US Budget Cuts Wrath

9 04 2011
cricketdiane10 - 07-02-10 003 American Flag - cricketdiane photo 2010

cricketdiane10 - 07-02-10 003 American Flag - cricketdiane photo 2010


CricketDiane Cricket House Studios – new site

One of the Portfolio Pages on the site –

Where purchase of the non-exclusive rights to use the CricketDiane and Cricket House Studios original photography, art, ocean art, Baby Crickets, Stolen Art Treasures and written materials from cricketdiane weblog.

The CricketDiane Blog – (by subscription only to wander through its posts) – $25 for 30 days wandering

On Twitter –



The America the Beautiful Show

(above is the main site, below is the pretty flash site for it)

The America the Beautiful Show Blog – (this is it here)

On Twitter –



My Note –

There is no way to describe the outrage that I feel from what I’ve seen of the recent budget cuts passed by Republicans stalemating over the last few days (and months.) Every opportunity to take from the poorest, from education, from opportunities for American families and individuals to get on their feet have been made. Cuts were made to Veterans programs to end homelessness, to homeless shelters and programs to end homelessness and help people stand on their own two feet. The programs for public transit, high-speed rail and housing were cut which makes it possible for alternative transportation and homes for people with no other means.

At the same time, increases were made to many things including continued funding of millions for NASCAR promotion where the Army insignia sits upon a car running around a circle for several days – at the tune of $4.7 million per one time annual viewing.

The priorities seem to be askew. USAID programs can build schools in every other nation, but education funding for every state has already been cut and now those funds are further cut by the House Republicans and Tea Party Conservatives.

I resent having these conservatives determine what is available to all of us and pressuring our elected officials to spend our money as they see fit regardless of what the rest of our nation wants, needs or requires going forward. What right do they have to do that? These changes do not affect them, they affect the communities where everyone else lives.

Not only have they taken what should’ve been nearly $80 Billion to bring these things to the level required for 2011 according to the President’s budget which was made from every agency already cutting waste, and allowing only the most reasonable requests for their budgets, but they’ve also taken this money from the US economy over a short period of time – the next 6 months.
There will be further devastation to our US economy by what they’ve done, but the Republican Conservatives and Tea Party Gestapo backing them, don’t care about that. They want things as they see fit and it will take them at least five years to learn that what they did devastated America’s opportunities. Then, they will blame someone else for it – probably anyone but themselves. That seems to be a hedonistic bunch there in Washington among these people funded by the shady donations of the business community and big corporations, billionaires, millionaires and far right-wing conservatives. Maybe they don’t know what the yield will be. The US cannot be supported by the spa industry that they support personally as the only type of business to make it. The fact they have a driver and multiple cars to use, doesn’t mean that rapid transit is a waste of money, but that is what they’ve seen fit to do.

Behind all this is Karl Rove and the ongoing same Republican cronies which have been running things for the last thirty years. They seek to satisfy the Tea Party backing their far right-wing donation base, which clearly explains why NASCAR makes more sense to them than sheltering the Washington, D.C. homeless veterans or helping homeless people in America at all.

There is no description for the disgust and horror that I felt when these same Republicans cut the majority of funding for the help with heating bills for the elderly, disabled and poorest of families. The story of an elderly man, who was a WWII veteran who froze to death in his own home because the local city utilities had cut off the heat to his house happened within the last few years. It was wrong. The idea that our legislators have that someone in some other country is more valuable to help than that man or any other American like him, is horrifying. They are hedonists who love themselves with salaries of $179,000 a year plus every feast, every liquor, every satisfaction of their own desires at the expense of every taxpayer in America, while letting every other American starve, have their homes foreclosed when no one even owns the paperwork on it anymore, be made homeless and then forced to stay homeless, cold, hungry and without the basic human needs available nor the opportunities to get them. It is disgusting.

The attitude that was pervasive, as Tea Party founder was speaking on CNN is that these people are worthless and a waste of our national resources. That attitude pervaded the Republican Party, the business community, the corporate community and the wealthiest members of our society throughout the last thirty years and has been especially obvious during this recent budget contest and debacle. These people they are talking about aren’t off in some foreign nation, most are not given to criminality nor interested in fending for themselves by any violent measure. They (as well as, I) have valuable contributions to make and want to make them. But, the only thing our fellow Americans want for us is poverty, despair, hopelessness, homelessness, despair, further impoverishment and possibly, even death rather than wasting space in “their conservative vision” America.

The America the Beautiful Show was my solution for a way to make my contribution to America getting on its feet, restoring our economy and escalating our rebuilding communities that have been devastated by the economic crisis from 2007 – now.

The real solution to the budget deficit and US budget crisis, the US national debt, states’ debts and deficits, and even the European deficits and debts is simple and I found it several weeks ago. I looked through the budget cuts being demanded by the Republican Party conservatives and Tea Party House Republicans, noted that it didn’t solve any problems but rather decimated existing programs which are already in place and the investments in really making them work had already been done.

My solution to the US budget deficit and national debt simply uses the existing laws and agencies which are already tracking the sales, purchases and trades of financial products, bonds, credit derivatives, credit default swaps, commodities speculative trades, stocks and other exotic financial products and applies a 12 cents on the dollar sales tax on each and every dollar sold, purchased or traded (swapped). The volumes are substantial enough to actually pay off the entire US debt within six months which would release the interest payments being made to use for the actual US government operations and programs. It would stop the escalating prices of the debt being managed and re-issued over and over again. It would free up those funds to use for the things they were actually given to provide. The US taxpayers did not give their money to be used for lining the pockets of a bunch of loan makers, loan arrangers, debt interest payments, financial institutions or other governments’ coffers that are making these loans to us. That is not what the agreed upon intention for the money that was given from every revenue source, every business, every taxpayer’s earnings and every other charge made upon the US citizens.

I also suggested after reviewing the US budget that every corporation be charged a specific tax rate of 25 cents on every single dollar they make in the US not offset by anything, not given any loopholes, not adjusted against costs or choices they make to increase bonuses or dividends. Rather than that system, every single dollar made in the US by a corporation or business from any sale in the US marketplace is charged 25 cents on that dollar toward the US tax base and infrastructure where they were able to get it in the first place. No costs adjusted against it, no depreciation tables, no losses taken away from the total, no loopholes, no net profits statements – just 25 cents per dollar gross. (period.) That would work and the US infrastructure could be rebuilt. And, if profits are taken elsewhere, but the sales were made in the US, then the tax would be required of them regardless. And stop all subsidies to profiting industries, industry associations, business enterprises of $10 million or more.

These two things would make our country solvent financially and provide a building surplus to replace our crumbling infrastructure, make improvements to catch up to the rest of the world, provide for higher education for every American and help to build the US as a strong economy and a strong nation again.

But, nobody wants to do that in the conservatives running Washington. They aren’t going to do any of those things. The cuts they’ve made to beat America’s poor, elderly, disabled, women, children, young families, veterans and disadvantaged into the ground won’t do any of these things to balance the budget, to restore America’s rightful place as a world leader, to make great innovations possible, nor to pay off the US debt and interest. The plan I suggested will do that but the Tea Party will stop it at every turn and the other conservative parties will refuse to even allow it to be considered. Mr. Boehner certainly had heard about these suggestions, he refused to even consider them. The Republicans had certainly heard of these possibilities that I outlined and never once decided to go in that direction but rather fought against them even being considered.


The America the Beautiful Show project has certainly awakened some possibilities in the minds of people who have read it and taken it to inspire their own way of accomplishing the things it describes. I’m very glad of that. It still has no sponsors, no advertisers and very little traffic compared to what it should have for the power available in it to effect positive change for rebuilding America from the ground up. I can’t help people having one goal, if that goal is to get themselves on the boat while pushing everyone else off of it. And, it is evident, they have no desire to help me either. So, now what?

– cricketdiane


An excerpt from the Reuters article about the budget cuts –

The largest of the remaining entitlement programs: $4.9 billion from a Justice Department fund for crime victims; $400 million from a fund to seize assets from organized crime; and roughly $550 million from the SMART Grant student-aid program.
Republicans wanted most of the cuts to come from discretionary programs that Congress reviews annually, because that would set a lower baseline for spending in future years.

The short-term measure cuts nearly $2 billion in spending from transportation and housing programs, including $1.5 billion from a high-speed rail program and $280 million from capital investment grants.

The longer-term agreement will cut spending in the current 2011 fiscal year by about $38 billion, including $17.8 billion from benefit programs, or “entitlements,” lawmakers said.

The rest would come from so-called discretionary spending, including a cut of $3 billion from defense programs, according to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.



The America the Beautiful Show –

cricketdiane10 - 07-02-10 039_cr3 - American Flag - cricketdiane photo, Cricket House Studios 2010

cricketdiane10 - 07-02-10 039_cr3 - American Flag - cricketdiane photo, Cricket House Studios 2010


Hello world!

7 04 2011

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