Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dinner for two, $142.17

When menus are printed daily on high quality paper, it's a signal that prices will be high.  Here are a few dining experiences we had in Seattle.  Click to enlarge.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Welcome Home!

After World War I, the cavalry retired their equestrian herd as a mode of transportation in wars and battles. 

When I joined the cavalry in 1966, the methods of troop movement were jeeps, Huey helicopters and parachuting from fixed-wing or rotary aircraft. Years after my volunteer service as an airborne infantryman in Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry in the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, the Defense Department reorganized the 101st into "air assault" with utilization of modern helicopters.  The division stopped parachuting and expanded the helicopter fleet. 

The reorganized Troop A recently completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan flying "choppers" like the one in the picture above. This OH-58D Kiowa Warrior aircraft is produced by Bell Helicopter and powered with a Rolls-Royce engine. Their armament can consist of Hellfire or Stinger missiles, rockets, and a 50 caliber Browning Machine Gun. Currently, Troop A consists of 10 helicopters, 16 pilots (3 are females), crew chiefs, and other military occupation specialty persons for a total of 45.

The troop returned last December from duty in the South-Central Asia country to their home base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  Fort Campbell is near Hopkinsville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Tennessee. 

Alpha Troop Association is a veteran's group open to all who served in this military unit. Membership consists of retired or discharged veterans, and active duty soldiers.  An association board meeting was held in Clarksville earlier this month.  Association leaders hosted a welcome home party for the soldiers and their spouses.  The party was held Friday evening at the Black Horse Pub and Brewery in downtown Clarksville.  There were unlimited drinks and food for three hours as war veterans and spouses mingled and met to thank each other for service in the military unit.  All were thankful for the event and the fifteen or so board members gladly contributed their personal money to pay all expenses of the evening.

The pictures below show the party and the festive mood.  One picture shows the current troop commander presenting a signed guidon to the Alpha Troop leader and commander of the troop from the Vietnam era. The guidon flew at base camp in Afghanistan and was presented to Alpha Troop Association out of respect and appreciation for the moral support extended to the current troopers.

The last picture shows me sitting in the cockpit of a helicopter inside a hangar on Fort Campbell.  I dreamed of being a pilot when I was an infantry paratrooper in Vietnam in 1966, but this is the closest I came to fulfilling that youthful dream.

Have a good week!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Document Based/Menu Driven

This picture is one classroom session I attended. I was in a total of twelve sessions during the three days. My wife attended twelve different sessions.

TI-Nspire is the next generation of graphing calculator after TI-83 and TI-84. It's actually a computer that will save and retrieve documents using familiar commands. This is helpful when students run out of time in class and need to save finished or unfinished work for the next day.

A file on the calculator will show 5 tabs similar to manila folder tabs. Each tab is an application.  One is "calculator" which is for formula entry, another is "spreadsheet" for data, a third one is for "graphs and geometric shapes", one for notes, and one for "data and statistics". These apps are all connected for the problem being worked.  Just click or key to move from one app to the other.

One session leader demonstrated how to use TI-Nspire to compute the frequency of prime numbers between 0 and 1000. He next computed the frequency of prime numbers between 1001 and 2000 and so on to 50,000. The calculator plotted these frequencies as data points in one app. He used the "slider" feature to increment the formula while data points were plotted on an X-Y coordinates plane. The "grab hand" was used to grip the X-axis to stretch it to accommodate the 50 increments. Can you guess the shape of the curve that best fit these data points?  If you decided a logarithmic-like curve that never quite touched the X -axis, you would be correct.

There are many excellent features about TI-Nspire.  One is the ease with which data points can be loaded and examined by gripping a polynomial curve or geometric shape to change shape or size.  The calculator automatically records all data points into apps from movements that changed the polynomial or geometric shape.

Return here next week for more of my reaction to the conference.

Have a good week!

Click on images to enlarge.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Learn, Lead, Inspire

My wife and I attended the International Conference of Teachers Teaching With Technology in Seattle from February 27 to March 1, 2009. The conference was sponsored by Texas Instruments and was their 21st annual event. The three days of sessions included over 1,700 participants, 531 first timers, 27 countries, 28 exhibitors, and 380 presenters.

Teachers across the United States showed how they utilize TI-Nspire calculators, Digital Projection, SmartBoards, and TI Navigator System to teach students Math and Geometry, Science, Chemistry, and Physics.

The conference was held in the Washington State Convention Center. Melendy Lovett, President, Education Technology at Texas Instruments extended welcoming remarks to begin the three days of sessions. The keynote address was delivered by Jason Ryan Dorsey, author and motivational speaker.

I'll report, next week, on some of the sessions I attended during the three days.

The pictures here include views inside the convention center and a look through our hotel room window.
Have a good week!