Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for December, 2013

Quote of the Day: “Creative evolution synthesises from the parts a new entity not only different from them, but quite transcending them.”

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In all the previous cases of wholes, we have nowhere been able to argue from the parts of the whole. Compared to its parts, the whole constituted by them is something quite different, something creatively new, as we have seen. Creative evolution synthesises from the parts a new entity not only different from them, but quite transcending them. That is the essence of a whole. It is always transcendent to its parts, and its character cannot be inferred from the characters of its parts.

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 31st, 2013 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

Quote of the Day: “An Individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity.”

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An Individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 30th, 2013 at 11:59 am

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Quote of the Day: “Take the Charles River over there, the river going past the building. What makes it the Charles River?”

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Take the Charles River over there, the river going past the building. What makes it the Charles River? You can have substantial physical changes, and it would still be the Charles River. So, for example, you can reverse the direction. Still be the Charles River. You can break it up into tributaries that end up somewhere else, and it would still be the Charles River. You can change the contents, so maybe you build a manufacturing plant upstream, and the content is mostly arsenic, let’s say. Well, it’s still the Charles River.

On the other hand, there are very small changes that you can make, in which case it won’t be the Charles River at all. So, suppose you put panels along the side and you start using it to ship freight up and down. It’s not the river anymore; it’s a canal.

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 29th, 2013 at 6:39 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

Quote of the Day: “Round and round passes the hand; little by little the elements lose their own characteristics; and out of many comes a single color.”

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Round and round passes the hand; little by little the elements lose their own characteristics; and out of many comes a single color.

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 28th, 2013 at 11:59 am

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Are international educational tests, like the PISA, asking the right questions (with the right answers)?

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My friend Ruth Ackerman cross-posted a video from the AFT on her Facebook page today, which questions some of the conclusions that some groups make from the mediocre U.S. performance on the PISA. (And I’m not going to dive into that politically charged question right now.)

I think we need to step back further, and ask if the PISA is measuring the “right” knowledge.  To try and answer this for myself, I found a set of sample questions for the PISA.  And I started to go through and answer the questions.   And I found one question where the PISA is wrong.

The question basically is about a science article where it talks about scientists that cloned a cow into five calves.  And then asks if the calves have the same genes, the same gender, and the same color.  The question appeared to want to see if students could infer the answer, as it didn’t explicitly give this information in the article that it had the student read.  And the question wanted to have the answer being “yes” for each one.

BUT, while it may seem to be a reasonable assumption to make that the answer would be “yes” for each, it isn’t necessarily the case for color of the cows.  I say this, because people who have cloned their cats have found that they often turn out to be a different color than their original cat, so I suspect this same thing could happen with cows.  So what if a student knew had this advanced knowledge and marked “no”…  Well, they would have been said to be wrong, when in fact the PISA is likely wrong.  (I say likely, as I am not sure that cat and cow clones would behave similarly when it comes to color, but it is no more or less a reasonable or unreasonable assumption as the one the PISA wants the student to make.)

Update: I emailed PISA (edu.pisa@oecd.org) this blog entry, but never heard back from them.

Written by Jacob Walker

December 27th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Quote of the Day: “Liberty, according to my metaphysics, is an intellectual quality; an attribute that belongs not to fate nor chance.”

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Liberty, according to my metaphysics, is an intellectual quality; an attribute that belongs not to fate nor chance. Neither possesses it, neither is capable of it. There is nothing moral or immoral in the idea of it. The definition of it is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent.

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 27th, 2013 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

I accepted the position of Full-Time Faculty of Information Technology at Heald College Online.

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I am excited to share that today I signed my paperwork to accept becoming a professor with Heald College Online, where I will be instructing information and communication technology courses, along with helping Heald Online with various ICT projects.

Heald has a long history of being a respect business college, and recently received Senior College accreditation through WASC so it can start to offer Bachelor degrees.   Heald Online is much newer, only recently offering full programs online, and I am excited to be part of what is in many ways similar to a start-up.

Although Corinthian Colleges, the company that now owns Heald, has had some issues; from what I can see so far, it appears that there is work being done to solve these issues, and that the people I’m working with are working to provide excellent education.

Written by Jacob Walker

December 26th, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Quote of the Day: “It is said that all journeys lead you back to where you began.”

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It is said that all journeys lead you back to where you began.

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 26th, 2013 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

Quote of the Day: “This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

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This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 25th, 2013 at 11:59 am

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Quote of the Day: “God bless all of you; all of you on the good earth.”

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God bless all of you; all of you on the good earth.

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 24th, 2013 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others