Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for January, 2014

My Birthday Reflection about Birthdays Re-Imagined

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Picture of Graffiti saying "Happy Birthday", Source: R Sones, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Birthday_Graffiti_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1249711.jpgI generally don’t talk much about my birthdays.  As an instructor, I didn’t want to have the event take away from what was going on in the class, and also I always felt it was one of those professional boundaries I should keep up, between myself and students.

But, maybe birthdays can get re-imagined.  For each of us, in a very real way, it is our “new years day”.  So instead of thinking solely about cake and presents, we have the opportunity to realize that the present is our present; we are alive and that is worth celebration.  We are the product of success of billions of years of ancestry.  Yet our individual window is at most around 100 years, if we are fortunate and work to live that full amount.

We have our memories of our life so far, and on our birthdays I encourage us to remember all we can about what us brought us here, and to write out what we have learned from those experiences.  Then, to think about the day as the cusp where the past meets the future, and then make concrete decisions and resulting actions based upon where we were, and what we learned, to start towards tomorrow. And then, write about where we now choose to head towards in the future.

So with this idea in mind, I will be reflecting today and the next few days on my life, and posting soon with where I see myself to have been, am now, and to be.

Written by Jacob Walker

January 16th, 2014 at 6:38 am

Posted in Philosophy

7 Grant Writing Tips and “Best Practices”

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Picture of a Grant Writing Diagram. Source: Anna Lena Schiller

This diagram was created to help WikiMedia get grants, but is also relevant to other organizations.

Recently I have been asked by Twin Rivers Adult School to help in the writing of their WIA Title II Grant Application.  Like many grants, this one is a team effort, where the subject matter experts are being asked to primarily write the portions of the grant that correspond  to their area of expertise.  But, not all of these subject matter experts have done a lot of grant writing, and while I don’t want to claim that I have done a tremendous amount of grant writing myself, I have written a few in different contexts that have been successful in receiving an award.  So based upon my previous experience I wanted to write up some tips for my fellow subject matter experts at Twin Rivers, and also given that they are a publicly funded school, thought I should make this knowledge available to the world at large.

While I make no guarantees (and bear no liability) that the advice I’m sharing here will produce good results, I will explain my rationale for each “best practice” so you can make your own decision about whether to follow my advice or not.  (I really don’t like the phrase “best practice”, but I’ll use it for now, as it is what is commonly used.)

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 15th, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Posted in Grant Writing

Thought of the Day: “We can not mathematically distinguish randomness and choice”

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When we attempt to mathematically model “free will” we get a probability distribution.  In other words, we can not mathematically distinguish randomness and choice.  This means one of three things: Free will is an illusion such that randomness and/or predetermined laws rule everything.   Or, possibly randomness is an illusion, such that everything that appears random, from quantum effect to the weather, is a choice or choices of some sort.  Or, maybe this shows that we never can understand free will through a mathematically-based science.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 15th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Thought of the Day: “An optimist is not guaranteed to win, but a pessimist has already lost.”

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An optimist is not guaranteed to win, but a pessimist has already lost.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 14th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Original Quotes

Thought of the Day: “Our best hope for immortality comes not from medicine, but through teaching.”

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Our best hope for immortality comes not from medicine, but through teaching.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 13th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Original Quotes

Thought of the Day: “Work is one of the places we can grow the most.”

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Work is one of the places we can grow the most.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 12th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

Quote of the Day: “Education is that which remains, if one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”

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“Education is that which remains, if one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 11th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

Quote of the Day: “I think…what a wonderful world”

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It has been quoted a great many times, but it is so wonderful I love to quote it again, that saying of Kepler,—”O God. I think over again thy thoughts after thee.”

Then there is another thing I am glad of, I am glad I can read; and I am glad that we have inherited such a wealth of record of the thoughts, the dreams, the fancies, the wonderful imaginings, of the great brains and noble souls of all the past. The world would be a great deal poorer if our Bible were blotted out, even if you did not care one thing about it on account of its religious significance. As literature, as revealing to us the life of that far-away time,— Babylon, Egypt. Philistia, Greece, Rome, Palestine.—what a wonderful world it opens to us! and how marvelous are the figures that pass before us there!

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 9th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

Quote of the Day: “All you need is love”

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All you need is love and — someone else.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 8th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

Quote of the Day: “You may say I am a dreamer”

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You may think me an idealist if you want to. I would just as soon be called that. You may say I am a dreamer, but I have lived to see the glory of the coming of the Lord. There is a new social righteousness today in the world. There is a new practical religion, and it is shown in just these ways of getting together, in this way of telling the truth. You must stand for goodness, as a shrewd, worldly-wise program for American business. We are beginning to get over being afraid of each other. There is a new insistent need which has come, the compulsion of this modern life—it is our right to know, our right to compel people to furnish us with their share of material for a mutual understanding.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 7th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others