Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Today's topic at the Math Club meeting was "Building with Zome Tools", an idea of Dr. Harold Reiter, our illustrious founder. I have to admit I was a little skeptical of how this would work out, but it was wild and crazy and noisy and lots of fun for the students! Here's a photo* of the final product, a dodecahedron using "meta-balls" for the vertices:

It's interesting how there are such clear curves here -- there are NO curved pieces used in the construction! Even the connectors, little white "balls", have no curved edges.

Here's another view:

Minutes after these photos were taken, the dismantling of a couple hours' work began to be dismantled.

The students, making this creation, were as focused as I've ever seen them. It took the 32 or so students about 1.5-2 hours to make 16 of the meta-balls, and connect them together to make the dodecahedron. Teamwork, curiosity, determination, and playfulness were all plentiful! And they had energy enough left after the dismantling process to focus on another activity, a math relay from a past year's Duke Math Meet. Amazing.

The other really great thing that happened at this meeting was that the parents pitched in to help like more than I've ever seen them do. All in all, it was an inspiring morning, and gave me renewed enthusiasm for the Club.

*The photos are from my cell phone... Unfortunately, the battery for my real camera was at home, still in its charger. Clearly, I need to take pictures more often!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fighting Hunger and Poverty!

On Sunday, October 25, I will be walking in the Eastern York County Crop Hunger Walk. I support the Crop Walk particularly because 25% of the funds collected locally stay in the local community. In Rock Hill, clients of Pilgrim's Inn and other local agencies benefit from Crop Walk funds. Pilgrim's Inn is a local, grassroots organization that has developed programs to help women in crisis, assisting them in getting their lives on track as well as helping them through the crisis at hand with food, housing, counseling, and job training. Pilgrim's Inn is in the process of implementing the Rapid Rehousing program in Rock Hill, which is an innovative new program to help women to get into apartments and jobs without a lengthy stay in the emergency shelter.

Another portion of the funds are used worldwide in refugee resettlement and other programs working to alleviate hunger and poverty. One of the more attractive things about this organization is that they are a coalition of people of various faiths working together, regardless of differences in theology and so forth.

Please consider helping out financially, but if that is not something you are able to do at this time, please pray for the success of this year's Walk.

Monday, October 12, 2009

reviews of various things....

Just a quick list of reviews, w/ links:

Capitalism, A Love Story -- I saw this last Friday night with a good friend, and we both thought it was great! I highly recommend it. It made me think about things differently... plus parts of it were highly amusing. I came home and put some of Michael Moore's other flicks on my Netflix list. My friend recommends especially his non-documentary, Canadian Bacon.

This video, which James D. shared today on FB, is short but very cute -- and reminds us to take the stairs...

Still reading Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church's Betrayal of American Nuns, by Kenneth Briggs, which I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in recent Church history, social justice (inside the Catholic Church as well as in the wider American culture), women's issues, etc....

While searching for articles about Double Crossed, I found this article by Luke Timothy Johnson, whom I heard at the Kennedy Lecture at Charlotte's St. Peter's Catholic Church a few years ago. I haven't read the article yet but hope to go back to it soon and read the whole thing.