I’ve been fighting for now 14 years to try to do this, to make all the subway turnstiles make music. I want to make every station in New York have a different set of dominant keys, so that people when they grow up, later on in life, will hear a piece of music and be like, “Oh that’s Union Square.”
So when you go through the turnstiles, there would be a thing that would make a beep of a certain note. And it would have a random note generator that would be based on a percentage, so that the root note would be a higher percentage of going off, then the third, then the fifth. And during rush hour in the bigger stations, it would hopefully make a really beautiful piece of music.
Each line would be a piece. The green line would go through different chords and when they intersected with other lines that would change that station.
[This would be so epic.]
Paloma Noyola: The Face of Mexico’s Unleashed Potential
When a report emerged in September 2012 that a girl from one of Matamoros’ poorest neighborhoods had attained the highest math score in Mexico, some doubted its veracity. It must be fake, they said.
But it wasn’t fake. Her name is Paloma Noyola, and what most reports failed to mention is that almost all of her classmates also scored very high on the national math test. 10 scored in 99.99% percentile.
Paloma and her classmates also scored in the top percentile in language. Something special was happening at José Urbina López primary school in Matamoros, and Wired went to take a look.
The high test scores turned out to be the work of a young teacher who also came from humble beginnings. Sergio Juárez Correa was tired of the monotony of teaching out of a book and wanted to try something new to help engage his students when he came across the work of Sugata Mitra, a UK university professor who had innovated a new pedagogy he called SOLE, or self organized learning environments. The new approach paid off.
Although SOLE usually relies on unfettered Internet access for research, Juárez and his students had very limited access. Somehow, he still found a way to apply Mitra’s teachings and unleash their potential.
From the beginning, Paloma’s exceptional abilities were evident:
One day Juárez Correa went to his whiteboard and wrote “1 = 1.00.” Normally, at this point, he would start explaining the concept of fractions and decimals. Instead he just wrote “½ = ?” and “¼ = ?”
“Think about that for a second,” he said, and walked out of the room.
While the kids murmured, Juárez Correa went to the school cafeteria, where children could buy breakfast and lunch for small change. He borrowed about 10 pesos in coins, worth about 75 cents, and walked back to his classroom, where he distributed a peso’s worth of coins to each table. He noticed that Paloma had already written .50 and .25 on a piece of paper.
As Mr. Juárez implemented more of Mitra’s teachings in his classroom, Paloma continued to stand out as an exceptionally gifted student:
Juárez Correa was impressed. But he was even more intrigued by Paloma. During these experiments, he noticed that she almost always came up with the answer immediately. Sometimes she explained things to her tablemates, other times she kept the answer to herself. Nobody had told him that she had an unusual gift. Yet even when he gave the class difficult questions, she quickly jotted down the answers. To test her limits, he challenged the class with a problem he was sure would stump her. He told the story of Carl Friedrich Gauss, the famous German mathematician, who was born in 1777.
When Gauss was a schoolboy, one of his teachers asked the class to add up every number between 1 and 100. It was supposed to take an hour, but Gauss had the answer almost instantly.
“Does anyone know how he did this?” Juárez Correa asked.
A few students started trying to add up the numbers and soon realized it would take a long time. Paloma, working with her group, carefully wrote out a few sequences and looked at them for a moment. Then she raised her hand.
“The answer is 5,050,” she said. “There are 50 pairs of 101.”
Juárez Correa felt a chill. He’d never encountered a student with so much innate ability. He squatted next to her and asked why she hadn’t expressed much interest in math in the past, since she was clearly good at it.
“Because no one made it this interesting,” she said.
Although this Wired piece focuses mostly on Sugata Mitra, it does once again highlight the story of Paloma Noyola. Unfortunately, after a brief spurt of media attention, little on Paloma was ever mentioned and, as was pointed out by Wired, nothing was ever said of Mr. Juárez.
As with most stories in the Mexican press — and with in the middle-class — things suddenly become very important once it’s featured in a gringo publication. Which is a very sad commentary. We hope, however, that this story pushes those in the press, state and federal government to look not to the United States for validation but to Mexicans like Sergio Juárez doing good work in places like Matamoros.
The clear message in this story is that there are thousands of Paloma Noyolas going to school in Mexico who, just like her at one time, are not being challenged and therefore aren’t very interested in school. This story can, if we want it to, raise enough awareness to shift the discussion from poverty to opportunity.
Paloma truly personifies both Mexico’s challenges and unleashed potential.
Read the entire Wired story here: How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses
Editor’s note: As an addendum, Wired provided information on helping support Sugata Mitra and his School in the Clouds project, and although they donated school supplies and equipment to José Urbina López School, we’re interested in seeing if we can help set up a similar fund for Sergio Juárez, the teacher featured in this story.
Also, $9,300 was raised to help fund Paloma’s education last year. We going to follow with the economist who led the fundraising campaign to see how she’s doing. Stay tuned for updates.
Orgullo mexicano es una sequía bien mala, en especial a nivel educativo. Esto es bellísimo!
This is such a compelling story!
For the ever-excellent tarysande. It’s still your birthday in my time-zone! This isn’t quite the same universe as your brilliant Vorkosigan/Mass Effect sandbox, but I couldn’t resist trying to mash ‘em together for myself. Hope you had/have a fantastic birthday; you deserve it!
Characters: Pretty much everyone.
Spoilers: Set sometime during Mass Effect 2 and shortly before Memory. Ish.
Summary: Forward momentum meets the immovable center. Ten drabbles from a collision of universes.
"It’s a damn mess." Anderson rested his elbows against the railing, hunching his shoulders as though to stave off a backache. Aral, feeling the old persistent stiffness building in his own spine, could relate.
They were staring at a writhing sea of air traffic: Jacksonian freighters edging up alongside massive alien transports, Citadel Security flitting among the wavery lights of ships still emerging from the wormhole, exhausted and baffled jump-pilots weaving between the station’s impossibly massive ward-arms.
Take a wormhole jump to hell, indeed. Aral pressed his fingers against his lips to keep from twitching a smile. “I’ve seen worse.”
When you’re sick is a perfect time to reread favorite books, right? Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion is one of my go-tos.
Bujold is probably better known for her Vorkosigan saga science fiction (which I know a number of you have been reading or rereading in the last months), but the Chalion books are likely the books of hers I’ve read most often.
In The Curse of Chalion, we have an original fantasy setting, loosely inspired by a historical reality (15th-century Spain, specifically), but not slavishly so; Chalion is its own place, with its own customs and norms. We have an original and fascinating cosmology; this is not a land suffused with magic and wielders of magic, but it is a place where the existence of gods is objectively verifiable, and yet there’s still room for theological speculation, heresy, and mystery.
The book’s viewpoint character, Cazaril, is delightfully idiosyncratic and fully developed. He’s surrounded by a rich cast of others, though. One of my perennial sources of irritation in reading historically-based fantasy is the tendency to make women either completely subjugated or anachronistically modern; the many wonderful ladies in this book are both powerful and limited in ways that fit with their setting. We have powerful dowagers, vibrant princesses, strong-willed ladies-in-waiting; we have multiple characters who are more than they appear at first glance.
So: highly recommended. If you haven’t read it, give it a try!
When I read a book this many times, it also becomes a kind of education in writing; additional comments and SPOILERS after the cut.
My FAVOURITE thing about Curse of Chalion (and this is a high bar!) is how you don’t really work out just how AWESOME Cazaril is until quite a long way into the book, because it’s told from his perspective only, and he doesn’t really think he’s anything that special. But he TOTALLY IS. (“…totally indifferent to wealth.” / “No I’m not! I just dress badly! I quite like wealth!”)
Argh, I lent my copy to someone and I don’t have it and I WANT TO BE READING IT RIGHT NOW.
Elle Woods was hollering back before the movement. This is why i love this movie. It’s so progressive. Elle is a femme feminist who comes by it the hard way. She doesn’t change for the bookish people, the elitists, or for the feminists. She just does what she needs to do, and what she wants, even when at first it was chasing a boy. Then the movie drops the romance. IT DROPS THE ROMANCE. chick flicks don’t do that. Emmett asking her out is a footnote at the very end. And this whole time, she is classy, and lady like, and has pride in herself and her work. She’ll go to a costume party as a playboy bunny, but like hell will she sleep with her professor for an internship. Elle is my feminist role model
I remember listening to my DAD defend Legally Blonde. An uncle was saying “Oh look, it’s that stupid movie again.” as he flipped through the channels. My dad responded with “Oh yeah, that movie where the blonde girl with great grades works really hard to get into pre-law, studies hard and proves herself to her peers and bosses while maintaining her integrity and not sleeping with her boss? What a terrible message to send girls.”
Also, I love this movie because Reese Witherspoon.
And don’t forget that she has serious female friends and wins the case by way of her specialist knowledge of so-called “feminine things” that no one else takes seriously enough to even bother with.
The movie also passes the Bechdel test.
LET’S NOT FORGET that even though it starts with a situation where two girls are rivals for the same guy, they BOTH choose to ignore the social codes (and hollywood bylaws) that tell them they should be cat-fighting and trying to one-up each other, and instead they realize that they make good working partners and better friends and screw rivalry, AND ALSO HAVE EACH OTHER’S BACKS RE: WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT. And that it portrays sororities as places where women can learn to work together and respect each other and help each other out, which sets the stage for the way Elle treats everyone she meets for the rest of the movie. OH AND IT HAS A FAT SIDE CHARACTER WHO OVERCOMES EMOTIONAL ABUSE, IS NEVER FAT-SHAMED OR USED AS THE BRUNT OF A FAT JOKE, AND LANDS THE HOTTEST MAN IN THE ENTIRE FILM.
Also, Elle still stays true to herself in a professional setting. Even when it’s tough for her, she always keeps being her bubbly, peppy self. She doesn’t let what others say about her stop her from being a kickass lawyer that also is unafraid to express herself how she wants to.
I really liked this film for all the reasons listed above.
Also, Elle might be a “popular person” but she never lords it over the social outcasts. She’s just a genuinely nice person.
lifeofkj replied to your post “A little Mass Effect/Vorkosigan Saga Crossover AU ficlet? WHY NOT”YES PLEASE WHERE IS MORE??
I NEED ANOTHER WIP LIKE… LIKE… I DON’T I DON’T D: I’m not supposed to be doing anything except finishing the things I’ve already started!! *pained expression*
(This is what happens next: Shepard’s like, “I would love to stick around and help you out with your… whatever. Because I’m a helper. I really am. But I’ve got this Reaper problem.”
Shepard: I mean, these odds, these odds are terrible. We’re probably all going to die.
Miles: *with gleaming eyes* Go on…
Shepard: Basically the entire galaxy’s in peril. And I’m the body they keep throwing at the problem.
Miles: *drools with adrenaline-addict’s anticipation of Near Impossible Odds Plus Rescuing Everyone Ever*
Quinn: *elbows him in the head*)
eponymous-rose replied to your post “A little Mass Effect/Vorkosigan Saga Crossover AU ficlet? WHY NOT”Yesssss I love everything about this! :D
kammartinez replied to your post “A little Mass Effect/Vorkosigan Saga Crossover AU ficlet? WHY NOT”*laughs* Oh Shepard. OH GARRUS XD. This was lovely though; you got Miles and his people pretty much pitch-perfect - and of course, you already know you write a perfect Shepard and Garrus :D.
<3 Thanks. And thanks for the little poke of inspiration; this was fun.
emmalyn replied to your post “A little Mass Effect/Vorkosigan Saga Crossover AU ficlet? WHY NOT”I haven’t even read the Vorkosigan saga yet, and this was still awesome. :D
Hee, thank you. <3
I only had a couple of chapters of CryoBurn left to read, but was too tired last night.
So, I read them this morning.
And now I just want to go back to bed and feel sad.
(I still have Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance to read, because I was 40% of the way through CryoBurn before I realized LVA happened chronologically earlier, so I don’t quite have to say goodbye to the Vorkosigans yet. But. Oh, I will miss them when I have no more of their stories to read.)
I was in tears for basically a whole day after I finished CryoBurn.
But the Ivan book made me laugh so much :)
Because I’ve been thinking about all of this a lot lately, and I decided I should probably channel that thought into something.
AMEN. It’s not the only problem with these movies but it is a LARGE problem. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE.
(and before you say, wait, Amanda has a name - ask a person who’s only seen the new movies what her name is - they won’t know, because it’s never said onscreen. She’s called wife, she’s called mother - but she’s never called by her name).
you continue to fail, new star trek movies.
I have to admit this is one of the reasons I was not into a lot of sci-fi as a kid. There were plenty of fantasy series with strong female characters, but sci-fi was still stories about dudes being dudes.
This is one of the main reasons I was so disappointed in the reboot that I didn’t even bother to see Into Darkness.