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MOOCs and The World Development Bank’s 2014 Report #wdrrisk

7 Jul

Massively Online Open Courseware (MOOC) is interesting. Many refer to it as the democratizing of education where the internet becomes an equalizer.

There are many self enrichment classes out there, some are accredited as college units, and others result in certificates. Open Courseware is free, but the catch (if you can even call it that) is certificates have a fee (but is much smaller in comparison to university classes). Paying for a certificate verifies your participation and ties your identity to the completion of the class. The courses have to be done while they are being offered by the university or institution, some repeat but others are do not. If you sign up for a class that is no longer running you can still get access to the data and materials, but cant get a certificate anymore. Certificates are nice, but its also fun to just learn anyways.

I just started with the first week of “Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk For Development” by The World Bank, from Coursera today since the first test is due soon.

Its a Massively Online Open Course that results in a certificate of participation. The class presents the data and findings of the 2014 world development report on Risk and opportunity management for development. The concepts presented can be applied to all levels of society, from the individual to the global. Its four weeks long and has a couple of tests a game or a project at the end of different weeks. You have to finish the first test by midnight of your timezone on the 9th though.

You can take the course and learn more about the 2014 world development report even if you’re not interested in the certificate. They give additional videos and reading related to the topics if you are interested but however far you decide to participate in the course is up to you.

Related Articles:
MOOCs and Pedagogy on Educause (educause.com)

World Bank and Coursera to Partner on Open Learning (world bank.com)

Coursera Lands $43M From The World Bank, Yuri Milner & More To Bring Online Education Abroad — And To Phones Near You (techcrunch.com)

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A Pill to Grow Your Brain

3 Mar

The whole theory of this pill is around enlarging the hippocampus, which has shrunk in those who have DepressionSchizophrenia, or Alzheimer’s.The Pill That Could Cure Depression by Growing Your Brain (click through to gizmodo). It might also give you a better memory, since the hippocampus does that sort of thing. It’s reminiscent of the pill in Limitless (2011).

An action-thriller about a writer who takes an experimental drug that allows him to use 100 percent of his mind. As one man evolves into the perfect version of himself, – imdb

If this technology fails it might give birth to a schizophrenic villain, with super memory, and other enhanced brain powers. If it actually cures the schizophrenia thats not very likely. The research is interesting though. Anyone else falling in line ?

DIY soap mold, plus a note on BPA

24 Jun

Since im on a budget right now I did a quick search on making soap molds. I found the linked blogs very informative DIYtutorials.

soap making

This bad photo i just took breaks the monotony of text.

I got a couple of PVC plastic sheets. If you have seen the round PVC pipe molds, in theory it should work the same. The plastic sheets are available at my local book & school supply store. They were a little over a dolar each. So I spent about php 101.30 (2.31 usd) at National. So il be getting out my glue gun and will writing a tutorial on how I made it since I havent seen one around. That will happen when I get around to it. It follows the concept of making it from wood except without the power tools and screws. I will be making some liners from heavy duty wax paperI have laying around here from ages ago.

  1. Back to Basic Living shows us how to make a wooden soap mold here.
  2. The Soap Bar shows how to make a silicon mold liner here. Imo once you get the silicon you can use it for a great number of things. Mold something out of clay, powder it, then presto! IF its food safe you have a silpat mat or a chocolate mold, or a jello mold, an ice cube tray, or at the least if its not food safe a candle mold, clay mold, or another kind of non food mold.
  3. Lovin Soap Blog talk about how to make reusable plastic (poly carbonate) mold liners here. What I will be doing is more like this, except with PVC.
    PVC SPI code, for recycling (Society of the Pl...

    Image via Wikipedia

Safety note though, Polycarbonate is *not* BPA free, so you might get some of it in your soap as leeching occurs during heating. Try to let your soap cool down a bit first, or if you’re paranoid like me avoid BPA as much as you can. Its already in a lot of stuff you dont know about (pipe lining, canned food lining, dental fillings, plastic containers with the recycle sign #4 and up, thermal printed receipts, and a lot more. In high exposure cases t has been linked to reproductive disfunction, sterility and even genital mutation. According to this article the seeping occurs at 240 deg Farenheit. For more on Bisphenol A do a google search or click the link to see what wikipedia says. My 2 cents, BPA is nasty. PVC might leech phlatelets but I havent read much on that yet nor found sources on it. That and the mold im making is just until I can make one out of wood or buy one.

Its refreshing to be looking around and using what I already have. In my walk, I’m working on letting tomorrow worry about itself. Its turning out as a learning experience, its more fulfilling, and a refreshing spin on the commercialized world we live in.

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Talcum powder toxicity and substitutes

20 Jun
20110610-photo (2) copy

Lavender as a talc substitute

Talcum powder has been found to be similar to asbestos and has been linked to an increase in incidents of ovarian cancer. It is particularly associated with erm genital powder. For more information on this have a look at here and here.

On that note here is a short list of talc powder substitutes I found floating in three different sites on the net. I’m not sure who the actual author is, if you do please inform me.

Non-toxic and natural talcum powder substitutes. :

    • 1. arrowroot powder
    • 2. chickpea powder
    • 3. baking soda
    • 4. corn flour
    • 5. cornstarch
    • 6. rice flour
    • 7. oat flour
    • 8. French green clay, finely ground
    • 9. white clay, finely ground
    • 10. powdered calendula blossoms
    • 11. powdered lavender buds
    • 12. powdered rose petals
    • 13. powdered chamomile flowers
    • 14. powdered neem herbs
You will still have to balance out your recipes since the substitutes themselves have innate fragrance, pigmentation, and properties.
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World IPv6 Day

12 Jun

World IPv6 Day. If that doesn’t work cut/paste this http://wp.me/pf2B5-1S7

I hope my ISP is ready.

Using the internet makes you a cyborg. More on TEDtalks.

15 Jan

Nutritional data now free and readily available!

27 Nov

health
Self.com just released Nutrition data and its worth having a look if you are interested in your health, or want to start feeding your family healthier food this is very handy to have. I was not compensated for this entry, i am just happy that this feature is available on the net.

Screen shot 2010-11-27 at 10.54.11 AM

from Self's nutrition data tool

It tells you the nutritional data of raw food like the USDA tag that is behind most products. Aside from this it also tells you the glycemic index, inflammation factor, and fullness and nutrition rating.

Aside from giving you data on your ingredients, this tool can calculate a recipes nutritional data for you! They also have a few pages on certain health issues, a personal nutritional tracker, and blog feature on their site.

I will be using this for this blog, and for my own recipes.Have a look yourself, you can use it for free but miss out on some feature if you do. signing up is free and takes less than 5 min.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/

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Crisp salad, every time! Prewash your own salad.

15 Nov

You will need:
Your prefered salad leaves
Herbs you enjoy

A salad spinner, for crisp veggies.
Vegetable washing solution
  • (try 1tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, and 1 cup cold water in a spray bottle. There are other varriants of vinegar, lemon juice, and basking soda wash recipies available on the net.)
Procedure:
1. Wash
  • Spray the leafy veg with your vegetable wash.
  • leave for 3-5 min
  • rinse off or soak (if carrots or potatoes, they take a while)
  • let drain in a colander for 1-2 min.
2. Spin
  • When the cleaning agent has been washed off, place your leaves in a salad spinner and spin.
  • This is crucial for good salad, the veg will absorb the excess water that doesnt drip off and will be soggy if you dont spin it.
3. Chill & Store
  • Line a container with a paper towel (use PET plastic or PET density varriants, glass or BPA free plastic please, unless you want plastic toxins and chemicals seeping into your food)
  • Keep chilled in your refridgerator’s crisper (the bottom pull out bin).

It should keep a week. and you took care of the hassle ahead of time.
And thats it, easy 1-2-3 your own stock of nutritional veg, waiting for mealtimes. Just take the hassle out of the way ahead of time.


Be sure to use unwashed, fresh, loose (non-vaccum sealed) packed leafy veggies. Usualy i wash a couple packages at the same time, since its just Mr. Catfish and I this lasts us a week to a week and a half. You can definitely adjust this amount to three packages (for 3-4 people, 2 salads a day for 3-5days) or five (for 6 people and above 2 salads a day for 3 days). The amount you make really depends on how much your family or guests like salad.

I like leafy lettuce and aragula, if i’m bored with it i add some fresh basil or rosemary to the wash bin. You can serve it as is leaves and herb with some dressing or add more veg to it. Sometimes I add cucumber, olives and capers or onions to it before serving. Try your own combo of leaves and herbs and tell us about it!

Check out making your own salad dressing.
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Why pre-bagged salad is bad for you.

15 Nov

Bagged leafy veg is misconceived as healthy for you when it’s actually toxic! Many of the mass produced conveniently bagged salads are pre-washed, thats why they are so convenient. You aren’t told though that the veg is washed in chlorine. Doesn’t sound so bad? It’s a helpful chemical for cleaning and home maintenance. Remember you use it to kill microbes and keep the bugs out – which die when they get into chlorinated water. Chlorinated water also kills plants, so how would it affect you? Chlorine is a poison, the gas of which was also used in warfare as a poison.

The best way to support services you appreciate or want to see more of is to put your money into it. Economically speaking if people do not buy an item, the item will either lower in price or no longer be sold, however if people buy the item it will be made more available. Lets support smaller non commercialized and sustainable buys from companies that care about the consumer’s wellbeing.

So the next time you see a bag of salad… just say no.
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