Come to the party? I want to start the Best Evidence Party.

May 8, 2019

After spending 3 hours researching the parties vying for positions in the Oz elections, I find we need another party.  I want to start it.

Why?

Because in the Senate vote, a valid vote must nominate at least 6 parties (above the line vote) or 12 individuals.  There is a huge list of parties, but in my State there are only 5 parties for which I could consider voting – and that is only because I include the far left to balance out the media support for the far right, and also include special interest parties with limited ranges of policies.

Few parties base any of their policies on best advice from the majority of acknowledged international experts – and that’s not a uniquely Australian problem:  I remember hearing of a senior USA economist being happy because he got their government to shift from something like the 17th worst option to the 14th.  Most of those that claim they have based policies on evidence rely on cherry-picked, biased reviews of serious research, seriously flawed research, accumulated anecdotes, their memories of what they learned in high school, or their imaginations. This annoys me.

The vast majority of minor parties show policies which are swayed more by the mass media than by serious study of the complexity of global environmental, trade, economic, and legal systems.  Their policies are usually based more on the religion and customs of their upbringing rather than on serious study of the wide range of predictable cultural and interpersonal differences which make up the range of our citizens’ needs.  This annoys me.

It is time for a party where the overarching policy is “to weigh all proposed legislation in the balance of the best available evidence.”

I feel that a small range of formal policies is better: explaining the approach is better than arguing details of cases, when every scientist knows that we must shift our understanding when further evidence conflicts with what we thought was the case.

I would suggest that its policies would include things like

  • Have the National Broadcaster allocate time to disagreeing speakers, documentaries, etc, on topics where expert evidence is available in proportion to the depth of evidence on their side.  If only one in a hundred internationally accredited experts agree with a view, it should get a hundredth of the time, not equal time.
  • Our Members of Parliament will not promise to reflect the opinions of the electorate.  They will promise to do their best to weigh the evidence, including details not generally known in the electorate, and to consider advice from the wisest advisors available.  This will be the basis of their voting in Parliament.
  • Where research is cited concerning a view we are asked to support, our party will consider advice from experts including experts in the mathematics of statistical analysis:  in a “scientific” culture where a peer-reviewed publication includes a claim that we should see a correlation of 0.1 as “significant”, peer-reviewed publication does not equal depth of evidence.
  • Where reliable evidence is not available, our party would give weight to ideas of responsibilities which have been seen in the best societies and many religions.  Ideas such as: the responsibility of the government to take action to ensure reasonable quality of life for the citizens (Not necessarily paid employment: should the education system be for “a job” or “to learn what you need to be able to learn what you need to have a good life”?); the responsibility of the  top 20% to support the disadvantaged; the responsibility of each to contribute to the well-being of all others in the population; and our responsibility to limit our consumption as required to ensure the chance for following generations to have a reasonable quality of life (We might agree that non-renewable resources should be recycled as far as possible, for example, and argue that one-off or mining profits must not be spent on recurrent expenditure or tax cuts.)

Its focus would not be science, but its approach would often be scientific.  Its considerations would include the long-term consequences of actions, thinking in terms of hundreds of years.  It would attract people who might also consider the Pirate Party or the Science Party, but want a different (or smaller) range of policies.

In Australia, an official “Party” needs 500 voters who are not members of another political party, and a written Constitution.

Would you like to join this party?  Would you like to help draft its constitution?

https://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/party_registration/overview.htm

 

 

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For those concerned by proposed changes to Oz guidelines for Doctors re complementary medicine: what the proposed changes are

April 8, 2019

Actual proposed  Oz guidelines for doctors re complementary and unconventional medicine, from https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/News/Current-Consultations.aspx are copied in below.  Much of the concern seems to be from those who have not read them.  Read before worrying, then you will sound more sensible if you comment in the way described on the medicalboard.gov.au site.

The consultation is called

Public consultation on clearer regulation of medical practitioners who provide complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments

Guidance for all registered medical practitioners

This section of the guidelines includes guidance for all registered medical practitioners including those doctors whose patients use complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments, but who don’t themselves provide these treatments.

  1. Discussion with patients

The use of complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments is increasing. It is therefore important that all medical practitioners are aware of these areas of practice and how they may affect their patients and impact other treatments, regardless of whether they themselves provide or recommend these treatments. There are resources available for medical practitioners when discussing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments with their patients.[1]

Good medical practice for all medical practitioners involves:

  • Asking your patients about their use of complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments regardless of whether you provide or recommend these treatments.
  • Taking into consideration your patient’s use of complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments when determining appropriate management for your patient.
  • Respecting your patient’s right to make informed decisions about their health and their right to choose complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments.

 

 

Guidance for registered medical practitioners who provide complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments

This section of the guidelines includes guidance for registered medical practitioners who provide complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments.

  1. Knowledge and skills

Safe patient care relies on the medical practitioner having the knowledge and skills in the area of medicine in which they practise. This is both for the treatments being provided and the conditions for which patients seek treatment. This is particularly important where treatments may not be part of standard medical training, for alternative uses of conventional treatments and for new and emerging treatments that are continuously evolving.

Good medical practice for medical practitioners providing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments involves:

  • Ensuring you have current knowledge and skills for your scope of practice to ensure safe patient care.
  • Only offering treatments if you have the appropriate training, expertise and experience in both the treatment and the condition being treated.
  • Arranging appropriate and timely specialist referral, when indicated.
  • Undertaking necessary training if you intend to change your scope of practice to include complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments.
  1. Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest can arise when providing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments. This is the case when there are high costs involved as well as because of the experimental and commercial aspects of some treatments.

Good medical practice for medical practitioners providing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments involves:

  • Always acting honestly and only in your patient’s best interests when providing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments.
  • Ensuring that you do not have a financial or commercial conflict of interest that may influence the advice and/or treatment that you give your patients.
  1. Informed consent

Patients have a right to know if the treatment they are being offered is not considered to be ‘conventional medicine’. They have the right to know the evidence for its efficacy and safe use.

Medical practitioners proposing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments must obtain informed consent from their patient. Good medical practice involves:

  • Providing your patient with enough information, preferably in written form, for them to make informed decisions about proposed assessments, investigations and treatments.
  • Providing your patient with clear information about:
    • the extent to which the assessment, investigation and treatment is consistent with conventional medicine and accepted by the medical profession or if it is considered alternative and/or experimental
    • the degree to which, and how, diagnostic investigations and tests have been formally evaluated and what is known about their reliability, safety and risks
    • the degree to which, and how, the proposed treatments have been formally evaluated or proven and what is known about their safety, side effects, risks, likely effectiveness and a realistic likelihood of benefit for the proposed use.
    • the range of possible outcomes, taking into consideration the patient’s expectations
    • the likely number of investigations and treatments required and the costs involved
    • other treatment options (including conventional treatments), their risks, likely benefits and efficacy based on the best current available information.
  • Ensuring that patients who may be vulnerable because of the serious and/or chronic nature of their condition and/or because conventional medicine has not been effective, are not exploited or unduly influenced.
  • Ensuring that information provided about complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments does not create unrealistic patient expectations.
  • Informing your patient of their right to seek a second opinion regarding their treatment and options from another independent medical practitioner when proposing treatments that are complementary, unconventional or emerging.
  1. Assessment and diagnosis

Some medical practitioners providing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments use diagnostic methods and tests that are not considered to be part of conventional medicine.

Good medical practice in the assessment and diagnosis of patients involves:

  • Ensuring the assessment and examination of your patient is comprehensive and considers all relevant information.
  • Ensuring that any recommendation for investigations or tests is based on the best current available information.
  • Performing and/or ordering any generally recognised diagnostic investigations and tests that would be reasonably expected for appropriate patient care.
  • Ensuring you consider appropriate differential diagnoses for each individual patient.
  • Ensuring that your diagnosis is supported by sound clinical judgement and informed by the best current available information.
  1. Treatment

Providing a treatment in the absence of an identified therapeutic need can unnecessarily expose a patient to risk of harm. Patient harm can also result if the provision of complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments results in delays in accessing more appropriate treatments for the patient.

Good medical practice when providing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging medicine involves:

  • Ensuring that you do not discourage the use of conventional treatment options when this is clinically appropriate.
  • Only recommending treatments where there is an identified therapeutic need, quality and safety can be reasonably assured and that have a reasonable expectation of clinical efficacy and benefit.
  • Ensuring that the provision of any complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments comply with any relevant Therapeutic Goods Administration requirements.[2]
  1. Patient management

Good patient care is supported when there is good communication with, and coordination of care between, all treating practitioners. When the provider of complementary and unconventional medicine or emerging treatments does not have a role in the patient’s regular medical care it is important to ensure that there are measures in place for the coordination of care. Follow-up of patients is particularly important where treatment is provided that is experimental and/or part of a formal research clinical trial – both for the patient’s wellbeing and for the contribution to medical knowledge.

Good medical practice for the care of your patients to whom you are providing complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments involves:

  • Documenting information including the diagnosis, treatment, efficacy, side-effects and known risks of interactions in the patient’s medical record.
  • Ensuring that you take responsibility for appropriate monitoring and follow-up of patients to whom you are providing complementary and unconventional and emerging treatments. This is even more important when you are providing experimental treatments.
  • Encouraging your patients to tell their other health practitioners about their use of complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments.
  • With permission from your patient, communicating with their other treating doctors (if applicable). You should inform other treating medical practitioners of the investigations, the diagnoses, treatments, known risks of interactions and patient progress.
  • Reporting adverse events to the relevant authority to assist safety monitoring.
  1. Advertising

Some patients who seek complementary and unconventional medicine or emerging treatments may be vulnerable to advertising that may lead to unreasonable expectations. The advertising provisions in Section 133 of the National Law include that a regulated health service must not be advertised in a way that is false, misleading or deceptive or creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment.

Good medical practice when advertising complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments involves:

  • Ensuring that all advertising material, including practice and practitioner websites, complies with the Board’s Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services, including the advertising requirements of section 133 of the National Law, of the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code and of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
  • Ensuring that you do not create the impression that you are a specialist in an area of practice that is not a recognised specialty.
  • Ensuring advertising material does not create unreasonable patient expectations of the benefits of the complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments.
  1. Research and advancing knowledge

Innovation and research in new treatments is necessary to improve health outcomes. However, there must be protections in place for patients. Efforts to make advancements in treatments should not jeopardise patient safety.

Good medical practice in the research and advancement of complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments involves:

  • Ensuring that research involving complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments complies with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) current ‘Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research’ and ‘National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research’.
  • Where tests and treatments are experimental, being prepared to contribute to and share new knowledge with the profession.

Acknowledgements

The Board acknowledges the following organisations’ codes and guidelines, which helped inform the development of the Board’s draft guidelines:

  • Medical Council of New South Wales (2015) Complementary health care policy
  • Medical Council of New Zealand (2011) Statement on complementary and alternative medicine

Implementation date and review

These guidelines will take effect on <date>.

The Board will review these guidelines at least every five years.

[1] For example, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Talking with your patients about Complementary Medicine – a Resource for Clinicians, 2014 and NHMRC, Stem Cell Treatments – A Quick Guide for Medical Practitioners, 2013

[2] For example, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Australian regulatory guidelines for complementary medicines, 2018 and TGA, Australian regulatory guidelines for biologicals, 2017.

Basic Wage: We have gone backwards since 1907.

March 26, 2019

Oz Liberal Party are saying that we can’t afford Labor’s plan to set Fair Work’s guidelines to seek basic wage to keep single person out of poverty.  (Yes, our “independent arbiter” on minimum wage is independent, but it runs on rails laid by the government…)

Time for the general public in Oz and overseas to revisit the Harvester Decision 1907 (!)  :

As the Fair Work Commission’s website says:

In Ex parte H.V. McKay (the Harvester Decision), Justice Higgins of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court decided to determine what ‘fair and reasonable’ wages were using the following test:

I cannot think of any other standard appropriate than the normal needs of the average employee, regarded as a human being living in a civilised community. [p.3]

This became the basis of the national minimum wage system in Australia. It was a ‘living’ or ‘family’ wage, set at a level which would supposedly allow an unskilled labourer to support a wife and three children, to feed, house, and clothe them. By the 1920s it applied to over half of the Australian workforce. It became known as the ‘basic wage’. Additional amounts were paid to more skilled workers, for example an additional 3 shillings to a fitter or other tradesperson. These additional amounts were known as ‘margins’.

Our politicians are so proud of how we have “advanced” as a society. Well, let’s not go back to the high employment standards of 1907.  Compromise.  Don’t have the minimum be for a family of 2 adults and 3 children.  Let it be for a single adult, but have government support for dependants – covered by taking back some of the tax cuts we have had.  Have the Nation recognise that we need the children to be well-educated and healthy and happy if we are to continue as a strong nation.

Follow Justice Higgins: set the basic wage to cover at least housing, healthy food, medical costs (including dental and optical), power, water, clothes, footwear, furniture, rates, life insurance, savings in case of loss of employment, union dues, books and newspapers and NBN, public transport fares, school requisites, amusements and holidays, replacement of items such as refrigerators, domestic help, and any expenditure for unusual contingencies (e.g. too ill to work,  have to move house, death in family, etc.)

Yes, this means that Australia’s high rental and power costs should be figured in.

Seems weird that we have a high minimum wage by global standards but workers need more?

That’s what comes of letting private industry run vital services (Adam Smith would be horrified, and his works are the basis of many neocons’ theories!)  and also destroying the government-run provision of housing at controlled cost for low-income people.  With the perennial politicians’ bribes of lower taxes we have had the sale of infrastructure and the collapse of State Housing Commission support – with over a year’s wait for emergency housing as one result.  In North Metro Perth, 2018, the average wait was 166 weeks.  I therefore say that the private market’s prices for housing and power and internet must be factored into any calculation of unemployment and sickness benefits, as it should for the basic wage.

Non-neurotypical blasts an organisation called ‘Autism speaks’.

March 24, 2019

Copied from a friend’s Facebook, so people won’t share the ad without text!

From the OP (who has lived experience with ASD)
“Today the ‘West Australian’ daily newspaper (and unfortunately an institution and public standardbearer of what our mainstream public consider ‘keeping informed’ here in my state) ran a full page of content for Autism awareness month bearing the ‘puzzle piece’logo of an organisation called ‘Autism speaks’.

Claiming to advocate for the needs of Autistic folk, run by neurotypical Allistics, and applying the biomedical deficit model to ‘explain’ who Autistic people are and what we need, which is of course a ‘cure’… while denying any encouragement of our potential, or areas of functional strength and talent typical in the lived experience of Autistic difference.

This organisation encourage and facilitate goverment funding and focus on ‘therapies’ to untruthfully miscast many common, essentially harmless (to anyone else, while greatly helpful and functional mechanisms to engage for us, even if YOU can’t see how) Autistic trait behaviors, atypical uses for language and expression, and sensory reactions that pertain to fundamental aspects of Autism as a neurological lifelong condition, to instead be simply psycho-pathological illness or developmental maladjustments that need to be prevented, intervened against and changed via corrective measures and treatment.
Often ushered in under the guises of commonly accepted mainstream therapuetic approaches like ‘Applied behavior analysis’ or ‘Cognitive behavior therapy’.. for adults like me, but also increasingly leading parents and comunity services into frightening fringe medicine like making their kids drink bleach.

No, I don’t mean the 1950s or the 1980s I mean now.

For the first time since my diagnosis and the years of misguided mental health interventions preceding that.. I have finally managed to be given a new mental health plan for something other than cognitive behaviour therapy.

The public understanding that Autism is a disease to be wiped out is why most of the therapies or ‘social interventions’ we can most commonly access in social healthcare wind up being applied in ways that cause the level of harm long realised with gay conversion therapy or a singular focus on body dysmorphia causes the LGBTQIA+ community, where there is a massive cross section of the Autistic population, by the way. We are statisically at double, triple, multiple-intersectional risk for a constant life of being scrutinised, miscast, survielled and intervened upon with a ‘corrective’social gaze at large.

The stigma ‘Autism speaks’ helps to keep publicly institutionalised is the PRIMARY problem and causal motivation of the Anti-vaxxer movement.

I and other Autists stand by..in horror and still feeling powerless and voiceless while mainstream society, our friends assosciates and families, yes, most of my facebook friends.. seem to have taken on rightful disparagement and social critique of the anti-vaxxer movement YET while still largely complicit to the underlying cause while you still yourselves display adherence to applying subtle forms of, or enact Passive daily participation with, the crushing stigma.

This includes your general silence and lack of interest or reticence to engage online anytime I raise autism… and, seeming discomfort, minimisation, topic switching, or silence and general presentation of ‘not wanting to encourage’ my real life conversation or Autistic and neurodivergent self expression.

It is all complicit to finding myself wasting years on, and being exhausted, frustrated and self critically distraught over the constant failure of ‘standard therapies’ like CBT socially forced upon me and been judged as ‘not trying hard enough’ when inevitably a psychological approach created for allistic people with a completely different cause for similar behavioural issues cannot rewire hard wired genetic expressions of Autistic neurobiological difference.

I don’t just mean my normie friends and fam. Almost none of you Allistics.

Not the Academics. Not the feminists. Not the LGBTQIA+ friends. Not the social justice ‘activists’. No particular other social minority or political or cultural group. Pretty scary for us because we are part of ALL those groups. Scary because some of you go through the same judgement and harm and are years ahead of us in terms of enacting social changes to end the mainstreaming for similar forms of it specifically targetting your identity groups. You actually do know better than to treat and problematise us how you are.

If I can’t call you all out during Autism awareness month then what the fuck is the use of having one.

Considering all the dribble you are going to get from supposed ‘best practice’ industry leaders in Autism ‘advocacy’ I thought I should contextualise in detail just how sickening it is to have a month or whatever mainstreamed for raising your apparent awareness and millions of dollars, wasted on empty rhetoric, simply reinforcing your already problematising acceptance of 1950s medical establishment views of what Aitism is and who we are while I can drown you in current credible Autism research that would actually be helpful and wouldn’t make you feel so conflicted for me and icky about it.

You’ll have family and friends reading glurgey bullshit premised falsely in popular daily broadsheets and weekly magazines and it will be rife online. Even those of us suffering severe physical disabilities and painful conditions heavily associated with Autism or those wanting a cure for some aspects are only harmed by the dominant ‘curative’narrative framework limiting how you can possibly understand or appreciate difference based needs of we Autists. Enforced forms of personal and public humiliation shame and torture have not worked to help us or eradicate Autism. Most of us would choose to stay Autistic if you actually ask us.

Ignore anything this month with a puzzle piece logo accompaniment. Warn your workmates, peers, family. Watch this 2006 ad by AUTISM SPEAKS and be truly horrified.

Those of you who know me in real life, ask yourself: how the ad can be misapplied to my life outcomes and struggles unfairly and why, what it means for me when people who don’t know me as well can’t possibly be expected to as easily see the contradictions.. if exposure to an ad like this influences how they interpret and comprehend anything Ive told them about particularly the last five years of my life. If it can all simply be boiled down to the unfortunate throes of a maddening disease that other people have to cut me off over, ‘just to save themselves’ until I can be… or will ‘responsibly choose’to be cured’? To leave me only pitied yet avoided, or ‘compassionately’ discouraged from positively identifying the uniqueness and strengths inherent for Autistic forms of humanity? To revile any notion of Autism even being a type of humanity?
Beyond any further risk of sounding any more like Frankenstein’s monster, I’ll leave those questions with you to process your own ways..
FFS you better come up with a little more than ‘this doesn’t apply to OP so he’s probably not even autistic after all’ ”

Politicians’ high incomes blind them to the reality of the effects of proposed taxation changes.

March 6, 2019

Most of the political claims around the Australian Labor Party’s franking credits tax plans talk about retirees. The pollies have missed the point – which is odd, as they probably own franked shares!  I guess they are just too wealthy to understand what happens to those on low incomes.

But why don’t journalists pick them up on it?

My understanding of shareholding is that shareholders are basically the company’s owners – each share being an equal “share” of the company.  In Australia the company pays tax on its profit to a maximum of 30%.  When the after-tax profits are shared out per share as dividend income to the owners, each has effectively paid that tax on that income. That tax per shareholding is the “franking credit.” For tax, both the dividend and the franking credit together make the shareholder’s income from owning part of the company.

The shareholder’s individual marginal tax rate may be more or less than the rate the company paid – if more, they pay the difference between what the company paid and their rate. If less, they get back the tax they have overpaid.

Consider a person who comes from a very Labor family.  He is single,  has lived quietly and bought shares instead of travelling and partying, and is now  effectively unemployable but too young to retire.  He cannot get unemployment benefits (“Newstart”) as he has paid off his home and has over $258,500 in assets outside the home.  His shares give him about $14,000 in franked dividends, with the franking credits of $6,000.  That is a total of about $385/week – $272 before franking credit refund  – and he gets by on that, nursing the $6,000 tax refund to get past unexpected expenses.  Newstart would be about $275 per week, according to the humanservices.gov.au website.

Under the proposed changes, he will have his effective income cut to $14,000 – cut by almost a third, to less than the  Newstart allowance he cannot get.  At the same time, a federal backbencher on the 2018 base salary of $207,100 a year with dividends of $14,000 will get the $6,000 back as a tax credit, suffering no change to income .

That makes him angry. And it has made me  angry too.

I feel that if Labor really cared about the battlers, it would not do this – if franking credits tax law must be messed with to stop wealthy family trusts and large superannuation holdings from getting big refunds, Labor should change the rules for large holdings, or say that only actual human individuals below median wage equivalent taxable income should get the credits back.  Or they should abandon the refunds altogether.  Not claim that the low income people who get taxed dividends “have not paid tax” and so shouldn’t get the franking credits refunded, insisting that they can only be used to pay tax due for other reasons.

I would like every journalist who has a pollie claim that the low income people who get franked dividends “have not paid tax” call them on that falsehood.

I would like every journalist who has a pollie talk about retirees and superannuation funds as being the only things affected by the proposed changes, or about “franking credits being returned to pensioners”,  do one thing:  ask the pollies “What about the many people who cannot get a pension or Newstart,  but have poverty-level incomes?”

The same could be asked of any who go on about “increasing support  for working families” (say, Liberals saying they will give tax cuts) – I know that many working families have only part-time or irregular work, end up barely taxable, and are not helped by tax cuts.

I think it is time pollies were put onto Newstart for their time in Parliament, to teach them how it feels.

Teaching the subject’s vocabulary: literacy principles applied to promote both memory of terms and concept formation.

November 6, 2018

I have worked  with children who struggled with some concepts despite having memorised the terminology for the subject.  In dealing with the problem, I changed my own approach to teaching some subject vocabulary.  This entry is an example of this approach: teaching number names (Australian Curriculum, Mathematics, Number and Algebra,Number and Place Value )  in Foundation and Year 1, to prevent problems in Year 4 and above

Remember that items grouped together in time are linked together in memory.

Remember that items grouped together by name-form are linked together in memory – and that this form linkage aids rapid learning of items within the group, particularly if the name-form is meaningfully linked to the item’s qualities.

Remember that items linked together by pattern are remembered together.

Common practise:  We can count on our fingers and thumbs, making it easy to prompt 1,2,3, … 10.  Most classroom displays go 1 to 10, 11 to 20, etc.

Problems: Where is zero?  What concept of zero are is developed, when it appears as part of “10” and “20” but not alone except in special mentions.  Where does it fit in the number name pattern? Why did the children I helped remember 10 as a single concept-shape, not splitting the 1 and 0, grouping it with 1 to 9, not 20 to 90?  Why do they jump from 49 to 60, or 47 to 58?

Zero by itself seems taboo, a scary thing with great powers not to be approached by the uninitiated.  As Gahan Wilson asked,

Alternative teaching approach:  Counting practice starts with zero : zero, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.

Ten is brought in with 11 to 19.  If both hands are used, 1 full set of digits and zero more (yes, it is a pun) is 10, ten; and one more, 11, eleven…

Twenty is  a word introduced with two, twin, and twice.  Twin-ty for twin tens makes sense. Then the number is “2 tens and zero left over.”  So we write the 20 group of the 10s family 20 to 29 ….  and they count 2 tens and zero left over is twenty,  twenty-one, twenty-two … twenty-nine (We have all 9, next is a 10 – how many tens now?  2+1 is 3…)   The digit form and verbal form are explicitly linked with the physical as we go (an example of manipulatives for this is below.)

Thirty is introduced with three, and third place, and twenty  –  if it ends in “ty” it is part of the tens-family

Forty follows (fourth place) and then they can guess fifty to ninety-nine.

Manipulatives emphasise  zero (none there) and limit group size to 9 objects – e.g. Linear Arithmetic “Blocks” like these:

The pieces are lengths of pipe, with washers for the smallest. 10 of the lesser are as long as 1 of the next length. The rods hold only 9 of the pieces. The organiser serves a similar purpose to the place value chart often used with MAB, holding pieces of the same size together and representing the left-right spatial arrangement of decimal numeration. (Beware – you must be looking from the front!)

Also, if there are ten or more pieces of any one size they will not fit onto the appropriate rod and so ten of them must be exchanged for a single piece of the next highest value. They can see how 100 must be written before they know the name for certain.

To emphasise the infinite nature of number, I have a very long pipe (as long as 10 of the largest) to show that the next rod would be too long for the classroom.

In later years, for introducing decimals, I also use pieces of paper to show that the next smaller rod would be too small to use in class, and then “zoom in” by introducing a blob of bluetack as the decimal point.   As multiplying / dividing by 10 “Zooms” by bluetack movement,  the place value/decimal continuity becomes clear.

I would like to see the big “Educational” display manufacturers making their posters show 0-9, 10 – 19, … and go up to 109 rather than 100.

 

 

From learning about plywood to translation: “NOT SAFE IF ANY BEAM FAILS.” Pretty, though.

September 7, 2018
270 pages written by someone with a very dry, academic sense of humour. And ideas and details to inspire.
I like the Schwedler dome page 184
.
“A feature of this dome is that it can be analysed as a statically determinate structure.”
– which led me to find out what a statically determinate structure is, which led me to http://www.ae.msstate.edu/vlsm/truss/statically_det_indet_trusses/statically_det_indet_trusses.htm
“A truss is considered statically determinate if all of its support reactions and member forces can be calculated using only the equations of static equilibrium. For a planar truss to be statically determinate, the number of members plus the number of support reactions must not exceed the number of joints times 2.”
and
Key Observation
Since a statically determinate truss cannot have more members than the number required for stability, it is not a fail-safe structure. This means that if one member of the truss were to fail, then the truss will collapse. This is a major reason for introducing redundant members in truss structures, especially when public safety is of primary concern.”
Translation:  “NOT SAFE IF ANY BEAM FAILS.”

Urinary tract infection – Hiprex may help, but ware pain! (And see your GP, it can maskinfection)

June 5, 2018
Urinary tract infection, ouch. 3 days to medical appointment, not bad enough for hospital emergency, but disinclined to any activity…
Previously used Ural (urinary alkaliniser), as it helps keep enough urine flow to wash tract clean and start healing (by reducing ouch-factor in urination so one can drink enough water, I think).  I do not have a good response to cranberry pills, though some find they help.
Pharmacy suggested hiprex (hexamine hippurate) instead of urinary alkaliniser, as “it will kill bacteria” – but also said “Don’t use an alkaliniser as it stops the stuff working.” Tried it – even more ouch.
Checked online: Hexamine hippurate relies on acidity in urine to break it into ammonia and formaldehyde, and if urine not acid (likely if vegetarian/low protein diet) best to take 1g vitamin C with each dose, to increase acidity. So acid urine plus ammonia plus formaldehyde running over open wound in urinary tract – kills germs, sure, but not much fun for the sufferer unless masochist.
Should be dispensed with advice on pain relief!
After a day, and with added vitamin C, much reduced discomfort but trace blood on toilet paper.  Second day, well enough to get out to do gardening.  Two days after that got to doctor, test showed active infection despite lack of symptoms, antibiotics cleared it.
Would use it again if unable to get to doctor for a while.

Bitcoin – not for me.

December 8, 2017

The recent enthusiasm for Bitcoin bothers me.

Not because it has got to the “taxi drivers are talking about it” indicator of bubble status.

Because it is being used widely enough to stay in use when the bubble bursts.

Many of the people using it are interested in the environment, and approve of replacing still-working globes with LED globes to reduce power consumption. They may have installed solar PV panels to contribute to low-emission power.

How will they feel when they understand the impact of the bitcoin computing approach?

The ConversationDigiconomist and IEEE   put it clearly.  A Bitcoin transaction uses 5,000 times as much energy as using a  credit card, and the energy cost will increase as the blockchain lengthens.  The multiple servers maintaining copies of the ledger, and comparing their versions, and doing the complex calculations to solve a puzzle  to be the lucky one to generate a Bitcoin (all the others’ discard the work they have done, wasted electricity) – all burn power and generate waste heat.

I believe  that cold climates are more ethical server locations, as the heat generated can at least be used for warming buildings or preheating for hot water systems, but even so the process leaves me uneasy.

I am glad that the alternative blockchain designers are testing less power-hungry approaches.  Until Bitcoin changes its approach, I think it should be avoided.

Why is it so hard to get a good tradie?

September 29, 2017

Letter to a roofing company, after quoted $495 to fix leaking flume and $3003 to fix badly-designed clear-roofed enclosed patio / sunroom area
Thank you for the quote.

I have delayed responding because I wished to consider my response.

As the property (a family home temporarily a rental) has several problems, and I wanted to get urgent ones sorted and budget for the others, I asked for someone to inspect the property to estimate both for the items you quoted and for other work – including things of which I might not be aware.

I was told that the inspection might be on the following week’s Thursday or Friday, and that I would be called so I could be there. Late in the next week I was doing a minor repair there, and one of the tenants told me that workmen had been “seeing to the roof” on the Monday – no card had been left, so I was unsure what had happened. I called your office, and was told that a quote had been sent (I check my spam, and had not seen it. I ran a search over our email in case it was in deleted or junk, and it was not.) I was sent a copy of the quote and was told that I had been called on the Monday but not responded – I did not remember a missed call, but had I had 2 from the same number I would have remembered. There was no text or voice message. In any case, it would not have been convenient for me to attend that day.

Your office put me in touch with the tradesman, whose manner left me feeling both that he was certain that I was silly and that he was unwilling to consider that I needed to be present for the quote process “as I had been quite detailed about what I needed.” As one of the details was that I wanted to talk about work needed later, this was irritating; as one of the items I wanted to talk about for the quote was whether there should be sarking with the tiles, and as another was to find out exactly what changes would be recommended to the back room’s roof and gutters, I was beyond doing more than politely ending the conversation. I cannot agree to $3003 for work without a detailed explanation of the proposed changes and the reasons for them.

I have had a tiler visit, who said that the rear room and the longer-term items were better discussed with a business dealing in more roof plumbing and reroofing, but for $80 changed the way the leaking flume was collared and flashed – and lowered its hood, so that rain could no longer blow in sideways. Since then, there has been no water ingress in the room beneath. What happens with the next pounding storm remains to be seen.

I understand that the difficult weather will have put your company into a stressful period, and so have delayed responding – giving time for your work and my temper to calm a little. If you are interested in trying again to quote on the longer term problems, on changes (if any) the flume area might need to make it permanently watertight, on stopping another leak found the weekend before your inspection, and can provide a more detailed description of the proposed changes to the back room roof and gutters, I am interested in considering your itemised quote.