Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Last session of My Class on The Columbian Exposition is finished

I feel the last session of my class on the Columbian Exposition went well but wasn't as good as the second section was.  I presented information on the 37 state buildings at the Fair, ships shown there and the Midway Plaisance.  The state section is important because of its impact on architectural styles after the fair.  Most cities have houses that were inspired by designs seen at the Fair.  Early American was popular there as were some of the beginnings of the Arts and Crafts movement.  

The ships included replicas of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, the Viking long-ship that had come from Norway, the whaling ship, Progress was in Chicago too.  I went over the Illinois which was a brick and mortor battleship replica at the Fair and the whaleback, Christopher Columbus that was used there too.

The Midway Plaisance had a lot of interesting concessions, including the Ferris Wheel and Sitting Bull's cabin.  I don't think that I was able to get the excitement of this area across though.  I plan to listen to my audio of the presentation so see if I feel that way in retrospect. 

The whole thing has been a lot of work but a great deal of fun.  I expressed interest in doing a class in the fall.  We'll see what comes of that. 

Would an acoustic shutoff valve have stopped the oil spill

I'll bet that an acoustic shutoff switch would not have been about to stop the oil spill at the BP rig in the Gulf. I suspect something is wrong with the blowout preventer itself. I thing this is true because the "dead man" switch didn't shut the valve and the remote vehicles weren't able to shut it either. I'll bet an acoustic switch would have been unable to get this probably broken device to function.

in reference to:

"BP says the Deepwater Horizon did have a "dead man" switch, which should have automatically closed the valve on the seabed in the event of a loss of power or communication from the rig. BP said it can't explain why it didn't shut off the well."
- Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Just what does a blowout preventer do?

This article has information on what the oilspill site looks like and what techniques are being used to stop the leak. The schematic of the operations being undertaken is veryhelpful.

in reference to: The Gulf oil spill: What lies beneath | The Economist (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Week of Presentations

The last few days have been filled with presentations and preparations for them.  Chiefly, that was for the SVSU OLLI class I am teaching on the Columbian Exposition.  I love to study that fair since so much happened there and in Chicago at the time it was taking place.  

I had two hours to talk about the buildings of the Fair.  That got me through the fourteen major buildings and two or three exhibits in each of them.  I got to go over the careers of the successive architects which added so understanding to what their thinking on design was.  I also got to review the material we had last week.

This class of seventeen went well.  I am quit happy with it, but , like normal, there is so much that I would like to do. I'd like more video of the time to show what was happening.  I'd also like to put on an effective section on the music of the era since so much was changing right then with the advent of the phonograph.

I have done nothing with the medical field of the 1890's.  That area would be interesting too.

I do want to cover military developments as well since this was a time of great military change as well.  The Krupp exhibit at the fair had a piece called "the Thunderer"  that was capable of a fifteen mile range.  The United States had several artillery pieces at the fair as well.

I could enjoy doing a ten week course on this fair but time only allows me one more session.

Today, I had 100 students studying the lumber industry.  That went well.  It ended up dealing with City Hall as well.  The kids were great and a joy to have.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bringing Candice Home from College

Today was a big day..  I had two groups of twenty-five young people to lead on a scavenger hunt in the exhibit area of the museum this morning at 9:45.  So I had to get up and get going to make it.  The hunt itself works well.  We divide the kids into five groups in an area outside the exhibit area.  Then we give each group a set of three questions printed on card that are color coded by area.  We instruct the kids to search for their area first and then to look for clue posters in the gallery.  The clue posters have the answers to the questions on the cards.  We give them 7-10 minutes to search.  Then we call all groups together at the first group's area.  Which in our case is the Native American Area.  Then I get to pose questions from an answer sheet that I've been given to the group from that area..  When that group has finished, we move to the next area  This game works well with fourth graders.  I had fun with it.

Then, I watch Corinne do a presentation to a group of 11 young people on the trilobite exhibit and fossils in general.  The young people really got into this.  When that was over, it was time to take the truck to Mount Pleasant  and bring a load of Candice's things from college home.  That went very well but took about five hours.   Next it was the mowing.

I did get about half of the lawn mowed so I am happy.