Productive and powerful

[cross-posted at the TechLearning



I'm in the midst of reading Clark Aldrich's Simulations

and the Future of Learning

. As Aldrich walks me through the process of

developing a leadership simulation, he has a number of interesting things to say

about video game and simulation design. Thanks to Aldrich's clear and engaging

prose, I'm finding myself unexpectedly captivated by the nitty-gritty of the

workflow of simulation production.

So far the statement that has resonated with me the most, however,

pertains as much to education as it does to the gaming industry. Aldrich


The goal of learning in any organization (business, educational,

governmental) should be to make its members more productive (p.


I'll agree with that. And I probably would add to the end of that statement

"... and more powerful." I think that additional phrase takes the edge

off what might be construed as a focus solely on preparation for work and

expands it to include personal empowerment.

Productive and powerful. Isn't that what we want

for the children in our schools? Isn't that we want for the educators with whom

we work? Productive and powerful. I like it.

We have 50 million public school


in the United States. Are the thousands of worksheets that they

will complete in their lifetime making them more productive? Are their countless

hours of individual seat work going to lead to greater personal empowerment? Are

they getting opportunities to be both productive and powerful on a regular


What about our subpopulations? Are socioeconomically-disadvantaged students

often getting the chance to be powerful? Do our students with disabilities or

our students whose primary language is not English have multiple, ongoing

opportunities to feel like they are productive, contributing members of our


What about our 3 million public

school teachers

? Are the tens of millions of hours that they spend in staff

development and training each year actually making them more productive? Do you

think the bulk of them feel empowered by their 'learning opportunities?'

Do we regularly ask ourselves these kinds of questions in our school

organizations? As educators, should we?

I have some hard thinking to do about my own graduate classes and degree

programs here at Iowa State...

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

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It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)

In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.

Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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