Monthly Archives: February 2012

An election year Democrat promise – 1 million more graduates in science, math, and engineering

President Barack Obama proposed $80 million in new government funding for a program to boost science and math education in U.S. schools.

The aim of the new proposed funding is to train 100,000 specialized teachers, who would help to “meet an ambitious goal, which is 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math over the next 10 years.”

In addition, philanthropic organizations and private companies have committed to providing $22 million to help train new math and science teachers.

Organizations involved in the effort include the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Freeport-McMoRan and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

via Reuters

"All my friends know the low rider" – but do you know the culture of the classic ride?

On the premiere episode of The Downshift, Joe Ray, custom car legend and editor in chief of Lowrider magazine, guides you through the culture, history and trends of the world of Lowrider.

Riding shotgun is technical editor Saul Vargas, who reveals the true global reach of the Lowrider movement.

“All my friends know the low rider” – but do you know the culture of the classic ride?

On the premiere episode of The Downshift, Joe Ray, custom car legend and editor in chief of Lowrider magazine, guides you through the culture, history and trends of the world of Lowrider.

Riding shotgun is technical editor Saul Vargas, who reveals the true global reach of the Lowrider movement.

iPads for every kindergartener – early results show a positive trend

This is the nation’s first public school district to give every kindergartener an iPad. And the implementation was done very carefully, with the research component built in from the start, not added as an after-thought.

This fall, the district randomly selected 8 of its 16 kindergarten classes to receive iPads. There’s been ongoing professional development to help the teachers incorporate the devices into literacy instruction.

In December, iPads were rolled out to the rest of the classes. Assessments of all students’ literacy were made at the beginning of the year and again in December. The initial assessments and research has focused on literacy skills, but the researchers are also looking at how iPads might affect numeracy skills as well.

Of the assessments that were made, the results all trended positive, with students in the group that received iPads at the beginning of the school year performing better on average than students in the comparison group. However, the differences between these two groups were not statistically significant, except in one area. That is, students with the iPads exhibited a substantial increase in their scores on the Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words (HWSIW) test, a test of a student’s phonetical awareness, assessing their ability to make the sound and letter connection.

via Hack Education

A real Moneyball story – the reinvention of pitcher Brandon McCarthy

SEVEN PITCHES. That’s how long it took for the verdict to come in. On April 5, in the first inning of his first start in an A’s uniform, Brandon McCarthy went groundout, groundout, groundout. It was a one-inning sabermetric masterpiece. For the game, he lasted eight innings — the second-longest start of his career — and threw just 89 pitches.

McCarthy’s filthy stuff was no laughing matter. “He’s not trying to strike you out,” says Hunter, who had long dominated the lanky pitcher — until last season. “He’s trying to get a ground ball. He’s keeping guys off balance, and he’s hitting his spots. He’s learned how to pitch.” (“The first time I got him out last year,” says McCarthy, “I was like, ‘Oh my god, I really did something!’ That just wasn’t possible before.”) A’s manager Bob Melvin says McCarthy’s new pitching approach reminds him of Greg Maddux, the 300-game winner and surefire Hall of Famer. Says Melvin: “He takes great pride in being able to throw the ball where he wants.” And when he wants.

He learned about FIP, or fielding independent pitching, a statistical aggregate that combines what a pitcher can control (homers, walks, strikeouts), ignores what he can’t (luck, defense) and is a truer barometer than ERA. He also learned about BABIP, or batting average on balls in play, a stat that indicates whether a pitcher has been especially lucky (under .300) or unlucky (over .300). He learned about WAR, or wins above replacement, the all-inclusive, apples-to-apples metric that tells how valuable a player is to his team. He learned about ground ball rates, strikeout-to-walk ratios and more.

via Saviormetrics – ESPN The Magazine