The News From The Great White North

Going to the nationals!  Congratulations Wayzata Team!

Going to the nationals! Congratulations Wayzata Team!

Science Bowl

First, I’m very proud to announce that the Wayzata Science Bowl team won in the statewide tournament last night and will be going to Washington DC for the nationals. I mention this because my wife, Amanda, is the coach for the team. This is the only season she’s been their coach, so that’s a much much better record than, say, any recent Vikings coach. From what I hear, the team includes a lot of a amazing kids who, obviously, know a LOT about science and are able to access that knowledge very quickly.

Now, before anybody bellyaches that it does not matter if you know a lot of facts like they might ask in a Science Bowl, it’s the concepts that count, let me say two things about that. First, it is a valid and useful form of knowledge, this knowing-facts-thing. Too many people lack it and I think some people rely on the idea that “concepts are more important” to sidestep that lack of ability or paint it as unimportant. The real powerhouse thinkers that I know, those who are churning through the concepts like a blender through butter, are in total command of the facts. Second, from what I hear, these kids are highly conceptual and smart and stuff, plus they can recall the facts.

So, anyway, we’ve got this nice trophy sitting on our dining room table. Unfortunately, this has to go to school. It just ended up here because this is where Amanda ended up at the end of a very long evening.

VoiceOfRussiaVoice Of Russia

Correspondent Molly Seder interviewed me about the Arctic Vortex for Voice of Russia Radio, and you can click here to see the writeup and listen to the interview. It’s not long, about 12 minutes.

Greg Laden, a blogger at with National Geographic, describes the weather as “an unusual event.” He says arctic temperatures aren’t expanding south, but rather cold air has moved south, leaving the artic warmer than normal.

Laden told VR it’s like the Arctic has “Gotten drunk and wandered where it normally doesn’t go.” The metaphor has gone viral.

Sungudogo_eyesSearch for Sungudogo

As you probably know, I recently produced the re-written and revised edition of Sungudogo. Now, I’ve updated the Sungudogo web page at the X Blog. Have a look.


I think there is a huge lack of overlap between the community of people who read this blog, are my Facebook Friends, and who interact with me on Twitter, and there are good reasons for that.

The_Princess_Bride_0095But in case you tweet I wanted to point out two rollicking funny hastags of recent days: #PrincessBrideScience and #SixWordPeerReview. I made a number of contributions to the first, but none to the second (all the good six word combos were used up apparently!). Also, for fun, I’ve been tracking winter with the hashtag #W1314. Feel free to add your short comments.

“Snow days” (which are really cold weather days)

We are having some.

gohomearcticyouredrunkAnd, I have to say that so many of the comments I hear people making about this phenomenon of taking days of school off for bad weather are wrong! I may have to write a corrective blog post. In any event, the Arctic Vortex is back (it had never gone very far away) and we’ll be keeping the kiddies home Monday and probably Tuesday, if we have any sense, here in Minnesota.