Monday, July 30, 2012

No Money in Politics

What would our political system be like if donations and lobbyist were banned?

Imagine, any candidate running for office would receive a fixed sum to run their campaign. No donations. None. Zip.

If that doesn't fly, then what if candidates had to wear logos of all their donors, like NASCAR? Hmmm...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thunderstorms!

I was shaken awake by the sound of thunder and heavy rain. But I'll take a natural alarm over a mechanical buzzer any day.

Thunderstorms command respect. It's humbling to know that heat, moisture and unstable air under the right atmospheric conditions can create a punch-packing storm. But it's even more humbling to consider that all storm systems begin life as microscopic specs of dust upon which water vapor condenses to form clouds.

Monday, July 23, 2012

No News Is Good News

I went camping over the weekend, away from TV, phone and internet. I was unplugged and it was a welcome relief from the constant barrage of sadness and woe we call news. The news makes me wonder what's wrong with the world. It is enough to drive anyone mad! Heck, I get worked up just thinking about it!

But for a few days I went off the grid. The wind through the trees said everything is okay. Each night I fell asleep to a symphony of crickets. The call of birds and the sound of the rain was my alarm clock. Everything was right with the world. It felt good.

I need to unplug more often.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Math Easier: Break It Down

I taught my young cousin my multiplication shortcut last night.

For example, what's an easy way to solve 12 X 11?

As a refresher, 12 and 11 are "factors", and the answer is the called the "product."


1. Ask yourself, what 2 or more numbers add up to the first factor and are easy to multiply?

In this example, I know 10+2=12, and that both 10 and 2 are easy numbers to multiply with any factor.


2. Multiply each number by the second factor.

In our example, multiply 10 and 2 by 11:

So...
10 X 11=110
2 X 11=22


3. Add the products

110+22=132

And there you have it!

The example above is an easy and gets the point across. I still use this trick when I need to multiply numbers and don't have a calculator (like when I'm flying a plane).

Math tricks are not for everyone, but if it works and helps a student overcome a hurdle, then use it. There's no harm in doing things differently.

-Dr. Dave

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I write for a living. And I have this blog to thank. Well, not this blog in it's current form.

I started drdavescience.com many years ago when my girlfriend's cousin, a 10-year old, asked me how a hot air balloon worked. Although I knew the answer, it was challenging to explain. I had to think of an easy explanation because I didn't want his response to be a blank stare.

I thought about my response, created my blog, wrote a post and sent him a link. He understood it, so I knew I was doing something right.

He asked me more questions and I wrote more posts. Eventually I received questions from readers and I wrote more posts.

A few years later, I attended a job fair, and as it turns out, a representative from medical writing firm had seen my blog. I interviewed weeks later and was offered a position as a medical writer.

Since then, I haven't devoted much time to blogging. My girlfriend became my wife and we bought a home. It's the way life goes.

I hope to write more. It'll probably be less about science and more about life.