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Comment It isn't that hard (Score 1) 467

Go for it! Learning as an adult is surprisingly easy -- don't think you are desperately disadvantaged by your age. Actually, adult learners do remarkably well at academic courses. I guess it is about being better able to identify what matters, to focus, and to stick to things.

You need to use a method that works for you -- some people can really only learn from other people, some people can learn from standard textbooks. Good self-paced materials are great, but you have to find one with your sort of pace. So think about what has worked for you in the past, and look around you now. If what you are trying doesn't work, try something else.

And try to control a yearning for perfection -- you don't need a deep understanding of every detail, Good enough is good enough. Whichever bits you actually need in your career will get developed fully then.

Comment Re:Focus on the sky (Score 1) 377

This sounds really good teaching advice.

I guess you are going to have several parents along on an evening activity. I would ask if any of them have a laptop or smartphone they can put Google Sky/other star maps on, so that there is plenty of accurate info floating around.

If people are bringing binoculars, encourage them to attach a neckstrap, and tell the kids that if there is one they _must_ put it on as soon as they are handed the binoculars.

Comment Re:Just wait for the 2010 bug (Score 1) 257

If you were writing software in the '70s, the speed of change was such that most programs were being totally rewritten within 2 years. We were finding better ways of doing things (both hardware and software) all the time. I guess management hoped that some stuff would not need renewing in less than five years. The eventual news of programs which had stayed in use for _20 years_ was a real surprise. The original programmers had no way of knowing that some of their stuff would live until the year 2000.

Comment Re:Its a population crunch (Score 1) 452

While certain groups may have higher fertility with an increased standard of living, I don't think that is true of populations as a whole.

Currently, a big driver for reducing fertility is educating girls and women. This is thought to increase their own control over their lives and thus enable them to choose to have fewer children but a more cynical view is that as their earning power grows, so it makes less sense for the family to keep them at home in the kitchen. The opportunity cost of large families is felt directly. Only in families where a woman's earnings are irrelevant is there likely to be high fertility.

It is hard to know how this changing workforce fits into Garratt's model. These new working women presumably increase energy consumption now, but their reduced fertility reduces it in the future.

Some people are forecasting that world population will stabilise through this effect with no other action being taken -- sorry, can't find a link quickly, but there are plenty about fertility reducing to replacement level in eg the richer states in India.

Comment Re:As somebody who moved Toronto to London recentl (Score 1) 1095

Diamond Geezer is a blogger who is a London enthusiast and he has covered lots of the smaller museums and other off-the-beaten track attractions of London. He also has plenty of geeky London Transport facts.

tfl (Transport for London) is the website for travel information for London, and Traveline will give you public transport routes from anywhere to anywhere outside London. You certainly don't need to hire a car in London -- as well as the famous Tube, buses are widely used by everybody and have great coverage. You don't really need one out London either unless you want to visit really remote rural sites such as lonely beaches.

Comment Good luck! (Score 1) 256

Designing this course sounds a lot of fun, but quite challenging. You want to make the most of the kids' capabilities and past experience, while not disadvantaging too much those who haven't had much opportunity to make (or break) things before.

I really like Clockwise_Music's list. As a teacher, I am sure you won't forget that girls are people too, and you may need to exert a strong hand at times to make sure they get a fair share of the fun and the learning. Do listen to them about the tech they want to try -- and obviously to the boys' ideas too.

Do you have to grade their work? Whether you do or not, I strongly suggest some attention to making lab notebooks. If they all have access to computers then various software solutions suggest themselves, but learning how to make and use a paper-based system is also constructive.

Do enjoy yourself. I assume that an aim of the course is to teach them the fun of doing it for yourself, so a relaxed pace is best.

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