Saturday, December 7, 2013

What-What?! Week of December 8th

This week, my kids watched The Magic School Bus episode about computer programming.  It reminded me part of why I loved/love programming:  When you ask a computer to do something, it will do exactly as you asked it to do.  When you ask a fourth-grader to do something, sometimes they do exactly as you asked;  sometimes they argue with you about how or why they need to; sometimes they start to do it and get distracted; sometimes they tell you they will, only to wait until you're not looking, in which case they start lollygagging; and sometimes they think up the most ridiculous excuses why they don't have to (my favorite this week: "I can't do my homework, because my lips are chapped and it's too distracting").  One thing in common, though, is that both computers and children will do exactly as you've asked them to when you've told them to do the wrong thing.  Yes, I've had this conversation: "What are you doing?" "What you told me to" "...Oh, I see.  Oops.".  D'oh.  >.<

Literature:  I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen via Imgur

My husband came across this gem while browsing Reddit, which follows a bear on his journey to find his hat.  It is a pretty normal children's story, up until this page:

When the husband and I got to this page, we laughed out loud.  We've all had those "hey, WAIT!" moments, and I think the author conveyed it very well.  I like that this book leaves what happened between the bear and the rabbit up to the reader: Did the bear eat him?  Did they make up?  Was the rabbit sorry?  It could be a great discussion point about conflict and conflict resolution, while at the same time being silly enough to get kids interested.  Looking it up on Amazon, I found that it won the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book in 2011.

Fixing that Gas Smell in a Subaru Legacy

Our car has occasionally had this odd gasoline smell when we turn on the air conditioner, but this last week, it's been significantly worse.  When we went looking online to see what the problem could be, we found that it's because of the weather; when it's especially cold, the rubber fuel lines contract and pull away from the steel clamps that fasten everything together, creating a gas leak that can be smelled inside and outside the car.  From the reading that we did, this is pretty common in Subarus, but can also happen to other makes as well.  Luckily, using a Philips head screwdriver and these photos, we were able to fix the problem in just a few minutes.  We only tightened the driver's side clamps, as seen in those photos above, as the passenger side ones (shown here) involve more effort to get to.

Reading:  Hohenzollern Castle via Time Travel Turtle


Browsing the internet, I found this nifty travel blog written by a man who quit his job in Australian broadcast journalism to travel the world.  Though I haven't read through all his posts yet (there's a lot), I did read about his trip to the Hohenzollern Castle in Southwest Germany, which was rebuilt in the 19th century.  The photographs of this are just fantastic.  It is so beautiful, the blue/gold color scheme that runs throughout the place reminds me of Cinderella's castle.  Definitely take the time to look at the pictures, even if you don't read the story that goes with it.
(img via imgur.com, Time Travel Turtle)

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