Beautiful Noise

Screenshot of myNoise.net

I enjoy experimenting with audio especially if the sounds I am tinkering with lend themselves to relaxation. Being able to construct a soundscape that evokes multiple moods is a pleasure that could, if I had the time, provide me enormous delight for all of my days. That’s why I was so pleased to come across a website maintained by a genial signal processing engineer, Dr. Ir. Stéphane Pigeon. Although Dr. Pigeon’s alluring auditory work, myNoise.net, is designed primarily for sound therapists and hearing professionals, exploring the noises portion of the site is an exhilarating experience. Imagine expertly-crafted sounds wafting into your welcoming ears, systematically exciting your neurons, and refreshing your mind and you have a pretty good idea of how wonderful Dr. Pigeon’s site is. Find a sound set, put some headphones on, close your ideas and drift away into a soothing sonic universe. I like highly recommend Wind Noise.

Journey North & Citizen Science

One of the most effective ways to teach pupils about science is go beyond simply reading about science and have learners actually do the work of scientists by immersing them in citizen science. January is a great month to help students take on the role of citizen scientists. How? Simply point pupils to the Journey North site (a free, web-based program sponsored by Annenberg Learner). Journey North participants do what scientists do. They do science. Learners make field observations, collect data, and contribute valuable information to ongoing, worldwide studies.

Journey North

Related topics:

  • Another great citizen science project to involve students in is the Great Backyard Bird Count. The GBBC gets underway beginning February (15th to 18th, to be exact).
  • If the GBBC is of interest to you, be sure to visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and sign up for a bird-watching calendar that was created for the 2012-13 season of Project FeederWatch, a winter-long survey of birds at feeders across the U.S. and Canada. Be sure to drop by the NestCams portion of the site, too.
  • Consider visiting the Citizen Science Alliance site. The CSA, describes itself as “a collaboration of scientists, software developers and educators who collectively develop, manage and utilise internet-based citizen science projects in order to further science itself, and the public understanding of both science and of the scientific process.”

Try, Try, Try Again

Well, here I go again.

I am going to try to return to blogging on a regular basis.

In many ways, I feel like an alcoholic climbing back on the wagon. I’ve been away from this blog since April of this year. Why?

Work.

With the economy being what it is and needing to keep my bills paid, I’ve been holding down three jobs (one full-time, the other two, part-time). I all but gave up on sleeping this year. People I know who I run into want to know where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting anything. I wince when they ask and tell them the truth: I have been too damned tired. I seem to have lost myself in any number of one of jobs. On one had, I am grateful I am able to provide for my family. On the other hand, I hate that my work has whittled away what little time I had for blogging. I also know that complaining will do little to alleviate the problem.

So, I am going to try to do this yet again. I recently began working my way through P2PU. I am so glad that I did! The experience required me to create a blog where I can document my progress.  I’m doing it in fits and starts. Creating and posting to that new blog stirred up a desire to come back here and bring Preclectic back to life. I know that consistent blogging will keep my mind and skills sharp so I’m going to try.

Reaching Out: World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Why should you care? Stop and think about the following information: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 88 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Even more alarming is that this represents a 78% increase in rates of ASD since the CDC conducted its first report on the disorder in 2007. If communication is the essence of being human, we have a responsibility to help those who struggle with ASD.

According to the AutismSpeaks.org, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, ASD disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by:

  • difficulties in social interaction
  • verbal and nonverbal communication and
  • repetitive behaviors.

In addition, autism is much more complex than most people realize. As Dr. Nancy J. Minshew of the Center for Excellence in Autism Research (CeFAR) at the University of Pittsburgh points out, what we think of as autism actually encompasses a number of intricate disorders of brain development. Even more challenging is the need to understand what, at the genetic level, contributes to ASD. Doing so requires an enormous amount of first-hand information from those who struggle with ASD.  Fortunately, the National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) and other participating organizations (such as NIMH, NICHD, NINDS, NIEHS, and CIT/NIH ) are safely collecting and sharing information to better understand what causes and how to treat ASD.

Related Resources: