Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

For those that do not know what the Mid-Autumn Festival is, it is a Chinese holiday where we celebrate the 15th of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Why? Because it's always full moon on this day!

On Mid-Autumn Festival (usually I just call is August 15th), we usually play with Chinese lanterns, eat mooncake, and admire the full moon. Too bad it was too cloudy today to see anything!

Above are pictures of the box of mooncake my mom gave me. (^V^)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Organic Foods

The topic I chose to do my search on was Organic Foods. Recently, I've been more interested in the benefits of organic foods and basically, what is qualified as "organic" by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to an article on How Stuff Works, foods labeled as organic, defined by how it cannot be made rather than how it can be made, must be produced without the use of sewer-sludge fertilizers, most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetic engineering (biotechnology), growth hormones, irradiation and antibiotics.
Help Guide lists four ways in which organic foods are healthier for our bodies and the environment:
  1. Have more nutritional value. Organic foods contain higher levels of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron.
  2. Contain more antioxidants. Food scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that organically grown fruits and vegetables show significantly higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown foods. Pesticides and herbicides reduce the production of phenolics—chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and are also good for human health. Organic fertilizers, however, appear to boost the levels of these anti-cancer compounds.
  3. Promote biodiversity. According to a study called The Biodiversity Benefits of Organic Farming, "organic farms had five times as many wild plants and 57% more species." The organic farms also had more birds, spiders, and non-pest butterflies than non-organic farms.
  4. Protect the next generation. As explained above, the effects of pesticides and other harmful additives to children are especially acute. Most children today are born with pesticide build-up in their bodies. Feeding your children organic foods and teaching them about the health benefits of organics will promote their good health and well being as well as that of generations to come.
How to read the labels:
  • If it is labeled 100% organic, then it must only be made with organic ingredients.
  • Foods labeled simply as "organic" must be made with at least 95% organic ingredients.
  • Foods grown and processed by the federal standards usually have the label, "USDA Organic" on it. (This label is voluntary)
One thing I was always curious about was why healthy or organic foods cost way more than the conventionally farmed or processed foods. The things the contribute to the higher cost of organic foods are:
  • The organic food supply is limited as compared to demand.
  • Production costs for organic foods are typically higher because of greater labor input and because farmers don't produce enough of a single product to lower the overall cost.
  • Post-harvest handling of relatively small quantities of organic foods results in higher costs because organic and conventional produce must be separated for processing and transportation.
  • Marketing and the distribution chain for organic products are relatively inefficient, and costs are higher because of relatively small volumes.
Overall, I think that consuming organic products are worth it. If you think about how preservatives can extend the shelf life of a certain food, think about what it will be doing sitting in your body.

What I've learned about search
I have learned a lot about the search operators. Although it may take some getting use to, I think the operators will help a great deal in future research or in the classroom. What I found most helpful was the + operator, the ~ operator, and the fact that Google will ignore single digit numbers. To prevent google from ignoring single digit numbers, I can use the + operator because that allows me to search the exact word or phrase I am looking for. The ~ operator allows me to to search for synonyms. That would be helpful when I'm searching for something that can be referenced with different names or wording.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Comments fixed

Hello, for those of you that tried to post a comment before and failed, now it's fine. Sorry about that. I forgot to set back the settings to allow anyone to post. So if you still want to or feel like posting a comment (or two), click on "inspire me" below the posts. (Thanks Maya for letting me know!)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

RSS Readers: Affordances and Constraints

I think that the advantages of RSS heavily outweighs the constraints. It really depends on how the user chooses to utilize RSS.

First off, RSS can provide you with all the new info posted on the sites you often frequent. That saves you a lot of time if you have a lot of sites that you browse on a daily basis. Instead of going to each site separately, you can read the latest updates all in one place. Secondly, if you are subscribing to a certain topic for research purposes, RSS does the searching for you. You do not have to google it and click through each site only to find a majority of them is irrelevant to the topic you are interested in. If some of the RSS feeds are, in fact, irrelevant, you would be able to skim through all of them quicker than clicking them one by one on any search engines such as google or yahoo. Instead of permanently storing them in your bookmarks or favorites, you can put a little star by it so you don't have a bunch of bookmarks in your favorites list.

A disadvantage of RSS may be that some sites do not have the latest updates right away. So there might be a glitch in the system right now, but I have confidence that this problem would soon be solved. This may cause some problems if students were depending on the RSS feed to tell them the latest assignments and announcements from their class, school, or teacher. Another disadvantage is that RSS may be a little more time consuming when it comes to organizing, but I think once you get the hang of it, it'll become a lot easier and maybe even hard to live without!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blogging: Advantages and Disadvantages

According to Blogger:
"A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world"
I really like their description of what a blog or weblog is, because a blog is essentially whatever you want it to be and the possibilities are endless. On the other hand, with something so limitless and growing rapidly, there can also be disadvantages. Below, I have provided a list of my personal opinion on what the advantages and disadvantages of blogging are.

  • Can update your ideas anywhere you have access to the Internet.
  • Can get ideas from other people's blogs that can help you get what you need (cooking recipes, beauty tutorials, classroom activities, etc...)
  • Easy for parents to see what their kids have for homework, whats going on in school, special events, etc.
  • More efficient than emailing, because it allows other parents/students with the same questions to see if the answer has already been posted rather than the teacher replying to multiple parents/students with the same Q.
  • Save paper.
  • Easy to reference back to an entry (archive/tags).
  • Good and easy way to keep connected to your community, whether it is a group of friends, a classroom, a district, a school, etc.
  • Can be more personalized than a website.
  • Very easy to set one up. No need to know codes for websites, etc.
  • Blogs offer different types of media for teachers to help their students in any way (audio, video, images, etc).
  • It's free!
  • Maintaining a blog may be difficult as it is time consuming and requires a lot of dedication.
  • Must have internet access.
  • If a blog site goes down or is under construction, it is impossible or very difficult to get back all of your posts and links.
  • Needs to be well administered in case of inappropriate comments/posts.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Girl Like Me

I decided to post this video, because I think this is a very interesting clip on diversity. More importantly, I think this is something that we as future teachers can use and take in consideration when designing a classroom that embraces diversity. I actually saw this clip a while ago on TV and found it on YouTube. In this clip, there is a survey done with African American children. They were given two dolls, a white one and a black one. The researchers asked some questions regarding the dolls and the children's opinion is quite shocking.

Restaurant Recommendation: Korea House

When I first moved to East Lansing, I had no idea where I could find great authentic ethnic foods or if it even exists. Coming from Sterling Heights, a very diverse city filled with many great local ethnic restaurants, I couldn't bare to live without the taste of some truly authentic cuisine. So, my mission began. I started searching the internet on sites such as Restaurant Db. Over the last 3 years at MSU, I've had the chance to try many of these wonderful and not so wonderful restaurants.

One resturant that really stood out is Korea House. I've tried Sushi-Q located on Grand River and Charlie Kang, also located on Grand River next to Urban Outfitters, but they do not compare to Korea House (map). If you are new to Korean cuisine, I would recommend the Soon Dubu Chigae (a spicy tofu seafood soup with silken tofu), Bulgogi (a sweet marinated thin sliced beef served on a sizzling plate), or Stone Bowl Bibimbap (rice with assorted veggies and minced beef served in a sizzling hot stone bowl). Here are pictures of each for your viewing pleasure. (^v^)