Inertial frames of reference

inertialI have very fond memories about my high school maths and physics teacher. He is the one responsible for my love for science and the first who tried to teach me how to use my own brain and think freely.

He stressed the subject of inertial frame of reference, a kind of “independent observation point”, quite a lot. Think of when your sitting in a train and the train next to you moves: you have the impression that the train you’re on is moving. From the inertial frame of reference of the guy on the platform, it is clear which train is moving. My high school teacher loved to bring up Galileo’s struggle to convince his contemporaries that the Earth was revolving around the Sun, not the opposite, as most believed at those times.
My physics teacher argued that they were actually both right, both points of view had their own reasons based on physics if you observed them from the correct inertial frame of reference.

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Be an artist, right now!

I am very fond of the ideas the Korean writer expressed in this TED talk. I play lead guitar and vocals in a rock cover band. Often I had to hear sly comments about it, referring to teenage behavior, to ungrown kids, to the uselessness of the whole thing – who will ever care about you guys? Well, the point is completely different. We do it for ourselves. Everyone should do it, go our and practice their own art. It is not necessary to make a job out of it. We are born artists. Kids do art spontaneously. Then we teach them to grow, they have to study, find a job, take up responsibilities. Art is for artists. But why? It would be healthy if we practiced some art side by side to our own duties. It would be good for our mind and soul. The ones who do it have less problems in carrying on with every day’s life. I speak by direct experience…

So I strongly advice you to go on and read Young-ha Kim’s own words, not mine, in this excerpt from his TED talk, or watch the whole video above.

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Great Pacific Garbage Patch

“…For many people, the idea of a “garbage patch” conjures up images of an island of trash floating on the ocean. In reality, these patches are almost entirely made up of tiny bits of plastic, called microplastics. Microplastics can’t always be seen by the naked eye. Even satellite imagery doesn’t show a giant patch of garbage. The microplastics of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can simply make the water look like a cloudy soup. This soup is intermixed with larger items, such as fishing gear and shoes.”

 
Read the entire article on National Geographic

Big changes in life

lifechangesThe greatest stresses a human being is exposed to during life are thought to be: the loss of a loved one, marriage and divorce, a new job or being fired, a relocation, and the birth of a child. We all have to confront ourselves with most of them sooner or later, there is no way to avoid it, that’s life. I know someone who has never changed address since he was born (when he got married he moved to another floor in the same building); he divorced eventually but he kept living in the same flat. He had lost his father too early and had to get himself a job when he was very young. Maybe he never changed home and ended up with no children to spare himself some stress. Continue reading  

Yeah I’m not shy, just introvert!

TED talks are illuminating. I appreciate most of them and unfortunately it is impossible to follow all of them. But I was drawn by the title “The power of introverts” by Susan Cain. She clarified the concept for me: there is a difference between being shy and being introvert. I already new that both are not the problem our society wants them to be. My favorite Italian pediatrician, a follower of Winnicot’s theories and a radicalist as the likes of Ivan Illich and William Godwin, makes a strong point about it: an introvert or shy kid will most certainly become a gentle person; the opposite is not that obvious.

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The nightmare of teaching science in Italian schools

everybodyontheirdeviceI am now coming out of a short teaching experience in an international school in Italy. For a year I taught science and geography in their middle school. Today is my last day and while the kids are relaxing in their own way I am reflecting on a few things that this short experience has brought to my mind. Starting with the last one: all the kids, indiscriminately, relax using their mobile phones. One of my generation is immediately reminded of how we would have done, 45 years ago in middle school, to relax in an hour left free for leisure. I used to draw. Nobody had computers at home. Very rarely there were the first, now ridiculous, electronic games. I never had a game console in my entire life.

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