Cooking: the found recipe

Tutoring high school subjects, you learn about teenagers. The tutor tells a story about a recipe he found.

On a late-July day in 2013, walking around Robron Centre with my kids, I saw a photocopy lying on the deserted pavement. I knew at once it was a kid’s assignment, cast off with the school year that had ended a month earlier. I picked it up.

I guess there hadn’t been much rain since school had let out. The photocopy was in good condition, somewhat browned from the sun. It was a recipe, likely from a foods class. The title – Apple Coffee Cake – led into a description of the muffin method. The page had neither date nor name. In neat pen, much neater than my writing ever was, the student had answered all the questions following the recipe.

I decided to keep the recipe; I told my kids we’d make it at home. Not immediately, but sometime that fall, when school was already back in, we did. I’ve made it a few times since; my family likes it. The recipe is pinned to the fridge.

I’ve always wondered why the student, having completed that assignment, never handed it in. Likely, by now, they’ve either graduated or are just about to. Do they recall that recipe, that day in foods class, at all?

A teenager’s life is often more complex than an adult’s. Priorities can change invisibly, hour by hour. That’s how you end up with a carefully completed assignment, deserted in a school parking lot, never having earned any credit.

Let’s get those completed assignments in, people:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: the jnd (just noticeable difference)

The tutor brings up a curiosity from psychology.

Around 1860, a scientist named Gustav Fechner was interested in how physical input becomes mental experience – how sensation leads to perception. One of Fechner’s angles for studying that connection was the jnd – just noticeable difference.

A just noticeable difference is the quantity by which two stimuli must differ before the subject can tell them apart. An example is giving the subject two masses that are slightly different. By how much must they differ for the subject to know that one is heavier than the other?

Peoples’ typical jnd depends on what the stimulus is. However, it turns out that 1/30 of the first stimulus is a value for more than one jnd.

This is paragraph one of the two test paragraphs.

This is paragraph two; you may want to study them.

Can you notice the difference between the two test paragraphs?

I’ll be talking more about the fascinating jnd and other facets of psychology.


Weiten, Wyane. Psychology: Themes and Variations. Belmont: Wadsworth, Inc., 1992.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.