Lifestyle, technology: web search skills

Self-tutoring about web research: the tutor reflects about search skills.

Nowadays, information is so widely available on the internet, that searching for it has become an invaluable skill. One key to being a good internet researcher, however, is to “think like most people.” I believe that if you can ask the question the way most people would, you’ll likely find its answer on the internet, if available.

I recall hearing, for instance, about a video game that many say existed in the ’80s, but might be an urban legend. Today, I couldn’t remember its name. How to ask for a name you can’t type in?

In Google Search, I keyed “name of that video game that doesn’t exist” and pressed Enter. Amazingly, the name Polybius appeared in the suggestions. It’s definitely the name I was trying to recall.

I suspect the success of that search is because many others have already keyed in the exact same one.

When searching the ‘net, sometimes just asking the unfiltered question can get the best result.

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

Yard work: backyard spider identification: thinlegged wolf spider

Self-tutoring about a spider I see in the yard: the tutor shares a find.

Lately I’ve seen numerous spiders with black legs and head but white abdomen. “What kind of spider are they?” I wondered.

Today I looked them up: apparently they are female thinlegged wolf spiders. The white abdomen is not part of the body, but rather an egg sac the female is carrying.

As I understand, being wolfers, these spiders hunt, rather than living in webs. I see them wandering, which makes sense.

Here’s a pic of one:

Source:

web.pdx.edu

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

English, technology: what is a kludge?

Reading always means self-tutoring: the tutor shares a word he encountered.

kludge (noun):

an improvised solution, possibly unpromising, yet effective. Kludge is often used in the context of computer science.

Source:

www.collinsdictionary.com

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

English: what is a klick?

Self-tutoring about English: the tutor shares a find.

Since I was a kid, I’ve heard people say, for instance, “45 klicks,” meaning 45 km. I’ve never suspected that, in that context, “klick” starts with a “k”.

Source:

Barber, Katherine et al. Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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

Plant identification from field guide: mayweed

Self-tutoring about plants I notice: the tutor shares a recent find.

I think this is mayweed; I noticed it as I crossed a field.

What caught my eye was the flowers – specifically, their large yellow centres surrounded by white petals that are small, compared to what a daisy might have. Moreover, the yellow centre is conical rather than flat; it’s much deeper than a daisy’s.

Mayweed grows on disturbed sites, and one assumes it flowers in May. Although I didn’t have time to revisit it, guide in hand, I believe the identification.

Source:

Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: Lone Pine Publishing and BC Ministry of Forests, 1994.

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

Baking: the scones I made this morning

Self-tutoring about lifestyle: the tutor shares an easy recipe everyone seems to love.

I like scones, especially hot from the oven. They’re surprisingly easy to make: here’s the recipe I used this morning, from allrecipes.com.

I substitute margarine for butter, and find it works best if the margarine is cold from the fridge.

Best of luck with your breakfast cooking:)

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

English, philosophy: what a retrospective point of view might reveal

via Daily Prompt: Retrospective

retrospective (adj):

surveying past events or periods.

Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English, Oxford University Press, Don Mills, 2005.

Humans are occupied with time’s passage and the changes that transpire. Individuals, teams, businesses, and countries have periods brilliance, of decline, and of progress.

Perhaps the immediate question that might be asked in a retrospective light is why success was lost, or else gained. Sometimes the answer might seem obvious:

Our team used to win all the time; now they never do. What happened?

I know what you mean. They lost their star pitcher – don’t you remember?

The reasons, in a person’s own life, for periods of success, failure, and reconstruction, might seem just as straightforward, but are they ever, really?

I don’t follow baseball, but I recall, when I was a kid, how a team with an impressive roster would lose to a team of relatively obscure players. It seemed to happen often, even in championships. Does it still, and not just in baseball?

The key to success might not be talent, but rather, balance. Yet, balance is difficult to see – and maybe even harder to recall. Perhaps, from a retrospective view, you can point to successful times as evidence that it was achieved, and times of failure, when it was lost. However, balance is instantaneous; in retrospect, what facilitated it is likely elusive.

Perhaps, more importantly than great pitches, the star pitcher brought balance to the team. How did they do that? A retrospective answer might be difficult to piece together, since so many facts evaporate when a period ends. Yet, when the retrospective point of view is all we have, perhaps we need to look in the right places, for the right information, rather than just what was recorded as important.

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

English: spelling: is “disfunctional” dysfunctional?

Tutoring English, spelling can hold surprises. The tutor mentions one he got from spelling “disfunctional.”

This editor is unhappy with the spelling “disfunctional”, yet Merriam-Webster does allow for it. Given that Merriam-Webster is American, and so I’m sure is this editor, I’m playfully surprised.

Neither of my Canadian dictionaries allows for “disfunctional”; rather, they both insist on “dysfunctional.”

Source:

Mish, Frederick C (editor). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Gilmour, Lorna. Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Barber, Katherine et al. Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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

English, philosophy: what do you juxtapose?

via Daily Prompt: Juxtapose

Self-tutoring about the application behind a word: the tutor reflects about juxtapose.

juxtapose (verb):

to set side by side so as to compare.

Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English, Oxford University Press, Don Mills, 2005.

Typically I find that when I juxtapose two or more subjects, it’s a passive process: it happens before I even know I’m doing so. People juxtapose options as they prepare decisions.

Perhaps the more interesting juxtapositions are of scenarios, possibly one or both being largely unknown by the examiner. Do I make better cakes than my neighbour across the street, whom I don’t even know? What kind of cakes might they bake, compared with the ones I do?

Is there a way I could dress or behave, that would make me more popular? If I dressed like Person Y, for instance, would I have more friends? If I saw the world from Person Z’s point of view, would it make more sense to me? What is the difference in our viewpoints? Can I discover it, if I juxtapose them?

People wonder about countless scenarios. Yet, they often have an idea what might be going on, but just can’t be sure. Therefore, they juxtapose educated guesses, knowing neither may be right.

A couple months back, my wife, my two sons, and myself were sharing a breakfast table at a hotel. At the table next to us were two ladies possibly a little younger than I am. Circumstance itself juxtaposed us.

I’d say the two ladies were a couple. Juxtaposing them with us, I can’t resist wondering about the path that led them to such a different way of life from ours. We fell into some friendly conversation; even their small-talk revealed a point of view completely different from mine. I can’t help but wonder: What do they take for granted, that I have yet to learn?

I feel there is an invisible point of view more comprehensive than mine. I’m not sure whether it belongs to a person or it’s a collective consciousness, ubiquitous, waiting to be discovered. Until I can join it, I can only suppose what it knows – the ideas I juxtapose are limited by the confines of my imagination.

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

Yard work, exercise and fitness: the unintended work-out

Self-tutoring: the tutor shares about yard chores.

Yesterday, I thought perhaps I wouldn’t get enough exercise. I thought wrong.

For the seeds I found in our shelves, I decided to open up more garden space from a rectangle of the lawn. It was a spontaneous decision that meant using the shovel and pick-axe.

Turning over the sod took me about 45 minutes. A pick-axe is handy to have for such jobs.

When I was a kid, my Dad had a roto-tiller that would’ve done the job in under 10 minutes, no sweat. We lived in a farming place, then. Now we don’t, so I till by hand:)

I’ll keep you updated on what I plant; I hope to start today.

Cheers,

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