Crowd-funding Potato Salad and other Craziness

potato_saladThis is the text of  an editorial I presented at Toastmasters as my “Straight Talk” assignment from the Communicating on Video manual.  The objectives are to effectively present an opinion or viewpoint in a short time, and simulate giving a presentation as part of a video broadcast.

Here is my video recording and speech text. Please leave your comments at  the end of the article.

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Melbourne Korea Festival

flyer2A Korean cultural festival was held in Melbourne on Saturday May 17th 2014. Unfortunately I missed it by one day, so here are the brochures with the details.  Links to the official web site can be found at the end of the article.

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Pablo Sarasate – Violin music from Spain

SarasateI became familiar with the violin music of the 19th Century Spanish composer Pablo Sarasate when I attended concerto competitions organised by the Kuringai Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sarasate was born in 1844 and died in 1908. In this article I have located videos of  my favourite Sarasate compositions including the  Carmen Fantasy which is often performed in violin competitions.  as well as Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Tunes). I have also enjoyed performances of Navarra – for two violins and piano.

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Learning to program

MatrixWhat is it like to learn the skill of computer programming? This was the question in a recent online Python programming course. Students were asked to respond to an essay question on the challenges of learning to program, so here are my thoughts.

Some people think computer programming is difficult to learn because they are “not good at logic” or “not a computer person”. Taking an attitude that programming is hard will prevent learning.

Programming is a cognitive skill, like doing mathematics problems, writing English or drawing.  It is possible to learn these skills with the right attitude, perseverance and time to learn and explore.

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The Music of Cosmos

Music of CosmosIn the early 1980’s I watched the wonderful 13 part Cosmos series written and narrated by Carl Sagan. The music used in the series included electronic music by Vangelis and Tomita, classical music by Vivaldi, J S Bach, Shostakovich, Takemitsu and Stravinksy.  World Music was also included with a traditional song from Bulgaria and shakuhachi music from Japan.

What I love about soundtrack albums is discovering new music, and this album is wonderful aural feast.

The purpose of this blog post is to share images of the record cover as well as the soundtrack on YouTube. Listen to the music and be transported into the cosmos!

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Why you should learn to program in Python

python-logoPython is a scripting language that runs on Windows, Unix, MacOS and a variety of other devices like Raspberry Pi. Python is freely available and suited for a very wide range of tasks – system administration, web programming, databases, calculations and graphical interfaces. I recommend Python to anyone who wants to learn to program. Here’s why:

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Those were the days – childhood nostalgia

childhoodI received this story by email and I think it says a lot about the modern day trend of over-protecting children and political correctness.

My mum used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread  butter on bread on the same cutting board with the same knife and no  bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food poisoning.

Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper  in a brown paper bag,
not in ice pack coolers, but I can’t remember  getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the  lake  or at the beach instead of a  pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then, no stingers and crocodiles.

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