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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Cool. Fuel.

Communication mediums and societal memes

In a prior post I defined spiral memes (SD) as the taxonomy of epistemological character development levels identified in human history by psychologist Clare Graves. After reading Beck and Cowan’s book on SD, I started connecting other facets of society to the SD taxonomy. One of the most compelling examples I’ve come up with is the dominant information transfer mode of an SD level. The theory being that a distinctly different societal meme/phase should flow information differently the phases that came prior or after. Here’s a quick figure showing what I’m alluding to:

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Transfer learning in toddlers and engineers Part 3: The Solution

In parts 1 and 2 of this series post we identified a key problem with Bloom’s taxonomy as applied to children and engineering. We then placed the problem into the broader memetic framework of spiral memes to establish limits on Bloom’s and initiated a path towards new needs for societal and educational growth. Here in part 3 we’ll present a new set of taxonomys and examples to guide future learning paradigms.

While the flipped classroom is a welcomed performance/communitarian meme shift approach to learning, it often … » More …

Transfer learning in toddlers and engineers Part 2: The Theory

So why is transfer learning (Bloom’s synthesis) so hard? It’s because of memetic imbalance. But what does that mean?

Let’s take a quick aside to provide some context:

Richard Dawkins coined the word meme in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene to describe the propagation of ideas and information through society similar to the genetics of Darwinian evolution. Stated simply, advantageous individual traits will propagate into the collective, whether they be genetic or memetic. Dawkin’s memetic philosophy paralleled the epistemological character levels defined by psychologist Clare Graves which formed the foundation for spiral memes. Graves’ looked back at human history to identify distinct societal … » More …

Transfer learning in toddlers and engineers Part 1: The Problem

Meet my 20 month old son and his pet snake:



He pulled the belt out of a pair of pants, threw it onto the floor, made a “ssssss” sound, pointed at the belt, said “snake”, and backed away slowly. As far as Chelsea and I know, it was the first time he played with one of our belts, and the first time he (or either of us) called something a snake in the house. I imagine that he transferred this from … » More …

End engineering paper

I’m guilty too. The AIAA club I advise sells pads of engineering paper purchased in bulk to raise funds for the club. It’s a great fundraiser because most engineering faculty around the country still require homework to be completed on engineering paper.

What’s engineering paper you may ask? To quote the wiki:

Engineering paper is traditionally printed on light green or tan translucent paper. The grid lines are printed on the back side of each page and show through faintly to the front side. Each page has an unprinted margin. When photocopied or scanned, the grid lines typically … » More …

Calculators are typewriters

What would happen if a professor forced students to write a report with a typewriter instead of a word processor?

If it were only once it might be an interesting experience. Like going back and trying to do math with a slide rule. If it happened all the time, the students would riot. Times have changed. We’ve evolved.

Calculators are the typewriters of math. Definitely an evolution from slide rules. Far inferior to math processors like Engineering Equation Solver (EES), Mathematica, Maple, or Matlab. We all carry laptops or tablets. Yet the vast majority of scientists and engineering students around the world are still forced … » More …

The only thing loony about Google’s project Loon is the helium.

Google’s project Loon  may be our best chance at saving the planet. Free access to humanity’s collective knowledge will do more than anything to assist those in 3rd world countries to help themselves,, and to inform those of us in the 1st world how bad things really are. The irony of Loon may be the “Balloon-powered” part of the “internet for all” slogan.

The balloons used in Loon are inflated with helium, yes the same gas filling in your party balloons, that is truly a depleting planetary resource. Helium cannot be created by any process besides nuclear reactions, in the sun or deep in the earth, and has escape velocity. … » More …