Tag Archives: science

My Current Total Immersion In ‘Radioactivity’.

by Anura Guruge

Despite my age, I am still fascinated & intrigued by many aspects of science. Stuff I didn’t get a chance to pursue when I was busy with my career. Now that I have a bit more time I kind of feel that I should make up for lost time.

In a way, again given my age, I grew up in the ‘Space & Nuclear’ AGE. Exciting times. True ‘Chernobyl‘ happened much later BUT I remember the news of the various atomic bomb tests in the 1950s & 1960s.

I am no stranger to the ‘Manhattan Project’. Over the years I have read a few books on the subject & had some familiarity with Oppenheimer & Groves. But, the book I am listening to is giving me a ton more insights & perspectives. Some of it was kind of ‘dry’ BUT it, understandably, got more gripping as the bombs came to fruition.

The Chernobyl book has proved to be an absolute PAGE TURNER. I know the story & the ending BUT reading the details.

I will definitely recommend BOTH. No question. Enjoy.

Related posts:
Search ‘science’.

by Anura Guruge

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Trendy Philosopher, Was Born This Day, 173-Years Ago; October 15, 1844.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and read. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche

I never studied philosophy on a formal basis, all my formal education having been British-based, where you opt to specialize in ‘Science’ or ‘Arts’ around the age of 15. Since I opted for ‘Science’, I ended up with a B.Sc. (Hons) in 1974 & M.Sc. (with Distinction) in 1979, without ever having studied any ‘Arts’.

However, in 2002, I wrote a paper on philosophy, focused on Nietzsche, for a ‘friend’. I did it in a couple of hours using her textbook and some quick Web research. I found it fairly easy to ‘crack him’. She got an ‘A’ for that paper. That cracked me up. Philosophy can’t be that hard!


Come on. Nietzsche. Sounds like a butter. Smile. He would want you to.

Related Posts:
++++ Check Category ‘Events’  >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Why I Despair So About The Schools Around Here.

by Anura Guruge

This was an actual sheet from Grade 5 ‘Science’ that
Teischan (10) brought home from Alton Central School (ACS),
Alton, New Hampshire this week.

I normally don’t say anything about ‘slip-ups’ other than maybe draw
Teischan’s attention to it … and say “this is not exactly right”.

But, this was BEYOND the pale.


Click to ENLARGE and hopefully stare at in HORROR.

There are so many things wrong with this at SO many levels.

First and foremost, EVERY SINGLE answer written down by my Teischan is wrong!

Yes, every SINGLE answer is WRONG.

And she gets a “SMILEY” face?

I wanted to cry.

No comments? No corrections?

That is what got my goat. EVERY SINGLE answer is wrong!

No it is NOT her multiplication.

She only got ONE of those wrong and it is so blatant that a semi-proficient 4th grader would see it.

So now we have ALL the ANSWERS are wrong PLUS one multiplication is wrong.

There is an asterisk (*) next to ‘Pluto‘. Can you see that?

What does that asterisk (*) pertain to?

The title says “What is your weight on each planet?

Well, ‘Pluto’ is NOT a planet though ACS has historically had issues coming to terms with that. See this … IF you are interest. But, I am willing to concede that that is probably what the asterisk (*) was meant to be.

But the second line says “Outer Space”. “Outer Space” is NOT a planet! There is NO asterisk (*) against it.

Yes, one of my many faults is that I am a terrible pedant. I put a lot of stock in accuracy.

I am sure that I have read that you should never give kids printed statements that are factually incorrect …

But that is minor in the scheme of this.

Yes, this upset me.

Yes, of course, I am fully aware that to err is human and erring is something that I do daily. But, I expect a little diligence from my teachers.

NO, I rarely criticize teachers. This is probably the first time in 5 years! Yes, I cut school administrators no slack, BUT I try not to criticize teachers.

But, this incident aggrieves me on another front. This science teacher is one of a triumvirate that unilaterally decided that ACS Grade 5 should not have ANY math or science homework. Just 4 days ago, I told them, to their face, that MAYBE they decided on that because that meant less things for them to MARK.

Well, I guess ‘MARKING’ is not their strong suit. I guess I should just SMILE. Draw a BIG SMILEY face.

And for the record. I teach. I have taught. My mother was a teacher. My father was a teacher. Two of my aunties were teachers. Our name, ‘Guruge’, literally means: ‘from the house of the teacher’. So I kind of know a little about this and definitely have skin in the game.

Let me again STRESS.

I would NOT have said ANYTHING about this sheet if there were ONLY three or four things wrong on it.

But when there are fourteen (14) mistakes on it I feel the need to vent.

P.S., Teischan has NO IDEA what ‘lb’ stands for!

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘ACS’ for many other posts

by Anura Guruge

“The Body Donors” Documentary Should Inspire & Encourage — Not Repulse. Please.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail.
by Anura Guruge


Click to read my original PLEA for body donation. Please.

This sensationalistic headline in the U.K. Daily Mail is unnecessary!

Why would YOU care what happens to your body after you die?

PLEASE donate it to science — let them do whatever. Why do YOU care.
Feel good about it, instead.


Click to ENLARGE and read here. Use link above to access U.K. Daily Mail original. Ignore this headline. Please.

This, from the same article, says it all.

What MORE do YOU want to hear or know.

Please donate. This is one of the dearest causes to my heart.
One of the BEST decisions I ever made.
That the person who ‘inspired’ me to do this RENEGED on it, when he died, only shows how IMPORTANT it is.
My ‘grandfather‘ (though probably not biologically) did this and asked ALL males in the family to do so.
None have so far, because his own son didn’t heed the request. So I will be the first — I HOPE.


Click to ENLARGE and read. From same article. PLEASE absorb what it says. “…. how important body donation is to train future doctors. One student said: ‘Books and models are all very well and good but you don’t see what it’s like, you don’t get to feel what it’s like. Dissecting a cadaver is the only way to actually learn’ …”


There is a video trailer that goes with it. YOU can access it directly from the article. OK?

Teenage Sri Lankan, Adriel Sumathipala, Google Science Finalist With Amazing Cardiac Disease Detection Tool.

prassad.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

Other Related posts:
Google Internet for Sri Lanka.
Shameful behavior by Sri Lanka Dhammika Prasad.

++++ Check Category ‘Sri Lanka’ for many other related posts >>>>

I got an e-mail about this from Sri Lanka this morning. Pretty amazing. I had not seen it, in the U.S., myself, though a quick Google shows that he, deservedly, got a ton of publicity.


Click to access and read … from “Google for Education”.

I was curious as to what the device looked like. Well … I looked …
I can’t say I understand head-or-tail of it.
The blood tests I have done seems much simpler.


Click here for the full explanation at Google Science Fair”.

Clever kids like this delight me and make me feel even more humble and aware as to how little, if any, I achieved in life. Last night we had a 17-year old boy from Israel for dinner. He is another prodigy from my good mate Itzik Nosatzki, the founder of Interspace.net Web hosting in Israel. Itzik, quite proudly, as he should be, was telling us, over dinner, that the son, at 16, had designed a fail-safe power supply for a satellite that is actually in space right now! The first satellite designed by school children — anywhere in the world. AMAZING. And they are not duking it out about Common Core.

Dish Network Now Delivers NH (Manchester) WMUR (Ch. 9) & Boston PBS WGBH (Ch. 2) in HD.


..by Anura Guruge

I don’t really watch any of the local broadcast channels — occasionally suffering WMUR (Channel 9) for weather during the winter. I rely on CNN, MSNBC and CNBC for most of my news and then watch Discover, TLC, Science, Animal, BBC America, History, cricket (x3) etc. and the movie channels for entertainment (invariably all pre-recorded to avoid commercials). So, I don’t notice many changes in the local channels.

HD did not use to be available for NH’s WMUR and Boston’s (very good) PBS station WGBH (Channel 2).

I happened to be looking at the online TV schedule when I happened to notice that ALL of the local station on Dish, for NH, Channels 2, 4, 5, 7 & 9 (and possibly even 11) are now all in HD!

I was delighted.

WMUR comes in vividly, in full HD screen size. It was a joy to watch. Ditto Channel 2. Just wanted to make sure that you knew about this.

Dish is funny like that. It really does enhance it service, without much fuss, about once a year.

That we lose service when we have snow storms is frustrating — especially since I nearly drowned in snow on Monday trying to clear off the snow on our two (2) dishes. Yes, we need two dishes because of the ‘International’ cricket channels I get.

Oreo Library Destructing SuperBowl Ad. Was WRONG, Sacrilegious and Above All STUPID. I Am Boycotting Oreos. They Make You FAT Anyway.


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> You Would Expect Power Failures In A Superdome … — Feb. 3, 2013.
Volkswagen’s Super Bowl XLVII ‘Jamaican’ Ad. — Jan 30, 2013.


Wanton destruction of anything is invariably wrong and inappropriate.

To glorify the wanton destruction of a LIBRARY and books is beyond the pale.
It is ignorant at every level.

Books are sacred. Libraries are the symbols of civilization.

History vilifies the barbarians that destroyed ancient libraries.

If Oreo wants to be associated with wanton destruction, destroy a bar.

This was totally and utterly wrong, irresponsible and reprehensible.

What kind of message is this for our kids.

This is but another facet of the mindless violence that we confront each and every day.

If you thought this ad. was funny then I feel real sorry for you.

I will tell you this with conviction. You would never see an Ad. in India, China or Sri Lanka that glories the destruction of a library.

I am boycotting Oreos. They make you fat.

Please join me. Say ‘NO’ to Oreos.

Growing up in Ceylon, in the 1950s and 1960s, I had to literally and figuratively worship books by putting my hands together in supplication and bowing my head. It was nothing to do with religion. It had all to do with learning to show respect for books and what they stood for: learning and knowledge.

Both my parents were academics, though my mother wore it lightly. My father was and still is a fanatic. He was and still is obsessed with all aspects of books: reading, writing, publishing, reviewing and preserving. The obsession has been safely and completely passed on to his only child: that being me.

I grew up surrounded by books. My father had a large library at the front of the house. Three walls were covered, floor to ceiling, with books. The other wall was all glass, floor to ceiling windows. He had it built, along with the house, in the late 1950s. He used metal shelving a very novel concept in those days. But books were not restricted to the library. There were books everywhere; kind of like this house.

My father grew up dirt poor. His father was a postal carrier. My father lived in a slum, with open sewers at the front. Just like the pictures you see from Africa. My grandfather, though he would go onto be a government appointed Justice of the Peace (JP) and a very successful insurance agent, continued to live in that slum, by choice. I knew it well. We would go to visit him and my grandmother there. It was quite the contrast. Our house in Colombo, with the library, was huge with 20′ slanted mirrors, fancy stone work and an open air roof garden. Then we would go to Kandy to see my grandparents and would have to step over open sewers.

Growing up my father didn’t have money to buy books. His father did however give him a few cents a day to take the bus to school. Ceylon did not have school buses at that time. My father opted to walk the 7 miles each way and save the money. It still wasn’t enough to buy books — which in those days were expensive. But, he could collect enough to take a bus or train to a place that had a good library. He would then spend all day Saturday or holidays COPYING out textbooks into notebooks (we called them exercise book) in longhand! Yes, we have all seen copies of my father’s hand copied text books. He did this even when we was at university.

He graduated with a Ph.D., at the age of 22, using these copied texts and immediately went to work for the then Prime Minister as a Private Secretary. From the slums to the P.M. residence through education. He was a made man from that point onwards and never looked back. Guess what he did when he had the money. He bough books, more more and even more books. He is still buying books though he gave away much of his collection to educational institutions in Sri Lanka.

I could read when I was 3. There was no TV, there were no computers and there were no video games. Just the radio. So I learned to read out of necessity to keep myself entertained. As soon as I could read, in English and Sinhalese, my father made a deal with me. He would buy me and all books I desired as LONG AS THEY WERE ENGLISH! Looking back this is so funny. My father was and still is a great nationalist. My mother was an anglophile. We spoke Sinhalese and English interchangeably in the house, even switching from one to another in mid-sentence. At school I was taught in Sinhalese. We just got one period of English a day. My mother was hell bent that I would be fluent in English. My father was ambivalent. My mother would reward me, typically with chocolates or cakes, if I spoke more English at home than Sinhalese. And they bought me English books. They would buy me complete series of books, by the great English writers, in one go. I had my own library, with each series, carefully lined up together. I owned most of the books written by Enid Blyton (well over a 100). My mother was her greatest fan. I had all the Richmal Crompton ‘William‘ series (39 books). All of ‘Biggles‘. My cousins and friends were in awe. So … that is just a part of the reason, I love books.

Why They Changed The 1st Grade Seating In Alton Central School (ACS), NH.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
Unusual Seating Arrangement For 1st Grade Kids At Alton Central School (ACS), NHAugust 29, 2012.
They Changed The Seating In Alton Central School (ACS), NH, 1st Grade Kids At. Yippie! — Sept. 7, 2012.


When Teischan got back from school on Friday I asked her why the teacher had changed the seating arrangement.

Her words: “The kids were fighting … but I wasn’t one of them“. (Yep, she is our ‘angel’ — at school, making up for it, manifold and with vengence, at home.)

Just totally cracked me up. Fancy that. Wow.

As you can see if you look at my last post I was savvy enough not to take credit for this change, though two people told me that it must have been the result of my original post.

I was thinking about this. I need to check with a psychologist, maybe my daughter who will have a Master’s in Forensic Psychology in a few months. There must be a deep down, visceral territorial instinct that we all have that makes us at a minimum ‘restless’ when we are deprived of private space over long periods of time.

So, I have two questions.

1/ As far as I know all teachers, these days, have to have a teaching degree. Don’t they teach them anything about child psychology and even more importantly the basic ‘ABCs’ of classroom setup?

2/ As far as I know and can see, ACS has lot of administrative staff starting with the Superintendent. Didn’t any of them, especially the Principal and Assistant Principal, do a walk through of all the classrooms and have a chat with the teachers about the layout. OK, it is possible that they didn’t appreciate that having 6-year olds, face-to-face, with their noses 44″ apart probably might lead to conflict and disorder. I guess you live and learn.

I am just glad that this got done well before the flu season.

They Changed The Seating In Alton Central School (ACS), NH, 1st Grade Kids At. Yippie!

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related post:
Unusual Seating Arrangement For 1st Grade Kids At Alton Central School (ACS), NHAugust 29, 2012.

Deanna, who takes Teischan to school every morning, came back this morning with the exciting, and very exciting news, that the desks have been rearranged; Teischan and her both doing a double-take when they saw it.

The kids are no longer seated nose-to-nose, 44″ apart. Hooray! Hooray!

They have gone to what I consider the more traditional row-based seating, with kids seating behind others (other than the ‘lucky’, chosen few at the very front). I guess for space reasons the kids are still sitting elbow-to-elbow with no separation of the desks in each row. I can live with that though I am sure a little separation might help. I am sure that ACS educators will tell me that this row-based seating is not good for the kids and that they will grow up with complexes all stemming from them staring at the back of somebody else’s head in 1st grade. So be it. C’est la vie. In NH with fall and winter soon upon us I would rather get them through 1st grade without missing too many days due to colds, coughs, low grade fever and the flu! It is all a compromise.

I will not take credit for making this change happen. Yes, my post got read by quite a few (the popularity of this blog, new to me, steadily increasing now that I have started to post more often). I am not sure whether anybody from or at ACS read it. We did not bring it to their attention. I already have a sterling reputation with them for being a troublemaker — just because I get a tad upset about bullying, a science teacher teaching the kids incorrect facts, a superintendent that thinks controversy trumps facts, or them hiring a math ‘consultant’ who is all anecdotes and no arithmetic. C’est la vie.

Somebody from Canada, who claims to be important, took umbrage to my ‘unusual seating’ post and told me, rather unpleasantly, to stop complaining and that I should be thankful that I have public schooling! Well, to me that explains why I REFUSE even to visit Canada these days — though I have to confess that I have been to Canada at least 25 times (and I have cousins and at least one alter ego who live in that frozen tundra). They have such low expectations. Well, this is NOT Canada, and oh boy am I so thankful for that. This is the U. S. of A. We strive to go forward and upward.

I am happy. I am GLAD for the kids and the other parents.