February 10, 2009

The Bossy R

When you were learning to read, did you ever learn about "The Bossy R"?

R-controlled vowels in words like "car" or "butter" have a special sound. In Philadelphia, there wasn't a lot of emphasis on how to pronounce a "bossy r", but when we moved to Boston, the kids got a lot of school time on how to pronounce those R's.

Maybe the Boston schools are trying to eliminate the Boston accent?

Posted by David at 07:16 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2009

Congressional Team Building

Will Obama succeed at redefining how Washington works?

Obama's Fiscal Responsibility Summit at the White House was a fascinating display of the administration's governance efforts. Obama ran the summit like a corporate brainstorming exercise: they divided congressmen into small groups and assigned them to talk about specific knotty problems. (The exercise in forcing Democrats and Republicans to talk with each other is like going to school - it reminds me of Obama's exercise in flying Congressmen and the press corps to visit with voters in Illinois and Florida right before the final stimulus bill vote.)

What a difference 90 minutes of talking makes. After the meetings the members were noticeably relaxed, even joking with each other across the aisle. Might Democrats and Republicans be able to actually work together?

Watch the full closing remarks and discussion with Congressional leaders - with comments from McCain, Cantor, Collins, Enzi, Barton, and other Republicans and Democrats:

Posted by David at 06:20 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2009


I am always on the lookout for kid-friendly programming languages. Paul Shelman pointed me to Processing, a programming language for graphics from Ben Fry and Casey Reas at the MIT Media Lab.

I haven't tried the real version yet, but I am attracted to John Resig's Javascript implementation, which should make graphical programming easily accessible to kids.

I have posted a page hosting the Javascript Processing implementation here. It requires that your browser supports the "canvas" tag, but it should work on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Posted by David at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)