"Oh! You've Been Reading My Blog This Past Week While You Were At Camp, Huh?", I ask my wife as I turn up the #stereoAF. "I LOVE it, Jamie!", she replies as I turn to look out the window. #planAF - You've Got Hate Mail
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“Oh! You’ve Been Reading My Blog This Past Week While You Were At Camp, Huh?”, I ask my wife as I turn up the #stereoAF. “I LOVE it, Jamie!”, she replies as I turn to look out the window. #planAF

“Oh! You’ve Been Reading My Blog This Past Week While You Were At Camp, Huh?”, I ask my wife as I turn up the #stereoAF. “I LOVE it, Jamie!”, she replies as I turn to look out the window. #planAF

“Yeah”, my wife continues as she turns to look out the window, “what was the noise?”

“I don’t know”, I reply as I look out the window, “probably just squirrels looking for food as usual. So you liked it?”

“I LOVED it”, my wife continues as she takes a step towards her recliner in the living room, “why didn’t you tell me about it before?”

“I guess I’m embarrassed“, I reply to her, “it’s kind of my secret project, although it went kinda viral at one point.”

“Oh really?”, my wife replies, “what happened?”

“I don’t know”, I tell her as I sit down in my recliner, “I just started talking really honestly on it; people responded.”

“What’s the premise?”, she replies as she look over at me, “what’s it about?”

“Kinda funny you should ask, actually”, I tell her as I chuckle, “so I was going to be a lifestyle blogger. Moved about 20 minutes down the road; here in Mexico. Got boring. Didn’t really feel like traveling. Just started writing about my life. Everyone got curious about it or something?”

I continued, “it’s always been less about travel and more about life; living on your terms as you want; the semantics of it all is that it’s a decent business blog.  Talking about starting a business from scratch. I document, in a way, the process, and, now, after like 7 years of writing, have a lot of articles–something like 4 or 5 big books about the process. I’m going to see what happens, right?” 


crit·i·cal think·ing

noun: critical thinking

the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment. “professors often find it difficult to encourage critical thinking amongst their students”

Translate critical thinking to


Defining Critical Thinking

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Critical thinking…the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself. 

Critical thinking is a rich concept that has been developing throughout the past 2500 years.  The term “critical thinking” has its roots in the mid-late 20th century.  We offer here overlapping definitions, together which form a substantive, transdisciplinary conception of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, 1987

A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul, presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987.

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference. Critical thinking — in being responsive to variable subject matter, issues, and purposes — is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them: scientific thinking, mathematical thinking, historical thinking, anthropological thinking, economic thinking, moral thinking, and philosophical thinking.

Critical thinking can be seen as having two components: 1) a set of information and belief generating and processing skills, and 2) the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior. It is thus to be contrasted with: 1) the mere acquisition and retention of information alone, because it involves a particular way in which information is sought and treated; 2) the mere possession of a set of skills, because it involves the continual use of them; and 3) the mere use of those skills (“as an exercise”) without acceptance of their results.

Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it. When grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful manipulation of ideas in service of one’s own, or one’s groups’, vested interest. As such it is typically intellectually flawed, however pragmatically successful it might be. When grounded in fairmindedness and intellectual integrity, it is typically of a higher order intellectually, though subject to the charge of “idealism” by those habituated to its selfish use.

Critical thinking of any kind is never universal in any individual; everyone is subject to episodes of undisciplined or irrational thought. Its quality is therefore typically a matter of degree and dependent on, among other things, the quality and depth of experience in a given domain of thinking or with respect to a particular class of questions. No one is a critical thinker through-and-through, but only to such-and-such a degree, with such-and-such insights and blind spots, subject to such-and-such tendencies towards self-delusion. For this reason, the development of critical thinking skills and dispositions is a life-long endeavor.

Another Brief Conceptualization of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.   People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically.


The Engineering Design Process

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Key Info

The engineering design process is a series of steps that engineers follow to come up with a solution to a problem. Many times the solution involves designing a product (like a machine or computer code) that meets certain criteria and/or accomplishes a certain task.

This process is different from the Steps of the Scientific Method, which you may be more familiar with. If your project involves making observations and doing experiments, you should probably follow the Scientific Method. If your project involves designing, building, and testing something, you should probably follow the Engineering Design Process. If you still are not sure which process to follow, you should read Comparing the Engineering Design Process and the Scientific Method.

The steps of the engineering design process are to:

Define the Problem

Do Background Research

Specify Requirements

Brainstorm Solutions

Choose the Best Solution

Do Development Work

Build a Prototype

Test and Redesign

Engineers do not always follow the engineering design process steps in order, one after another. It is very common to design something, test it, find a problem, and then go back to an earlier step to make a modification or change to your design.


The embers from the campfire start to crumble as the moisture leaves; the dry Carbon dissolves into the wind as the sun clears the mountains of the Andes that are all around us.

“Now”, I tell my wife as I stand up from the small stump at the campfire.

HR is asleep; my wife is covered in dust from the fire; we shake HR gently; it’s time, we tell her.

I reach into the strange bag that they gave me in the night, “this is for you.”

I hand the book to HR; we ready, I ask the rest of the members in the hunting party.

There’s nods all around; ok, let’s go get some Woolly Mammoth, I tell my wife as I take a step West towards the pass in the mountains; around us a light snow is starting to fall; hurry up, I tell the hunting party, we are almost there.


“Look. We’re just enjoying our lives. Doing our thing”, I tell the guy on the couch, who has come back, and, thinks he owns the place, “here’s your #papitasAF. Why didn’t you burn down the place?”

“I thought you were joking”, he replies, “why would you want to do that?”

I look away; the distance is farthere from us in this moment then it was a second ago; steps towards it slowly increase the distance if it is receding at a faster speed; perhaps, we need to move faster, towards our dreams, towards it?, I think and my wife gets the particlecharge on her videotelepathy device, nearly, instantly.

I turn on the TV; this old Vietnam simulation is being shown, I mention to the guy on the couch; pass the #papitasAF, please, I ask him; I grab a blanket and make myself comfortable on the other couch; now there’s two guys on two couches watching old TV shows, I think, and I laugh, a little bit, Yo.

The TV continues:

On today’s Vietnam simulation, we have a new scenario. PICTURE THIS: There’s 3 people in a small space thinking that a cat is talking to them (oh man! What drugs are these guys on, right??). So, in this simulation, we get to see what happens when people od different race and cultural background are forced to stop fighting a war, and, instead, have to GET REAL with each other. Did I mention that they think the cat is talking to them??? Again?? What drugs were they DOING??

I put another handful of #papitasAF into my mouth; I love this new sour cream flavor, I mentoin to the guy on the couch, the other guy on the couch.

I nod off a bit, and, when I wake up, the TV announcer is recapping the episode.

So, you remember in the beginning, we mentioned that there was a hidden camera in the space? So, the Commander shoots the Officer; they think he’s dead and put him outside; of course, you recall, there were blanks in teh AK-47 (someone’s up for an Oscar for acting, huh??); next, we had our fake General pretend to give #hongosAF to his Sargent; Oh man! What is those were real #hongosAF; I don’t think they’re ready for real drugs! LOL; they dance with a cat?? HASHTAG WTF, Yo; next, when the General goes out of the space to pee; the cat gets out of the space #irresponsiblepetowner, Huh?; last, we had our writer continue to send messages to the pretend TV and these two BOZOS thought that the cat was SOMEHOW still communicating to them; then, they both start crying in the corner and BLABBING about how sad they are about what they’ve come to (REMEMBER fake drugs, shooting blanks, cat); so, do you guys have any last words that you want to say?

The TV pans over to where the two people are sitting.

“Yeah”, the Commander replies, “don’t do drugs.”

“Unless you can handle them”, the General continues the Commander’s sentence.

The video camera pans to the announcer, “and that’s our Vietnam simulation for today. Thanks for tuning in! Stay tuned next week to see what happens when we have three different actors try to order food at the local food joint. Until next time, here’s a quick word from our sponsor–if it ain’t honey, you ain’t making any money! Buy Beetastic Honey at your local convenience store, Yo!


The hunting party sits tense as the first Woolly Mammoth of the season approaches; are we ready, I signal with my hands.

“Almost”, my wife replies with a simple nod of her head.

Hold on, still, I motion with my hand in the air to the hunting party as the Woolly Mammoth takes another step closer to us; almost, I think, I think of the party that we’ll have tonight, afterwards.


AI is Changing Everything – Even Science Itself

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AI PARTICLE PHYSICS

Many might associate current artificial intelligence (AI) abilities with advanced gameplay, medical developments, and even driving. But AI is already reaching far beyond even these realms. In fact, AI is now helping particle physicists to discover new subatomic particles.

Particle physicists began integrating AI in the pursuit of particles as early as the 1980s, as the process of machine learning suits the hunt for fine patterns and subatomic anomalies particularly well. But, once an unexplored and novel technique, AI is now a fully integrated and standard part of everyday life within particle physics.

Of course, continuing research in this field wouldn’t move forward at all without the physicists themselves, challenging and exploring our understanding of the natural world. But AI is becoming an ever-increasingly useful tool. For example, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle accelerator in the world, smashes together protons in an attempt to discover new particles and more fully comprehend the universe. But, with so many collisions — approximately 600 million per second — the amount of data created by the LHC are immense.

Pushpalatha Bhat, physicist at Fermilab, described the problem in an interview with Science Magazine. “This is the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack problem…That’s why it’s so important to extract the most information we can from the data.” And this extraction is where AI comes in handy. And this ability to extract data lent itself to the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle, which occurred using the LHC.

AI EVERYWHERE

While AI has not and will never replace the world’s scientists, this unparalleled tool is being applied in ways that many could never have even predicted. It is, as previously mentioned, helping researchers to push the boundaries of understanding. It’s helping us to create modes of transportation that not only make daily life easier, but save countless lives.

AI is proving to be an essential component in the current quest to travel to and explore Mars, allowing probes to be controlled remotely and trusted to make changes in behavior according to a changing environment.