People Aren’t What They Do

One unfortunate practice among English speakers, and possibly among speakers of most other languages as well, is the description of people by their profession.  For instance, if Wilma practices accounting as a profession, people would say that Wilma is an accountant.  The problem arises from the fact that when a person is defined by a profession, or by any other single characteristic, focus is shifted to some trivial imagined difference, and we lose sight of the fact that all people have more in common that not.  The truth is that Wilma is a human being who practices accounting for a living, but that is awkward to say, so people shorten it to Wilma is an accountant, losing sight of the fact that she is primarily a human being, not a profession.

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Collective Consciousness

Just as a cell has no way of knowing that it is a part of a higher level of being, how would we know if we were part of a higher level of being?

If there are other dimensions that we can’t sense, how can we know that the result of our activity isn’t a consciousness on another level?

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Worksheet – Physics

For homeschool I created a worksheet covering a few fundamental concepts of physics, and the link below is to a pdf version of that worksheet.


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Worksheets – Spanish

Below are links to a few worksheets I’ve created in order to help my daughters learn Spanish.



Days of the Week

Numbers 0 – 15

Numbers 16 – 30

Numbers > 100

Personal Pronouns

Sentences – 01

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Worksheets – Knowledge, and Branches of Knowledge

Below are links to a series of worksheets I’ve prepared for homeschool. This set of worksheets deals with knowledge in general, and with some of the more popular branches of knowledge.  This group does not include a worksheet on various arts such as painting, sculpture, knitting, etc., although conceptually it would be a logical inclusion.  My daughters already know the terms for most of the popular branches of art, so I don’t have a need for a worksheet regarding them.


Branches of Knowledge – Math

Branches of Knowledge – Physical Sciences

Branches of Knowledge – Life Sciences

Branches of Knowledge – Medically Related Studies

Branches of Knowledge – Other Human-Related Studies

Branches of Knowledge – Occult Studies

Note:  The inclusion of occult studies is not an endorsement of the occult; however, the popularity of these areas of human activity have played a prominent role in human thought for many centuries, and I want my daughters to understand these terms.

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The Cat in the Hat Neutered

The famous Cat in the Hat was caught yesterday roaming the streets of LaJolla, California, by LaJolla animal control. He was brought to the animal shelter, and since he had no tags and had been reported as a stray, he was neutered.

Kevin McBlevin, the animal control officer who caught the Cat in the Hat, was nonchalant about it.

“Some women had been calling in about this big stray cat that had been coming into their houses and playing with their kids,” he said. “This had been going on for years now.

“Well, I was making a routine patrol through one of the residential neighborhoods when I saw him, the Cat in the Hat. He was about six feet tall with his hat on, and he was whistling. I’d never heard a cat whistle before, but I thought, ‘Who cares? It’s just a cat.’

“He was a big one, all right; biggest I’d ever seen.  Well, I’d heard how friendly he was, and I thought, ‘I bet, with my net, I can get that cat yet!’ But then I thought, ‘Damn, he’s big, better not take a chance.’

“So I shot him with my tranquilizer gun. I never saw such a look of surprise on a cat’s face before. He took a few steps, and then he went down like a rock. When he hit the pavement, his hat came off and all these little cats with hats came running out and scampered away into the bushes. I let them go. I had the big one. I could come back for the little ones later. Most of them probably wouldn’t survive, anyway, unless someone took them in.

“So, I put him in my truck and brought him to the shelter. All the other workers congratulated me because we’d been looking for him for so long, and we hadn’t been able to catch him. I hung around the shelter to see what they were going to do with him.

“Due to all the reports that we’d had about him since who knows when, and since he didn’t have any tags, they went ahead and neutered him. Judging from the look on his face when he woke up, he didn’t seem to think it was good fun that was funny, but I’m sure I wouldn’t either.

“Tomorrow we’ll ship him out to the LuckyCat pet adoption center, and maybe he’ll get taken to a good home; someplace where they’re not afraid of taking care of a six foot cat. I know I wouldn’t want to be the one to clean his litter box every day.”

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The Meaning of Life

Before one can answer the question of whether or not life has meaning, I think that it’s necessary to be clearer on what is encompassed by the word meaning.

If one intends that meaning be interpreted as “an inherent goal toward which one moves or is moved, and which is given to us consciously by ourselves or by another being at or before birth”, then I would have to say that there is no empirical evidence yet uncovered that life has any meaning.  Life occurs, and it doesn’t have to have a purpose to occur.  Rain also occurs. It has causes and effects, but it doesn’t have an inherent meaning. I would love to think that we are part of a greater dynamic in which our existence extends beyond death and has an inherent meaning, but I can’t yet attribute any such meaning to life.

If meaning signifies the prime motivators of our lives, I would say there are two biological imperatives:  survive, and reproduce.

As for other connotations of meaning, I think that a person is free to give his life the meaning he chooses to give it.

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Vatican Building Nuclear Bomb

The United States government has announced that the Vatican is developing nuclear technology in prelude to building a nuclear bomb. The Vatican has denied the claim.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the information was accurate, and although it wasn’t a slam dunk, it was probably a grand slam, and at the very least it was a two point conversion. Critics of the U.S. government criticized that statement.

The Vatican is a reference to the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, who do their leading from a country called Vatican City. Vatican City is geographically located in the city of Rome, Italy, but existentially it is located somewhere between God and everyone else.

The Vatican said that they wanted peace and love spread among all of the people of the earth, and that they had no motivation to build a nuclear bomb. The U.S. government said that the Vatican did have motivation. They were motivated by the spread of Islam, and the rise of secularism in Europe. The U.S. government insisted that many of the gains in Catholic Church membership in the past had been made through conversion by the sword at first, followed by a high birthrate. The Vatican insisted that that was all in the past, and that they could never get away with that in this day and age.  Not that they would try, they said, because they wouldn’t dream of it, at least not during their waking hours, but at night you never can tell what you’re going to dream so they couldn’t promise about that.

The Vatican also said that even if they were developing a nuclear bomb, hypothetically, they would have nowhere to test it. Their country was less than half of a square kilometer in area. One accident would eliminate the whole country. The U.S. government said that the Vatican had churches and property all over the world, and that they were working in multiple locations.

The Vatican said let’s see your proof. The U.S. government said that we can’t show you that, it’s classified. The Vatican said yeah, right.

The mayor of Rome said, “Whoa, you guys need to calm down. We’ve got a lot of innocent people down here.”  The U.S. government said that according to the Vatican none of them were innocent, because they were all born with original sin. The Vatican said I know you are but what am I?

U.S. President Barack Obama blamed it all on  former President George W. Bush. He claimed that the dispute was personally Bush’s fault, as were the current economic crisis, the rise of political polarization in Washington, the decline of Western civilization in general, and original sin.  Former President George W. Bush said that he had no commentation regarding this issue.

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History Worksheet

Below are links to various formats of a history worksheet I prepared for homeschool. It covers definitions of history, prehistory, and big history; and also the abbreviations BC, AD, BCE, CE, c and MYA.

These are included without any warranties as to fitness or whatever, implied or otherwise or whatever, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.

History (pdf version)

History (LibreOffice version)

History (Microsoft Office version)

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Math Worksheets

I mentioned in the previous blog entry and in another earlier post that I had found two websites which generated math worksheets.  Even though I liked those resources, I still wanted my own math worksheet generator if I could create it without too much trouble.  The solution that I came up with was to use a spreadsheet that contained formulas which generated random numbers.

The key to the worksheet is a four-cell block that is two columns wide by two rows tall.  In the right-hand column, both the top and bottom cells have the following formula:  =randbetween(1,12)

This formula will generate a random number between 1 and 12, inclusive.  To generate a larger number, simply change the 12 to the desired number.  This weekend we will start reviewing long addition and subtraction, so I’ll probably change the 12 to 1000 in order for my kids to get practice with more complex problems.

In the left-hand column, on the bottom row, you can put the order of operation if you want it to be the same for all of the problems on the page.  For my daughters I wanted to mix addition and subtraction problems, but I wanted to make sure that if the number in the upper right cell was smaller than the number in the lower right cell that I didn’t use a minus sign because we weren’t working on negative numbers yet.  The solution involved the use of two formulas.

In the upper left-hand cell, the formula was “=rand()” without the quotation marks.  This generated a random number between 0 and 1 that could be used to randomly determine whether to use a “+” or a “-“.  I didn’t want this number to be visible, so I changed the font to white in the upper left cell.

The first group of cells on my worksheet that have this four cell group are B3:C4.  In the lower left cell (B4), the formula I used was:  IF(C3>=C4,IF(B3>0.5,”-“,”+”),”+”)

The quotation marks in the formula are important (at least they are in LibreOffice), and should be included.

The first “IF” tests to see whether the number in the upper right cell is greater than or equal to the number in the lower right cell.  This needs to be done in order to avoid a subtraction problem that would have a negative number for a solution (which is important for us at this time, but may not be in the future). If the number in the upper right cell is greater than or equal to the value in the lower right cell, then either a “+” or a “-” can be used, otherwise only a “+”.  The second “IF” tests whether or not the value of the hidden formula in the upper left cell (B3) is greater than “0.5”.   If it is, then the lower left cell (B3) will show a “-“; if the value in the upper left cell is less than “0.5” then the lower left cell will show a “+”.

The four-cell group is then copied and pasted as many times as desired throughout the worksheet.  Currently the worksheets I’m generating have 36 problems, 6 rows of six problems.  Once the worksheet is saved there is no need to edit any of the formulas unless I want to change the size of the numbers in the problems.

The good thing about the random number formulas is that each time I open the worksheet they generate new numbers, so that the likelihood of having the exact same worksheet twice is very remote.  In LibreOffice, I can also go to File -> Reload and the worksheet will reopen, causing the formulas to be recalculated.  In this way I can print a bunch of different worksheets in one sitting.

I’ve included several versions in case they might be of use to anyone.  The pdf version is static, and won’t generate new worksheets.  Downloading it multiple times will not generate new worksheets either.  The other versions can be saved to your computer and used for generating your own worksheets, should you care to do so.  The Excel version was saved using LibreOffice and has not been tested in Excel, but it should work without any issues.  If not, then the formulas can always be edited as per the instructions above, and then be recopied throughout the worksheet (or be changed using Find and Replace).

pdf version:  Addition and Subtraction Worksheet

LibreOffice template:  Addition and Subtraction Worksheet

Microsoft Excel version:  Addition and Subtraction Worksheet

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