Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Crazy Quiz

I recently took a test in school. The main object was to follow directions. This is what the test looked liked. See if you can pass:

  • Read all the directions before doing anything.

  • Write your name and the date in the upper right hand corner.

  • Number your paper from #1-#7, leaving two blank spaces between each number.

  • Draw five small squares beside #1.

  • Put an "X" in the second and fourth square.

  • Put a circle around #2 on your paper.

  • Count the number of words in your first sentence and write the answer beside #4 on your paper.

  • Choose one of the following words and write it next to #6:
  1. Iguana
  2. Moose
  3. Gunky
  4. Geek
  • Write the words "I will follow the directions" beside #5 on your paper.

  • Now that you have completed the reading, skip all the directions except the first two.

Did you pass? Answer below:

The only thing you should have on your paper is your name and the date.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Glacier National Park; Hikes And Wildlife

When we were in Montana this summer, we went to Glacier National Park.

We drove on Going-To-The-Sun-Road to the Logan Pass Visitor Center, where some of the visitors had horns.

From there we hiked on the Hidden Lake boardwalk/trail. We saw some big horn sheep half a mile down. We also saw deer, ptarmigans, and mountain goats. After we passed a few creeks and streambeds, the boardwalk ended. About one eighth of a mile after the boardwalk ended, there was a lookout right above Hidden Lake. Further on we saw a mountain goat grazing on the side of the path. From there the hike was mostly steep and down-hill with tons of switch-backs for about a mile. After that it, levels out and it's just two minutes to the lake. The lake is a great place to skip rocks.

We also went to Avalanche Lake Trail, which is about four miles round trip, and is moderately difficult. At the lake there is a trail that goes about half way around the lake.

Another place I hiked to with my family was Running Eagle Falls (also known as Trick Falls) hike which is one-third of a
mile and is very flat. This hike has lots of plant and insect life. The trail sides are covered in Mountain Ash, an orange-red bitter but edible berry that grows in bunches. After a few minutes there is a streambed with a bridge going over it to the falls. Along the river bank of the falls, there are lots of plants called "Serviceberries, and on the leaves are wooly bear caterpillars, which are very fuzzy and large.

One of the most fun places I went to in Glacier National Park was the trail to St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls (a three mile round trip). After hiking for a few minutes you come to a bridge with a beach below, where there are great skipping rocks. At the end of the bridge, you will be right next to St. Mary Falls (below).

At this part of the hike there is a lot of wildlife everywhere, you might even see a few deer. Further on, you will come to Virginia Falls. There are lots things to do there - like skipping rocks and discovering lichen.

At Virginia Falls, There are small pools with good skipping rocks, there is also a lot of moss.

I would like to go back to Glacier National Park again and again because there is so much to do, and see there.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trip to Montana

Recently, I went to Montana with my family and some friends. We stayed in Ronan, a town south of Flathead Lake, and west of the Mission Mountains Wilderness. Right by the house where we were staying, there was a dried up stream-bed that led down to a river that was full of all sorts of small fish and bugs. One time when we were down there a dog came up to us and we played a game of fetch. The dog's name was Ellie, she was a black lab. Here's a picture I took of her.

Another dog, Stinky, was Ellie's friend and liked chasing cars and swimming. He was a golden lab. Ellie and Stinky followed us back to our cabin and we played fetch for at least three hours. At that time in summer, there were lots of forest fires, and the flames of the Ashley Lake forest fire were nearly visible at night. One day we went to the town of St. Ignatius, and saw the St. Ignatius Mission, a very large church with lots of really cool paintings on the walls and ceilings. Southwest of Ronan, there is the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge which is home to waterfowl, song birds, and even some birds of prey. In Polson, I went to the Miracle of America History Museum. It has historical artifacts, machines, and all sorts of interesting things. Outside, there is a helicopter you can climb into, and a bomber from the Korean war, a giant tugboat you can explore, and in back, there is the set up of an old wild west town in the early 1910's.

Resources: "Hidden Montana" and "Montana's Flathead Country."


Monday, August 07, 2006

Killer Bees: They're Among Us

In 1956, a "mad scientist" had some African killer bees brought over from Africa to Brazil to try to make a new type of hybrid bee by mating killer bees with their cousins, the less aggressive European honey bees. The scientist let them loose in the Amazon Rainforest after the experiment happened, but they escaped and spread slowly throughout the rest of South America and Mexico. They moved into the states on the southern U.S. border in 2002, and are rapidly moving into Colorado. Since they migrate more in the winter, they should be in Montana by this coming winter. The reason these bees are called killer bees is because they are very, very aggressive and will pursue their victim for up to two miles, and they will sting as much as 3,000 times.

Here are some things to do if you encounter killer bees;

To get a killer bee's stinger out:

  • scrape the stinger out with a credit card

  • DO NOT attempt to pull a killer bee's stinger out, that will increase venom flow and swelling
  • After stinger is removed, IMMEDIATELY apply ice and bee sting ointment (such as baking soda or baking powder mixed with water)
  • Wrap it loosely, but firmly in something soft, like a cotton pad

If killer bees are attacking your pet:

  • hose the pet down with water
  • get the pet inside
  • make the pet roll around

If you are being chased by killer bees:

  • Run away and find shelter
  • DO NOT jump into water, the bees will wait for you to resurface

To prevent the risk of being chased by killer bees:

  • don't use lawnmowers or noisy mechanical devices around killer bees' hives
  • Africanized bees hate high pitched noises
  • don't spill or drink fruit juice around killer bees or their hives

To calm killer bees:

  • somehow make smoke
  • DO NOT use steam (it makes the bees wings wet, and it makes them mad)

To defend yourself from them:

  • spray yourself with water
  • cover yourself in a non-bee-infested blanket

How to identify killer bees:

  • killer bees are smaller than their cousins, the common European honey-bee
  • Killer bees fly up to 500 miles per hour ( 804.7 kilometers per hour)
  • The queen lives 3 years

Resources: here, here, and here

For news or more information about killer bees, some interesting stories are here, here,and here. A man was stung 1,000 times, but later recovered.The Boca Raton News says:

"...Africanized honey bees don't have a stronger venom than the native honey bee -- but do usually sting in greater numbers, swarm more often than native honey bees, and defend the hive more rapidly than the native honey bee, thus, the reports of greater stings and hospitalizations -- and in extremely rare cases death...In fact, the experts say that for a normal, healthy person to receive a deadly dose of bee venom, it would take about 10 stings for each pound of body weight, or 1,500 stings at once for a 150-pound person, according to Dr. John Jackman at Texas A&M University..."

Everybody hates killer bees. But the bee species deserves some tough guys, doesn't it? And these honey bees are prey not hunter.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Forced Conscription Of Children Is Evil

I just became interested in Sudan & Uganda because of a movie I saw called Invisible Children, which was given to my dad by our family's friend Scott Cummins. It showed what the Sudan People's Liberation Army is doing to Ugandan and Sudanese children. Although a greater evil is the Sudanese goverment based in Khartoum, the recruiting of kids to fight in a war is completely wrong . The SPLA are turning children into killing machines under the threat that they are going to be killed if they don't kill 50 people.

Many of these children hide in hospitals at night from fear of being abducted. Although "Invisible Children" was made in 2003, three years later the problem still exists in all of Sudan (especially the Darfur region) plus most of Africa especially in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This article from the Daily News in Tanzania reveals that there have been 100,000 child soldiers recruited to fight in wars in Africa, and that more are forced into fighting by the government in Sudan's north than the rebels in the south. The Coalition To Stop The Use Of Child Soldiers is an organization working to prevent the recruitment of children for soldiers.

I think that Sudan shouldn't have this much turmoil, and children should first get education, then be allowed to decide what their future is going to be.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Seattle School Board Rethinks Fuzzy Math Concepts

I'm in fourth grade and doing a lot of math. The people who write the "fuzzy" math books don't care if you get the right answer, they just care that you try to solve the problem in the right way. In my class when I get an answer wrong, it's marked as wrong, and I have to fix it.

In today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer there is a story about how the Seattle School Board is having second thoughts about "reform" math textbooks.

The two recommended books are "Connected Mathematics Project II," an updated version of the curriculum used in many Seattle middle schools, and "Interactive Mathematics Program" for high schoolers.

Both use a more "conceptual" or "reform" math teaching style, which aims to help students better understand math by helping them reason out concepts themselves. Reform math also emphasizes estimating and being able to analyze whether the answer derived is correct and reasonable.

Proponents of the teaching method say it makes lessons more relevant for students and helps build a solid foundation for studying more advanced math. But critics say the approach lacks the structure and the practice problems necessary to help drive home key math concepts. They would like to see a return to more traditional skill-based curricula.

I'm glad that the Seattle School Board is holding off on fuzzy math textbooks. The right answer doesn't always matter, like the moral of a story, but in math, spelling, and grammar, you can't change the way "through" is spelled, or that 4/5=1/5+16/20.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fast Food............Yummy or Not?

My opinion of fast food: Many people like fast food because it tastes good and is convenient, but what they don't think about is how unhealthy it is for them. An excellent source of information is the book "Chew On This" (Everything You Don't Want To Know About Fast Food), by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson.

They write:

....companies that sell fast-food don't want you to think about it. They don't want you to know where it comes from and how it's made. They just want you to buy it...........people should know what lies beneath the shiny happy surface of every fast-food restaurant. They should know what really lurks between those sesame seed buns. As the old saying goes: 'you are whatyou eat.'

What are the "yummy" ingredients in a strawberry milkshake from a fast-food restaurant?

...milkfat and nonfat milk, sugar, sweet whey, high fructose corn syrup, guar gum, mono- and diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, carageenan, citric acid, red food coloring #40 ( carmine, which is made from bugs ) and artificial strawberry flavoring.

Conclusion: On top of that, artificial strawberry flavoring has about 40 more ingredients. Ick. Here's my recipe for a strawberry smoothie: fresh strawberries, vanilla yogurt, two percent milk, and a ripe banana.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The World According To Max, Vol. 1

OK. I'm nine. I have a blog. My favorite color is turquoise. My favorite foods are shrimp, salmon and fruit. In school, my favorite subjects are math and spelling. On spring vacation, I learned Chicago is smellier than Seattle, and went to see the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Now, some Q & A, with help from my dad.

Q: How long before the earth disintegrates, and why?
A: 5,000,000,000 years, but that's kind of a silly question. Instead, couldn't you ask what books I'm reading?

Q: OK, what books have you been reading recently?
A: "Majyk" by Angie Sage; "Wolf Brother" by Michelle Paver; "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini; and I'm reading "Eldest," also by Christopher Paolini.

Q: What can you cook?
A: Salsa, fruit salad, cookies, brownies, and homemade pretzels. Any more questions?

Q: Um.......no.