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Enrico UvaRSS Feed of this column.

I majored in chemistry, worked briefly in the food industry and at Fisheries and Oceans. I then obtained a degree in education. Since then I have taught chemistry in the U.S. but mostly in Canada... Read More »

I suspect that the following critique of smart board use in education applies to how society in general responds to technological innovation. It would not be shocking because the seeds of all that is desirable or reprehensible in our culture are found in schools.
Here are some pictures I've been taking with a-not-very-fancy digital microscope. An aborted apple seed next to a healthy one. Notice the great oxidation of this 1921 Lincoln penny. The milky secretion from a cut stem of the oleander plant. The poison oleandrin is also found in its leaves. The tip of a geranium bud. 'Photo taken this morning. Grapefruit flesh
My mother-in-law recommended a certain pediatrician when we moved back to Canada from the U.S. Things seemed to go smoothly with our healthy daughter, but I grew suspicious of his abilities when a discussion exposed his poor understanding of the genetics of blood types. A couple of years later, when we told him that we suspected our two year old son was autistic, he brushed it off claiming, “Yeah, sure. Everybody’s autistic nowadays.” When we insisted on a referral, he recommended a psychiatrist whose specialty was dealing with eating disorders.
One of the first things I noticed when I bought a pool is that pool chemistry-terms are confusing to both lay people and specialists alike. A pool manual’s usage of terms such as “alkalinity” and “free chlorine” are not textbook definitions. But once I sorted through the initial confusion, it gave me one more excuse to do some simple experiments in my backyard.
Imagine a network of neurons that correspond to a personality trait. As a person matures he acquires more traits from experiences and especially when he spends time with people. Some of the traits are entirely mimicked from these friends and acquaintances. Other networks grow more intricate as we recognize the attribute in others. Some of these traits cannot interconnect in the brain. Weaker ones become isolated and eventually weeded out.
Another bold prediction for the future: when enough toddlers and children will grow out of Piaget's preoperational and concrete stages, chemistry will be featured on Advanced Sesame Street. Here's a video I made some time ago to give us a glimpse of that brave new world.