Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

fractal day

How are you all? Are you enjoying Family Day?

I have been SICK. I have had an absolutely miserable cold. Everything hurt and I was sleeping most of the day away. I am still not quite back to normal. My main goal for today is to stay awake for 8 hours in a row. But after just 3 I am craving a nap :P

One thing I did do was sleepily watch a show on TVO called Hunting the Hidden Dimension about fractals. What are fractals?

"Fractals, like the air you breathe, are all around you. Their irregular, repeating shapes are found in cloud formations and tree limbs, in stalks of broccoli and craggy mountain ranges, even in the rhythm of the human heart. Mathematicians are finally mapping the uncharted territory of fractal geometry, deepening our understanding of nature and stimulating a new wave of scientific, medical and artistic innovation stretching from the ecology of the rainforest to fashion design."

Fractals are the way math is beautiful and art and everywhere.

You can also watch the video here. It is just over 50 minutes.

And here is some excellent family fractal fun from Ze Frank:

The virtual kaleidoscope on Ze Frank’s Web site is easy for even the most technophobic user. Simply start to draw in the space above, and with a few choice clicks from your mouse, you can instantly see your own fractal creation become animated. You can choose among a variety of colors, and the speed in which you’d like to see your pattern wax and wane, and then bask in watching this very hypnotic kind of art. Best of all? Squinting not required. (VeryShortList.com)

Monday, February 1, 2010


Happy February!

I am not really sure what to make of this but I wanted to share it with you. Have you seen this amazing Ukrainian storyteller? This video has more that 12 million hits on You Tube so very possibly you have. But I just found it on the weekend.

Her name is Kseniya Simonova. She tells stories by animating sand. In this piece, the one she did for Ukraine's Got Talent (a contest she won in 2009), she tells a history of the Ukraine during the what is known in some states of the former Soviet Unions as the Great Patriotic War. The term describes the period of the Second World War from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

From the Telegraph:
She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated.

It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears.

She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.

This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.

In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye.

The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million.