Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Several random things make a post

I've just put some soup on to simmer for lunch. It's a rather random soup, made out of the last baking potato, the last few carrots, 3 small onions, the remains of a celery that I found in the fridge, the end of a tin of beans ditto and a few lentils for thickening. While it simmers, I'll round up a few random things that arose this morning and quickly post them.

By coincidence, we were discussing decluttering and getting rid of stuff yesterday in Welsh class. I admitted that the things I was most guilty of hanging on to were papers and files of stuff from courses I did years ago. I keep them "just in case I want to refer to them again". So I am currently going through piles of papers and purging because much of what I might want to refer to is now on the web and could be easily found.

But I also keep notes of ideas from conferences, courses and SF conventions, and those are harder to deal with. So I'm typing some up here and then I can throw away the bits of paper.

1. There are numerous words for "sweets", i.e. confectionery in Welsh. It's the same in English, of course. We say "sweets" where Americans would say "candy". So in Welsh you have "fferins", "losin" a couple of others that don't immediately spring to mind but also "da-da". The comment on the top of a page of notes taken during a Welsh class was the realisation that "da-da" (good-good) is a literal translation of "bon bon". We now use bon bon/bonbon in English to mean a particular kind of chocolate, but in French it must also be a "good-good".

2. Some notes from a maths education conference I attended in Latvia. During the time he was doing the Ph.D. G went to many conferences. Most of them were too difficult for me to understand, so I either didn't go or (if I could get the time off work), I went along but just went sightseeing on my own. But when he started going to maths education conferences I could just about pass as a teacher of maths to adults, though I was actually teaching creative writing or IT. But there were useful ideas to be had from some of the talks, especially the ones about creative thinking.

a. One speaker's idea of creativity was "finding connections between random ideas and items". I have definitely found that has worked for me in the past and it stops my ideas running down the same well-worn groove.

b. Different aspects of creativity:

Fluency -- How many possible things do they come up with?

Flexibility -- Willingness to adopt different ideas and change first thoughts.

Originality -- Uniqueness of the ideas.

3. Another talk at the Latvia conference that I enjoyed very much was basing maths on fairy stories. The most memorable example was working out how old Rapunzel was, based on the facts given in the story. There was a lot of estimation involved, such as how high was the tower? But even allowing a magical extra fast growth of hair, the speaker calculated that Rapunzel must have been at least 51 for her hair to have grown long enough to be used as a rope to climb up to her window. So was the prince her toy boy? :-)
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