For internet freedom, stop being lazy
2018 August 8 Wednesday 13:15
Some people have complained about chemistry content being subjected to YouTube censorship). Such people should stop whining; there are plenty of alternatives:
- Internet Archive Seemingly over-looked, this is a charity organisation that is able to host video. For example, view a list of "community video" selected by the search criterion "chemistry". It also hosts a useful archive of web pages;
- Peertube should be used by organisations such as Royal Society of Chemistry, to host and have full control of their content. The concept is de-centralised distribution of content (remember Napster? ;));
- Bitchute is another example of a peer-to-peer video host platform. Since Youtube has banned various "conservative viewpoint" content, be prepared to see such content here; you have been warned...
The wider point is that the earlier form of internet was far more self-sufficient. Users had to learn HTML, bulletin board etiquette, various network architecture such as IRC. Now we have big business, autocratic "western" governments (none of which have majority democratic mandates, but that's another story) seeking to interrupt dissenting views, minimise "terrorism" and encourage group-think. Sounds like a government funded school? Mmm...
A different view of GCE A-level results
2018 August 17 Friday 11:34
Despite what has been claimed elsewhere, A-level chemistry enrolment appears stable (it could be worse, such as "general studies" ;)). This post is good evidence of being in holiday mode: looking at one of the graphs published in 'Schools Week', the thought arose "how could this be presented better?".
So, fired up R and after reminded oneself of the syntax, produced this re-interpretation of the shares of grades. Once again, another example of the power of free(dom) software! :)
Some have lamented, some have celebrated, the removal of coursework and "banking" of GCE AS levels (i.e. being able to convert an AS grade to contribute to a final A level grade). Personally, the separation of GCE AS from GCE A should be considered a good thing, schools should be more imaginative in offering wide range of subjects.
As for coursework, maybe there should be some sort of optional "course endorsement" record, similar to the extant practical endorsement component. The course endorsement could be a brief summary of factors such as: lesson attendance (good, poor); lesson participation (active, passive); collaboration (good, poor); independent study; extra-curricular participation (e.g. (inter)national subject competitions).