A friend of mine shared a link to an article about why children have a hard time learning to spell.  They argue that we are teaching spelling incorrectly.  We should be teaching how words are formed and the etymology not how to sound the word out to spell it.  They claim that about “12% of words in english are spelt the way they sound” [1].  No wonder I’m bad at spelling in english because that is usually how I spell things.  At least in Italian, words are spelt the way they sound!  Also, I was taught how to spell mainly as they described with spelling tests and memorization.  However, I did also learn definitions for each word.  However, I was really good at remembering the definitions, I guess I just didn’t think to associate the definitions with the spelling!  Although, I do sometimes do that.

So, maybe I should try learning to spell again using this method as I still struggle to spell and rely heavily on spell check.

[1] https://theconversation.com/why-some-kids-cant-spell-and-why-spelling-tests-wont-help-20497

Poem from 1999

I love to read in bed,

it helps to fill my head

with thoughts of stuff from long, long, long ago,

I can pretend that I’m an Indian with a bow


a Union General riding through the meadow as fast as my horse can go


a Pilgrim that sailed across the deep blue sea

to worship God, to be free.

A poem by me in second grade, 1999.  It was my first published work.  Glad I still love to read in bed :).  While home for Christmas, Mom was throwing out a bunch of stuff, but she kept the book my poem was published in for me!  She said I wrote the poem, but she fixed all the spelling errors.  I always preferred my version of how words should be spelled and spoken :p.

Amazing last week or so

So, I thought I’d write about the past few days as they were quite exciting, eventful, and since I’m forgetful I don’t want to forget.  I’ll begin of course at the beginning.  Which probably isn’t really the beginning but oh well.  The excitement started 12/12/15.  I went home to hanover that Friday (12/11) and had supper at the Landing with Logan, Rebekah, Josh, Terri, and Mom and Dad.  Food was great, I got a bbq burger and it was massive and delicious.  But, more importantly it was the last meal I was eating with Logan before he became a married man!!!  The next day (12/12) on a beautiful sunny and probably around 60 degrees (practically spring in December!) at around 10am Logan and Rebekah were married!!!!!!!!!!!  The rest of the day was a bit uneventful.  But I wore a suit so that was sort of different (planning on wearing it again Jan 3…).  But I had a fun evening/night taking apart Mom’s new laptop and replacing the hard drive with an SSD.  Before replacing I did a quick boot speed test and it took about a 1.5 minutes to do a cold boot with the hard drive.  With the SSD it took about 12 seconds.  The really cool part was when I installed all of the stuff (anti-virus, dropbox, etc) it still only took about 15 seconds to boot (I wait until all the icons in the task tray are loaded).  Word and excel start pretty much immediately as soon as click on the icon.  Which is amazing :).  So, I was satisfied with the $80 250 GB SSD over the 1TB hdd.

But wait that’s not all :).  Wed. 12/16 I finished my last class for my PhD!!  I only have to do comps, propose, and defend!

And then to celebrate (not really but I like to think) the next day (12/17) I went with some friends to the DC zoo lights :)!  Basically my bible study group went to Kings Dominion and we Wesley couldn’t come and we wanted to do something with him.  So, Stephen Kuhl told me about the Zoo lights and I got everyone together and figured out the schedule etc.  This was really fun.  It was my biggest group of people I’ve organized into doing something together ever (9 people).  The group consisted of David, Kelsey, Cameron, Addie, Stephen Kuhl, Ashley, Stephen Emerick, Wesley and me!  We metroed in which was quite slow as we all tried to get there together.  I should try to get better at driving in DC.  But, altogether the lights were pretty and we got to see bison, monkeys and gorillas.  We then ate at Chipotle afterwards.

Next, came Saturday (12/19)!  I really packed all the fun into a short period of time didn’t I haha.  Saturday was New Hope’s 25th anniversary dinner hosted by the lovely Katy and Jonathan of The Pixie and the Scout (which now that I’ve met them I think the name is based off of her and him).  I got the opportunity to work in the kitchen with them plating the food and cutting sausage and learning all kinds of tricks.  I got to direct a group of people to set up the 18 tables so that they looked nice and like the model table (I’ve actually gotten good at giving orders since having to direct undergrads with robots).  The food of course was sublime!  Never had anything taste soo good.  I really need to get the recipes for the dishes.  I however ate in the kitchen because I couldn’t find a seat.  It was ok because Katy and Jonathan mostly were in the kitchen too so I got to talk to them a little.  They actually cater for Redeemer!  Tim Keller knows them by name!!!  Totally awesome :).  Through this experience I’ve developed a challenge problem for multirobot task allocation and that is serving tables.  It is a multi-robot task problem (coalitions may need to be formed), we need multi-task robots (robots that can do more than one task), time extended tasks, and some of the tasks have dependencies!  So, it is a very difficult problem and having a real life problem to try and solve is always better than just trying to solve it in the abstract and then looking for a problem to use your solution on.  So, I’m ecstatic!  I’m hoping to send them an email or facebook message to say thanks!

What do you know thats not all yet!  Sunday 12/20 I saw Star Wars VII The Force Awakens!!!!!!!!!!  It was totally awesome, I actually might go and see it again tomorrow (12/22).  I got some people from New Hope to come with me to the IMAX at the Air and Space museum in DC to see it.  We drove in and waited in line for about an hour and got pretty bad seats (right in the front).  But, the movie was excellent.  Went with Corrie, Cameron, Addie, Stephen Emerick, Stephen Kuhl, and Ashley.  The cool part was that Steven and Pastor Scott came with some people from HCC.

So, was Star Wars the pinnacle?  I doubt it.  But it will be hard to beat.

Autonomous Vehicles

So, I’ve been thinking rather small lately.  Especially with that autonomous mixer idea, I mean pathetic, am I right :p.  I really want to go back to the reason I wanted to get into AI and multiagent systems which is making autonomous vehicles!  So, I’m sure everyone knows that car manufacturers and even Google and Baidu are attempting to make cars specifically that are autonomous.  This is great!  I’m arguing that before full consumer acceptance of this happens and to make it affordable and economical we need to make it possible for consumers to modify their existing car to make it autonomous!  This seemed to be the direction that the DARPA grand challenge was heading in.  So, I found that some graduate from MIT also had this idea a year or so ago and have already made a company with a product (their website, wired article, machine learning job at their company).  Obviously I’m excited about their product because of its simplicity and the fact that they are doing this now!  Seems like its is meant currently for highways though.  So, it still needs a lot of work.