First Python Class for kids

A fellow parent and I are working on putting together a Python class for our middle school children.  In the first lesson, planning to cover:

  • Install Python on your computer
  • Using IDLE interactively to explore
    • String
    • Variables
    • if/else
    • while
    • Boolean logic
    • Integers
  • Create Python files

Here is the PowerPoint file we have so far:

Tutorial01-basic-NathanEdits (1)


“Lean On”

Lean On” is a song recorded by American EDM group Major Lazer and French producer DJ Snake for Major Lazer’s third studio album, Peace Is the Mission (2015), featuring vocals from Danish singer . It was produced by Major Lazer and DJ Snake, and written by MØ, Major Lazer member Diplo, DJ Snake, Jr. Blender and Martin Bresso.[1] “Lean On” was released through Mad Decent independently (Because Music for Europe, WMG for Australia) as the lead single from the album on March 1, 2015.[2] It is a dancehall[3] and electronic song being also described as a house music ballad.[4][5]

“Lean On” was a commercial success, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. It reached number one in several other countries including Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Denmark and Switzerland. The accompanying music video for “Lean On” was filmed in ND Studios, Karjat and Kaul Heritage City, Vasai in Maharashtra, India, and premiered on March 23, 2015.

It was chosen as the official song of 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup

[From Wikipedia:]

One of my interests lately has been dance.  I recently joined the YMCA and have really enjoyed the Zumba and BodyJam classes.  Simultaneously, I came across a Danish singer by the name of MØ and her song “Lean On”.  In checking out the song I ran across the music video, which was filmed in India.  Needless to say, with my site I found that to be interesting.

The choreographed by Paresh Shirodkar.  (Facebook)

Here is another instructional video that walks through the dance in a lot more steps and more complete.


Here the perform the complete dance. (keep an eye out for the dog that wonders on set and magically disappears 🙂 )

A few more videos:

On the streets:


Here is one that shows a week to week improvement of a dance group:

Other singers:

Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music

Two sales men go to Africa in the late 1800s to see if there is an potential to sell shoes.  One of them telegraphs back (telegraph here does not refer to an iPhone app, but rather a mode of communication the predates the internet, which didn’t always exist), “There is no potential here, no one wears shoes.”

The other salesman telegraphs back, “- …. . .-. . / .. … / .- / …. ..- –. . / — .–. .–. — .-. – ..- -. .. – -.– / …. . .-. . .-.-.-”  (

Likewise, there are only about 3% of the population that listens to Classical Music.  Some in the industry say if they could just get it up to 4% then the industry would be saved and that there would not be an further orchestra closings.  But Benjamin Zander proposes that maybe many more people (most people) would like classical music, but they just do not know it yet.

Take a look at his TED talk and let me know what you think.


Project Soli – Google project to put jester sensor on a single chip


Understanding Project Soli:


Never “too busy”

I just read a great article on TheNextWeb:

Starts with:

I’ve never heard of a highly creative or successful person being too busy. Let me rephrase that: I’ve never heard of a highly creative or successful person that I respect being too busy.

Ends with:

I’m an entrepreneur who isn’t willing to live someone else’s life. I measure my success by the things that make me happy, not by things that are glorified by our society.

Stop being busy. Start being honest with yourself. Make changes in your life. It will be scary, but it will be worth it.

With a lot of good advice and observations in between… definitely worth reading.

Biologists having fun



Gene regulator rap


Caught in a Bad Project (Lady Gaga Parody)


Lab Slaves (“Royals” Undergraduate Biology Parody)

Watch “Ellen DeGeneres with The treadmill freak 2 April 2015” on YouTube

Ellen DeGeneres with The treadmill freak 2 April 2015:

Dining Etiquette & Table Management

Found this wonderful video on dining etiquette & table management.

Advantages of VexIQ Kit

The VexIQ robot system seems to have several advantages over the Lego Mindstorm.

1) Price:   VexIQ super kit is only $299.99 and contains the following:

The Super Kit is an all-encompassing introduction to STEM and robotics. Students can use the familiar handheld Controller to drive robots right out of the box or program them to run autonomously using the additional Smart Sensors. While the included Clawbot IQ instructions help students easily build their first robot, the intuitive snap-together parts mean the sky is the limit for their VEX IQ creations.

  • Over 850 Structural & Motion Components
  • 4 Smart Motors, 7 Sensors, Robot Brain, Controller & Batteries Included
  • Storage Bin & Tray included for organized storage of all parts

The Lego Mindstorm kit is about the same price, but limits you to 4 sensors and 4 motors.  The VexIQ will let you hookup 12 of either.  Also, there are a lot more gears and drive chain options that will allow for a wide variety of robots to be built:

You can program it in RobotC or using a graphical environment similar to Scratch called ModKit.


Micro Quad Copter with First Person display – everything you need for $389

This looks like a good way to get into the quad copter/first person camera/display hobby.  Everything you need in one box for less than $400.


Amazing Ultra Micro Quad
The tiny Blade® FPV Nano QX quadcopter is a totally immersive RC experience you can take everywhere. Incredibly light and surprisingly durable, the FPV Nano QX can be flown in spaces no bigger than an office cubicle. Its potent motors are smooth and Spektrum™ 2.4GHz DSMX® radio technology delivers outstanding 4-channel maneuverability. But it’s the exclusive SAFE® technology built-in that offers a quadcopter experience like no other. That’s because the specially tuned SAFE system makes sophisticated flight envelope protection possible so flying is incredibly easy and more fun-even if it’s your first time. Plus, the Spektrum™ ultra micro FPV camera is already installed which means you can get started in the short time it takes to charge the batteries.

SAFE™ Technology
The Blade® FPV Nano QX features Horizon Hobby’s newest innovation in RC flight, SAFE® technology. This revolutionary system optimizes the FPV Nano QX for precision hovering and accuracy in two flight modes.