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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NATIONAL SPEAK UP SURVEY ~ http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup

DEC 07, 2011 This is simply an email on my thoughts which were a response to a email letter from tomorrow.org, in which they ask:...here is the exact email: FCPS is participating in Speak Up, a national on-line survey about the use of technology in schools. This information will help FCPS, local, state and national policy makers and the business community; contribute to the national dialogue about science, technology and preparing students for the 21st century workforce. Please complete the 20 minute survey no later than December 23, 2011. • Parents, please complete this survey at home with your child. • Teachers, administrators and staff are also encouraged to compete this survey. • Please visit http://speakup4schools.org/speakup2011/ to take the survey. The secret word is fairfaxva. • For more information about the survey, visit http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup -----About this E-mail----- This e-mail has been sent to you by LAKE BRADDOCK SEC. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message. If you wish to discontinue this service, please inform LAKE BRADDOCK SEC IN PERSON, by US MAIL, by TELEPHONE at (703) 426-1000 or REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL. As it is winter, and we are preparing for a snow in Western Maryland right now, it reminds mew why I joined the Lake Braddock email alerting system of communications and collective thoughts. It was a few years ago, and MathCounts was cancelled due to snow, then the make up date was cancelled do to snow...we finally had a great competition, and it shows just how being a part of something has lead to other positive an inspiring events and wonderful folks I have met along the way. so I sent this email to www.tomorrow.org SENT TO: http://www.tomorrow.org/contact.html I received an interesting email from Lake Braddock Middle School (as posted above), and it was a link to your interesting survey and site, which I was very happy to study thus far. It compelled me to write and share a few thoughts that I think are on the forefront of all of our minds, finally. I am a musician, an artist, a scientist of police science, a researcher, and an author...blah, blah, blah...I am even a comedian, as we all need to laugh...all my best teachers had witty humor...and always used it with great tact to bring back to focus a classroom consensually at a collective loss of attention. I also enjoy a vast array of topics, be they history, agriculture, geography, physics, etc. I have two publications that may be of interest to you, and they are short reads and to the point, and I do not mind if something is quoted, as long as it is kept in the proper and original context and dually given credit. One was a piece published by The United States Department of Energy. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wip/news_detail.html?news_id=16404 I wrote about new technology and the green era, and what the philosophy of the green era is in simple reasonable articulate terms. It has been quite well read and received, and I see the impact of my shared communication from the posting in the news and in science more and more so then ever. It is a great feeling to be in that mix, and we should all be so inspired, and I hope that it places us all in high gear, so to speak, so that we may achieve change through literacy, by an also equally new inspiring school of philosophy sweeping through the halls of education at a rapid and radical pace that is currently taking a strong hold in the educational community and changing our educational system into one that will be the leader and example to follow, instead of the sleeping seemingly instantly archaic system it has long to long been. Through this better quality of instruction, we will efficiently influence the youth with fascinating invigorating challenges, which they much more readily accept and excel at then they do the same old thing we have done far too long...drones of information learned for the purpose of testing but not promoting independent, and communal shared thinking, have hindered too many students, and has forever handicapped not just themselves, but our collective future. What larger price can their be for mistakes that are so now clear in hindsight? This Green Era Philosophy along with the implementation of better teaching techniques by the utilization of newer technology is the very perfect marriage of these two so well linked areas, as they will each propel one another. So we are embarking on an era of exciting change and great hope, even as we are financially failing as a nation, we are also re-birthing simultaneously, and it is an amazing transition to watch, study, write about, philosophize, and be in the middle of the mix of the entire metamorphosis, and the only reason I mention that is because of this fact. I am of sound mind, but my body is a physical wreck. I am pursuing, for a second attempt because of further deteriorating health, Social Security Disability, which is never pleasant for anyone to have to wade through the red tape of. While all the while watching my many dreams of fruition go up in smoke...houses lost, finances damaged or non-existant, homelessness a step away be it not for my Father, a few friends that guide me and with help in countless ways, and yes, even a terribly faltering government, that does thankfully offer something in which to survive upon, which I am thankful for and in dire need of. The process of Social Security Disability could simply be streamlined, but it is apparent that the forward thinking is not there currently, nor the system in which to implement the forward thinking, that would make the process more efficient, less likely to be abused, and money spent on the needs of the disabled instead of the legal quagmire it seems that the fat cats would rather make their millions on, then to offer greater help to more people who are deserving and have paid into this system. I have lost all my work credits !...Than was a large chunk of change, an story for another time, however, our case was proven simply, and a review of the record will show that abundantly clear, and still I was denied with no real evidence supporting the denial. Wiser now through the education this alone has been, I would have sued the Federal Government before the statue of limitations ran out. I would have done this because it sets a precedence for changing flawed systems so others will not be treated with injustice. I would never file a case for spite’s sake, as our country is damaged enough. The legal system, when properly used, is suppose to be a vessel to progress, that however is less and less often the case, as we fail to utilize technological advances, for one reason following a plethora of other reasons. That is changing swiftly, and with it will be a new work force, new products, new science, and a new American Dream, and we can all have a piece of the pie to enjoy together, and if not us today, perhaps our children soon. However, in the meantime, I have this mind, this wondrous mind, just as lively now, and actually even more so, then was I as a child, full of curiosity, always taking apart, analyzing, fixing, re-creating, evolving, or simply cussing at times, over the countless things I have studied, be it electronics, computers, automobiles, music, all sciences and all arts, and the point is, they are. as we are, all very clearly interconnected. So as I suffer physical ills, there is no reason I cannot dive into my arts and abilities and re-invent myself to the best of my ability into a musician that might make a buck…a real tough sell more then ever these days. That too is swiftly changing I believe more then the media covers. I have offered to Rolling Stone to write a few articles on some ideas that are quite fascinating, but as I am a no one in corporate eyes, I never even get the common courtesy of a response. So I blog away when I write, send emails, stay active as possible, read a ton and then some more, write and record my songs, and throw it to the wall to see what sticks…I like what is sticking and it seems others do as well…that is a great thing to feel and know at any level when you have been suffering. The net is not even close to my life, however it is a great conduit to communicate through and an excellent tool to learn from. Finally we are getting better standardization across all platforms where all electronic devices can communicate together wirelessly which leaves open the door wide….straight to opportunity… I issue Tech Challenges on my Blog…just two so far…perhaps you can do the same, or perhaps you do and I missed it this far…anyways…so cliché…point is, to let the youth dream up ideas…some kids I have met are smarter then some adults I know ever will be and when I say that I o not say it in poor taste, I say it meaning the minds are alert active and ready for greatness, where some older folks that went through less fortunate everything in life are often left zapped of all of their energy and real motivating desire and zest for life…that is a sad, truly sad thing, to watch. I have attended MathCounts with my Father, and the children participating in that community are brilliant. Often they can answer mathematical questions correctly in seconds, that I o not understand, or if I do understand them, cannot translate the Mathematics into thought for my mind to process quick enough to answer nearly as fast as they can. At first it appears as though a magical act by these brilliant minds. What is at first a gift (mathematical aptitude), that is then honed through drills, practice, techniques, patterns, and many other strategies that open a door in the mind to a mathematical world that most cannot see much less fathom, quickly becomes a catalyst into nearly anything imaginable…it is one of several languages that opens a plethora of doors towards prominence. The success stories of former participants of these programs is rewarding to hear of, like my Father’s friend’s son, now an M.I.T. graduate, or of a Mother telling me when the light went off for her son in his mind that he fell in love with Math through MathCounts, he went from a troubled child, to a child dedicated to Math and education…and she said she could not believe at what speed he changed, when she thought she had tried everything and may be losing him. Brilliant minds are all around us, they are just begging to be challenged. With the advent of new technology, that new technology blows those doors wide open...so I am and always have been a musician. Whatever anyone thinks of my music, so be it, and however one amazing fact is that it has been played worldwide by countless numbers of people at this point and in quick order. I need and want to make money from it, so that I can survive, heal up, and be even more productive and able to give back. I coined that some of my music is " Free Source" music...download it and do what you will with it. Some of it must be licensed too…the point was offering music to some other musicians or filmmakers, or advertisers to use for free if they are on a budget…because I understand a budget well, and I have seen where when I though $ 20 was nothing, then subsequently truly broke, $ 20 seemed like so much more. I know if I work hard, no matter my sufferings, work always pays great dividends, and nothing inspires so like suffering! Rewards we may not know what comes our way, but rewards always arrive when merited. In the meantime I have learned to be resourceful, maximize my raw materials and talent, and be efficient…it is a great challenge, and keeps my mind from my constant terrible pain in my back. I think music should always be an integral part of our educational system. It was always in school, and at home as well when I was a youth, and I think it too is something that cannot be quantified in dollars, as the rewards of music flow forever, as do the friendships, and how can anyone calculate that? My Mother is an artist, and I told her I believe we are on the verge of a new Renaissance Era of art and appreciation of culture, education, people, individuals, religion, ad infinitum. So through my mind I have to evolve my thinking and education through technology and my talents so that I can be productive and self supporting as much as possible, and trust me when I say that it is a struggle, but it is an exciting and very rewarding struggle none the same. I will simply close by leaving you the link to the US DEPT of ENERGY (1) featuring my article I think you may delight in, as well as a piece published at pennsylvaniawine.com (2) titled ~ A TOAST TO LITERACY . 1. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wip/news_detail.html?news_id=16404 2. http://www.pennsylvaniawine.com/winestories/ReadStory.aspx?id=23 I may be perhaps critical at times, but I believe it is my acute degree of being critical that drives me to understand any system. Be it language or sports, or music, really all languages, I enjoy understanding each one better and better and making changes where more people will benefit and have an even more enhanced life, while at the same time doing less to no damage to our fragile environment. I am almost forty-four and have never had a car payment. I have had many cars. I have been a mechanic since a young age because there was just no way could I live without it. I feel like that with music, with life, with sharing true gifts of promise. I hope you enjoy the readings and the philosophy I have defined, and I hope I may in someway be of assistance to your inspiring mission. Only work will produce the fruits of our labor from forth which emerges new creations from that which was at first merely an origin first in thoughts leaps forward new realities which become fruition, and in turn are further refined through the educated and lucid, conscientious intelligent mind. As we evolve education, using modern technology more and more, we will increase knowledge across the envelope and venture very quickly into new territories. The Space Shuttle was originally thought not to be capable of flight, though a lack of needed, but at the time, non-existent technology. That earliest time for flight was originally thought to be the year 2025. A year that has not even come to pass, yet we are already retiring our Space Shuttle systems after years of incredible durable service that truly can never have a real price tag placed upon them. Philosophy is a dying art, and I believe it is there that we lack proper worldwide, nationwide, and even individual morals, ethics, respect, understanding, scruples, etc. Philosophy is all about education, and when properly sewn, the harvest of which is always massive and satiating to everyone, and also a harvest to be shared by all. The last item I would like to address is the need for the Master and Apprentice system to be re-invigorated in the U.S.A. I once new a German man, Ronald Vollstedt, first generation here in the states, that was tutored under this type of system as well as the supposed more modern prototypical style we embrace today, which I for one am thankful to see being entirely re-thought with clarity and a larger sense of purpose, which is our children, our future. He explained to me in intricate detail why this was such an effective teaching tool for trades, but as we all know it works equally well with any subject of study, as the student works along side the teacher, learning the skills, nuisances, techniques, and styles that are all too often becoming...lost arts. We have a silk mill here close to Cumberland, Maryland...it is exactly as it was when it's doors were shuttered in the 1950's...it is a huge time capsule of a past way of life that is amazing. All the machines are inside and still operable. There are even workers possessions they left behind like they were simply returning the following day like they always have. This building sits disintegrating, as the owner has maintained it at his own expense for countless years. Where are our values when we all know this should be purchased after raising funds, preserved, and become a focal part of tourism and education, or forever become a lost fact of art. There are lessons in that entire building crying out to be heard, be it industrial America, work forces, unions, factories, mechanized production, and again, ad infinitum. I just bring this last point up because it, like all of this I have written, hits close to home in my heart and in my life and in the beautiful City of Cumberland, Maryland where I reside, nestled in the mountains. We must change, we must revitalize and evolve science, art, education, etc., but we should not leave behind and forget our past or leave it unpreserved or unrecorded. It would be the greatest shame of all to lose that type of information today especially, as we can so easily Google Earth...who would have thought that just a few years ago...I did, someone else did, and here we are... so we can Google anything...but we cannot Google our past reality...we can preserve whets left where there is great knowledge to be shared. All ancients civilizations have failed for reason both known and unknown. Riddles abound in every country about previous ways of life we still do not fully understand. People that build pyramids are incredibly brilliant, gifted and sophisticated. So are Mayans and their temples, and Greeks and theirs, and Romans and theirs, and all people of the entire world all over. Where they failed, if we work quickly together, we will succeed. Let us not record and preserve our past for future generations to study, as times past are keys to doors future, and the keys can open many things, let’s make the keys that open brighter futures through shared collectives such as your mission and organization offer. My real and last closing, is this. My Father is a West Pointer, Ranger, Army Airborne, Corps of Engineers, Retired Colonel who went to the University of South Carolina for one year, then West Point, then earned a Masters in Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a masters in Mathematics at Texas A and M. Because of his actions and involvement to this day with MathCounts, I too volunteer for the local and state competitions in Fairfax County, and in the State of Virginia, respectively. Both the county and state of my formal education from kindergarten through college. My Father is the epitome, as are many, but not too many men, of education, dedication and an incredible drive and just flat out hard work even in the face of adversity, he has always worked, and given back far more then he has ever taken. His last professional job was as the Assistant head of Construction with the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority. I see his work anytime I visit or think of it in my thoughts, and his work will be utilized long after he is gone. I once asked him for a sixth grade project by my best teacher ever, Mr. Gray of Waynewood School and Stephen Foster Intermediate, to ask a parent how they would desire to be remembered for their life's work (or something very close to that)...my Dad's answer was not one of personally being remembered, because you never are if you work hard and leave your mark, it was one of leaving this world a better place because of his and his colleagues collective efforts. He wanted to leave things behind for futures to prosper upon. I understand that deeply, as a son will from such a Father of unequaled example and patience. I reach out and write, and I write poetry, and I play music, and I enjoy life in the face of very difficult adversity, like so many of us do today, but I am at ease and enjoy the fruits of my education which allow me to stay active and continue to contribute, even if they may be just words, I hope that they inspire a world when shared. The art of literacy and education is freedom. Thanks for your dedication. This gives our future an even better chance at prosperity again, and for everyone across the world, not just a comparative few. Sincerely, John Stephen Swygert 461 North Waverly Terrace Cumberland, Maryland 240 522 2469 cell text voice mail ...the ending (below) of my email is just a standard closing...you may listen to some of my music at the links there...many genres and styles...and it is music, art, and it is not always for the feint of heart or children, although much of it is, some is certainly not...part of the nature of the art in music. Peace, Steve ________________________________________________________________________________ P.S. Here is a link to my music...MobiusTripz...my latest album is climbing the digital charts fast with many songs topping the charts in several genres. I have Blues, Rock, Classic Rock, Country / Rockabilly, Alternative, Instrumental etc...my style is new and I classify it as alternative...however I have defined my own new genre which can be found at my blog. Main thing, just give it a listen, keep an open mind, here is the link to my player where you can listen to all songs for free...however...If you listen to them in order with a paid download from any digital music retailer, just search "MobiusTripz", and then watch the album in Media Player in the default graphics mode, as my music was written for this specifically and has incredible complimentary graphics...Enjoy, share, and Peace Always, Steve "rokkinroll" Swygert of MobiusTripz Peace Friends... Clothing line under design, and coming soon...awesome stuff on the way !!! MobiusTripz sites: http://www.mobiustripz.com