Monday, December 28, 2009

Elgan the Enganeer

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it", says "the Preacher" in the Biblical book of Proverbs, chapter 22, sixth verse.

We search for meaning and fulfillment in life. Discovering our gifts and talents early can be to our advantage - if we follow a path of potential realization consistent with who we really are, we'll "never work a day in our life", because we will do what we love, because it is what we are.

My son Elgan once got the VCR to eject the tape with the remote control - yet there was no eject button on the remote. To this day his mother and I chuckle because it was one of the earliest indicators we recognized, that Elgan had a knack for understanding how things work.

Last week we took a trip to the Ontario Science Centre (well worth the membership we have, great for when kids are home from school and looking for something to do). We visited the K'nex area at around 4pm and Elgan decided he was going to build a Ferris wheel. By 4:50 he was pretty much done. Planning, designing and then building within a budget (in this case, the materials available and the time alotted), check, check, check. I had no idea what he had in mind, or what it was going to look like, and his final product was quite remarkable. The video attached shows its functionality.

Every indication is that "the way he should go" is engineering school.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The medium shouldn't have become the message

A few weeks ago I read an article in the Toronto Star, called Connect or Die, about Jeff Jarvis, media guru. In it, he mentioned that newpapers should evolve or die, and that death would come to the industry relatively quickly.

Today I read about the bankruptcy of the parent company to the venerable Chicago Sun-Times. I've thought about this for a while, and the two stories highlight the issue that I'm now writing about.

For too many of the industrial age publishers, the important part of the word "newspaper" to them was "paper." It should always have been "news."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Nut Allergies

I am allergic to nuts.

Usually, my reactions are manageable with orally-ingested, over-the-counter antihistamine. I've never gone into anaphylactic shock. I do get hives, my salivary glands go into overdrive, I get itchy all over, and sometimes it requires, even after taking antihistamine, that I regurgitate whatever I ate.

Even the smell of certain nuts can trigger a mild reaction. I think walnuts and almonds are the worst. If I eat a cookie that is picked up with a utensil that had been used with nuts, I may have a reaction.

When I was a kid, I could eat a Tofiffay® by eating around the hazelnut, and I wouldn't react. Today, I wouldn't think of doing such a thing. I remember that chocolate bars such as Coffee Crisp or Kit Kat had hazelnuts in the ingredients and I could eat them, but I'd get a very small reaction that didn't even require antihistamine to tolerate. Hazelnuts have since been removed from the ingredient lists of both products.

A few years ago, I had a reaction that nearly closed my throat, the first such reaction in my 35 years (at the time). Last year, I ended up in an ambulance. I was advised that there is no way to predict how I might react and that my history was no indicator of what to expect in the future. Yes, I could experience life-threatening shock, so I was prescribed an epinephrine injector.

My question is: why can I eat peanut butter?