June 2009 Archives

William Taft and Public Speaking

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William Howard Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt as the 27th President of the United States in the early 1900s. In June of 1921, Taft was named chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and remains to this day the only person to have ever served both as president and chief justice. That's quite an accomplishment! Taft had popularity and great family ties on his side, but his ability to communicate effectively was also a key to his success. This ability included an expertise in public speaking. Public speaking can be one of the most nerve-wracking classes we take in college. If it's taught well, this course can help us understand how to effectively communicate and succeed in our chosen career path. Thinkwell's Public Speaking course is a great way to help you grow comfortable with the idea and the reality of speaking in front of large and small groups of people, and it's an excellent tool to help you sharpen your communication skills.

Here's a lecture by Professor Dan West of Rice University called "The Legacy of Public Speaking." Travel back in time with us as we explore public speaking and communication--one decade at a time.

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Thinkwell and Corporate Social Responsibility

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Twice a year, Thinkwell participates in service days with the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas. Our most recent service day was held at Andrews Elementary School here in Austin. We worked alongside 365 other corporate volunteers who took the day off to give the school a helping hand. Projects like gardening and painting were just a couple of the many tasks carried out around the campus. Here are a few pictures from that day.

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Finding Limits Graphically

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Today is the birth date of the famous British mathematician Alan Turing. Born in 1912, Turing contributed greatly to the shaping of what is known today as artificial intelligence and computer science.

Perhaps one of the most exciting projects Turing took on during his lifetime was deciphering the movements of German ships during battle while working for the Allies in World War II. Helping crack these codes landed him an award from the British government. You can learn more about his life here.

Turing relied on physics, philosophy, and lots of math to help him in his line of work. His love for these subjects early on helped make him successful. Here's a video we love from Professor Ed Burger that re-ignites our passion for math every time we see it. It's called "Finding Limits Graphically."

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Georg Wittig and The Periodic Table

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Yesterday was the birth date of the famous German chemist Georg Wittig. Wittig was a pioneer of organic chemistry in the early 1900s. During many years of research and study, he made important discoveries in his field regarding the way chemical elements react to each other. You can read more about Wittig and his works here.

Wittig died in 1987 at the age of 90. He had many years to devote to learning about and researching the chemical elements. Did you know that our current periodic table is made up of 117 chemical elements? That's a lot! The periodic table helps us organize and relate each element to one another.

While you're thinking of all the great contributions Georg Wittig made to the field of chemistry, watch and listen as Professor Dean Harman explains the basic makeup of the periodic table.




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Happy Birthday Carl!

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Recently, our CEO Carl Tyson celebrated his 60th birthday with friends and family from Thinkwell.

We dined together at East Side Café, ate a lot of Italian cream cake, and raised our glasses to our special birthday friend! Here are some pictures that I took and wanted to share with you.

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We are so thankful for Carl and all he has done and continues to do for our great company. Sure, I might be a little biased since he also happens to be the person who takes me home every night and shares his tacos with me, but he really is an all-around great guy.

Happy Birthday Carl!



Outliers, Summer, and Education

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In Malcom Gladwell's Outliers, I found some interesting studies and ideas about all-year education in the chapter about KIPP, the amazingly successful school program that's found in many of our country's low-income neighborhoods. One thing KIPP does to make sure their students succeed is to extend the school year into the summer.

According to research done by Karl Alexander, the amount of learning that gets lost during summer break can be significant, though families who make a conscious choice to fill their children's time with enriching activities see much less knowledge lost between school years. In fact, their children often will learn more during the summer than they do while in school.

This summer, make sure that visits to libraries, natural history museums, art museums, historical sites, and natural wonders are a part of your family's fun. There are even great self-paced educational materials out there that can fit into a summer schedule. Getting a head start on a high-stakes class like AP Chemistry or catching up on the math that was so much trouble last year could make all the difference when the end of August comes around.

We've all heard that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy; it turns out that all play and no work can be just as bad.

The Bacteria

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I recently ran across this article in Wired called "10 Strange Species Discovered Last Year." The article describes ten of the many species discovered by biologists in 2008, including tiny seahorses, a shell-twisting gastropod, and a coffee plant that contains no caffeine.

 

The last bit in the article talks about a species of bacteria that live in hairspray!

 

In fact, bacteria have the incredible ability to adapt to just about any environment. After enjoying this article, check out Professor George Wolfe talking about these pliable prokaryotes in Thinkwell's "The Bacteria."

Enjoy!


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Compartmentalization is the name of the game! See what Professor George Wolfe has to say about the basic cell overview of plants and animals.



About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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