My drive into work was filled with local public radio WCYDWT goodness. The top of the hour local news had back to back full of big open questions that I’d love to put in front of high school students and see if they’d bite.
The first was a followup on Quantis’ groundings of the A380’s. There was little to no news in the piece (“there was oil where there shouldn’t be oil”), but I was left thinking about how Quantis’ contracts with Airbus, and Airbus’ contracts with Rolls Royce, might handle responsibility for major failures like this. Is there any guarantee that these planes will work as promised for the first XX months? Does Airbus agree to cover losses due to system wide groundings of their new model? Does Airbus then have similar agreements with their component designers/suppliers like Rolls Royce? If so, there’s a team of game-theory lawyers on either side, filling white boards and data models trying to find the sweet minimum for outlay and risk. I’d like to think that there’s agreed upon conditions for these things, but when Washington DC radio has stories about how Quantis is managing their long haul flights from LAX, it’s clear that the game that matters is the inevitable lawsuit.
Then a story about a green energy company launching a two year wind survey on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, scouting for a potential wind far. I started building small windmills out of LEGO in my head, wondering if tracking the rotations with light sensors would be accurate enough. A small Audrino setup would probably be better, but it would push the contraction out of my middle schooler’s hands. But a small grid of LEGO wind towers across the roof of our school would pair wonderfully with that study. What are they looking for? How much wind is enough wind? Is there a kind of wind that’s better for electricity generation? Can there be too much wind? How does the cost of a project like this scale? How much is sunk infrastructure and how much increases with the footprint and density of the windfarm? What’s the threshold of profitability? With what assumed price of a Mw/h?
But then, before I could even get this typed and posted, I found myself in class, pulling minutes away from our first Python programming exploration to explain a worksheet of the worst psuedo-context I’ve seen in ages.
Jimmy is going to an extended fraction addition problem to find out how many pages were in the book he’s been reading all week? Really? “Joe, Peter, Mike and Cindy shared some paper clips. ” Really? Shared some paper clips?