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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kahn Academy
WHAT: Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide "a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere." Its website features thousands of educational resources, including a personalized learning dashboard, over 100,000 practice problems, and over 6,000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube teaching mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, cosmology, American civics, art history, economics, and computer science. All resources are available for free to anyone around the world. Khan Academy reaches about 10 million students per month and has delivered over 440 million lessons.

WHO: Anyone can use Khan Academy, and you don't even have to sign up, although there are some benefits to creating a username and password. For starters, the site will remember which videos you've watched, reward you with badges for making progress, and help you track your learning. Additionally, it can point you toward practice exercises that test your knowledge of things you've learned.
Enrolled users can also access a "coaching" feature. Coaches are guides for learners, whether a parent, teacher, tutor, or study buddy. A coach can see a learner's progress and suggest other lessons the learner should watch. Coaches and learners must mutually agree to the relationship, so there's no worry that some unknown person will be able to see what you're learning. 

Another neat feature is goal-setting, although it's still in beta. Both learners and coaches can set up goals for a learner, such as watch five consecutive videos or learn five new skills. Establishing custom goals, however, is by far the most interesting option, not because of the goals themselves (you basically just pick specific videos or video series you want to complete), but due to the way the selections are displayed. The possible options look like stars on a star map, with lines drawn between them to show relationships, giving you greater visibility into how subjects connect. For example, the mathematical topic "variance" branches down into "standard deviation" and "exploring standard deviation," which also both connect to two more topics: "Z scores" and "empirical rule." You can pan around the star map and zoom in and out to explore all the topics in a much more engaging way than scrolling through a bullet list. Because the goal feature is still in beta, custom goal content comprises math only. I can't wait for this area to expand. 

Non-native English speakers and hard-of-hearing or deaf learners will be happy to know that you can turn on English transcriptions or subtitles with one click. Subtitles in other languages also appear, but their completeness and quality varies video to video and language to language—it's all supported by YouTube and Amara, which relies on crowd-sourced contributions to improve. And leveraging those existing technologies is the right approach to take, especially for a non-profit organization. It lets the people who run Khan Academy focus on what matters: content.

HOW: Students can make use of their extensive library of content, including interactive challenges, assessments, and videos from any computer with access to the web. All learning is online video based learning. What makes video-based learning unique is that the learner can go at his or her own pace, re-watch videos or pause them to think through an idea, and fit it in when it's most convenient. Khan Academy just gets it, keeping the actual videos frills-free and the material approachable. If you are a student, parent, or just a life-long learner, Khan Academy will become a household name. The site has been expanding rapidly, but 
has shown vast improvements in the last year alone.  Khan's content is phenomenal, and that is what matters.

WHAT IS TAUGHT: The subject matter taught at Khan Academy varies widely and is expanding all the time. When the site started, it focused on economics, math, and some of the sciences. But now you'll find prep material for standardized, art history courses, content to learn how to computer animation, as well as explanations of current affairs, like a thorough explanation of the Greek debt crisis or the Geithner Plan. 

For the most part, the content is aimed at upper grade school and college-level students. But the beauty of free online learning is that anyone can attempt to learn, and indeed nothing restricts a user of any age or background from working through any of the material.

WHERE: As for where it is an online learning device, therefore at any time you are capable of logging on and the only requirement is of course stable internet and any type of computer, tablet phone, ect..

Sweet Wormwood - medicinal herb

WHAT: The Sweet Wormwood or (Artemisia Annua Plant) is an annual aromatic herb from Asia, and has been used in China to treat fevers for more than 2000 years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is often prescribed in combination with other herbs to treat, in addition to fevers, jaundice, headache, dizziness, and nosebleeds. The genus Artemisia belongs to the sunflower family and includes many well-known plants used in medicine, perfumery, and food and drink industry, such as (Teragon, Absinthe, and Mugwort or Sweet wormwood). The sweet wormwood contains the chemical artemisinin and its aerial parts and is used in making antimalarial drugs. Artemisinin and its precursors (including arteannuin B, artemistene, artemisinic acid, artemether, and etc...) are of significant interest for the treatment of cerebral and drug resistant cases of malaria. Artemisinin and its precursors have also shown activity against a number of tumor cell lines. A decoction of Artemisia has also been shown clinically to be a good choleretic in the regulation of gall bladder mobility.

WHY: Malaria must be considered as one of the most common tropical diseases. It causes a greater economic loss than any other disease and it is a major cause of infant mortality in many developing countries, particularly in Africa. It is recognized that new drugs are urgently needed because of the resistance of plasmodium species to current chemotherapy and other drugs. Therefore searching for new antimalarial compounds from plants is of increasing clinical interest. The Chinese antimalarial drug artemisinin is one such new drug of current interest. Artemisinin has rapid action and is effective against chloroquine-resistant malarial parasites and has a different mode of action from existing blood schizonticides, (which are agents that kill schizonts) and schizonts are the cells that undergo schizogony or asexual reproduction to form daughter cells in your blood stream.

WHO: As for the who, that can be benefited with the Artemisia Annua Plant would be all who may undergo treatments of malaria, through artemisinin and derivatives, or may use the plant for tea remedies for fevers, jaundice, headaches, dizziness, and nosebleeds. Note, if pregnant avoid use. Artemisinin and its derivatives, in particular artemether, have a toxic effect on embryos.

WHERE AND WHEN: where and when can you grow the Artemisia Annua Plant? It is in flower from August to September, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The flowers are Hermaphroditic, having both male and female organs, and are pollinated by insects. Suitable for light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. A rain-fed crop requires at least 600-650mm of rain fall. As with most medicinal herbs, artemisinin's contents and efficacy are subject to climatic, geographical and environmental conditions. Not all Artemisia Annua plants necessarily contain artemisinin and in some places, depending on the quality of the soil and rainfall, the content may be very low and without industrial value. These factors make it necessary to run pilot tests of cultivation on small areas of land to ensure that the land selected is suitable for growing high-yield plants before large-scale cultivation begins. Cultivation of Artemisia Annua requires a minimum of 6 months and extraction, processing and manufacturing of the final product require at least 2–5 months depending on the product formulation. High temperatures during post-harvest handling can damage the quality of the plant. After harvesting or collection, the artemisinin content of the leaves will gradually decrease. The value of the raw material for extraction can be lost after six to twelve months’ storage. To buy seeds:

HOW: To use Artemisia Annua Plant? Drugs are primary weapons for reducing malaria in human populations. However emergence of resistant parasites has repeatedly curtailed the lifespan of each drug that is developed and deployed. Currently the most effective anti-malarial is artemisinin, derived from the dried Artemisia Annua Plant. When using artemisinin you use the (ACT) or Artemisinin Combination Therapy. When combining or using combination therapy with Artemisinin, this reduces the risk or the malaria bug developing resistance, where if you would just use Artemisinin by its self you would have a higher chance for the malaria schizonts, or cell to gain resistance.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." 

God has a plan for each one of us. In fact, before birth, He has called us by name from the womb (Is 49:1).We are unique in His creation, fearfully & wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14), designed completely in His image (Gen 1:27) with a mind of Christ (1Cor 2:16).

And yet…the enemy comes to lie, steal and destroy. In moments of weakness, the Plan He so intricately designed just for us can erode little by little until we become unsure, wary or it’s just plain left behind.

WAVER (hesitate, be indecisive, tremble, shudder, quiver) NOT.  These are the words I heard this morning as I stumbled, with coffee in hand, to my prayer chair. I sleepily gazed out the window to watch as the sun began to shine on the dew-drenched roses.  A breeze happened by, tousling the leaves that held one rose bud in place.  It held on for all it was worth, unwilling to be sent scampering across the lawn.  I wonder if I hold on to God’s promises over my life as tightly as that leaf held onto the stem of my rose. 

Somewhere during the past 7 years, I let go of my dream’s burden. I had held on to it for 50 odd years, but circumstances eroded my passion little by little. Words from God would come and go. People would lay hands on me, assuring me the promise was still alive and well but I was becoming comfortable in the place of contentment.

I enjoy the city, home, job and friends He has surrounded me with as I healed from the chaos of death, grieving, abandonment and rejection. Yet, the years have passed and I could once again feel a pull to the nations. Visions & Dreams returned.  I felt as if I was carrying a child & as I began travailing I knew it was time to step into a new season. I kept telling the LordYes, but I wasn’t really stirring any waters. I was doing a lot of works but in a stationary sort of way.

Finally one recent day I got an email from a dear and trusted friend. She had seen me in a vision…one hand holding a white security blanket while the other reached desperately for the globe in front of me. I couldn’t grasp it because I was hanging on the blanket. 

It reminded me of a dream I had when Phil died. It had been one year & I was driving up to see my parents. Sylvester was with me in his cage on the passenger seat.  We were singing when I realized the voice coming out of me wasn’t mine. (It was much prettier and more on tune!) All the sudden Sylvester looked up and said “WHO is THAT?” An angel had landed on my car hood.  I pulled over & my new friend said, “Do not be afraid. I have come to show you the way.” He took me into an open vision where I was standing on a bridge with one arm stretched behind me holding on to Phil and one reaching toward God’s hand. I knew I had to let go of one. I pulled my hand slowly from Phil’s and immediately was able to grasp God’s. I turned to watch Phil walk away and then forced my eyes back toward the future.

I was again at that crossroad. I have a choice. Waiver and stay where I am or run with all I have towards the call that has always been over my life.

Hebrews10:23 “Let us hold fast(posses, retain, seize, take)  the profession (acknowledgment)of our faith without wavering;(being indecisive, irresolute, hesitant, fickle) (for he is faithful(sure, true) that promised;)”

Romans 4:20-21 says “He staggered (wavered)  not  at the promise (announcement, message) of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded (completely assured or convinced) that, what he had promised, (guaranteed) he was able also to perform.”

2 Cor 1:20For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God.

I can do this. His word equips us; his love drives us to do anything for Him while His strength is our strong tower. I’ve made up my mind. I will not sit in fear. I will not wallow in contentment. I will not waiver at the promise. I will run after my first love wherever it takes me & at whatever cost.

It’s a good day to don some tennis shoes!