Monday, January 22, 2007

B71 #27: Random news

Just like Yuet Ming, I just want to post a message to make sure that Edward is not the only one doing the blogging.

My wife and I will be visiting Hong Kong and Indonesia between Feb 11 and 19, mainly to celebrate Chinese New Year with our relatives in these two places. This is something we haven't done for 30+ years.

On a pure self-promotion note, I just published a textbook entitled "Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering" (Publisher: CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group). I worked on this for more than three years. My attempt is as much to educate as it is to entertain. My ties with Hong Kong are apparent from the first page, which shows a Boeing 747 landing at the old Kai Tak Airport.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

B71 #26: Method to sieve for Prime

Article #24 talked about Learning Disabilities. You may wish to know that Hong Kong has a "Society for Learning Disabilities" with website: The name of the Society has now been changed to "Distinguished Learning Society" because the helpful learning method can shed new light, on gifted as well as less gifted ones.

Having spent some time to study Prime numbers in the past few days, I find that we can easily identify Prime numbers within 120 if we change our numbering system to base 6.

To work with base 6, we arrange number in 6 columns and labelled them sequentially as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20 etc.


all numbers that ends with digit 0 are divisible by 6 (Rule #1);

all numbers with last digit divisible by 2 are divisible by 2 (Rule #2);

all numbers with last digit divisible by 3 are divisible by 3 (Rule #3);

all numbers whose Q-sum (i.e. sum of all digits) divisible by 5 are divisible by 5 (Rule #4);

all numbers whose A-sum (i.e. sum of odd digits minus even digits) divisible by 11 on base 6 (i.e. 7 on base 10) are divisible by 7 (Rule #5)

After having eliminated the above, the remaining numbers are Prime numbers on base 6. When converted back to base 10, they form the complete list of Prime numbers within 120.

1=decimal 1
2=decimal 2
3=decimal 3
5=decimal 5
11=1x6+1=decimal 7
15=1x6+5=decimal 11
21=2x6+1=decimal 13
25=2x6+5=decimal 17
31=3x6+1=decimal 19
35=3x6+5=decimal 23
45=4x6+5=decimal 29
51=5x6+1=decimal 31
101=1x36+0x6+1=decimal 37

Nonsense, afterall.

B71 #25: Signing in

Seems like Edward Sin is the only frequent blogger so far. I'm signing in just to make sure I can do it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

B71 #24: Thoughts on Learning Disabilities

On January 7, 2007, there was a TV programme talking about students with Learning Disabilities ("LD") problem.

As age develops, sooner or later we may encounter learning disabilities problem, especially when senile dementia creeps in. So, by helping students with LD problem, we may in fact benefit "ourselves".

Would you mind contributing your time to help to teach LD students or to develop LD teaching tools. If so, let's team up for synergy effect.

The following information is extracted from website:


In the United States and Canada, the term "Learning Disabilities" is used to refer to a range of neurological conditions that affect one or more of the ways that a person takes in, stores, or uses information.

Learning disabilities ("LD") are specific, not global, impairments. For example, a person may have LD which impact on the his/her ability to understand written information, while the same information, delivered orally, presents no problem.

The term LD includes such conditions as:

a) dysgraphia (writing disorder),
b) dyslexia (reading disorder),
c) dyscalculia (mathematics disorder) and
d) developmental aphasia.

It should be noted that most definitions of LD do not include people with an IQ lower than 70 who are usually characterized as having mental retardation, mental deficiency, or cognitive impairment, and their learning difficulties are related directly to their low IQ scores.

In contrast, LD individuals have the potential to learn as much as other people of average intelligence, but something is preventing them from reaching that potential.

LD affect all areas of life to the extent that the affected mode is used in that area. They are most often noticed in school settings, where certain learning modes are employed more than others, causing the weaknesses caused by the LD to stand out.

During the school years, LD are suggested by unexpectedly low academic achievement or achievement that is sustainable only by extremely high levels of effort and support.

Frequently LD co-exist with other conditions, including attentional, behavioural and emotional disorders, sensory impairments or other medical conditions.

LD are a life-long condition, and are not "curable". But learning can be facilitated by tailored teaching and multi-modal compensatory tools such as:

a) special seating assignments

b) alternative or modified assignments

c) modified testing procedures

d) electronic spellers and dictionaries

e) word processors

f) talking calculators

g) audio books

h) Text-to-Speech (TTS) Software

i) note-takers readers

j) proof-reader

Friday, January 05, 2007

B71 #23: Metacognition

Since nobody is contributing UGC, let me start one with "metacognition".

At our age, our primary concerns are Health and Wealth. Elaborating a bit, our primary concerns are:
a) Physical health - fit to go around
b) Mental health - fit to think and reason
c) Spiritual health - fit to do something meaningful
d) Physical wealth - have money
e) Mental wealth - have knowledge
f) Spiritual wealth - have friends

I read the term "metacognition" from today's newspaper, and extracted related information from internet. The news relate to the introduction of "3-3-4" education system in HK which means 3+3 years of secondary school and 4 years university.

Among other requirements, all students (irrespective of arts or science major) are required to study language and mathematics subjects up to Form 6 before graduating from secondary school. Some education experts suggest to introduce "metacognition" along with the change to facilitate students to cope with multi-discipline learning.

Being science graduates, I think we are well-trained under item (b) and (e) to apply "metacognition" and to continue our life-long learning.

As suggested in the newspaper, we have great potential to pursue items (c) and (f) to help others (especially youngsters) to expand knowledge.

I hope our "teacher" U-mates would join our discussion.



後設認知(Metacognition),又名"Knowledge of knowledge", "Learning of learning", 是一種個人控制及引導心智歷程的現像。利用這種現像,我們可以用之於學習策略,讓學生瞭解到自己的思想模式之同時,透過控制自己的思想模式,從而達至果效的學習方法。簡單一點來講,就是對自己的認知過程(包括:記憶perception計算, 聯想等各項)的思考。

Metacognitive strategies are thought to be valuable classroom tools by contemporary teachers, since most successful learners engage these naturally to some extent. Therefore they are explicitly taught and utilised across curricula to enhance learner performances.



METACOGNITION consists of three basic elements:
Developing a plan of action
Maintaining/monitoring the plan
Evaluating the plan

Before - When you are developing the plan of action, ask yourself:
What in my prior knowledge will help me with this particular task?
In what direction do I want my thinking to take me?
What should I do first?
Why am I reading this selection?
How much time do I have to complete the task?

During - When you are maintaining/monitoring the plan of action, ask yourself:
How am I doing?
Am I on the right track?
How should I proceed?
What information is important to remember?
Should I move in a different direction?
Should I adjust the pace depending on the difficulty?
What do I need to do if I do not understand?

After - When you are evaluating the plan of action ask yourself:
How well did I do?
Did my particular course of thinking produce more or less than I had expected?
What could I have done differently?
How might I apply this line of thinking to other problems?
Do I need to go back through the task to fill in any "blanks" in my understanding?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

B71 #22: YOU contributor, we welcome your UGC

To all science graduates, at the start of Year 2007, may I implore YOU not to drown yourself in obscurity, but to join and share the excitement of the global intellectual economy. Do contribute your valuable UGC to Blog.


Please read Wikipedia about YOU & UGC

User Generated content ("UGC") is featured in TIME magazine's 2006 Person of the Year, in which the person of the year is "you", meaning all of the people who contribute to user-generated media such as YouTube and Wikipedia.

User-generated content is a similar phenomena to open source which encourages user-generated software. A key example of this is LINUX which is a user-generated operating system started in 1991.

TIME magazine's "person of the year" issue from Dec. 25, 2006 notes the comparison as follows:

"Car companies are running open design contests. Reuters is carrying blog postings alongside its regular news feed. Microsoft is working overtime to fend off user-created Linux. We're looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it's just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy."

B71 #21: Hiking & Dinner on Jan.6, 2007

This supersedes #9, #10, #19.

Particulars for Hiking ("H"):
Jan. 6, 2007 at 3:00 pm at:
Kotewall Road #13 Bus Terminal.

Particulars for Dinner ("D"):
Jan. 6, 2007 at 7:00 pm at:
The Best Club
2/F Elizabeth House,
#250-254 Gloucester Road,
Causeway Bay, HK
Tel. 2537-3388
(public parking available in Elizabeth House)
A private room with TV, sofa and ensuite toilet will be reserved if there are more than 8 participants.

Participants List:
* Edward Sin + spouse (HD)
* Robert Lam + spouse (HD)
* Wu Dick Kin (HD)
* Leung Wing Kwong (D)
* Christopher So (H)

Happy to report that activity (Hiking & Dinner) was started at 3:00 pm and finished at 9:00 pm with most gratifying result.