Bhutan and the Laya Gasa Trek

11/15/2014 at 4:29 am

A dream of mine for several years has been to visit Bhutan and complete the Snowman Trek — said to be the hardest trek in the world. The trek is 216 miles over 28 days crossing 8 passes above 16,000ft. However, my doctor did not share this dream and refused to sign off on the trip. After much convincing, we finally “settled” on me doing the first half of the snowman trek (better known as the Laya Gasa Trek). The first half is 130 miles with 2 passes above 16,000 ft over 12 days. The average elevation for the laya gasa trek was over 13,000ft. For the record, he strongly advised against going on the trip and required me to inform both of my parents of the risks involved in the trip along with the fact that I would be disregarding his advice

Bhutan is a small country nestled in …

PISA 2012 – Economic, Social, and Cultural Status

07/19/2014 at 8:29 pm

It has been known for a while that academic performance is positively correlated with economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS). The causal factors that influence inequality in educational outcome are likely to be byproducts or sources of the variation in ESCS.

Using the PISA 2012 survey results for only the USA, the influence of ESCS on student performance in mathematics, science, and reading, was modeling using a quantile regression approach for recursive structural equations (Ma and Koenker, 2006). The model was constructed with ESCS as the structural effect of interest. Home educational resources, cultural possessions , wealth , and parent’s education were used to model ESCS (Y). This effect was then introduced into the a model of student scores (y). The explicit model follows,

where i=1,…,10,294 and represents the structural effect of ESCS evaluated at several different quantile combinations. Five quantiles of ESCS were considered (0.1,0.25,0.5,0.75,0.9) and 9 quantiles …

PISA 2012 – parent’s occupation

07/19/2014 at 7:29 pm

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial survey conducted by the OECD to assess the quality of education around the work. The aim of PISA is to measure how well 15 year old students can apply their acquired knowledge in mathematics, science, and reading to real-life situations. In each iteration of the PISA survey, there is one subject that is more heavily emphasized. In 2012, the emphasis was on mathematics. The survey also collects data on hundreds of other variables that assess the student, their psychological views regarding a subject, their home life, and many others. Additionally, school information is collected from a survey completed by the principal and, in some countries, parent’s were given a survey. All 34 OECD members and 31 non-OECD economies around the world participate in the survey. Together these economies account for over 80% of the world’s total GDP.

One of the …

America’s Canyon National Parks

04/23/2014 at 1:33 pm

Over Easter weekend my roommate Felix and I flew out to vegas, rented a car, and visited some of America’s most amazing national parks. We started in Zion and hiked Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and the Emerald Ponds. The emerald ponds were very disappointing. Just some murky green water and not the emerald color that you see in some portions of the Virgin River.

On Saturday morning we left our campsite at 7:30am and drove over to Bryce Canyon National Park. We immediately tried to find a fun hike and chose the Fairyland Loop. It is an 8 mile hike that goes down into the canyon and has some impressive views of the hoodoos. Just after we finished the hike, it started to rain for a brief period. We used this time to take a break and drive to all the view points in the park. The views from inspiration …

Ice Climbing in Iowa

02/24/2014 at 9:58 pm

Few states are as progressive as Iowa. Iowa was one of the first states to allow women to own property (1838), prevent forced repatriation of slaves (1838), legalize interracial marriage (1851), grant African Americans the right to vote (1867), desegregate the public schools (1868), elect a woman to public office (1869), and many other laudable actions. A more complete list can be viewed here. This progression doesn’t end with civil rights issues.

Just a sports like skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, to list a few, have seen great progression in their sports over the last 25 years, ice climbing was ripe for change. Along came Don Briggs — a professor at the University of Northern Iowa — who had the outside-of-the-box mentality to expand ice climbing to grain silos. Suddenly Iowa had a new achievement to further strengthen it’s reputation as one of the great mountaineering states. As an example …