03/25/2019 at 11:47 pm

Chapada Diamantina National Park has got to be the best national park nobody has ever heard of. Just on its own it is one of the nicest national parks I have ever been to. Throw in that nobody outside of Brazil is even aware of its existence and you have a wonderful place to visit with very few crowds.

We visited the week before the Sao Joao Festival which is the largest festival in the northeast of Brazil. Decorations for the festival were already being put up in Lencois. We organized our trip so that we would have 4 full days and 5 nights in Lencois. Our plan was:

Day of Arrival: Visit Pai Ignacio for the views of the canyons.
Day 1: Visit the Poco Encantado and Poco Azul.
Days 2-3: Hike through the Paty Valley
Day 4: Hike to the Sossego Waterfall

We left wishing we could have …

Sunsets and Anacondas: The Brazilian Pantanal

03/25/2019 at 10:34 pm

The Pantanal is one of the best places in the world to see wildlife and extreme biodiversity. We saw over 100 different species of birds and many other reptiles and mammals. Below is a slideshow with some selected photos as well as the list of animals we saw and could identify.

Birds and animals we saw:
Giant anteater
Lesser anteater
Greater bulldog bat
Capybara
Ring tailed coati
Cutia
Pantanal deer
Red broker deer
Crab eating fox
Onça (jaguar)
Brown capuchin monkey
Howler monkey (female and male)
Common river otter
Giant river otter

Birds
Anhinga
Chestnut eared aracari
Uncolored blackbird
Shiny blackbird
Yellow rumKet Cacique
Solitary cacique
Cafezino
Southern caracara
Yellow-beaked cardinal
Red-crested cardinal
Arancuã / Chaco chachalaca
Cormorants
Bare faced Curassow
Black capped donacobius
Long-tailed ground Dove
Whistling ducks
Great egret
Snowy egret
Cattle Egret
Purple gallinule
Red throated piping guan
Chestnut-colored guan
Gira cuckoo
Black colored hawk…

Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

03/25/2019 at 9:48 pm

Last summer I disconnected and ventured deep into the Idaho wilderness to go on a 6 day whitewater rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon river. We managed to win a permit for the Middle Fork of the Salmon River lottery. There is an average of 4 permits available each day (total 387 for the season) and there were 13,265 entries in the 2018 lottery. This trip is on almost every list of the best whitewater rafting trips in the world and deservedly so. We got to experience it as a family in August 2018 under sunny skies and a new moon. My youngest brother, a former river guide with Far and Away Adventures, was making his 22nd trip down the middle fork.

Located in the Frank Church Wilderness, the Middle Fork of the Salmon river is located in the high desert of Idaho. Because central Idaho …

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 $(x_1)$ resources, cultural possessions $(x_2)$, wealth $(x_3)$, and parent’s education $(x_4)$ were used to model ESCS (Y). This effect was then introduced into the a model of student scores (y). The explicit model follows,

$Y_i = \alpha_0+\alpha_1x_{i1} + \alpha_2x_{i2} + \alpha_3x_{i3} + \alpha_4x_{i4} + \nu_{i2}$
[latex]y_i = \beta_0 + \beta_1Y_i + \beta_2x_{i1} + \beta_3x_{i2} + \beta_4 …