Category Archives: Meta

Finally learned something… Blog retiring.

If anyone’s still here, you might notice the blog looks a bit different.

After neglecting it for a while I’ve decided to retire Did you learn anything?; I’ve freshened it up and made it into an archive. My point of view has changed significantly in the past year and if I get back to blogging in English, I’ll want to use a new blog for it.

So long, and thanks for all the fish…

Back in the Middle East

In the past few weeks, I packed up my belongings, got rid of a lot of them, and put much of them in storage. On Wednesday, I boarded a flight to Israel, with a suitcase bursting at the seams and a large backpack almost as full.

I’m back in Israel now, and plan to be here for a while. I left Germany just as winter was starting in earnest, and arrived just as what is called “winter” here is starting – which has a lot in common with late summer or fall in Germany, and nothing at all with German winter.

I’m thrilled to be back, and wondering how long the euphoria can last. I will finally resume posting in the coming days, and hope to be able to share with you some interesting thoughts and experiences.

If there’s something in particular you’d like to hear my take on, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

Politics is not for everyone – even in a direct democracy

Democracy is about allowing people to participate – even if only a minority takes an active role most of the time.

I’m often asked how many people really participated in School Meetings at Sudbury Jerusalem – as if it’s less democratic when fewer people choose to participate. But actually, low participation at meetings can be a sign that democracy is working well.


When we started Sudbury Jerusalem, for a few weeks we had a School Meeting every day.

Most of the proposals, at first, came from those who had been in and around the founding process – mainly staff and children of staff. I was a student and a co-founder, and one of the most active participants.

It took months – dozens of Meetings – for the process to become so established in the school’s culture that many other students made proposals. In parallel, as time went by, fewer and fewer students regularly took part in School Meetings. Continue reading Politics is not for everyone – even in a direct democracy

I now blog in Hebrew, too

So, after thinking about it for a very long time, I started another blog, in Hebrew. This means I will be posting a little less here, and at times much less.

The title of the new blog is אז מה למדנו?, which is pronounced approximately [az ma lamadnu] and means “So, what did we learn?” (yeah, not all that different from this blog’s title, I know.)

So if you read Hebrew, head on over and check it out!

My “Tirade Against Exams”

I try to keep an eye on how people get to this blog, using WordPress and Google tools, and I especially take note of old posts that are still getting traffic.

Apparently the most popular of my old posts is one I wrote almost two years ago about university exams.

I’ve edited the post a little, and if you didn’t read it yet, you might want to check it out:

A Tirade Against Exams


So why are exams a bad idea when you want to check whether a bunch of science undergrads understood what you taught them? Well, one part of the problem should be obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of science:exams are not very good experiments. There is no way to control for interference of irrelevant, extraneous factors. When scientists conduct a study, in any field and with any methodology, they seek to control for irrelevant interferences. For example, when psychologists test hand-eye coordination, they’ll do something like only taking right-handed people with healthy hands and eyes, in order to make sure that the results aren’t skewed by irrelevant differences between individuals.

You can’t do anything like that in exams.

Continue reading »

I’ve also changed the blogs settings so that comments are now open on old posts, too (they used to close automatically after two months). Feel free to rekindle the discussion on the Tirade, or on any other old post.

Reading problems on Internet Explorer

It has come to my attention that the blog’s design is messed up when viewing on some versions of Internet Explorer.

I’ll fix this as soon as I can, but I highly recommend using a different browser.

Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari are all great choices, available for free, and work faster and better than Internet Explorer while also keeping you safer from threats to your computer’s security.


Illustration by Sabine Günther

As you may have noticed, I’ve been redesigning the website over the last couple of days. It was one of those things I wanted to do at some point but really wasn’t planning on starting, until I suddenly got sucked into it and started obsessing. I’m sure I’ll still find some little detail to “fix”, then another, then another, but at this point I’m willing to declare the redesign complete and successful.

Of course, if you notice anything that seems off, let me know.

Especially useful resources in this work were w3schools’ CSS reference and Fonts2u.

(And thanks for your input, you guys – you know who you are.)

Commenting restricted

Over the past couple of days, for some reason, Akismet has not been catching spam anymore, meaning I get a good 10-20 e-mails a day about spam comments awaiting my attention. Until this is figured out, I’ve restricted comments so that you have to be signed up to comment.

I addition, the problem I mentioned a few months ago, where someone posts a comment and it gets lost without a trace, is apparently still ongoing.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

If anyone has any idea about either of these problems, your input would be appreciated. I will look into them as soon as I can and see what can be done.

EDIT (April 2012): The problem fixed itself somehow. Commenting is now open for all.

Having problems posting comments?

Mattan just told me that he had tried to post comments to some of the posts recently and they weren’t posted, nor did he get any kind of error message. I’ll be looking into this over the coming days and hopefully fixing it; if it happens to you, please let me know. Meanwhile it might be a good idea to keep a copy of any long comments before sending them.

Disqus… Soon.

I’ve just installed Disqus (prounounced “discuss”), which I think will make it easier for more people to participate in discussions here. But right now I’m still getting it set up and you may not be able to see or make new comments until I’m done.

If there are any problems with the comments after today, please let me know ASAP!

(This is also the reason the blog theme has suddenly switched. I think I’m going to keep this font once I fix it!)


UPDATE: I decided to drop Disqus and stick with normal comments for now. Though I did switch the content font. :)