Sunday, November 17, 2013

Intelligence Squared - by Lily

5pm Sunday. Nicholas finished his piano lesson, packed up his books, and we headed to the car. I turned on the engine, and as usual my radio was on NPR. A new program caught our attention, it was Intelligence2 US debate, and the issue at debate was “For a better future, live in a red state”. The “for” side started out with a list of statistical numbers and analysis. The minute we got home, both of us rushed inside and turned on the radio. Soon, Allan joined us as well listening attentively. Once in a while we nodded in agreement or interjected a comment. It was quite a unique scene with us huddling around the old fashioned radio in this digital world.

The debate is in traditional Oxford style. Both sides, for and against, first lay out their arguments, then answer questions from audience or opponents, with a moderator. The audience vote on the statement before the debate, then vote again after the debate. The side that gains more vote through debate wins. The debaters are professors, policy makers, analyst, etc. We all really enjoy those well-thought out arguments and well-prepared data-based analysis. We appreciate looking at the same issue from totally different angles. And of course the topics are interesting as well.

After 2 weeks in a row listening to the program, I looked it up online. It turned out this program started in 2006 with live debate held at the Kaufman center in New York. It premiered on PBS earlier this year. I’m so glad we finally caught it on NPR.  There’s definitely more to check out,

Notes by Allan: 

1) NPR's broadcast of the debate lags the real debate by a few weeks 

3) The first debate we listened was on "break up the big banks"

4) In these two debates I listened to, there was a clear undertone of "liberal" idea vs. "conservative" idea, that is what made the debate interesting.  But it is really about debate technique,  about debater's knowledge on the topic, and more importantly about catching opponents' weakness, elaborating one's position logically. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Early Autumn

One cold front after another keeps coming to North Texas. Mornings and days have turned to be pleasantly cool. Leaves have started changing colors here and there. Weather wise, the best time of the year at North Texas has arrived. In a week or so, it will be the most beautiful time of the year scenery wise.

Due to various schedule conflict, we have not been out to enjoy nature as a family since coming back from Acadia this summer. I persuaded the whole family for a quick outing at Oak point park on the Saturday after noon last week, to enjoy a cool day outdoor.  It was a bit early then to see foliage, and Oak Point was not a good place for scenery at this time of the year. The prairie there  is at its best  in late spring, and early summer. But I did see signs of autumn  - a bright yellow color here, a dark red color there. Along the biking trail near Parker road, a few people were picking fallen Pecans.

 In fact our neighborhood and surrounding area is a good place for foliage viewing. I recorded the splendor of autumn every year since 2008:

Nicholas and I went out a few times in 2009 to record the colors of autumn, Of course it is more than foliage for us to enjoy in the autumn, there are fruits hanging on the trees, there are families of wild life in the ponds, a recollection of the fall of 2008 in a post showed vivid pictures of that autumn. In 2010, I focused on the harvest of the year; and in 2011, the foliage was as good as ever, but what most special that autumn was that Cheetahs - Nicholas' soccer team - reached championship game in our city's youth soccer league for the first time. Last year, Lily and I walked in the streets of our neighborhood to capture foliage in the yards.

The gradual cool down this fall should bring another splendid autumn. 

(pictures below were taken last week at Oak point park and nature prereserves)