Archive for June 29th, 2006

Off for a few days

June 29, 2006

I will be away all of next week, coming back in the middle of the final for the World Cup a week from Sunday, hope plane is on time. If anything important happnes I will update by email, since I can’t get remote updating to work again. Jorge Arena will also keep an eye open for me.

Four Species

June 29, 2006

I find Cattleya Violacea to be so elegant. Thsi is the second time this plant flowers and it is much better in both size and shape than before. Plant has three flowers, two shown on the left and then a close up of the one on the right. Beautiful, no?

Above left, not a great picture but this is Cattleya Leopoldii from Brazil. I could not get the petals and sepals in focus and I will be travelling and will noy have time to take another picture. Top right, Dendrobium Thyrsyflorum from Asia, beatufil hanging lantern-like bunch with flwoers that are white and bright yellow, it is an impressive sight. I remember teh first time I saw one of these I thought I had to have one. This plant almost died on me when I moved, it has recovered well, lots of leaves but this time only three bunches. One of these years it will have ten or twelve.

An educational proposal full of ideology but with no content

June 29, 2006

Venezuela needs investment to create jobs and education. Investment is not going well, there is very little of it by the Government or the private sector. Well, if what follows in this article from Ultimas Noticias is the path for education, things are truly bleak for our beleagueared country.

Minister Istúriz: “I am politicizing education, so?”
Noticias, 6/28/2206)

In the framework of the III national Pedagogical Congress: Towards the
consolidation of the Bolivarian Educational System,, building the national
Pedagogical theory”, the Minister of education Aristóbulo Isturiz pointed out
that in order to change the current educational model “it is necessary to have
an ideological and political floor, because without politics there is no
pedagogy and without them education”

Minister proposed an educational system based on pedagogical theory: “The state
is in charge of forming citizens according to its political theory, according
to its vision for the Republic.

He pointed out that for the implementation of the new Bolivarian
educational system which is based in equality, social democracy and a state of Justice;
this is only possible through the teachers.

The Venezuelan teacher now more than ever needs politics and ideology.
All teachers have to be politicians compromised with a dream for the country in
order to turn it into a reality. Without teachers there is no revolution,
education has to be at the service of the liberation of the people.

He informed that education is in a reversion process, because the
Government is implementing a process of renewal of public education which will
only be possible if the privatization of education is eliminated.

Each teacher has to be married with the model of the Republic and our
political ideology has as its objective to build the socialist ideology of the
XXIst. Century, the Minister pointed out.

End of article

Note the following:

–No mention of excellence

–No mention of merit

–No mention of content, knowledge, culture, learning

–It says public education can only work if you eliminate private
education. Shouldn’t it be the other way around, you make public education so
good you wipe out private education?

–It is clearly discriminatory, to be a science teacher you must have
the right politics, otherwise you are out no matter how good you may be as a
teacher. The mediocre will rise to the top on the back of fake ideological
grounds! Well, after all Mr. Isturiz is the same man who said Chavez had “smoked
an egg roll” because of his nutty ideas, but then he got the job of Minister of
Education and he apparently shared it with the autocrat!

–Note that there is still no ideology behind XXIst. Century Socialism,
it remains “to be built”

God help Venezuela
if this is the who and how their children will be “educated”!

A strange Venezuelan orchid species: Coryanthes Speciosa

June 29, 2006

Today you get a break from the tough world of politics and conflicts. Below a picture of one of the weirdest Venezuelan orchid, Coryanthes Speciosa. I just posted about it in my orchid section if you are interested why this strange shape helps reproduction and pollination. Have a good one!

Amazing Coryanthes Speciosa! Thanks Cate!

June 29, 2006

My friend Cate, known in the blogging world as Awacate, had told me about this strange orchid her father had brought her mother from the East of Venezuela that was doing really well at her house. When she sent me a picture it turned out to be a Coryanthes, one of the weirdest of orchids as you can see in the pictures below. I believe based on the Field Guide of Orchids of Venezuela by Dunsterville and Garay that it is a Coryanthes Speciosa. This week Cate called me up and told me that it was in flower again and invited me to her house to see it and take some pictures. It was a very nice visit and great to see my first Coryanthes Speciosa in my life. Coryanthes is not an easy plant to take care of and have flower regularly, but this one seems pleases as punch to be at Cate’s house in Caracas.

I have borrowed the figure below right from this description of the pollination of Coryanthes, which is based on a description by Gernolt Bergold, a scientist I knew many years ago and who has now passed away. Bassically, the flower has two Pleurids which drip water into the bucket (Thus the nickname “bucket” orchid). The bees get attracted to the flower and as they get in its complex structure, they tend to fall in the bucket. The bee with the wet wings has a hard time leaving the flower, unless it gets out via a hole right next to the pollinia which get stuck on the back of the bee. As the bee falls into the same trap in another flower, it fertilizes via the column in the other orchid. Quite a feat of evolution! (Read more on the link). By the way, the flowers last only two or three days.