Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Notes From All Over, Part 3 -- February 4, 2020

This is really, really cool.

When I was in the USAF, I had an incredibly well-received presentation regarding the strategic plan for our small clinic over at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. The thesis of the presentation: "what business are we in?"

So, I was pleased to see this in a commentary earlier this morning regarding Schwab:
How do these add up to what I call a possible brilliant strategy? Understand that Schwab, the original discount broker, is no longer in the brokerage business.
I've said for several years that Tesla is not in the car business. It's in the battery business, disguised as a car company. And as such, Tesla is going to do very, very well.

Likewise, maybe a decade ago, I noted that Apple was not in the hardware/software business, it was in the mobile entertainment / luxury apparel division. Wow, that was prescient. 

Amazon? I'm trying to figure that one out. It's too easy to say it's in the "logistics" business, rather than "retail" per se. But maybe that's all it is: logistics. Trucking, air cargo, warehousing.

Speaking of Amazon. Years ago, Lego had a complicated map / spreadsheet in their catalogues showing how long and how much it would cost to ship their products. It seemed to take forever to receive a Lego order. Same with Omaha Steaks. It seemed from time or order to actual arrival, two weeks for Omaha Steaks and expensive shipping. Now, both companies are expediting their deliveries: I received a Lego delivery in three days; and, an Omaha Steaks delivery arrived in less than a week. I was amazed. Lego shipping? Free. Omaha Steaks: generally a minimum $20 fee to ship but often they provide a coupon or a special with free shipping. This didn't "just happen." One word: Amazon.

By the way: if Amazon, Lego, and Omaha Steaks are colluding to lower their prices, lower their shipping fees, and shorten their delivery times, I'm all for this kind of collusion. LOL. See early note/comment from a reader who mentions collusion.

Walmart. I don't often shop in brick and mortar stores but when I do, I shop Walmart. About a week ago, I realized I needed more birdseed, but I was not going to go to Walmart until I needed a few more things to make the trip worthwhile. So, yesterday, the Walmart trip:
  • birdseed, and lots of it (incredibly inexpensive)
  • a new housekey
  • a couple of 3-ring binders (tax season, statements, yada, yada, yada)
  • envelopes
  • one Hot Wheels car (a 1965 convertible Ford Mustang, driven by 007); 94 cents; six cents less expensive than elsewhere; Sophia is acquiring quite a collection;
  • dog treats for the neighbor's dog (I always keep a bag in the car for Sophia to give to Huey, the lovable dog next door)
  • a bag of Reese's bite-size chocolate-peanut butter cup treats
Credit card. Last week I received an e-mail note from my bank.
At first I thought it was a scam. The e-mail note said that I had not used my credit card from that bank in almost two years, suggesting I no longer needed it (that sounded a bit snarky). The bank said I needed to use it by the end of March, 2020, to keep it. That was true; I had not used that card in almost two years. But I hate to go through the process of getting a new card if I need it, so I used it to purchase my goodies at Walmart. I was curious if it would still work. It did.
Self-service: self-service scan and pay at Walmart is awesome. I always use it. I always thank the  jilbāb-robed woman who watches over the area. Always very, very pleasant. She has been there for a couple of years, and always seems to be there when I go to that particular Walmart.

Girls and boys are different. Well, duh! But why?
Another example. I picked this up from Sophia. Today while watching a YouTube video with Sophia it dawned on me. The videos she likes all involve other girls in social settings, and they are always talking about their feelings, and their relationship with others, especially their parents. Boys? They're driving Tonka trucks and building things. Sometimes they build together (collaborate); sometimes they compete. But feelings, relationships. LOL. It's all about getting a project. Wow, I'm going to get a lot of hate mail accusing me of sexism. It was just an observation. One can learn a lot from those in kindergarten.
Counting. This is pretty cool. This is what Sophia explained to me when I dropped her off at Tutor Time. This is how the Montessori teacher from India is helping the four- and five-year-olds conceptualize big numbers. And, there's a bit of contest involved. The first photo:

Second photo:

So, this is what is going on.

There are two "pads." On the right, the westernized number system.  On the left, the eastern number system.

The Montessori teacher sits between the two pads. One student is on the left, with the "abacus." Another student is on the right with the Arabic numerals.

The teach calls out a 3-digit number such as 233. The students then "put" the cards or the beads together to represent 233.

On the right, one "200 card"; a "thirty" card; and a "three."

On the left, Sophia will pick up two 10 x 10 bead sets (200); three lengths each with ten beads; and, finally three beads.

I think it's a pretty clever way to help students conceptualize big numbers.

The contest: challenging the students to see who can put the "big number" together first.

My dad would have probably used $100-bills; $10-bills; and, $1-bills. LOL.

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