My Best Teaching Is One-on-One

一対一が僕のベスト

Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.

当然、先生方と共同レッスンも、特別レッスンの指導もします。

But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.

しかし、僕の一番意味あると思っている仕事は、講義が終わってから、
一対一と
個人的にその課題の勉強を応援することです。

It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.

まあ、コンピュータプログラムにすると、得意先の方に出来上がった製品を体験させるようなことと思います。
役に立たない製品はまだ製品になっていないと同様です。

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fluid Mechanics and Passenger Trains

Riding the commuter express because it's the next train, not because I'm in a hurry. It's really crowded, and not fun to ride.
急いでいるわけではなく、次が通勤急行だったので乗ることにしました。結構込むし、楽には乗れません。

The next regular/local is a five minute longer wait, so the express gets to my station eight minutes earlier.
次の各駅はこの急行の5分後の出発するので、急行の方は降りる駅までに8分早く到着します。

If it were a regular, instead of an express, it would still get me there five minutes earlier.
例えば、急行ではなく、各駅だったとすると、8分ではなく、5分早く着くでしょう。

Three whole minutes. I'm not in that much of a rush. But it's an express, so I guess I'm lucky to ride it.
三分だけです。それほど急いでいるわけではありません。急行でしょう?乗って得するのではありませんか。

But, really?
マジ?ホンマ?

When regular trains get too crowded at rush hour, what is the train company's automatic response?
ラッシュ時の各駅電車の乗客人数が度を越すと判定されたら、電鉄会社の自動対処はどういうものでしょう?
 
Add another regular train?
各駅をもう一つ増やすのですか?

No, nothing that simple.
そんな簡単なことはしません。

Add an express. That will carry more passengers, faster, right?
急行を増やすでしょう。それはもっとたくさんの乗客をより早く運んでい行くでしょうね。

But if the express has the same number of cars of the same type as the regular, does it really carry more?
ただ、車両の数も種類も一緒なら、急行は各駅よりも多くの人数を載せることができますか?

No?
どうでしょう?

It must be faster, though, and faster must mean more, right?
急行は早いに、早いは多いでしょう。ね。

Only if the express has its own track. This one doesn't. They usually don't.
まあ、急行の電車は専用の線路があれば、可能かも知りません。今乗っている線は急行専用線がありません。大体の線路はそう、急行専用線がないわけです。

Because the commuter express has to have a clear slot, they can't add another local. And they can't add any more expresses.
通勤急行のために線路の予約時間ををクリアしないと行けないので各駅はこれ以上増やせないのです。急行もこれ以上増やせません。

So the existence of the express induces a limit on the number of trains and on the number of passengers.
急行の存在によって、便数の制限も乗客の人数の制限もできてしまいます。

Without this express, they could add two locals, or maybe even three. Even two would be half again the number of passengers, and would arrive just a minute later than the express I'm riding. Three would be double the number of pasengers, and get me there at the same time as the express.
この通勤急行がなければ、各駅を2つも、3つも増やせます。二つだけ増やしても、今の人数をさらに半分まで増やせるのです。今乗っている通勤急行よりも一分だけ送れるでしょう。3つの各駅を増やせば、乗客の人数が倍になって、僕が今乗っている通勤急行到着時間と同じものになるではありませんか?

In the other direction, in the morning, it's worse. The local waits for the express, three stops in. Sometimes it waits for two expresses. The express itself does get there a little faster, overall, maybe in thirteen minutes. But the local slows down from sixteen  or seventeen minutes to as much as twenty-five minutes.
朝の反対方向を考えると更にまずいのです。朝乗る駅から3つ目の駅で急行待ちとなります。場合によっては2つも待たされるのです。全体的、急行だけは確かに少し早く着きます。旅行時間は13分か14分が普通です。各駅はその分16分か17分ほどの旅行時間から、場合によっては25分までの旅行時間に伸びてしまいます。

The existence of the express actually slows the average time down and reduces the total maximum number of passengers.
急行の存在だけで、事実上平均旅行時間が遅くなり、事実上乗客人数が減少されるのです。

Morning express trains are literally packed like sardines. No room to read your mail, ebook, or scriptures, unless you like squeezing your phone, tablet, or book between your body and the other passengers' bodies. And touching them where they don't want to be touched on the way up.
朝の急行便はイワシのように詰めていくのです。eメールでも、eブックでも、聖典でも読むほどの場所の余裕ができません。まあ、携帯、タブレット型器あるいは本を自分の体と他の乗客の体の間に挟んで読むのが好みでなければ、読めません。そして、挟んで読もうとするものを持ち上げる際、他人の触ってほしくないところを触れてしまうのですね。

All so you can feel lucky for getting squeezed in there.急行便に突っ込まれて、得した気分ができるためですね。

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fixing bad links in my novel

In my first novel, which I am in the process of writing: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2016/04/economics-101-novel-index.html, I had bad links in chapters
  1. http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch01-introducing.html,
  2. http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch02-introducing.html, and
  3. http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch03-introducing.html
The links had skipped ahead to chapter 11, so if you are reading it, you may have missed chapter 10: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.jp/2016/03/economics-101-novel-ch10-bobbie-and.html. And things might have made even less sense.

(I'm still working on the characterizations in chapters 04 to 09.)

The novel is about two good Mormons who get left on a desert island alone. (I know, I know. What do they say, Fools jump in where angels fear to tread? I'm a fool.)

My intent was to show the economic interactions in a very simplified system, something like timing feathers and cannonballs dropped in a vacuum chamber.

Hey, isn't simplification one of the first steps in solving hard problems?

:-p

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rotted Soybeans? -- 腐った大豆?

I vaguely remember telling someone on a technical mailing list, when the conversation had turned to food, that tofu is not rotten soybeans.

He had learned from someone that the "fu" in "tofu" meant "rotten".

I am not always on the top of everything. That's all I can say.

I can't find the post today, but let me try to set the record straight.

The "to" in both "tofu" and "natto" is "bean". Without other qualification, it often (but not always) means soy bean.

(It is actually read, 「とう」、 which would have a literal Romanization as "tou", but lengthened vowels are often ignored in Romaji. Oh. In Japan, Latinization is Romanization, or Romaji.)

The "tou" in natto and tofu is also read "mame" (mah-meh, sort of), and it means "bean". (Sometimes, it is used non-literally to mean "clever", as well. If you are a mame, if you are a bean, you are clever. I like that.)

Indeed, the "fu" in "tofu" means, erm, well, "rot", when it is read "kusaru". But it really means "aged", as in aged cheese. (Think, "funky". Have you ever heard of funky cheese? I'm not mentioning beer, okay?)

That's one reason why they used to call tofu "soy cheese". (Some people do still call it soy cheese.)

But it would be more appropriate to think of cottage cheese than, say, bleucheese. (What happened to the wikipedia article on bleucheese? They misspell it and don't even mention the derivation. Re-writing history? Evidence that the crowd can lose touch?)

Tofu is not really made by aging any more, except for the more expensive kinds. The soy milk is curded in a method that is similar to the methods used in curdling milk to make cottage cheese. Doesn't even take more than a day to make most of the tofu you buy in the stores.

(You can make cottage cheese with vinegar or lemon juice instead of rennet. In a similar way, you can make tofu with nigari, which is often a magnesium salt.)

The "natsu" (納) in "natto" (納豆) means to store away, or to put something where it belongs. It is also pronounced, "osameru", which is another word used to describe paying taxes: "Zeikin wo osameru." (税金を納める。) or "nouzei" (納税). (Yeah, in nouzei, the same character is read "nou" instead of "natsu". Nothing unusual about that with Kanji characters.)

But natto is fermented soybeans. Last time I looked, Wikipedia had a pretty good explanation of why.
In brief, a long time ago, maybe in China, according to the traditions, some high-muckey-muck in the army ordered a lot of soybeans, not knowing what to do with it. But when no one in camp knew what to do with it at all, they just buried it away in disgust.

Some time later, when the whole camp was about to perish for want of food, someone noticed the dogs happily digging into the buried trash. They spied on the dogs and saw that they were into the buried soybeans. And they all decided, if the dogs are eating it, maybe we can try it, so they dug up the buried, and now fermented, soybean, and tried it, and lived. And had strange tastes in food when they got home.

(There are many versions of this story. Don't take it too literally.)

So, natto could be called rotten soybean.  Fermented soybean sounds better, and is more accurate.

I like natto. When I couldn't eat chocolate, I found natto made (for me) a good substitute for chocolate. (I now eat pure cacao mass fairly regularly. Good stuff, although you don't want to eat a lot of it at once.)

Modern natto doesn't even taste all that strongly of ammonia. And it has a lot of the good stuff that you would only otherwise find in Japan in expensive meats -- amino acids, B vitamin predecessors, protein, etc.

There are valid reasons for not being able to stomach either natto or tofu. For instance, allergies to soybean do exist.

But, if someone tells you they won't eat rotten soybean, and that's why they won't try tofu, maybe they've been confused by dictionary definitions again. Natto is probably what they are thinking they should avoid.

Maybe.

;-)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Notes on the Computer, Notes by Hand

As I've mentioned elsewhere, my wife listens to Doujo Youzo every morning.

This morning, he picked up something the Wall Street Journal also has (finally) picked up on recently. (Not sure but what he got it from the WSJ or from one of the Japanese newspapers that follows the WSJ. I wasn't listening when the conversation started.)

When you take notes by hand, you remember more than when you take them by PC.

That should be obvious. Really.

You can take more notes on your laptop or even your tablet without losing concentration on the lecture or presentation, but the interface is too narrow, the form too structured. You won't retain it as well as if you took the notes by hand.

The promise of the early Macintosh apps (or Alan Kay's Dynabook concept) has yet to be fulfilled.

There's a reason for that, too.

But there's one more step in this discussion. There were many courses I took better notes in when I did not take notes, or when I took very sparse notes.

Much of that had to do with preparation.

When I was prepared, I spent most of the lecture time testing the professor's presentations against my own opinions and understanding. That's the stuff I retained. That's the stuff I took home with me to work on.

When I was not prepared, I was basically either trying to record the lecture in my notebook (the absolute worst way to take notes, and the most common way among intermediate level students) or struggling desperately to leave trail markers for myself which I then went home and found myself counter-motivated to search through during the semester. (After the semester, those trailmarkers often proved valuable.)

The PC and the tablet, as note-taking devices, are highly structured. That means it's easy to go into record mode and just dump stuff direct from your ears and eyes to the hard disk.

But it is creating the structures that you create when you take thoughtful notes by hand that leaves the structures in your mind that make it possible to find the information again.

(There's a lot more to say about this, Unicode inheriting certain rigidities from ASCII, the general problem of pixels vs. arcs, the problem of arc recognition which the problem of text recognition inherits, the many problems of voice recognition the pigeon-hole structure of relational databases, ... .

I don't have time for this rant, darn it. And it's a favorite rant, too. Want to translate even this much to Japanese, but I definitely don't have time for that. It takes me at least as much time to translate as to write, still.

And I note that this all has a bit to do with English education in Japan, too -- the too highly structured nature of their approach to education: http://reiisi.blogspot.com/2016/05/english-education-in-japan-going.html.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pet Peeves -- よく苛立つもの : One Hundred And Twenty-five -- 百そして二十五

The NHK Radio Language programs are pretty good quality programs.
NHK の外国語ラジオ番組は質のまあまあ良い方の番組です。

But they do make mistakes.
たまには間違えることもあります。

This year, they got a fast start on some common mistakes. One of them is a pet peeve of mine.
今年はもうこんなに早い内に、よくある間違いを番組に取り入れています。その一つは僕のよく不満を言うところです。

"And" in numbers is for between the integer part and the fraction:
数字の中にて「アンド」の位置は、整数と分数の間です。

179.34 is one hundred seventy-nine and thirty-four one hundredths.
「179.34」と言えば、百七十九と百分の三十四ですね。

It is not one hundred and seventy-nine and thirty-four one hundredths.
そして七十九百分の三十四ではないでしょう。

125 is one hundred twenty-five, not one hundred and twenty-five.
「125」にすると、百と二十五ではなく、百二十五になると思います。

Sure, in conversation it goes either way, according to the habits of the speaker. And if you go back a couple of hundred years, people wrote strange things like "five-and-twenty". (Oh. That's still a phrase in idiomatic use.)
きっと、会話にはどちもをよく言うのです。話す人のくせによるものです。まあ、およそ二百年前に遡ると「五と二十」のように、 "five-and-twenty" のような書き方もありました。(あっ、それは現在でも熟語となっています。)

Now, peeves are not really something one should pet.
正に、苛立ちは実は、なでているように、よく気にかけているはずなものではありません。

And I have no problem with individual use, even in public. I even encourage it, tell people it's good to develop personal dialects.
それに、公にしても、個人表現は全く問題ないと思っています。自己表現を応援しています。個人方言を作るのを勧めるまではしております。

And I encourage teachers to teach what they know, and not get hung up on rules.
更に、ルールにはまらず、自分の知っているものを教えなさいと、先生方によく奨励するのです。

But it is better to teach the standard if you know it, especially on a national radio education program.
但し、標準がお解りになる場合、特に国中に放送されるラジオ教育番組の中に、標準を教えたほうが正しいと思います。

It's okay to mention common non-standard usage, too. But the beginners' program, Kiso Eigo One, this morning (a repeat of last Wednesday) did not even mention the standard usage.
標準外の表現も、取り上げてもいいでしょう。ただね、基礎英語1の番組の(これは先週の水曜日の繰り返しでしたが)今朝のレッスンに標準の表現の "seven hundred seventy-seven" をサッと言うこともなく、

Seven hundred and seventy-seven. 
の「七百そして七十七」という風に教えてくれたのです。

That's what they said, not the standard "seven hundred seventy-seven".

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

English Education in Japan Going Downhill Again -- 日本の英語教育また下り坂になっている

English education in Japan had been improving. It really had.
日本における英語教育は結構ましになっていたのです。本当ですよ。

From 1993 or before to about 2012, things were really on the upswing.
平成5年の前からおよそ平成24年まで、結構向上姿勢でした。

Since somewhere around 2012, the attitude of studying the test has been overwhelming the education systems.
平成24年前後よりは、教育団体が受験勉強の姿勢に圧倒されつつあります。

None of the students have time to read English novels.
学生はだれも英語の小説なんか読む暇有りません。

They are taught, instead, that if they don't memorize tens of thousands -- I'm not exaggerating! -- of examples of special cases of the most difficult English grammar, they mustn't dare try to read.
むしろ、英文の最も解けにくい例外文法の(大げさじゃないよ!)数万問の例文を覚えてしまわないと、敢えて小説を読もうとしてはならない!ような教え方にさらされている。

So, what's wrong with the above sentence?
ちなみに、上記の文の問題はなんでしょう?

It's too long. It's too convoluted. And it's an example of the kind of sentences these students are being taught to write.
長すぎる。からみ合いが行き過ぎている。それに、日本の学生たちが書けるように訓練されている文章のような実例です。

No. They are not being taught to simplify first.
いやイヤイヤ。そうです。たしかに、簡単な文から始めるように教えられていません。

My daughter just read over my shoulder and said, no, that's not right. No teacher has actually told her not to read a novel.
家の娘が肩越しに上記の文を見て、「違うよ、お父さん。小説を読んではいけないと教えている先生はいませんよ。」(ちゃうねん。そんなんいう先生居らへんよ、父ちゃん。)

But when I asked her if any teacher has recommended reading a novel, no, no such recommendation. And if you look at the volume of homework the kids are assigned, you realize they are implicitly preventing the kids from real reading, and tacitly discouraging such adventures.
ただ、小説を読んで良いと言う先生がいるかどうかを聞くと、否、そういうことを勧める先生はいません。宿題の量を考えると、本格的に英語を読書するのを暗黙に差し止めているのだとわかるでしょう。英語読書のような冒険に必要な勇気を、応援していないからですよ。勇気づけをしないと、その勇気を消そうとしていらしゃる。

My daughter is not convinced. I essentially had to bribe her to try reading The Wizard of Oz. And homework comes first, so she isn't progressing very quickly.
娘はまだ納得できないのです。オズの魔法使いを読んでもらうには、賄賂(餌?)が必要です。読んでくれると言っても、宿題が先に来るので、進歩が速やかに進んでいません。

My daughter has more than one textbook full of really complicated entrance exam questions, with annotation showing which university used each question. (No, she is not taking entrance exams this year.) A typical page groups the questions by some esoteric classification that is only relevant to Japanese academics. I don't want to post the actual questions, lest I run afoul of copyright law, but I'll show you what the page looks like:
  • An almost reasonable question on keeping "quiet" vs. "silently", etc., during a heated debate in the middle of a meeting (Debate? Meeting?).
  • A reasonable question testing whether the students can remember whether flowers smell sweet or sweetly.
  • This one I'll quote, because it's so bad.
    Sometimes this engine (      ) wrong without any apparent cause. Answers: goes | comes | makes | leaves
  • A reasonable question checking whether they can remember that dreams come true, not make, get, or put.
  • A reasonable word order question involving the mere sight of a snake making a child sick.
  • A question testing whether the student can "find a book interesting".
Note that, in an appropriate context, none of these except that "engine going wrong" would be a bad example question to study. Even the "engine going wrong" would be a good example of an author not bothering to research his subject.

娘の教科書の数冊は受験問題集です。とても複雑な入試問題です。どの大学がどの問題を出したかを記す注釈も付いている。(今年は受験しませんが。)大概のページは問題を日本の学問者共以外には意味がない奥義に達した体系をもって、問題を組み合わせて解釈しています。実際の問題を投稿すると著作権の問題が起きるかもしれないのですが、その一つのページはどういうものかを紹介します。上記の英語を参照して下さい。
  • 一つは、会議の最中の盛り上がった議論中、「keeping "quiet" 若しくは "silently" など」の意味有りそうな問題です。ただ、原文はどうやら、meeting の間に debate があることを想定しています。その時点からスタイルが外れるのです。つまり、文法的に合いそうなものがあっても、正解がないのです。スタイル上、回答は皆間違っています。
  • 一つは、「花が甘い香りを出す」を通常の英語で表す表現について、理にかなった非常に細かい文法の問題です。言語学者が喜ぶ問題です。説明するには
    • "smell sweetly" は「甘く香りを嗅ぐ」のように考えて下さい。昔は、 "smell" は匂いや香りを発する意味もあるから、「甘く香りを出す」意味でもあったのです。
    • 一方、 "The flower smells sweet." は "smell" が be 動詞の仮仲間であることをもって "The flower is sweet (smelling)." と相当するように解釈して良いという原則がなければ、文法の間違いでした。僕の小学生の頃はまだ、こういう文法を受け入れるかどうかを議論する声もあった。
  • 次の例は不味すぎで、危険を犯しても引用します。(詳細は下記説明します。)
    Sometimes this engine (      ) wrong without any apparent cause. 回答: goes | comes | makes | leaves
  • "Dreams" は make, get, put ではなく "come true"という諺を聞いたことがあるかどうかを診る妥当な問題です。("come true" の熟語動詞は十分普段語です。)
  • 蛇を見るだけで子供が病患をする表現のまあまあ妥当な語順問題です。("make sick" も十分に普段語です。)
  • 受験者が「本を面白く思える」かどうかを診る妥当な問題です。
一つわかってほしいのは、 "engine going wrong" の問題以外はどれも、場面によっては勉強するに相応しいテスト問題の例です。 "engine going wrong" の問題でさえも、作文者が充分に課題を把握していなかたことの例文に適していると思います。

(I think it is actually an example of a Japanese academic trying way too hard to create an example for "go wrong". If that was you who wrote that, plans go wrong. People go wrong. Engines malfunction, lose tune, misfire, skip a beat, etc. If an engine does go wrong, it generally does not recover very soon.)
(多分、日本の学問者が "go wrong" の例題を作ることに励んで、行き過ぎることのなりがちを見せる実例だったと思います。もし、貴方がそういう文を書いたことがあれば、「計画が行方不明になる」。それとも、「人が道を踏み外れる」。原動機関(車)などは、機能不全になったり、調子悪くなったり、不点火(不着火)したり、拍子外れたり、などします。尚更、原動機関が誤りに行くなら、その原動機関が速やかに正常に戻ることはとりあえず、ありません。

The first problem is teaching complexity instead of the basics. If you keep pushing a horse to run too much faster and farther than it is able, the horse may run today and tomorrow, but it won't run next year.
第一の問題は、基本の代わりに複雑なものを教えてしまっています。馬を走れる以上早く、遠く走らせるのを繰り返しにやり過ぎると、今日や明日に走ってくれても、来年はパンクすると思うのよ。完全にパンクするかも知れません。

The second problem is the grouping. With that grouping, there is no context within which the student can understand the either the grammar or the vocabulary.
第二の問題は、組み合わせです。こんな、学生にとって、訳が見えない組み合わせにすると文法でも単語でも理解して覚える文脈がありません。

The third problem is the volume. How do students get their feet on the ground when you keep hitting them with the jet from the firehose?
第三の問題は、大量そのものです。ずっと、消防ホースから水どっさりかけて倒したりしていると、生徒たちはどうして立ち得るでしょう?


Context is absolutely vital for both understanding and memory.
理解にも記憶にも文脈が絶対不可欠です。

And what principles do underly the grouping are not of interest to people using English, they are of interest to Japanese academics trying way too hard to prove they know how to map English to Japanese.
こういう組み合わせがどういう原則によってできたかは、英語を使っている人にはそれほど関係あると思えません。英語の文章や文節を日本語の文章や文節につなげることが、できる!と主張したくてたまらない日本の学問者には、興味があるものでしよう。

Mapping is neither translating nor understanding. It can be useful when you are having trouble translating or understanding, but it isn't a substitute. (Yes, I still sometimes find myself mapping instead of communicating, but mapping is not communication.)
つなげるのは訳すことでも理解でもありません。理解も訳も難しい時、便利なのがありますが、代わりになるものではありません。 (まあ、僕も意味を伝えるのを諦めてつなげることにしてしまう時はありますが、つなげるだけでは伝達しません。)

You teach English by communicating, not by analyzing.
英語を教えるのは解釈ではなく、コミュニケーションです。

Teaching the test is not teaching English. It's teaching students to take tests.
試験を教えるのは英語を教えることとちょっと違います。むしろ、試験のとり方を教えているのです。

You teach English by communicating with the students.
意味が伝わると教育が出来つつです。

Even if your English is not perfect, you teach far more by communicating with the students.
たとえ、英語力が優れなくても、心と心がつじ合うことによって教えるのです。

Don't hide behind the books, use them. Even books like the ones I'm picking apart here. There's no need to use the parts that don't fit in.
教科書の後ろに隠れないで下さい。教科書を利用できるものにして下さい。この投稿で僕が結構酷く攻めているような本でも。利用になれないところを使わなくて良いです。

Somehow, please give the kids who show even the slightest interest in reading English novels time to try to read a few.
どうやら、英語の小説を少しでも読みたいかな?と思っている子供たちが読むのを試みるほどの時間を下さい。

Communicate.
意味をもって話し合って下さい。

It's that simple.
それだけです。簡単です。




(Here's a rant on related issues, sorry no translation to Japanese at this time:
申し訳なく、現在は訳していないが、関係あるわめきの一つがここにあります。
http://reiisi.blogspot.com/2016/05/notes-on-computer-notes-by-hand.html.)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Flash on ubuntu 14

Getting flash running on ubuntu is a circus.

This was for my daughter's HP Pavilion 10.

(I had previously been running openbsd on it for myself. Never had time to grab the source for the wifi and get it running. Wifi works on Ubuntu. I don't know when I'll get a computer for me, next. Maybe one of the opensource/openhardware arm notebooks like the novena, if I can talk myself into the somewhat steep price for near-freedom.)

Getting Adobe's Flash working on it was fairly straightforward, seemed to be handled okay by the software center without a lot of help.

But that's really old, and it's slow, too. But it does run in Firefox.

Chromium doesn't recognize it. (Which was no surprise to me, of course.)

So we tried a number of things. Installing the package from the software center doesn't really do much.

Then I found the ubuntu wiki at wiki.ubuntu.com:

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Chromium/Getting-Partner-Flash

It looked useful, but Software Center said it was installed. We did add the repository for it in the Software Center.

So I climbed the url to

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Chromium/

and found several more pages. This one looked really useful:

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Chromium/Getting-Flash/TroubleInstalling

But when I tried
/usr/sbin/update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --status
I got this error:
ERROR: failed to retrieve status information from google : W: There is no public key available for the following key IDs:
1397BC53640DB551
I found this page on stackexchange:

http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/279825/pepperflashplugin-nonfree-error-failed-to-retrieve-status-information-from-go

So I pulled that key in to the admin user's keystore:
gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 1397BC53640DB551
and exported it to pepperflashplugin's keystore:
gpg --export --armor 1397BC53640DB551 | sudo sh -c 'cat >> /usr/lib/pepperflashplugin-nonfree/pubkey-google.txt'
and then I uninstalled pepperflashplugin-nonfree.

(I know that Google was required to do that nonfree thing by Adobe. But then again, Google had the resources even back then to make gnash work, if they had been willing to thumb their noses in Adobe's face. Billion dollar cap companies are not free to thumb their noses in another company's face. Money is a huge ball and chain.)

[JMR201605030730: the command to export the key, split into multiple lines in case Microsoft or other ads get pasted over the end:
 
gpg --export --armor 1397BC53640DB551 | sudo sh -c \
'cat >> \
/usr/lib/pepperflashplugin-nonfree/pubkey-google.txt'
 
Hah. Yes, Microsoft is paying Google to target opensource blogposts for them. Of course they are. Why would you think they would not? You do understand we are in the midst of the worst war this world has ever seen, or will ever see again, don't you? Where do you keep your freedom?

Ahem. Sorry. I'm not supposed to say that. Carry on.
]

Uninstalled Adobe's Flashplugin, just for good measure.

Installed pepperflashplugin-nonfree from Software-Center again. No recognition of the plugin in Chromium. Actually, the message was different. It said flash was not installed, instead of saying nothing when I plugged
about:flash
into the Chromium browser's URL field. Tried
/usr/sbin/update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --status
again, and this time it said not installed instead of telling me the key wasn't there. So I tried
/usr/sbin/update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --help
and it told me that --help was not a valid command, but it gave me a list of commands anyway. So I tried
/usr/sbin/update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --uninstall
followed by
/usr/sbin/update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --install
and I got this long output from downloading google-chrome-stable. From what I hear, there may be some extraction of the plugin or something involved. I haven't checked to see whether Chrome itself is now installed. But
about:flash
in Chromium now tells me it's installed, and
/usr/sbin/update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --status
also tells me warm fuzzies. Maybe we're in good shape.

Firefox won't do flash with just pepperflash, and someone says you can't have both installed with good results. It looks like Chromium's running my daughter's game. Yep. We're in business.

(That's not really the order things happened in, but it's as close as I want to try to tell. I keep falling asleep. It's time to get the family to bed.)

Oh. One last thing. It looks like I'll have to show her how to use the update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree tool to regularly update pepperflash and hopefully avoid being pwned. Maybe. I have to show her how to use the software center to update the whole thing, as well, maybe I'll find that pepperflash's update tool provides the proper interface for software center to do it automajickly.

Zzzzzzzz zzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzzyxyzzzzz