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Meet the 12-year-old boy who makes games instead of going to school

Turning on the anti-clickbait filter: Homeschooler builds apps. Sam has been making games from his home in the south of England for “about a year.” He started out playing around with a programming language called Small Basic, a simplified version of Visual Basic, mostly making text-based adventures that are all words and no graphics. | It was Sam’s dad who introduced him to GameMaker: Studio, the creative resource suitable for…

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Marketers package female empowerment to sell products

This article makes an excellent point. The essential connection between the positive message that makes the pro-girl ad worth sharing and the product being sold is tentative at best. In a recent ad for Always feminine hygiene products, women and men are asked to demonstrate how it looks to “run, throw and fight like a girl.” They all portray inept ditziness. Then a group of young girls is asked to…

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Get ready for Generation Z

Students continue to change… I’m doing a lot of thinking, about how I can adjusting my teaching strategies, so that I can still rely on my own strengths but also make use of the things my incoming students are really good at (not just what they say they want, and not just what they can eventually manage to do with a lot of exhausting and stressful cajoling from me). Where…

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Seriously, Fuck You, “Kindle Unlimited”

I’m just quoting the f-bomb in the link, but I do agree with the sentiment behind it. Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn’t cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization. For a monthly cost of zero dollars, it is…

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Russia Conspiracy Theories Trap Putin Malaysia Airlines MH17

An old journalism joke suggests that, during the Cold War, the USSR state-run news agency reported the results of a two-car race this way: “Soviet car finishes second; Americans next-to-last.” In a culture without a free press, the official story is the only story. Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia? Well, it’s all true—at…

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Buzz Aldrin: It’s Time to Put a Man on Mars

There are eight U.S. astronauts left out of the 12 who walked on the moon. All of us are in the eighth decade of our lives. Each of us can attest to the importance of continuing human exploration of space and the tremendous impact it has had on so many facets of our society. The technical innovations, scientific achievements, medical breakthroughs, environmental enhancements, national defense improvements and educational impacts have…

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Apple faces threat of legal action over ‘in app’ payments

I haven’t taken the plunge and installed a new iOS app on a whim in quite some time, because so many of them require in-app purchases in order to be useful. Now I carefully read the reviews first. Among the issues regulators have highlighted is a default setting within Apple’s app store where, after a payment is made, there is a 15-minute window allowing purchases without requiring a password. The…

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The Surprisingly Savvy Weird Al Internet Machine

When he talks about his business being threatened by YouTube parody video-makers, he’s talking about the fact that the public’s yen for parodies is being met by amateurs. Earlier this week, a young woman turned an infamous recording of a Comcast customer service call into a belty ballad. Between the release of that recording and its conversion into digital video fodder, fewer than 24 hours had elapsed. This is an…

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Stop Using ‘Poet Voice’

This article analyzes (and skewers) that lilting steamroller tone of voice that so many poets use when reciting their work. During this banter the poet uses a slightly performative but mostly natural voice. It’s the voice they’d use to introduce you to their grandmother. Then they read the title of their first poem and launch into the first line. But now their voice is different. It’s as if at some…