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Shakespeare vs. Teletubbies: Is There a Role for Pop Culture in the Classroom?

By teaching kids to become both media producers and media consumers, the Adams Avenue project promotes the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed at the college level, Seiter says. That’s especially important for at-risk students, she adds, because while “they may know a lot about TV or movies or video games, kids don’t get points in school for just being media literate. In fact, it tends to…

IF Essays, New and Old

Recommended reading: “Descriptions Constructed” by Stephen Granade, a just-posted close-up look at IF output text, and “Crimes Against Mimesis” by Roger Giner-Sorolla, a broader essay from 1996 on what can go right or wrong in IF, still worth a read today. –Nick Montfort –IF Essays, New and Old (Grand Text Auto)

Riverside feels 'Wrath of Con'

William Shatner’s low-budget sci-fi flick, “Invasion Iowa,” that was supposedly filming in Riverside, turned out to be an elaborate hoax. To borrow the phrase from MTV, the entire town was “punk’d.” Yes, William Shatner is there, and yes, there is a film crew, but the whole thing wasn’t for a movie, but for a “reality” show on what it’s like when a Hollywood film crew descends on a tiny Midwestern…

Transportation Futuristics

When we see a drawing of a transportation futuristic, we instinctively know that‘swhat it is. But what do jetpacks, rolling boats and these other endeavors have in common? With few exceptions, such as Leonardo da Vinci‘svisions of helicopters and airplanes, the futuristics are the product of the Industrial and post-Industrial Age, a time when the pace of technological change rapidly accelerated and people began dreaming about the future in new…

Interactive Fiction Workshop 1

–Interactive Fiction Workshop 1 (Writing for the Internet) This morning I introduced my Writing for the Internet class to Pick up the Phone booth and Die and 9:05. I always enjoy this class period. Most get to at least one of the endings in 9:05. About five minutes before class ends, I ask the students for their reaction to the ending they reached. Then, just before class ends, I ask them…

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Afterlife by blogging

Blogger, and several of the other blog-systems, have a feature that lets you blog in the future. I can set the date on the post for a date in the future, and then it will be posted when I am dead. This is a classic set-up for the: “There is a letter with my lawyer, and if I die, it will be opened” plot in movies and books. “If you…

Google News: Beta Not Make Money

With a clean, no-nonsense interface and existing search engine traffic, Google News didn’t take long to attract a loyal following and elbow its way into the top-10 news sites, pulling in some 6 million unique visitors a month. Of course, executives at rival online news publishers couldn’t help but wonder why they shouldn’t just imitate Google’s model and pare their budgets to the bone. As it turns out, however, Google…

You're hired

Self-service has been around for decades, ever since Clarence Saunders, an American entrepreneur, opened the first Piggly Wiggly supermarket in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee. Saunders’s idea was simple, but revolutionary: shoppers would enter the store, help themselves to whatever they needed and then carry their purchases to the check-out counter to pay for them. Previously, store clerks had been responsible for picking items off the shelves; but with the advent…

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Engineering God in a Petri Dish

But how does one measure the godliness of bacteria versus a fruit fly? (Keats opted for flies in lieu of humans, which, he said, would require “a really big bell jar.”) After briefly considering omnipotence, Keats decided to measure omnipresence. Did the number of organisms increase? How fast? In the case of the fruit flies, Keats, who considers himself Jewish “by heritage,” found the Christian Kyrie prayer brought about increased…

Found Hemingway Story Won't Be Published

The late writer’s estate hasn’t approved publication of the 1924 piece, a gory, over-the-top parody about a bullfight in the Spanish city of Pamplona, the manuscript’s owner, Donald Stewart, told The Associated Press on Monday. –Found Hemingway Story Won’t Be Published  (Yahoo!|AP (will expire))