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Space shuttle 'go for launch' on July 13

After 2 1/2 two years of frustrating setbacks and delays, NASA officially set July 13 as the launch date Thursday for the first space shuttle flight since the Columbia tragedy. –Marcia Dunn –Space shuttle ‘go for launch’ on July 13 (AP/My Way) In my mind, the space shuttle is intimately connected with school. The Columbia tragedy happened the day after I finished my campus interview here at Seton Hill University. I…

Hackers, Spelling, and Grammar?

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that a surprisingly large number of native English speakers, who are otherwise very technically competent, seem to lack strong English skills. Mostly, this seems to manifest itself as varying degrees of poor spelling and grammar: ‘definately’ instead of ‘definitely’; ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’; and I even see the names of products and companies misspelled from time to time. It baffles me…

Game Over

For one thing, we overestimated academe’s interest in the humanistic study of video games. True, colleges and universities across the country are rushing pell-mell to grab a piece of the game pie, but that rush seems to be more about pipelining students into industry jobs than helping them develop critical-thinking skills. Ensuring that young people secure employment is a noble goal — and in many ways the primary objective of…

The End of the Rainbow

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Ireland today is the richest country in the European Union after Luxembourg. Yes, the country that for hundreds of years was best known for emigration, tragic poets, famines, civil wars and leprechauns today has a per capita G.D.P. higher than that of Germany, France and Britain. How Ireland went from the sick man of Europe to the rich man in less than a generation…

Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out

Modern English has given us two terms we need to explain this phenomenon: “geeking out” and “vegging out.” To geek out on something means to immerse yourself in its details to an extent that is distinctly abnormal – and to have a good time doing it. To veg out, by contrast, means to enter a passive state and allow sounds and images to wash over you without troubling yourself too…

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Feeling Inspired?

It just can’t be good, it has to be original and good. When I think hard about it part of me kind of wishes we hurled our bodies into the air, at times, cracking on impact, but I miss the rest of you and I am now working on keeping myself at SHU. You can vote for who you feel wins the argument. I strongly recommend that you become involved…

How the Web changes your reading habits

Computers and the Internet are changing the way people read. Thus far, search engines and hyperlinks, those underlined words or phrases that when clicked take you to a new Web page, have turned the online literary voyage into a kind of U-pick island-hop. Far more is in store. Take “Hamlet.” -Gregory M. Lamb –How the Web changes your reading habits (CS Monitor) There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,…

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Usability: Empiricism or Ideology?

At the same time, usability is also an ideology — the belief in a certain specialized type of human rights: The right of people to be superior to technology. If there’s a conflict between technology and people, then technology must change. The right of empowerment. Users should understand what’s happening and be capable of controlling the outcome. The right to simplicity. Users should get their way with computers without excessive…

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God's Little Toys

We live at a peculiar juncture, one in which the record (an object) and the recombinant (a process) still, however briefly, coexist. But there seems little doubt as to the direction things are going. The recombinant is manifest in forms as diverse as Alan Moore’s graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, machinima generated with game engines (Quake, Doom, Halo), the whole metastasized library of Dean Scream remixes, genre-warping fan…

Theory's Empire

As theorists became endowed chairs, department heads, series editors, and MLA presidents, as they were profiled in the New York Times Magazine and invited to lecture around the world, the institutional effects of Theory displaced its intellectual nature. It didn’t have to happen, but that‘sthe way the new crop of graduate students experienced it. Not only were too many Theory articles and books published and too many Theory papers delivered,…