Little red lies

Remakes are common these days for several reasons, primarily the fact that Hollywood is short on new ideas. Plus, the original story is actually pretty good, even if the movie failed to live up to its promise. Capricorn One is not exactly a classic, but it does have some great ideas, great scenes, and a great bombastic score by Jerry Goldsmith, best known for his Star Trek theme. [...] If…

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Fact or Fiction?: Living People Outnumber the Dead

The human population has swelled so much that people alive today outnumber all those who have ever lived, says a factoid whose roots stretch back to the 1970s. Some versions of this widely circulating rumor claim that 75 percent of all people ever born are currently alive. Yet, despite a quadrupling of the population in the past century, the number of people alive today is still dwarfed by the number…

Did You Learn Anything?

“To use the Minute Paper,” Angelo and Cross write, “an instructor stops class two or three minutes early and asks students to respond briefly to some variation on the following two questions: ‘What was the most important thing you learned during this class?’ and ‘What important question remains unanswered?’ Students then write their responses on index cards or half-sheets of scrap paper . . . and hand them in.” That…

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Teaching Without Textbooks

Here’s the dirty secret that you’ll never see printed in a publisher’s glossy promo material: Every textbook on the market is a crashing bore to read. All the publishers will assure you that they’ve added special features designed to attract today’s young people and that the prose is lively and engaging. Yeah, right. The colorful maps, pop-out documents, intra-textual questions to contemplate, vibrant graphics, etc. serve only to drive up…