Fresh Approaches: Noteworthy New Editions and Reissues

In case you didn’t know, Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) is back. (School Library Journal) The CYOA books allow middle graders to experiment with nonlinear storytelling, “a developmental step that some kids need.” Choice-points in the stories force youngsters to visualize and mull over plot possibilities, letting them take control of the reading experience. Individual volumes in this versatile series treat many different themes, take numerous approaches, and incorporate varying…

Bedtime stories now available on children's iPods

AP: Nearly a third of children ages 6 to 10 are regular users of digital audio players, according to market research firm the NPD Group. And thanks to entrepreneurs like Katz, they can now use them to listen to bedtime stories. In March, the Audible.com founder launched AudibleKids.com, where children can download books directly onto their digital audio players. “I hear lots of people talking, saying that when they put…

Is Grand Theft Auto an orgy of violence? Not quite …

Naomi Alderman (Guardian): [S]ometimes I admire the beautifully-rendered star-filled sky, and sometimes I drive the in-game car into a lamp-post, just to see what happens. It is play, just like “cops and robbers”, just like daydreaming, just like writing a novel. I’m not a big fan of driving games, and the longest stretches of game-playing time I have are when I’m watching my kids play games on a different computer,…

Back to the future: Blake's 7 ditches the shaky sets for prime time makeover

Guardian: First Battlestar Galactica was reinvented as a must-watch TV show and clever allegory for US foreign policy post-9/11. Then the Doctor returned from Gallifrey to make sci-fi cool and revive mainstream family viewing. Now Sky One is hoping to continue the successful reinvention of the genre with a multimillion-pound remake of the 1970s British favourite Blake’s 7. My wife introduced me to Blake’s 7 while we were dating. The…

U.S. Spies Use Custom Videogames to Learn How to Think

Wired: The U.S. Army Intelligence Center is using a custom game to train interrogators, or “human collectors,” as they are euphemistically known. Known by the staggering title of Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Tactical Proficiency Trainer Human Intelligence Control Cell, the simulation was designed by General Dynamics from the shooter Far Cry. The Army game features a virtual detainee and interpreter; the player-interrogator speaks through voice-recognition software to the virtual interpreter,…

Making Wikis Work for Scholars

Inside Higher Ed: “Information on computer science subjects in Wikipedia is likely to be accurate and informative, often using unique resources to illustrate concepts that are not available to print media,” wrote de Medeiros in an e-mail. “This probably derives from the fact that computer scientists use the computer as their main form of access to scientific articles and journals, that they take advantage of electronic forms to disseminate their…

Confirmed Guests @ ROFLCon

Nerdvana: ROFLCon (From Leeeeroy Jeninks to Bert is Evil to LOLTrek to Tron guy, old friends come back from the abyss; good thing too, because I’ve got more than 15 minutes of love for our favorite memes of yesteryear. Mix up a bunch of super famous internet memes, some brainy academics, a big audience, dump them in Cambridge, MA and you’ve got ROFLCon. The conference is slated for April 25th…

Writing, Technology and Teens

Pew / Internet (PDF): Most teenagers spend a considerable amount of their life composing texts, but they do not think that a lot of the material they create electronically is real writing. The act of exchanging emails, instant messages, texts, and social network posts is communication that carries the same weight to teens as phone calls and between-class hallway greetings…. Yet despite the nearly ubiquitous use of these tools by…

Tests Confirm T. Rex Kinship With Birds

NYT: T. rex shared more of its genetic makeup with ostriches and chickens than with living reptiles, like alligators. On this basis, the research team has redrawn the family tree of major vertebrate groups, assigning the dinosaur a new place in evolutionary relationships. Similar molecular tests on tissues from the extinct mastodon confirmed its close genetic link to the elephant, as had been suspected from skeletal affinities. “Our results at…